I go out of my way to eat clean. That sometimes means I have to be that person who goes against the grain when friends are making dinner plans, or that woman lugging a bunch of vegetables and juice through the airport - but ultimately, it’s worth it.
While I’ve generally been dedicated to an active + healthy lifestyle, I truly discovered the power of food to heal and activate my vitality when I was faced with a health opportunity and spent four months at OHI, the Optimum Health Institute. During this time, I transformed my relationship with food and began connecting to it as a crucial building block for my wellness, instead of just something I had to put in my body every day.
When said health opportunity reappeared this past year, I overhauled my eating once again, committing to a raw vegan diet for three months. I had dis-ease in my body - it was out of balance. I took the dis-ease as a sign that I needed to slow down my food intake, my lifestyle and give my body space to heal. This was far from easy, but it also felt amazing - I felt A L I V E again. I not only looked better, but also felt better.
Because of this strong connection to food, I’ve been incredibly intentional about the menus for our four-day event in November called Attune. We’ve spent over a year curating them and partnered with holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman, who has a keen eye for how food functions in the body and selected ingredients that provide optimal support for a retreat setting. Food has such a deep impact on how our minds and bodies operate, so I’m confident these nourishing meals, coupled with Attune’s comprehensive offering of talks and workshops, will facilitate transformational healing and growth.
Thinking of the power that food has on our mind and body, I’m cognizant about how I do, or do not, incorporate food into my day. Many mornings I’ll engage in my own version of intermittent fasting by having a glass of fresh celery juice on an empty stomach, which helps to reduce inflammation, improves digestion, provides high levels of antioxidants, enzymes and essential vitamins, and promotes heart health. I then, move my body and sweat, helping to clear the stagnant energy and regulate my mood and appetite. For lunch, I drink a smoothie that’s packed with superfoods – this gives me a major afternoon boost. Dinner usually consists of a bowl with greens, rice, sauerkraut or kimchi (packed with probiotics for gut health), and other healthy fare.
Green Juice: Elissa Goodman talks about how one green juice often has many of the nutrients we need in a day – it’s a powerful way to check off numerous daily essentials. In addition, green juice is packed with the leafy greens our bodies need and crave, and helps us detox and heal consistently. I drink at least one green juice every day.
Avocado: I could live off avocado, especially as they’re filled with healthy fats, potassium (more than a banana!), fiber, folate, and essential vitamins. What’s more, avocados help to reduce blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol, are loaded with antioxidants that can support eye health, relieve arthritis symptoms, and help us absorb nutrients from plant foods. So, EAT your avocados.
Ghee: This is a crucial ingredient in my home – I love it so much I’ll eat a spoonful of it (which totally grosses my husband out.) I’ll put ghee on just about anything, and not just because it tastes amazing. Ghee fights inflammation, promotes flexibility, enhances digestion, bolsters the immune system and reduces exposure to cancer-causing agents.
Coconut oil: I primarily use coconut oil when I’m cooking, as it’s a great way to get in good fat and help break things down. For people that don’t eat ghee because they’re vegan, coconut oil is an amazing alternative. This popular oil boosts fat burning, enhances brain function, can kill harmful microorganisms, provides good HDL cholesterol, and may reduce seizures.
Cacao: I’m all about cacao, especially because it has a natural way of activating the body so I don’t have to have that coffee or chocolate. I always feel good throwing some cacao in my smoothies as it’s packed with calcium, magnesium and antioxidants, minimizes depression, stress, and high blood pressure, and improves heart health.
Gomashio: This condiment consists of unhulled sesame seeds and salt. I’m thrilled that this is a favorite for my daughter, as it stimulates the digestive system, and provides ample nutrients, minerals, B vitamins, and iron.
Matcha: My primary alternative to coffee. Drink Matcha if you want to fill your body with antioxidants, kick-start your metabolism, flush the junk out of your body, release your anxiety and enhance your mood. Yes, please.
So, I’m obviously vigilant with ensuring my diet is rich in wellness-inducing nosh… however, I’m not perfect and occasionally opt for items that aren’t even close to being a superfood. For example, I was recently on a flight where I was seriously craving sugar. They were out of the gluten-free brownie, cookies and other healthier desserts I would usually choose. I said yes to a Twix thinking it would be better from Europe :) Mentally, I was good with allowing myself the indulgence. But after one of the bars, my body rebelled with a headache, subtle pain in my body and lethargy – the second half wasn’t invited into my body. This isn’t to say that every dietary indulgence makes me feel like crap, but it’s wild how a commitment to feeding my body what it needs has made it incredibly sensitive to those “foods” that it doesn’t need.
With that said, our bodies are all different in how they respond to various ingredients. I encourage fostering a connection with, and knowing of, the foods that make your body thrive, so you can begin filling your plate with more of that. You can also figure out the indulgences that totally derail you (here’s looking at you Twix) and the ones that feel decadent when enjoyed in moderation. When we put in the work to discover our customized, optimal nutrition needs our body and mind thrives and we radiate vitality.
Once you figure out what those optimal nutritional needs are, set yourself up for success. Make sure you’re almost always in arms reach of food that supports you. For example, always have healthy snacks, so you don’t just reach for whatever is around. When you’re selecting a restaurant, chose one that makes it easy for you to make good choices. When you’re at a friend’s house, don’t say yes to food you know will make you feel bad, just for the sake of being polite. Take a stand for yourself. Advocate for your health. And while you’re at it, remember that you don’t want to be a slave to “perfect” eating. It’s not sustainable. Enjoy your life and have fun with food, but also take ownership of how your body feels by giving it what it needs. It’s soooooo worth it now and for the long term. Oh and join us at Attune! We will nourish you breakfast, lunch and dinner and provide a positive and nutritious template to take home with you. Learn more details here and register by September 15 to take advantage of our LAST promotion before we see everyone in November at Serenbe. Use promo code: humanconnection. Take care of yourself.
With nurturing love,
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