Photo by Andrea Larson
Co-written with Maddie Wise.
There’s so much information (and mis-information) about food out there that sometimes it gets reeeeal hard to know what to eat. Combine that with fluctuating moods and the changing seasons and oh-is-that-Mercury-in-retrograde-again? and you have yourself a pretty damn confusing time when it comes to navigating the world of “what am I going to eat today!” When I think back on the times I’ve struggled with food and the path to feeling good, eating healthfully and enjoying it, I can name a few key truths that changed the game for me. Check it:
1. We are our own health experiment and create our own definition of “balance.” For me, this equates to feeling how I want to feel more often than feeling how I don’t wanna feel! You get me? Like, who gives a donkey’s arse if you are eating kale smoothies 6 times a day if you actually feel like poo. Aren’t we all in it for the I-wanna-feel-good-game? My vote is yay. Food friendship is all about honoring our bio-individuality. What works for me is different than what works for my Uncle. Also, we eat cyclically! Not just monthly, as women during a 27-31 day cycle (email me if you wanna talk about eating for your cycle!), but also the cycle of our life. There are times to build (muscle, courage, savings) and times to detox or release (weight, toxins, responsibilities). We eat differently in the heat of summer vs. the chill of a February snow day. I think of food as a tool to help us in these times. Where are you now? How can you use food to support you? No clue? Book a consult and let’s nerd out, shall we?
2. It’s seductive to wanna subscribe to a diet – I get it – but our bodies are the true experts. Ever notice people don’t say, “Oh, I eat Vegan.” or, “I eat Paleo”. They say, “I AM Paleo”, “I AM Low Carb”, etc. We strongly identify with our eating, it’s so damn personal. But I am here to say, we don’t need strict + external diets – we have our intuition – our body knows what it needs and will tell us if we quiet down and listen. When all of our energy goes into eating how the media tells us to eat ::cough:: Monsanto marketing bullshit:::cough::: we get further away from ourselves. We forget to listen to our inner guidance. The million dollar question, is when we crave our weight in chocolate, is that our intuition piping up, or is it our inner sugar addict taking the mic?
It can take years to get to know your intuition (love this podcast by my friend Allie Stark, all about this topic!). But with regular focus and monitoring (journals + health coaches are your friend!) you can help a voice that was once a whisper learn to shout. You will get to know your own bio-feedback. I bet you already do this more than you know. Ie; do you avoid black coffee on an empty tum bc it makes your acid reflux flare? Do you avoid dairy before a first date bc you get all gunky and congested? These are all signs from your hot bod, guiding you towards greater health. All we gotta do is listen!
3. The best exercise is the kind that you enjoy, i.e. will consistently do. Let moving your body and getting sweaty be fun. You like dancing to bad 70’s music? Go to a dance party weekly. You like private sweat sessions in peace and quiet? Get your online pilates on. Whatever you do that inspires you and makes you feel alive is a really damn good place to start. Just like with food, our bodies crave different movement at different times (I’d like to know a woman who craves Crossfit when bleeding. Wonder Woman doesn’t count). We move differently when we just went through a divorce, than when we just arrived on vacation. Listen to your own cues (especially injuries, force is NOT a friend of healing, I know this from years of personal…let’s call it research, shall we?).
I’m a huge fan of City Shape – Kansas City’s premiere fitness pass! You can pay for a package and then use it for all types of movement. Choose your own adventure: yoga, pilates, rock-climbing, dance classes, TRX, cycling, etc!
4. Health is not separate from career, relationships, spirituality – they’re all intertwined. Can we just sit on that one for a minute? I mean, dayummm this is some truth that we often hide (run?) from. If our job sucks our soul, we are probably eating Doritos or munching Skittles at our desk just to get some type of pleasure signal from our bummed out brains. How can you breathe life into how you earn? If you keep hanging with that vampire energy suck friend, it’s likely your frequent headaches may not cease and desist. Ever notice how you get a cold right before that huge obligation you totally wish you could get out of? It’s my belief that our bodies are on our team and working their hardest to help us out in times like this.
Truly holistic nutrition means looking at all the ways we as humans are fed; spirituality, career, geography, spirituality, family life, home setting, hobbies, creativity, etc. Which is hungry? Can you take time to fuel yourself?
5. You’re never “there.” You will never arrive. Yup. As a yogi with a series of injuries, my teaching has been to find ways to move with my limitations. Of course, I go to physical therapy, get MRI’s and make an effort to engage in healing. But there is a time when waiting for the body to be “perfectly healed” or to look a certain way is just a giant roadblock to your happiness. How can we all stop chasing perfection, slow down, enjoy the journey, and love ourselves as we are at this very moment?
This thought can also be transposed onto how we relate to food. As non-static beings, our body is always in flux. One thing leads to another; just when our tummy aches are figured out, we have tendinitis that needs TLC, or a new rash that is mysterious. Here’s to being kind to ourselves and knowing that with all the efforts, we are never finished. Our wellness journey is just that, a path we continue as long as we are lucky enough to be alive. <3
You’re never alone in your health struggles – reach out when you feel called to, surround yourself with loving people who support you, and soak up all of the knowledge you can! Check this list for a few strong books to get you started, and if you’re ready to dig a little deeper, schedule a consultation to learn more about my holistic nutrition programs.