Thursday, May 17, 2012

I love myself!

As humans, we are social beings. We are meant to connect to others, and we have a desire to be loved, to feel significant. We want someone to love us, even though we do not show ourselves love. They say actions speak louder than words. Do your actions say, “I love myself?”

Loving yourself starts with treating yourself well, inside and out. If your actions do not show love towards yourself, then start by feeding yourself nourishing and fortifying foods, such as vegetables, fish, lean meats, nuts, and legumes!

When grocery shopping, only buy foods that are found around the perimeter of the grocery store, from a Farmers Market, or through a local co-op. Focus on foods that have high nutritional value and do not require a label, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Avoid foods that have been processed with chemicals. Read all labels, and if you cannot pronounce an ingredient, then do not purchase the item. Try to stay to 5 ingredients or less if you are buying processed foods.

Additionally, keep in mind, that the following are all sugars: cane sugar, maple syrup, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, molasses, brown rice syrup, crystallized or evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, maltodextrin (or dextrin), dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose. It is best to avoid sugars as much as possible; thus, try to buy one-ingredient foods, like kale and broccoli.

In my own practice, I see many patients who are starving their bodies of good nutrients by eating a lot of frozen meals and fast foods on a regular basis. When it came to food, author Michael Pollan said, "the longer shelf life the shorter your life". In other words, buy foods that will expire.

For many people, knowing what to eat gets very complicated. Here are some simple rules that are good to live by:

• Change your eating habits slowly – find out what works for your life.
• Buy food staples that you know you will eat.
• Choose natural foods whenever possible. When fresh food isn’t possible, then frozen fruits and vegetables are the next best choice.
• Buy organic meats and wild caught seafood.
• Eat according to the seasons. Hint: Usually, the produce that is on sale is what is in season.
• And, most importantly, eat when you are hungry and not before. In addition, stop eating before you are full.

Another way to determine what foods to eat is to find out what nutrients your body is missing or lacking. A traditional Chinese Practitioner can determine what is deficient or excess in your body. S/he can also help you balance your body’s inner system. And, in doing so, your body will be better at telling you what it needs to live healthy.

With all of these rules and suggestions in mind, remember, the best way to balance your body and to show yourself how much you love yourself is to not practice extremes. Balance is the key to being balanced! You can still eat all foods that you enjoy. Deprivation will only cause cravings. However, with everything and anything, including fruits and vegetables, remember moderation is the one rule you need to practice!