Seems everywhere I’ve looked this February, there have been blaring neon signs directing me to appreciate self-love as the secret to all my desires. Ok, I posted some of that stuff right here on my own blog: Opening your heart to let love more deeply into your life, and loving yourself as the key to a lasting relationship.
Now that you’ve got the theory down, it’s time to put legs to the ideas and start walkin’ the self-love talk.
Sure, you can put on a fancy dress and treat yourself to a candlelit dinner at your favourite resto. I’m not talking about a rare occasion here, Sweetheart. I’m talking about regular relationship-building at its finest.
How do you practice self-love in a concrete, daily way?
Self-care. Plain & simple.
And what better place to start than with the food you eat and how you eat it.
The quality and energy of the food you put in your mouth is incredibly important. Light years ahead of the number of calories or grams of protein.
Food holds the nourishment for your body.
Notice I didn’t say nutrients.
Nourishment is the act of promoting growth, to “sustain life”. (Webster’s) The word actually comes from the Latin “to suckle”, and the Greek “to flow”.
Nourishment holds the warmth of a mother’s embrace. It flows life back in, as I give out to the world.
You see: change a word in your vocabulary, and the collection of ingredients on your plate transforms alchemically into a source of Love to be taken directly into your body, into your cells.
So now, here’s a list of habits and attitudes to integrate into the way you eat. Ways to raise the vibration of the food you feed yourself and your family. Ways to show yourself just a little more Love every day.
Like a new exercise routine, some parts will hurt more than others, but if you keep your eye on the prize of how it makes you feel: lower weight, better energy, smoother digestion, painless periods, or even a healthier planet,…then it’s a piece of cake!
When it comes to eating (or any) habits, try one new thing a week. Pick whichever one appeals to you the most, and DO it!
- Opt for locally grown food; ideally seasonal produce; ideally organic. Other than reducing your carbon & chemical footprint, you’re eating food that’s energetically better suited to your health. (Get a list of the Dirty Dozen – highly sprayed produce you want to make sure to buy organic.)
- Eat when hungry. Stop when you’re sated. Even if you think about food as fuel: without the gas, your car won’t run. Overfill the oil pump, and the excess can clog the valves and mess up the spark plugs. Marc David at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating calls this “eating to energy”. Eat until you feel the energy kick in/ stop before you hit the point of feeling dopey.
- No multi-tasking: when you eat, sit down and eat. Nothing else, with the exception of an uplifting conversation with someone you love and/or respect.
- Chew your food. Chew your food. Chew. Your. Food.
- Stick to regularly spaced meals. There’s a reason it’s called “regularity”. If you’ve ever been in NYC during a garbage strike, you know how important getting rid of the waste is.
- If it’s not delicious, don’t eat it. If you’re cringing as you put something in your mouth, no matter how “healthy” it is, that’s exactly what your digestive system and cells are doing at their end.
- When you eat the same number of calories as your BFF, they cancel each other out. OK, I’ll admit it, my friend & I made this up when were, like, 14. Not scientifically proven or anything, but I do know that, to this day, neither of us has ever had an issue with sitting down and fully enjoying truly yummy food. Especially with friends.
- Drink clean, fresh water. Add a squeeze of lemon or a dash of true apple cider vinegar as an apéritif or a digestif. Life doesn’t happen without it. Period.
- Eat protein with your breakfast to avoid the mid-morning slump and sweet craving.
- Eat a rainbow. As I tell kindergarten students, “Think of how you feel when you see a rainbow. That’s how your cells feel when they receive all those beautiful colours: green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue” (At least 6 cups of veggies per day, or at least half your plate at each meal.)
- Eat whole food: Stay away from anything white: flour products, refined grains, sugar, salt. Stay away from ingredients a 6-year-old can’t pronounce. The more vitality in your meal, the more vitality in your life.
- Give your digestive system a regular break. This could mean avoiding a few choice items (sugar, alcohol, fried foods), or a full-on cleanse. You could do this weekly, monthly, seasonally: find a way to give your organs time to rest & regenerate, so they can work to your best advantage.
Don’t forget to pop into the comments below and tell me how you show yourself some love at meal time. When you share your thoughts, you open the possibilities for others.
I remember the NYC garbage strike…not a fun week at all Cathy!
I am on a cleanse right now and it feels so invigorating. It’s like my system just had a jump start of energy. I also drink lots of alkaline water and 2 to 3 smoothies a day. If I go one day without a green smoothie, my system doesn’t feel right.
Thanks for the article!
Exactly, Denise. As I tell my clients, when you start feeding your body mindfully, it gets to know the difference, the cravings will start to line up with the healthy needs.
Wonderful Cathy, your tips echo my eating philosophy. Mindful conscious eating has changed my life. #7 = a big smile. What a great gift you are giving your clients with this essential list.
I love this. And I’m a water junkie, so keeping hydrated with clean water is so do-able. I do struggle with breakfast. I just don’t wake up hungry and even though I know a high-protein breakfast would do wonders for me, I’m just so much more likely to go HOURS before eating anything, and then I make poor choices.
Any suggestions for super easy high-protein breakfasts for the non-hungry waker? 😀
Good question, Bon, and something I deal with a lot with my clients. Seeing as I encourage people to only eat when hungry, then stimulating the appetite is 1st on the list: a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon is perfect to get things going within about a half hour. Then even if you only eat something small afterwards, it’ll prevent you from getting involved in your day on an empty stomach.
If you’re up for it (instead of, or as well as the lemon-water), a smoothie makes a great starter to the day. Include yogourt (if you do dairy), chia or hemp seeds, coconut milk, nut butter to enhance the protein content. Bowl of leftover soup is also easy to take in the morning.
Awesome suggestions. Thank you, Cathy!
i love love love your tips, cathy! i used to facilitate a weekly mindful eating support group and we would schedule a mindful eating potluck about once a month. before we began eating, i would encourage my clients to really look at the food on their plates – taking in the rich colors and pleasing shapes, noticing how the food was arranged. and i would suggest closing their eyes and fully experiencing the food with all of their senses. the potlucks were such magical experiences – #2 on your list (eating when hungry, stopping when sated) was so much easier to achieve when awareness was practiced.
I remember how challenging it was for me to eat a meal, in a similar group setting, April. Made me realize how unconsciously we eat. And how few senses we use in the process. In fact, my very first blog on this site was about using all 5.
These tips are all my core philosophies too! It feels good to take care of yourself in this way and it is exactly what I teach my clients to do as well!
great tips – love the rainbow – xxx i am really into the senses xxx
These 12 habits are nourishing! I like the idea of focusing on one at a time to become more mindful (#7 made me smile 😉
It never hurts to have a touch of whimsy in your life!
Yes, it’s in the DOING isn’t it!!! and boy did I laugh at the visual of the NYC garbage strike and how important it is to get rid to the waste! Now THAT’s a visual!!!!
I’m so into great and nourishing food right now…and it makes such a difference to my whole life and my whole body… That is for sure. And I think that NYC visual will stick with me for awhile!!!! That might keep me more ‘regular’!!!! 🙂