The idea that we are the most important person in our world is difficult to digest for most of us. Typically, we think our children should be most important, our husbands, our friends, our pets, and so on… I think the proper term is ‘co-dependent’. What if there was a way to be attentive to our loved ones and hold them in our heart while simultaneously caring for ourselves in a kind and gentle manner?
I always enjoy the short movies that are played before a flight that instruct us to put the oxygen masks on ourselves before our children. The premise behind this is a helpful principle for life—we need to take care of ourselves to be able to care for others optimally. Sure, we may not be fighting for our life, but if we add up all the momentary events in our lives that are challenging, it often feels like survival. Sometimes, this survival mode feels like we can’t breathe in our lives.
So, what’s the solution? The obvious solution, which is not always easy to accomplish, is to love and cherish ourselves—to care for our body. This does not negate our ability to love others, especially our little ones that we love so fiercely. Love has no mass. It does not occupy space. We can love in an unconditional and unlimited manner and still have room to love ourselves.
How can we care for our body in a loving manner? One great way to nurture ourselves is to be mindful of what we eat. There are so many diets out there. Diets so often are synonymous with needing to lose weight. What if we didn’t ‘worry’ about our weight? What if we focused on eating for nourishment?
In the Standard American Diet (SAD), there are many foods that contribute to inflammation in our body. Inflammation is underlying most diseases that afflict our population, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. By limiting inflammatory foods, we can improve our health long term. This means that we could live longer with more energy and greater health. This also means that we could enjoy our loved ones more.
Here is a list of ways to reduce inflammatory foods in your diet that may contribute to chronic pain and other challenging symptoms that you may experience:
- Reduce grain
- Avoid gluten
- Reduce refined/processed sugar
- Reduce processed foods and preservatives
- Eat ‘natural’ or organic meat and limit the amount to 5-7 ounces per meal
- Eat lots of vegetables
- Avoid processed dairy (if you have allergies, avoid dairy completely during allergy season)
- Find good sources of fat such as olive oil, coconut, avocado, and raw nuts (avoid peanuts because of how processed they are)
Take home point: Essentially, eat fresh and homemade food as often as possible that is primarily comprised of some natural protein and lots of vegetables. Get your starch from veggies rather then grain such as sweet potatoes or winter squash.
Here’s a sample meal plan for a day:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach OR turkey bacon with cut-up fresh tomatoes/avocadoes dowsed with fresh lemon juice/olive oil/sea salt
- Mid-morning snack: Fruit or vegetable or nuts
- Lunch: Large mixed salad with natural protein of some kind (natural chicken or turkey or wild salmon); dressing of lemon juice/olive oil/sea salt/pepper or homemade honey mustard (local raw honey/mustard/lemon juice)
- Mid-afternoon snack: Fruit or vegetable or nuts
- Dinner: Roasted turkey with steamed broccoli and roasted sweet potatoes OR Baked ‘wild caught’ fish with mixed sautéed or steamed vegetables and spaghetti squash
Ultimately, eating in a nourishing and healthy way is a great way to care for our body. Slowly integrating these changes into our home will support our family’s health as well. By instituting these changes in our home, we create more opportunities for us to feel good. This allows us to do more things together as a family with greater energy.