Cultivate Holistic Wellbeing AND Become More Environmentally ConsciousMar 22, 2021
Are you struggling with your relationship with food? Confused about all the conflicting information on health and how to eat? Wanting to be environmentally-conscious but unsure where to start?
I believe that in order for us to solve the earth's current climate crisis, shift out of diet culture, and improve the health of ourselves and the rest of the world, we have to fundamentally shift the way we look at food.
The Climate Crisis: the consequences of global warming and climate change on our planet.
Diet Culture: a culture that values thinness above all else, and that assigns morality (good vs. bad) to foods, health behaviors, bodies, etc. This is the culture in which we in the United States and other countries currently live.
Health: in my view, health is not only the absence of disease, but rather a whole-person wellbeing encompassing the physical, mental, emotional, social, and even spiritual!
Aligning our food choices with the health of our bodies and the planet
One of the habits I help my clients implement is called Plant-Based Living.
No, this doesn't mean becoming raw vegan. It doesn't mean becoming vegetarian. It doesn't mean having any specific diet at all!
Rather, this habit is all about getting in touch with the plants, our ecosystems, and our bodies. Instead of putting my clients on a specific meal plan, we explore the best types of food for their constitution, the season, their imbalances, and their local ecosystem.
By getting curious about what in the world around us is readily available for nourishing our bodies, we step away from diet culture and step into a relationship with the world and with ourselves instead. I believe that in order to have environmental change and ecosystem healing, we're going to need to reject the idea of food being simply something we consume, and rather shifting the paradigm to acknowledge that we are in relationship with our food.
That being said, how cool is it that we live in such a symbiotic relationship with plants? Our exhale is their inhale, and vice versa. We need them to survive, so we make sure they survive too through gardening, farming, and taking care of them.
By looking at our food in this co-creative way, and by appreciating the sheer magnitude of food available to us via plants, we can begin to let go of old patterns of deprivation and subsequent overeating. We can lean into the easfulness of knowing that we will be nourished by the plants, that we can feel both hunger and satiation without being panicked about either sensation.
We can listen more intently to our bodies, rather than grabbing for food when we feel stressed or anxious, or forgetting to nourish ourselves for the same reasons. And we can eat based on what our body needs, rather than what an outside source tells us we "should" or "shouldn't" eat.
Gratitude crowds out stress: we actually can't feel both gratitude and stress at the same time. By being grateful for this abundance every time we go to eat something, we slow down and become much more conscious of the food we consume.
Instead of following hard and fast rules about what you "should" and "shouldn't" be eating, deepen your relationship with the plants with some of the following steps.
Tips for a Healthier Body, Healthier Earth, and Healthier You:
Expand the number of species you eat, including wild weeds! (Fun fact: dandelion leaves have higher nutrient density than any leafy greens you're going to find at the store!) You might even create a list of plant species you've eaten in the Notes section on your phone, and write down any new ones you try!
Think about the source of the food in front of you, even when it's not a vegetable. Chances are, it came from a plant or ate a plant while it was alive. Consider which part of the plant it is and the stage of its life cycle (root, seed, leaf, sprout, fruit, stalk, etc.) to start to bring more awareness and appreciation to the food you eat.
Take a walk outside and notice the abundance of plants around you.
Express gratitude for that abundance before you eat your meals.
Let go of scarcity mentality around food (and around any other part of your life!), if you are able to access fresh foods. Not everyone is. And the more we recognize the blessings of food access and that we can always have more, the less we obsess about certain types of foods.
If you eat meat, figure out what your meat ate and make sure it's something you want to put in your body. Same goes for the ingredients on pre-packaged and processed foods!
Head to the farmer's market if you have one near you and ask the farmers about their plants: When are they in season? Where do they grow?
Bonus (for you advanced plant-based peeps out there!): Talk to a local botanist about which plants in your neighborhood are edible, and where to find them in a safe place that's not sprayed with pesticides.
Volunteer in a garden or local forest to give back to the plants.
Get creative and enjoy your relationship with the plants and the earth!
And then let me know: How will you appreciate the plants? How will you give back in your symbiotic relationship with them?
Here's to you, and here's to the plants!
Want to find out which habit might make the biggest difference in your life? Take the Healthy Habits Quiz below to find out!
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