Nourish from the inside
By Georgina del Ángel Cabrera Original Print Publication: March, 2008
You’ve probably been in situations where you just put food in your mouth and gobble it down without even realizing how it tastes. Maybe you’ve been so hungry that you overeat, and then can’t eat again for hours afterwards, ending up feeling defeated and “empty” at the end of the cycle. It may seem like a dietary roller-coaster ride, but what you’re feeling is more common than you might imagine.
Our relationships and interactions with food have an intimate connection with the relationship we maintain with ourselves, as well as our emotional state. We sometimes hide our anger, dissatisfaction, stress, or sadness, leaving these feelings to manifest themselves through hunger and food. We often fail to realize that it is our emotional lives that need more nourishment.
It’s useful to look at our behavior towards food and discover what’s behind our eating habits. If you approach eating without fear or anxiety, don’t tear through what’s on your plate, or are flexible about what you will try, then you’re probably living your life the same way and paying attention to your emotional health. If that’s not where you are, ask yourself why. You just might find the answers to help you work through whatever is keeping you from developing a more harmonious relationship with food and embracing overall health.
Implementing a balanced diet plan is easy when you seek and nourish an emotional balance. One way to begin your plan is to take part in activities that give you pleasure, like dancing, painting, or reading; alternately, seek out space for self-reflection or spirituality. As you start to nourish your emotions you should get into the habit of eating brightly-colored vegetables. Red, orange, yellow, and purple vegetables provide phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which protect against free radicals. These are compounds produced in stressful situations that can also be the early-warning signs of many diseases.
Try upping your natural vegetable-fat intake with foods like avocado, pecans, almonds, and olive oil—these help increase your production of serotonin, the chemical responsible for producing a positive state of mind.
You may believe that being healthy means having a body that fits some definition of “strong” or “beautiful”, but this is a myth. Health is a balance between three spheres: physical, mental, and social. If there’s a problem in any one of these areas, your overall health will suffer.