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What You Eat Matters: Nutrition Tips for Wellness

Food is energy. It is one of the many ways that we sustain ourselves and keep our bodies functioning well. However, what we consume and how matters more than you think!

Kate Hathaway with the American Massage Therapy Association explains, "We need to remember that every choice we make affects our health." For example, you might not notice that you’re regularly grabbing fast food when your schedule is packed, and not considering the origin of your food. “These foods are convenient,” Hathaway agrees, “but you need to think about where they come from. Is it organic? How much corn syrup or hydrogenated fat does it have? These things matter.”

By eating too much of the wrong food, it could result in poor digestion, in which dampness develops. This is an accumulation of moisture that settles in various places in the body. Symptoms of edema, yeast, athlete’s foot, feeling of heaviness, and fatigue are all considered signs of dampness. Fresh foods, such as recently picked fruits and vegetables, grains, and humanely raised and organic meats reduce the amount of dampness within our bodies and allow us to feel more energy, focus properly, and sleep better.

A holistic nutritional approach is the key to improve and maintain good health. Here are some key tips and tricks to balance your body through nutrition.

Listen to your body:

This is always number one! The best foods for your body are ones that are easy to digest and gradually increase your energy. Often you will get a sense that your body says “thank you” after eating foods that are deeply nourishing and bring you into balance.

Seasonal eating:

Eating in accordance with the change of the seasons is very important. During this time, our bodies also go through cyclical changes throughout the year. Eating locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables is the best way to keep your body in rhythm with the environmental changes throughout the year.

Eating at regular intervals:

The earth element (spleen/ stomach organ systems) loves routine. So, eating at consistent times of the day can assist the gastrointestinal tract to perform optimally. Additionally, remember not to skip breakfast! It's the meal that kick starts our digestive system for the day.

Make breakfast your largest meal:

The first meal of the day helps to stimulate your digestion and the nutrients deliver the energetic basis for the day. Specifically, the morning hours are the time when the organs of the digestive system are most active according to the Chinese medicine clock (stomach 7-9 am and spleen 9-11 am). By eating during this time frame, you will also be helping to strengthen the digestive system overall.

Eat moderate amounts:

It is important to listen to your body when it tells you it is “full” or has had enough. Overeating makes it hard for the Spleen and Stomach to effectively digest food and allocate the nutrients to parts of the body that need it the most.

Balance your intake of cold and hot foods:

Many cold foods, such as ice water, ice cream, smoothies, and raw salads, can put out your digestive fire and create dampness. This is often experienced as edema, fluid retention, lack of appetite, nausea, or a feeling of heaviness and fatigue. To avoid this, opt for warm or room temperature water, lightly steamed vegetables, and a cup of nice warm soup or bone broth.

Be sure to eat your veggies:

Fill up on nutritious vegetables! At least half of your plate for every meal should be filled with lightly cooked vegetables. Make it as colorful as you want – your body will thank you!

Cook and eat mindfully:

Taking time to cook and eat is important, so slow down and be present when you are preparing your meals. When you focus on the fresh food, cooked with care and attention, your body will respond to the feeling of love you put into the cooking process. As a result, this mindfulness can help boost your digestion, give you a better appreciation for your body, and make you feel better all around.

When you learn more about your body to balance your energy – your yin and yang, you will find that you will not only feel better but stay nourished and strong. With a consistent base, you can do more with your day as your body will feed off of the nutritious energy that you have given it. As you continue your journey into balancing your body, remember to be kind to yourself and appreciate your efforts.

Remember, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional!

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