I can’t eat this diet for another day. I am going crazy!!!
Have you been sick and found answers to help heal your body? And those answers included changing your diet. Cutting out foods that were inflammatory. You started the diet with great gusto but now 1 month in, its a real drag. All you do is think about food, prep food for yourself and your family and you realize that food has now become a source of stress in your life. Can you relate? If so, read on, I have some fun solutions for you with the joy of food.
I am on Day 6 of the Medical Medium cleanse. And what has been coming up for me is how can I create meals that I find nourishing and exciting? And there are days where it seems too much to figure out, but overall I love cooking meals so I can get super excited about creating something new.
But that made me realize that not everyone enjoys cooking, or finds thinking about making meals enjoyable. Many of us are just trying to get through the day with the millions of things that we have to get done, managing work, health, kids, spouses and social life and home.
It’s a LOT. So often as has happened in American culture especially, is that we have taken shortcuts to make it through our busy busy, go-go-go lives. Many of our shortcuts have been with food. We have used microwaves for quick heating, freezer meals, TV dinners, ‘fast’ food, canned food, ready to eat packaged meals.
The food industry has capitalized upon this and has made options so easily available and we, as consumers for a good almost 80-90 years have gone along with this experiment. Hopefully, we will look back upon this time as one of the darkest times in human health, learn from it and never go there again. And our awakening for many of us has come from our sickness, or that of our children.
But, as Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
So even in our darkest times, there is tremendous good that is emerging and wisdom and knowing available to us to heal, grow and literally go back to basics. To go back into our kitchens and make them the centers of our home again. To gather with people, share food (and not just on the holidays), but more regularly and with that and in doing that, we educate each other about good nourishing food and we teach our children the value of cooking at home.
And with this, I want to circle back where I started. Finding JOY in our food. So many of you struggle with the changes in a new diet to align with the healthiest version of you. So many of you in your head crave the old foods. Your mind takes you to the cheeseburger, or the chocolate cake, or even just a piece of delicious gourmet cheese.
When we take things out of our diet, and change up our food, we are affecting DEEPLY the emotions that we have typically associated with food. Most of us today don’t eat to nourish. We eat to disassociate with emotions and feelings, or in other words, to numb out. When we cut out the foods that we use to numb out or create more serotonin that helps us feel good, we have lost the crutch and other emotions come up that make us feel like we are flailing. We can start hating and resisting the changes in food choices. We can lose our joy completely.
Do you know that if you eat without joy, you are really not nourishing your body? Your food will not nourish you as deeply if you eat in resistance to the idea of your new chosen diet. In your head you may intellectually believe that your diet is good for you, but if you lose your joy over it, there is no point.
I know – the struggle with food is REAL.
Now, not only do I have to cut out the no foods, now I have to find joy too?
Well, how much easier would it be to make good choices if you felt excited about them? How much easier would it be to look forward to a meal rather than feel heavy and upset about what you cannot eat.
Do you look at your plate of food and celebrate the opportunity to nourish your cells deeply, or do you look at your plate and see what is missing on it, what you would rather be eating.
So here are 7 tips on how to bring more joy into your daily food ritual (and these are personally REALLY helping me get through the deeper cleanse):
1. Prepare your food with love. For me, food preparation is a meditation. I look at food, and my ingredients and I get excited to see the joy in my creations. I am always thrilled to create foods that will nourish my body and those of others I feed.
2. Always prepare a treat of some kind. Something that you make just for you. If you haven’t landed on a nourishing treat for yourself, ask others about healthy desserts or other food flavors. What would you LOVE to have back in your diet – is it a type of food, like cheese? Is it a cultural cuisine like Thai? Then go out and find a healthy version of that food. And if you need help, ask! There is always a way to prepare a healthier version of a food you love, and plan that treat on a regular basis, like once a week or once every two weeks.
3. Make meals simple. Meals don’t have to be elaborate. In fact the simpler they are, the easier they are to prepare and to digest. This can create true JOY in your body at a CELLULAR level. I love watermelon. I often will choose to eat watermelon and watermelon juice for a day. This lightens my digestion, it allows me to get in touch with what I may be stuffing down emotionally and allows me to process things I would not otherwise process. And I have deep deep gratitude for my food and my choices in allowing me to lighten.
4. Find support. You remember above how I quoted Dickens? Is it the best of times? Well, this totally applies here. We are blessed to be in the information age, to find people, blogs, books, websites, meet up groups, pins on Pinterest and Instagram pics to zone in on what our needs are. I can GUARANTEE you that whatever your need, someone out there has a resource to help you meet that need. Whether its a recipe, a substitution that is healthy or a new restaurant that will help you get a meal you can eat, that YOU didn’t have to prepare!
5. Plan your meals. If you don’t have any idea what you are eating tomorrow or during the week, it is SO SO hard to find an appropriate meal last minute. And that is when we end up making choices that are less than ideal for ourselves. Spend time on the weekend looking at cookbooks and websites, pick recipes, buy ingredients and make a menu for the week. This way you know what you are having ahead of time. And your body and heart can be excited to expect the next meal given that you have ingredients purchased and all you have to do is to prep. One of my favorite things to do is to prep 2-3 different salad dressings and that way, I can choose to put together my salad last minute, but the hardest part which is the dressing is already done.
6. Never shop on an empty stomach. If you are at the grocery store and are hungry, first go and get yourself some food friendly to your diet (my favorite is cut fruit) and then you will not only shop as per your list, you will save money too on not buying things that you THOUGHT you wanted because you are so hungry.
7. Before putting any food in your mouth. Look at it. Mostly likely there is a TON of life force in that food and a consciousness in it. Thank your food, thank yourself for all the work you do to take care of your body, allow your mind and cells to open to receive the joy, healing and nourishment from your food. And don’t rush through this. REALLY connect with your food. This practice can make a huge difference to healing old emotions around food and really allowing you to align better with your choices.
I would love to hear from you about how you bring JOY to your meals and your nourishment. Please comment on the blog below and share your thoughts, and your favorite meals. I am sure others would love to hear from you and share that while the struggle is real, the solution can be found with more mindfulness around the practice of nourishing your body mind and soul with your food.
I LOVE you ALL!