BUILDING HEALTH & VITALITY - ONE SEASON AT A TIME
There is no denying it, Winter is here...whether you live in Northern climates or, like us, in the Southernmost City of Key West. We all feel the effects of the season. The air is cooler and drier. The days are shorter and we have less exposure to sunlight. We want to sleep more, snuggle in with loved ones and eat comfort foods.
We are on the other side of the annual Holiday indulgences and add onto that the collective stress we've all endured over the past year...and I'm sure many of us have been reaching for comfort foods more than usual – wine, chocolate, cookies, cheese: we’ve been craving it ALL! (This is me emphatically Raising my hand here too). While these foods temporarily soothe our stress and bring feelings of comfort, in the long run they can end up having the opposite effect. Lately many people have mentioned to me that they have been dealing with lower moods than usual.
More and more studies have suggested that mental and emotional health is directly influenced by and related to gut health. What we eat impacts how we feel, not just physically, but emotionally as well. A diet lacking in a wide variety of plants can have a negative impact on your gut health and a negative impact on your mental health as well. This is the “mood-food connection.” While adding in a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables to your daily diet won't fix all the worlds woes, it can certainly do many beneficial things for you...from helping improve your emotional well-being, to increasing your vital energy and giving an added boost to your immune system. Who doesn't want all of that?
As we navigate into this new year and this continued season of uncertainty, I encourage you to try on some new habits and explore new foods. Take some time to really listen to your body when you eat. See how you feel physically and emotionally. Take notice if there is a link between certain symptoms and certain foods. Look up plant-based recipes on the internet and try something that intrigues you? See something in the produce aisles that you've never eaten before, use that as your inspiration. Have you always wondered what Kohlrabi is and tastes like? What about Pitaya? Or even Parsnips. Challenge yourself to prepare a meal or group of meals that include all the colors of the rainbow. I promise you won't regret it. Many aspects of heath and well-being are the result of small changes, done consistently over time. The net effect is cumulative and even exponential.
One last thought...while many of us have been craving comfort foods, I believe the one thing we have all been craving most is CONNECTION. Food can be a wonderful source of connection to the Earth, to oneself, and to each other. Take time to prepare your meals with intention. Really look at your food while you are preparing and eating it. Notice the colors, the texture, the scent and of course the taste. Embrace and appreciate where and how the food is grown; how it made it to your table. If you have a partner or children at home, pick one night a week and prepare a meal together. If you live alone, put on some soothing music and make a meditation out of your meal preparation. Coordinate with a friend or friends on Zoom and prepare the same meal simultaneously, and have a virtual dinner party.
And go ahead and take that nap. A little extra sleep is never a bad thing.
In Good Health & Gratitude,