As with many things, it is important to keep moderation in mind when considering your diet. Not only moderating unhealthy foods, but also moderating any attempts to maintain the "perfect diet". Keeping up with a perfect diet is actually quite stressful! (Believe me, I know). What do you eat when you are at a friend’s house and the food doesn’t match your diet? Where can you eat while traveling? What if the store is out of organic kale?
While I could offer you some suggestions to combat these and other similar questions, I’d like to take a different approach today. For me and many of my friends, clients and colleagues, our lives revolve around health and wellness. Of course for many reasons this is a wonderful way to live and I really can’t imagine my life any other way. However, when taken to an extreme, this focus on health can actually become unhealthy.
Stress is one of the most unhealthy things for our bodies. Constantly worrying about eating all the right foods and taking the right supplements, keeping up with every new article and every new tip can actually cause more harm than good. Stress can contribute to a large array of health issues, such as obesity, heart disease, anxiety, G.I. upset, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The point here is that it is ok to not eat the organic kale sometimes. What is really most important is that you constantly send yourself loving, healthy, relaxed vibes and that you make healthy choices most of the time. Obsessing over the perfect diet will not be the key to perfect health.
Tips for Relaxing While Eating:
Regardless of what you are eating, is it important to try to eat in a relaxed, stress free state. Our digestion is impaired when we are eating in a state of stress as most of our energy is being sent to our fight or flight response and digestion is not seen as a priority to the body. Try these tips for a more relaxed eating experience:
1) Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly – place your fork down between bites or use chopsticks and really taste the food. It sounds simple, but if you are used to eating fast this can be extremely difficult. Be kind to yourself and know that each meal is a new opportunity to practice slowing down.
2) Breathe deeply while you eat – we need lots of fresh oxygen for proper digestion so if you are able to, take the opportunity to eat outside or next to an open window. Even if you can't breathe fresh air, still breathe deeply!
3) Sit up tall – digestion can be impaired if you are slouching!
4) Enjoy the heck out of it – the more pleasure you get from eating, and the less guilt you'll feel, the better it will be for your body!