Keywords: healthy eating habits, change your life, lifestyle, ditch the diets, your body is a temple
Your body is a temple
Your body is a sacred place that we need to honour, as it speaks to us.
The relationship that we have with food is depicted around our relationship with our selves. When we place the same love and kindness on the body within, as we do on the surface, our minds, work, money etc, then our lifestyle habits begin to shift also.
What if we were in a culture where it was more about honouring the body? To really care for it, nourish it, to stay healthy instead of skinny, to build a strong immune system, to have regular menstruation cycles and the list goes on.
What if we were in a culture where it was more about nourishing ourselves with healthy eating habits that embrace wholesome foods?
As a plant-based eater myself and someone who was “diagnosed with IBS,” I learned at a young age, the importance of developing healthy eating habits. Eating raw, or wholesome foods that were less processed, changed the way I felt overall. I had more energy throughout the day, I felt less bloated and my immune system was the strongest than ever. I was also able to sleep better in the evening as I felt lighter.
Now living in Mexico, I realise even more so how the Western world encourages us to take on this ‘quick’ and efficient lifestyle. Therefore, it makes sense that we begin to eat food that is prepackaged and processed. Not to mention, the more ‘organic’ or fresh the food is, the more expensive it is. So it makes sense that we gravitate towards the “cheaper food.”
Why do we place more attention into going to the gym, working out, diets and slimming down as opposed to actually adopting a positive and healthy outlook towards food? I think, our relationship with food as a collective, culturally, requires some shifting, more attention and over all love.
Obsession with Body image
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we were in a culture where the ideal body image, ideal body weight and ideal age simply didn’t exist. There is so much conditioning around how we need to look, versus how we should feel. Further to that, we have such an obsession with diets.
I mean where does this obsession come from?
We are bombarded with this obsession of looking younger, lean, muscly, but not too muscly, looking toned, having no wrinkles, the list really does go on. I am exhausted thinking about this. Our poor souls, never feeling we are good enough, we feel we never meet society’s standards. It is the paradigm of forever fixing ourselves to meet someone else’s ideal.
As a society, we are trying to figure out ways, systems, methods to look a certain way.
This obsession, wanting to know what others eat, what others are using on their face etc, all comes from an innocent and good place, I am sure. However, the problem is, it all gets put through this paradigm of undigested and unprocessed baggage and emotional wounds.
These emotional wounds, if unaware have formed our “identities” or the way we view ourselves. They have originated from our conditioning growing up, from magazines, social media, movies, music and of course Instagram. As the years have proceeded, access to this kind of information has been inevitable. It is all around us more than ever.
My story that formed my childhood wounds
I will tell you a story, that I still recall so vividly.
I was in third grade, so I must have been about 8 years old. The age where the conditioning of our constructive self begins. I know this myself as I was educator for ten years in the school system. I remember I was wearing my very ‘fashionable’ shorts, white T-shirt and matching vest. It was ‘mufti day’ at school because in Australia we wear uniforms, so I had the one day of the year to wear and show off my exciting outfit.
One day, a classmate of mine, very innocently I know, made a statement about how fat I looked in that outfit. Why is it almost 15 years later, I can still recall that simple yet very powerful event? I remember his words, everything, so vividly but no other events after that.
Although it was all very innocent, that was the beginning of conditioning of my identity. These insecurities then began to develop the further I proceeded into teen life.
As children and teenagers, we are already coupling our beauty with weight and needing to fix ourselves.
The obsession to fix ourselves
We want this radiant beauty, so badly. We think by getting this special formula, it’s going to fix us. Instead of trying to fix ourselves, we should embrace a different culture of what healthy really looks like. A healthy lifestyle isn’t about results or trying to achieve the goal of having the flattest stomach.
It is embracing a way of life with food. It is developing a positive relationship with food. It is about developing the mindset of using food as nourishment for your mind, body and soul.
By making little shifts throughout the day with your food, you are consciously creating a positive relationship with food as well as the relationship you have with yourself. This is one example of self love.
This why I am all about ditching the diets and instead embracing healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle that will noursish your mind, body and soul.
So here, I invite you to read the 10 healthy eating habits that I have used in my lifetime that I know will change your life also.
1. Be with nature
Just be with nature. If you cant just be in a harmonious environment, surrounding yourself with beautiful nature will give yourself a new appreciation for nature and the gifts it shows us. Even if it means, taking moments to take in the beauty of the plants in your home or the plants in the garden through the window.
The more time we spend in nature or bringing our awareness to nature, the more we can appreciate the beautiful gifts of Mother Nature and her teachings. Tuning into her teachings, we understand that we too are part of her (stay tuned for another post).
We understand that we are all part of the soil, part of the Earth.
By embracing this you are only not only practising mindfulness but you become more grounded as you honour her gifts that she has offered us such as her fruits, vegetables and grains.
2. Changing the mindset around food
Change the mentality around food.
Place just as much importance on eating, as you do on working or exercising. This does not mean the latter are less important, we just need to adopt a way of living where food is really a significant part of the day. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where eating dinner was a time to really sit down and be together with the family. The Italian way. Food was the glue that brought us together. When there was a family reunion there was always a sit down meal.
