Guest post by Sue Ann Gleason
For the most part, I support women who are struggling with health issues. They are VERY motivated to change their lifestyle and dietary habits because they are facing pretty scary consequences if they don’t make those changes. Quickly.
And then there are the rest of us. We feel pretty healthy! Most of the time. We’ve done a great job working really hard at our job or raising our children, knowing we can always “catch up” on our sleep when this next project ends or when the children are grown. Like somehow the body will ‘wait’ for the next vacation.
Then, all of a sudden…wham. We hit the wall and a blast of fatigue takes us to our knees. Or, we notice we’ve gained a few pounds (maybe more than a few pounds) and we don’t even think about the sleep connection or the number of restaurant meals we’ve eaten in the past week. (month, year)
Here are a few practices to get you moving in the right direction of healthy ever after. The more we plan, the less we stress.
Fancy Your Freezer
Find a day that you can slow down and savor a kitchen experience. Make a huge pot of magic mineral broth. Rebecca Katz, a nationally recognized expert on the role of food in supporting health during cancer treatment, developed this recipe. It’s the most delicious and nourishing stock you’ll find. I use it for everything: soup, sautés, cooking whole grains, and even sipping in a hot steamy mug when I don’t have the oomph to make soup. Keep this broth in your freezer and you’ll always have a nourishing ‘stock option.’
Purge Your Pantry
Remove all the “go to” processed foods in your pantry and replace those with jars of raw, organic nuts and seeds. Throw in a few cacao nibs and/or gogi berries for an antioxidant boost and be sure your stash is replenished regularly. It’s far healthier to reach for a handful of nuts and seeds than a granola bar, which has very little (if any) nutritive value. And yes, I know there are ‘healthier’ bars out there but we’re changing habits here. Remember, breakfast is not a bar and protein is not a powder.
Eat Only What You Can Savor (Conscious Bites Concept #1)
This one seems like a no brainer but it’s so important to STOP what you’re doing and nourish yourself three times a day. There’s a reason for this. When you stop long enough to savor a meal, you notice what you’re eating. The body registers the meal. This improves your metabolic power AND contributes to satiety. You won’t be reaching for a snack an hour later.
The play piece can be tricky, yes? After all, we’re adults. We have work to do. Money to earn. Families to care for. Okay, let’s make it easy. Where can you bring a playful energy to something you already do? I take a mini MEcation™ every single day. This practice can take many forms but it has to be at least twenty minutes and it has to be playful:
• a play date in my kitchen
• a play date in my garden
• a play date with my new set of watercolor paints or my camera
Will you make a personal play date this week?
Getting adequate sleep is underrated in our on-the-move culture. I have a keen ear for comments like, “I can get by on 6 hours of sleep a night,” or, “I don’t need a lot of sleep.” More often than not we’ve altered our natural body rhythms by introducing artificial stimulants throughout the day to keep us going and we have no idea how much sleep our body really needs.
Research tells us that there is a causal link between disrupted (or short) sleep time and obesity, and it seems more prevalent in women than in men. Sleep is when the body does its maintenance work. During sleep, our cells take the time to heal and detoxify, recharging for the day ahead. That’s why it’s called ‘restorative’ sleep. If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, start slowly by just powering down and establishing rituals to put you into a more restful state: a cup of herbal tea, soft music, a good book. We want to honor the body in all its wisdom and that means more rest and less stress.
No is a Complete Sentence
And speaking of stress, you can be eating the best food on the planet but if you’re not paying attention to your environment, your stress level and your relationships, the ecology of your body is going to suffer. What can you let go of to make room for a more nourishing habit around food or self care? I hereby grant you permission to say no to the energy leaks in your life so that you can live healthy ever after.
Sue Ann Gleason is a food lover, food writer, food-based healer and savvy marketing strategist. Founder of Conscious Bites Nutrition and the Well Nourished Woman, she inspires women to trust their intuition, unravel their food stories and rewrite their nourishment script. She has been featured in Oprah and Runner’s World Magazines and numerous online publications.
Her signature online program, the Well-Nourished Woman Inner Circle, runs twice a year for three months, a truly exquisite online experience for women who are ready to take back their plates, one luscious bite at a time.
To learn more about Sue Ann, visit http://consciousbitesnutrition.com and download her free No Longer Asleep at the Meal ebook or visit http://www.chocolateforbreakfast.com for some delicious (and healthy) chocolate recipes.