One of the things I like most about getting older is the ability to chill out a bit and show more love and care towards what I eat, relax, and how I treat myself. I’ve learned that moderation suits me, and how to listen to my body. I’m not perfect all the time, my diet isn’t perfect all the time, and sometimes going out and over indulging (moderately) might be needed to satisfy my spirit. My body knows the difference. Feeling comfortable with that has been one of the greatest gifts of a few added years. The angsty eighteen year old in me is still there, but she’s definitely chilled out.
That being said, we live in a society that bombards us with food guilt and mixed messages. It seems as though Instagram was invented to constantly influence our eating behaviors. And the majority of the country is surrounded by fast food options and unhealthy influences. If you’re following the IG health and wellness circle, you might feel as though you’re not drinking enough green juice, eating enough tonic herbs, and your current super healthy diet is out of date and unhealthy. Are you opening your pineal gland properly? Perhaps you have a lectin allergy? Your adrenals are most definitely extremely fatigued. Soy is THE WORST. Who cooks with olive oil? It’s toxic! Ghee for life. Bone broth will change your life…and maybe all you really wanted was to lose a few pounds and drink a green smoothie.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this and buy into it all. While I’m on this planet, I want to indulge in as much of the healthy goodness as possible to maximize my time here. This is not said to discourage or disregard the importance of nutrition. The food you eat has a huge effect on your health and happiness, and it is often under your control. When you make the conscious effort to put healthier foods into your body, you will notice a major difference in how you feel. Fresh, flavorful, beautiful, life-giving foods make you feel just that—more fresh and alive! It’s no secret that we are essentially killing ourselves through our stomachs. Bloated, lethargic, and stuffed with crappy food feels like crap. Not only is it terrible for your physical wellness, but it also blocks your creative energy and mental clarity. This food energy is from the foods we eat and also how we eat them. Eating is an instinctual act; we forget that it’s often one of life’s greatest pleasures. And a necessary pleasure! How delightful is that? How many other things qualify? Not many. A conscious effort to experience a meal in pleasure is just as important as what is on the plate. This means that you must be mindful. Dim the lights, eat with real utensils, chew your food, and SAVOR the experience.
None of us really know the answers, but what I do know is that removing stress and anxiety from what you eat is crucial in finding balance and health. Here is an article we love and often share with friends, explaining the relationship between stress and gut health.
Cultures with food philosophies (and figures) that we envy are eating, drinking, and being merry. Obsessing over what goes into your mouth can often lead to extreme cravings and erratic eating behaviors. Make good choices most of the time, and allow some room for those taboo foods you eat with friends—loving, laughing, and turning your brain off is called living. Under those circumstances you will digest better, and foods will enter and exit as they should.
As you start to change your eating habits, try making your own food to bring with you to gatherings or to work. If you have severe food allergies be mindful to let others know. If there is a dish that won’t make you feel good, but you still want to try it, go ahead and try it. Taste a small bite and enjoy it without guilt. Drink lots of water. Go for savory over sweet. And above all, navigate the landscape with grace, be gracious, relax and enjoy!
Here is one of my favorite recipes to bring to any occasion. It suits any dietary preference, is a crowd pleaser with the less healthfully inclined, and if it’s the only dish you can eat, you will still be satisfied. It’s also a platform for your own creativity so mix it up!
Black Rice or Quinoa with Radicchio, Shaved Fennel
| Ingredients |
- 2 cups black quinoa or Forbidden rice, cooked and cooled
- 2 small head of radicchio, shaved
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved on mandolin
- I sweet potato, cubed and roasted with coconut oil
- 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons thyme
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or other high quality oil (walnut is excellent)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
| Assembly |
Toss all ingredients together. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes before serving.