That’s why I cherish the siestas in Europe. A way of life the rest of the world would benefit in adopting, I think. Coming home in the middle of the day, meet with your family and enjoying a beautifully, home cooked meal together.
Which leads me into the next point.
3. Eat dinner at lunch time
Now I know this not possible for those living outside of Europe, those working regular office hours etc. But eating earlier in the day, allows you to burn off the heavy meal the rest of the day. Now living in Mexico, I have gotten into the habit of eating at 3 o clock each day. Of course, I know this is impossible for some, but being conscious about eating the larger meal earlier in the day, can definitely make you feel lighter later in the evening. Therefore, energy levels are different.
By eating my heavier meal in the day, I now use my energy in the evenings to rest, read, write etc as my fuel was burned during the day. I also sleep better as I am allowing my body to rest properly and not digest a heavy meal and I wake up hungry.
4. You digest your food better with a calm heart
This simply means, eat while you are feeling grounded or centred. Think about how you would prepare for mediation for example. The only way to meditate is if you begin to calm the nervous system and ground yourself properly.
Having a calm heart while eating, your nervous system also becomes calm. Therefore, you are able to digest the food easier. I don’t know about you, but when I am rushing around, I can barely digest thoughts and emotions let alone food. Also, have you ever eaten when feeling down, or stressed? There is a certain restriction or intensity within the body.
When you have a calm heart and nervous system, then you can digest your food easier.
So really connect to your body and offer yourself love and kindness as you consciously nourish your body.
5. Eat in quietness, embrace mindful eating
One of my favourite part of my days, is when I sit down during the day with Carlos and we eat a beautiful meal together. We are free from distractions and our focus is solely on our beautiful, nutritious food infront of us and one another.
When you are being diligent with your food habits and the environment you are creating for yourself, you are assisting your brain to connect with the digestive system. Then you can engage with all your senses with your food. This is a way of bringing sensuality into your life also- as you probably are away, one of my favorite topics to speak about.
You are generating an intellectual way of digesting food. When I am in a calm and quiet environment, I am absorbing every texture and flavour. I am feeling and sensing all of the flavors in my mouth. Mmmm delicious.
6. Eat sitting down
Again, by being active while you are eating, you take your consciousness away from the digestion that is occurring in the body. The digestive system really begins to weaken.
This of course does not mean eat while driving or sitting at the computer working.
Actually make the priority to take your body over to another place, free of distractions and just take that time to eat. Your body, digestive system, energy levels, moods, clairty in the mind will thank you later.
7. Treat your body as a temple
Did you know that your body communicates with you? It tells you when it is full. It speaks to you in so many ways.
When you understand that your body speaks to you, you pay close attention to how you are feeling with each bite. Certain emotions or sensations in the body will arise throughout the meal.
Your body speaks to you with sensations, such as in a little release of air, or burps.
It is saying, you can stop now! I am 75% full and that is enough, now the rest just requires a little water and of course air.
So being mindful when eating or embracing the habit of “mindful eating” means you are creating a calm temple for your nervous system to not only digest the food easily but also communicate with you. If you don’t notice these subtle releases of air, it could mean your body is still wired up. So take a deep breath in, centre or ground yourself and enjoy the beautiful gifts of Mother nature in front of you.
When your body communicates with you, it is generally expressing that it cannot handle any more food right now. So pay attention to the burps! I mean babies don’t burp for nothing.
8.Chew your food
I am sure you have heard this one before, but I thought it was very useful to include here. Chewing your food before swallowing, assists in nutrient absorption and better digestion. By not providing your stomach enough space for new food to enter, then this is when the bloating, indigestion or constipation occurs. So take your time and chew your food properly.
9. Cook your own food
Your body loves you to cook for yourself. As you cook, you absorb all the senses. Again, another way to be sensual and practise it without doing more in your day. Like the smell of the tomato simmering in the pot with spices, the feel of the carrots or broccoli as you peel and cut. The sound of you slicing the onions. The taste while your prepare the food.
Your digestive system is actually getting ready to digest everything through the senses- the prebiotics, the enzymes.
So you are basically warming up the body, and preparing your digestive system before you even sit down.
This is leading to better digestion as well as you heighetning all of your senses.
10. Eat at regular times of the day
Your body loves fluidity and routines. The same way it loves when you go to sleep at the same time each night.
As you allow your body to get into this rhythm, your body is already in preparation mode. It is getting ready to eat and receive the food and getting ready to break down the particles to receive the nutrients.
Each time I disrupt this rhythm I find myself feeling very bloated, constipated and my metabolism slows right down.
Eating right is all about eating for the soul. It is all about the way we feel versus the way we look.
So I advise you to keep a journal for the next 14 days. Each day take on one, two or all of these healthy eating habits above. Write down what it was you ate and how it may have changed the way you feel.
And please let me know how you go in the comments below.
Have you yourself taken on any of these lifestyle changes? Have you seen any difference in the way you feel? Let me know what you feel in the comments below. And remember eating is a way of life, not something to do to achieve an end result, and you are beautiful just the way you are.