Listen To Your Body

We are constantly receiving internal messages from our body about which foods are best for us at any given time. However, we are also surrounded by an external culture that judges some foods as "good" or "bad". As we try to tap into the body's intuition so we can hear these messages, it's important to drop the external value system that second-guesses them.

For example, if you are starting to feel under the weather, you might crave spicy food. This is the body's internal message. It's communicating with you, and its message makes sense. The capsicum family of plants (black pepper, cayenne, sweet peppers, chiles) stimulates capillary action and supports detoxification. 

But you may have read that too much spicy food can aggravate your liver or cause an ulcer, so you steer away from it. This external information blocks the body's intuition and you are more likely to catch a cold.

This example elucidates the importance of giving up black-and-white thinking. Embrace the fact that healthy eating is flexible and can include a wide variety of foods. Sometimes the healthier choice may be the choice that's seemingly more indulgent.

Which would be a healthier choice: cake or salad? The salad is only healthier if that’s what you really want. Otherwise, you might feel deprived and end up overeating later. Enjoying cake mindfully acknowledges that food is not only a way to nourish ourselves but is also a way to celebrate. We might end up eating both salad and cake and feel much more satisfied.

To practice listening to your body, sit down and tune in before you go to the kitchen and open the refrigerator.

Close the eyes or gaze at the floor.

Take a deep breath in for 4 counts.

Hold the breath for 4 counts.

Breathe out for 6 counts.

This cycle relaxes the nervous system and allows us to become more grounded and centered in our bodies.

Now, pay attention to how you are feeling. Can you name an emotion or a sensation? 

Are you tired, overwhelmed, excited, rushed, stressed, or calm?

Do you feel hot, cold, tense, or relaxed?

Choose a food that helps to balance this feeling.

Most importantly, eat it slowly, without any other distractions, and savor it. This is mindful eating.

To learn more about which foods bring balance to specific sensations,

try a nutritional consultation

with me.

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Compassion, Mindfulness, and True Nourishment

We practice many things in our lives. From brushing teeth ans driving cars 

to getting dressed and feeding ourselves, life is a practice.

Some practices feel more practical. Others, like dance, music, meditation, photography, or art, feel more creative.

A practice starts with internal motivation to achieve excellence both for oneself and for the well-being of others. At its best, a practice generates compassion, love, healing and nourishment.

Choosing, cooking, eating, and appreciating food are deeply emotional practices. Be present with them to honor your heart.

Even masters who practice every day can gain new skills to engage with sources of nourishment and deepen their connection to present moment awareness and the satisfaction that arises from it.

How much time do you devote each day to taking care of yourself and accepting yourself, just as you are, without judgement?

What are the daily practices to which you devote your energy? 

I encourage you to lean into your daily practices with present moment awareness. 

When brushing teeth, be with that practice. You can even say internally, "I am brushing my teeth". This mindfulness practice settles the mind, lets thoughts be at rest, and helps us see that we are not actually more effective when we rush or multi-task.

When cooking, be with your ingredient. Appreciate it. Notice its qualities.

As you eat, pause between bites. Take a breath in and out.

This is mindful eating.

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Allow space to be curious about your experience. This inquiry will allow you to develop awareness and compassion for others, their mindsets, and their experiences.

It's a simple practice that can take you far in your own self-care.

Be well and stay in touch.

Healthy Eating Inspiration from India

When I was traveling through Northern India, I spent as much time as possible absorbing the aromas, textures, flavors, and cooking techniques of roadside vendors and food kiosks.

It is amazing to get to watch food prepared in a way that's so connected to cultural creativity.

Try these recipes and food meditation, inspired by the healing culinary gifts of India.

Aloo Saag – Potatoes and Spinach

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks

  • ½ tsp each: salt, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon mustard

  • 2 cups spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes and spices.

Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes more.

Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan.

Take off the heat and serve with grilled chicken and rice.

Ghee

Ghee, or clarified butter, is unsalted butter that has been separated from its water and milk proteins. When heated, butter will separate into three layers: the casein, a frothy layer on top; the clarified butterfat--the ghee--in the middle; and the milk solids, and proteins in the bottom.

Heat 1 lb. of unsalted butter in a stainless steel stock pot. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low.

Fetch a small bowl and spoon.

Stay with the butter, skimming the foamy white casein that rises to the surface with the spoon.  Repeat the skimming process for about 15 minutes, or until the ghee has stopped making any bubbling sounds.

Remove from heat immediately. Strain through a fine mesh tea strainer or cheesecloth into a glass mason jar. This process removes leftover milk solids. Ghee can be used to cook for people who are lactose intolerant.

Allow it to cool completely before closing.

Ghee stores at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.