Tag Archives: mindful eating

Hold the Shame, Pass the Sweet Potato Fries

23 Feb
The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

I don’t think we ever plan on ordering a side of shame with our sweet potato fries. I know I didn’t, but it happened. There I was, standing by the sweet potatoes in the grocery aisle, having a full-on guilt-trip about whether I should buy them or not.

I picked up the sweet potato. “No, it’s a starch.” I put the sweet potato back. “I don’t want to make my stomach issues any worse.”

“But my body needs carbohydrates.” I picked up the sweet potato again. Anxiety swept through my body. “I shouldn’t.” I put the sweet potato back. “I’ll just buy a butternut squash instead.”

Have you ever experienced the constant chatter of “shoulds” and “should nots” running through your mind about food? It’s exhausting, and believe me, you aren’t alone.

In 2008 my stress levels were at an all-time high, which turned into my health’s all-time low. I was diagnosed with low hormones, stage III adrenal fatigue, gluten intolerance and a parasite. Yippee. Part of my health restoration included cleaning up my nutrition, so I did. I felt physically fantastic and I was quickly healing… but emotionally, I began to get anxious around food.

Throughout this time, I continued my studies with nutrition and the psychology behind it to better help my clients. It was through this journey that I finally saw the disconnect between the valuable health coaching I was giving my clients, and the fact that I wasn’t listening to any of it in my own life.

I realized that I was using food to “fix” everything I thought was wrong with my life and me. This awareness lead me to read Marianne Williamson’s book “A Course in Weight Loss,” where I was introduced to the concept of mindful eating. A concept that stated I could truly enjoy food without judgment AND use it to nourish my body. Umm, yes please! It was the Cat’s Meow and I had to learn more, so I did. And I practiced. A lot. And I realized that food is not only a great source of enjoyment, but also an opportunity to nourish our body and respect our inner wisdom.

Thankfully, I also realized that food isn’t the only source of pleasure in our lives. Our heart is hungry for a lot of things: companionship, laughter, gratification, acceptance. Maybe that sweet craving isn’t for our favorite sweet treat, but maybe it’s for more sweetness in our life. More smiles. More bubble baths. And I’m pretty sure more hugs, which I have plenty to share… along with my sweet potato fries.

 

If you are holding yourself back from fully living life until you lose weight or have the perfect body, or you struggle with food anxiety, fatigue, cravings and digestive upset, please join me for Truly Nourished. This eight-week journey will help you move through negative self-talk, build a supportive environment, teach you to listen to your body and awaken your natural ability to support your health and well-being. Classes begin soon. Please contact me at stephsbell@yahoo.com for more information and to register.

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Top 10 Healing Herbs and Spices

15 Dec

“Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food.” ~Hippocrates

Roasted Curried Cauliflower courtesy of NomNom Paleo. Find the recipe here.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower courtesy of NomNom Paleo. Find the recipe here.

As I watched “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” I remembered how many healing herbs and spices are present in Indian cuisine. Herbs and spices not only add flavor and pizzazz to vegetables and meats, but they serve as a halo for your health too. There is a reason why some of the oldest cultures in the world use these spices and herbs in their daily cooking. I listed them below in no particular order, but for the benefit of eating to your good health. Cheers!

1. Cayenne: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cancer-fighting properties, increases metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

2. Garlic: antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, increases heart health and wards off vampires

3. Tumeric: aids digestion, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties

4. Ginger: aids digestion, anti-inflammatory and soothes upset stomach

5. Oregano: anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant

6. Cinnamon: increases heart health, stabilizes blood sugar levels, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and high in fiber

7. Cloves: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial

8. Coriander Seeds: aids digestion, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and calms mood

9. Sage: increases brain power and mood, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, stabilizes blood sugar levels and cancer-fighting properties

10. Rosemary: decreases fatigue and increases brain power

 

Word of Caution: as awesome as these herbs and spices are, it is always critical to consult your doctor or health care practitioner to ensure they don’t interfere with your medication or health issues. For example, some of their healing properties do include thinning the blood and dilating blood vessels.

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 2)

17 Nov
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An eye-pleasing foundation to my Mexican Chicken Soup: celery, broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers and garlic. Pretty to look at, healthy for my body and tastes delicious!

You’ve just finished a fun dinner with friends and can’t possibly think about eating any more… that is, until you are presented with the dessert tray–a glorious presentation of apple crisp, pumpkin pie and brownie sundae topped with hot fudge sauce and candied walnuts. You order dessert, even though you are full, and  finish every last bite.

… And then it begins, “Why did I do that? I’m such a pig. I shouldn’t have done that. I feel horrible. I wasn’t even hungry, but it looked so good. Ugh, I’m disgusting.”

You’ve just experienced the strength of eye hunger, one of eight hungers we possess, compounded by your nagging inner critic (does that dude EVER take a break?). The typical American will gain 5-7 lbs over the holidays and eye hunger has a lot to do with that, so let’s explore why this little booger hampers our holiday bliss and what we can do to keep our eye hunger working for us and not against us.

