We have all heard time and time again that we are what we eat and a reflection of what we choose to nourish and feed ourselves with. I believe in this wholeheartedly however does it just come down to food? I truly believe that many other factors and areas need to be present and in place in order for true health and wellbeing to be achieved on a physical, mental and emotional level. Health isn’t just about eating an abundance of vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein and an antioxidant rich diet.
You may be doing all of the right things yet if you are under any form of stress or there is unhappiness in your life no amount of green juice or healthy fats from an avocado will be sufficient.
Let’s take some time to consider the following,
– When and how we eat
– If we are eating under stress (anxious or depressed)
– If unhappy &/or dissatisfied in your relationships and friendships or lack there of
– If unhappy and dissatisfied in your career & work
I see it as a mutual relationship between both what we consume in terms of food and what we are consuming or willing to consume in the other areas of our lives (work, relationships, friendships, belief system etc). You can only really nurture yourself and deal with environmental stresses (work/career, family, friends/ relationships etc) if you feed yourself the right kinds of food. However, we are not fed by food alone but the energy in our lives. Food is more than just what we eat, everything is food. All elements are essential forms of nourishment.
During times of stress, depression or anxiety one can alleviate or suppress feelings with food. As children we are taught that food is a reward for good behaviour or a means to soothe a fall or accident we might have had. Unfortunately many carry this into adulthood and sooth their physical and emotional pain with chocolate or a box of pizza. Consequently it is here that the body and mind suffer.
Eating as if food will seize to exist tomorrow (eating everything in sight) can lead to a disruption of the digestive organs (spleen, stomach, liver, small & large intestine) and physical aliments such as obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease and bowel issues. Eating whilst under stress can also lead to mindless consumption (over eating), as you are not focusing on when your stomach is full. Eating a beautiful bowl of greens can still affect you if you are eating it under stress for example while viewing a sad news story. Emotions place such a huge roll!
Work takes up so many hours of our day. On average individuals can spend up to 10 hours at work daily. This is fine if you enjoy what you do but what if work leaves you feeling anxious, annoyed, irritated and dissatisfied at the end of every day? How many of us complain constantly about what we do but feel powerless to change it? These feelings of helplessness and being lost do not lead to a nourishing lifestyle do they! We don’t often realise the extent to which our lives would improve if we were doing work we love. Making a career change is easier said then done for many with the responsibilities of a mortgage and bills to pay however trying to make even small changes might help.
People need to exercise. Our bodies thrive on movement and will degenerate without it. Research now shows us that sitting for extended periods of time is lethal and that individuals whom sit too much are easily shaving years off their lives.
What’s interesting to note are the forms of exercise that people choose. Sometimes the type of exercise chosen can actually aggravate your condition, not improve it. You often see a “YANG” personality type individual at the gym lifting weights and undertaking aggressive forms of exercise, which in turn makes them fireier. These individuals need the lightness that either yoga or Pilates would provide. A “YIN” type personality will often be drawn to a yoga class whereas they could probably benefit from some grounding and strengthening work by lifting weights. Different forms of exercise will create diverse types of energy and tuning into which would work best for you at different stages of your life is key.
Over the course of our lives we develop so many relationships – with our parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husband, wife and co-workers. The type and quality of these relationships hold so much worth over our lives and overall health. Just like no one diet plan will achieve optimal health in everyone not one way of relating to people works for everyone. Every person we meet over the course of our lives serves a purpose. This can be hard to get our heads around especially if things are a little up in the air and at conflicted times.
An issue within today’s society is that many of us lead quiet isolated/lonely lives. Following a long day at work or university etc many tend to go home to their laptop, iPad and iPhone not people. In many circumstances individuals seem to have a closer relationship to technology than a loved one. In most families people are not eating dinner together in the evenings instead choosing to enjoy their meal with their computer. How is this creating a fulfilling life? Some food for thought!!
It’s so important to have relationships that nourish and fulfill us in many ways. Over the course of my life I have been disappointed with friendships that have left me feeling deflated. My grandmother always taught me that you know who is there for you in the hard moments not at the good times!!! Sometimes we need people to be there for us from a far and not necessarily by sitting next to us. It takes years to find your “tribe” but eventually you figure it out with possible let downs along the way. Friendships are a form of “food” and are there to nourish us.
It’s imperative to have relationships that nourish and satisfy us in many ways. Chicken and broccoli isn’t going to nourish your heart and soul is it!!! I believe that it is so important to remember that humans aren’t islands…. we shouldn’t go through life’s up’s and down’s in isolation & alone!!
It is vital to look at these aspects of life as a form of nutrition – a way to feed ourselves at a much deeper level than just with food.