Monday, February 11, 2013

A Happy Balance: Look at Your Food with Love!

Image via
Food is not the enemy. I repeat, food is not the enemy! Put your weapons down, people! Being a woman myself, I feel justified in making a generalization about my tribe... we tend to have a very warped view of food. We categorize it into good or bad, high calorie or low calorie, high fat or low fat. We're either reading the label for 20 minutes in the grocery aisle or spending 20 minutes feeling guilty for not reading the label and buying with abandon. Instead of looking forward to meal time, we've made it so complicated that it's no longer fun - counting calories, controlling portion sizes, making sure we have don't exceed our daily sugar limit. Even I'm exhausted! 

I'm here today to tell you that it's OK to enjoy your food. You can even stare at it longingly the way you'd stare at your 6th grade crush. I promise it won't bite (on the contrary, you'll be the one doing all the biting). Your body needs nourishment to function. It is wired to experience cravings. In fact, that's your body's way of signalling to you that you're lacking in something. 

You can leave the guilt at the door when you feed your body real food and understand that only real food will stifle these cravings. Here are a few tips to help you hone the mind-body connection at the dinner table...

Image via
EAT WITH JOY - We've all been there... there's a big test coming up or a daunting presentation at work and your stomach is in a big, fat knot. There's no doubt that your emotions have a direct impact on your physical state, especially digestion. Studies have shown that when you're sad or angry, your digestive system slows down considerably. On the contrary, when you eat with joy, your body will accept the food more readily and digest it properly. If you sit down to a meal filled with guilt, your body will take it's cue and respond appropriately, that's why it's so important to eat with joy and enjoy your food!

Image via
JUST RELAX - Meal time in America is no longer a special affair. I remember watching Leave It to Beaver (man, I feel old) and everyone was dressed for dinner in their Sunday best. Now while there's no way I'm putting on pearls for spaghetti night (sorry, Adam), I do believe that this concept is reflective of a very healthy attitude towards eating. The digestive system is better equipped to do it's job when we are relaxed and focused on enjoying our meal in the company of our family and friends. Instead of having to allocate resources to other areas of the body as you eat 'on the run', the body can pay full attention to the digestive process, leaving you feeling nourished and satisfied.

Image via
STOP BEFORE YOU'RE STUFFED - As I've mentioned before, it's best to stop eating before you're stuffed. When you overeat, the body has to direct all it's energy towards digesting this massive line of food waiting to pass through the digestive tract. You know that feeling of stagnation and lack of energy you have after a big meal? Well, your body is using all it's energy to digest this massive quantity of food. Do you really expect there to be any left for you? Stop before you're stuffed.

Image via
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY - When your body is lacking in a particular nutrient, it sends a message to your brain which in turn, results in a craving. Cravings are a biological urge to ensure that you get the foods you need. For example, when you're craving carbs, your body is telling you it needs energy. Stop feeling guilty about the craving and give your body what it wants. Just remember that your body is asking for good carbs like root vegetables or whole grains, not the kind with no nutritional value whatsoever - refined bread, white rice, etc. When you eat these things, your body won't be satisfied and you'll be right back where you started.

It's time we gave our bodies the love and respect they deserve. There's no complicated equation when it comes to eating. When you are eating real food and doing it in a relaxed, appreciative state, your body will take care of the rest! 

And just in case you wondered how I fared in Blizzard Nemo...

Minus the longest line I've EVER seen at Trader Joe's...

...and my complete inability to catch a cab home with my heavy load,

It turned out OK, when I woke up to THIS Saturday morning! Sooo pretty!

No comments:

Post a Comment