First, let’s define it: Eye hunger is when you become hungry looking at food (via in person, on TV or in a magazine) or reading a recipe, even if you just ate. Many studies have proven that our eyes will override our mouth, stomach and body. For instance, subjects at a movie theater who were given stale popcorn ate it just because it was there and they could smell it. It didn’t even matter that it tasted awful.

So, over the holidays when you are surrounded by mounds of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes and caramel pecan pie slices, use these helpful tools to satisfy your eye hunger without eating double and feeling miserable.

1. Create beauty. Our eyes appreciate beauty, so use pretty plates, napkins and table decor.

2. Surround yourself in beauty. Get out in nature, savor your favorite piece of art, look at pictures of your beloved, listening to soothing music.

3. Cook and eat food of various colors, textures and shapes. Arrange it beautifully on plates and bowls. It takes just as much time, but with a little extra thought, it can make a huge difference in improving your food relationship (and health).

4. Use a small plate. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a 1/4 with protein (meat or vegetarian based), an 1/8 with starch (potatoes and grains) and an 1/8 with healthy fats (you can also skip the starch if you have diabetes, Celiac disease, etc.). If it is a holiday or special occasion where dessert is served, consider sharing your dessert with one or two people. Or consider a healthier dessert such as dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Ummm… yes please!

Now it is your turn! The next time you buy groceries, practice purchasing vegetables of every color to ensure eye satiety (green, orange, red/purple and yellow/white). If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, then do it with fruits and vegetables such as making a roasted vegetable salad with broccoli, carrots and cauliflower served with a protein and eating red grapes for dessert. Now that’s a feast to behold!

If you missed part 1 of this series, check it out here!

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 1)

10 Nov

Have you ever finished your Thanksgiving meal feeling bloated, guilty for what you “shouldn’t have eaten” and wishing you had on expandable panel pants with fart-blocking odor technology? Sucks, doesn’t it? Feeling miserable is no way to spend your holidays. So let’s cut the self-loathing and bring Holiday Cheer back with mindfulness.

Mindful eating is not some woo-woo foodie concept. All it means is to be aware of the nourishment that real food provides us without the judgment and criticism (aka enjoyment!). And it starts by paying attention to what our body is telling us (not our mind).

So let us reclaim the wisdom of our body, shall we? Rather than ignoring the signs of suffering that is evident in the farting, burping and bloating, let’s help our body ditch the Rodney Dangerfield complex and show it a little respect.

The next time you eat a meal, listen to your body and take note (buying a special journal for this works best) of how you feel. If you feel energized, satisfied and your skin is glowing–your on the right track. If you feel sluggish and your poop smells like last weeks rotting cabbage, don’t judge and berate yourself for what or how much you ate, just say, “Sorry body. What can I do differently to feel and look better next time?” And that’s when you’ll check out my handy-dandy chart below to make small changes to feel awesome!

Action Jackson: Practice listening to your body now, so when Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll have a more attuned idea of what portions and what types of food work well for you. If you need more personalized support, shout me a holla’ down at stephsbell@yahoo.com and we can work together to help you reach food relationship bliss.

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How to Flourish In Your Body

6 Oct
Enjoy every experience and be present in the moment... even when you are grocery shopping.

Enjoy every experience and be present in the moment… even when you are grocery shopping.

There is no need to

shame,

beat,

punish or

diet our body to good health.

 

Rather, let us

ACCEPT (that we are perfectly imperfect)

RESPECT (our body and know we deserve to feel amazing)

LISTEN (to our body and what it truly needs)

FEEL (that our self-worth is not in our appearance)

and LOVE our body. (that’s it–just love)

 

Then, true health will SHINE throughout us.

Your New BFF: Best Food Friend

2 Sep
Homemade or store bought, this food is a health powerhouse!

Homemade or store bought, this food is a health powerhouse!

Remember when your mom made chicken soup for you when you were sick? Well, moms are awesome and this is solid gold proof. Bone broth is the bee’s knees of food. My evening isn’t complete without a cup of bone broth and tea. Whenever you decide to drink yours, these benefits will be yours…

1. Heals the Gut. Gelatin found in bone broth protects and heals the lining of your digestive tract. If you’ve ever heard of leaky gut syndrome and/or suffer from food sensitivities, bone broth is your new best friend.

2. Gives you Happy Joints, Skin, Hair and Nails. Glucosamine, collagen, gelatin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus found in bone broth helps stimulate new collagen, bone and hair growth; repairs damaged joints; strengthens nails; and reduces pain and inflammation.

3. Helps You Rest Easy and Detox. Glycine, an amino acid found in bone broth, is very calming to the body and it helps detoxify the liver–BONUS!

4. Better and Cheaper than Supplements. Bone broth is simple and inexpensive to make. (You can also buy it prepared as pictured above.)