My feeling is this: our bodies are complete miracles. And probably we are wise to feed our bodies more miracles, like plant-based nutrients that are as close to their natural state as possible. And when we think of feeding our bodies, we probably want to expand that notion to include everything that our bodies take in, whether through our mouths, or our skin, or our lungs. So we can, with great delight, think of what our bodies might want, and start to give our bodies those things, at the same time begin to eliminate those substances that might stress us and our lovely bodies.
Sometimes I get the idea that I have to figure it all out: what food to eat/not eat, what products to use/not use, what daily practices to do to connect with the beauty that is everywhere. And figuring it all out can feel very complicated and overwhelming. But then I remember that I can just listen to what my body wants, or see what resonates or just feels right. And, to start with, my body doesn’t particularly want all this figuring because, of course, figuring is stressful. It’s a little bit like spending all my time asking questions instead of listening to answers.
Right now, here is what seems right to me:
1. Lots of good, clean water. I fill 3-gallon jugs with reverse osmosis water at the healthy food store and from that fill my insulated water bottle which I keep near me at all times. I also keep a 3-gallon jug in the back of the car so I can always fill up. I may need to come up with a solution for keeping this jug cool in summertime since it gets really hot in Richmond. I’d love some ideas.
2. Eating lots of colors. I keep ingredients at home to do this, but I also go to the organic salad bar at Whole Foods several times a week and fill a container with things like spinach, celery, beets, edemame, zucchini, quinoa, grapefruit, blackberries, kiwi, pineapple, chick peas, etc. This way I know I’ve covered my bases nutritionally and will have the energy I need to prepare healthy food at home. I like to keep organic spinach in this house to have for easy salads with pears and avocados with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also like to have kale and apples around to make smoothies in the blender with a little bit of water. And then, there’s juicing. I can get in a nice cycle where I’m making juice every morning and it feels AMAZING. I use organic produce here especially, since the juice is going right to the bloodstream. Usually I juice carrots, apples, celery, ginger, and a lemon.
3. Eating organic whenever possible. Every year, the Environmental Working Group comes out with the Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen, a list of the fifteen cleanest and twelve most pesticide-laden fruits or vegetables. So, since apples, celery and spinach are high on the Dirty Dozen list, I go organic for those. Onions, pineapples and avocados are generally cleaner so I can go conventional when buying those.
4. Eating less gluten. I lost 20 pounds without trying when I gave up gluten last spring. Maybe because I didn’t have the gluten causing a stress/allergic reaction in my body. Maybe because I wasn’t eating bread and everything that comes on bread. And maybe because I was eating more fruits and vegetables instead. Or maybe all of these. At this point I am occasionally eating some bread but gluten free whenever possible. There are two products that for me make being gluten free possible: Udo’s Gluten Free Bread and Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. Also, Bob’s Red Mill has some nice gluten free options.
5. Eating less dairy. I’m still drinking coffee in the morning and for that I use half and half. Also, I eat a bowl of Stoneyfield Farm yogurt most days because it’s delicious and it feels right. But otherwise I don’t routinely add dairy to things.
6. Eating less nightshades. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are nightshades which produce a toxin in their skin to ward off insects. This toxin can affect some people adversely and I seem to be one of them.
7. Having something fermented on a regular basis. Usually this is Kombucha.
8. Eating more plant-based nutrients than animal-based nutrients.
9. Using products that have as few toxins as possible. Here’s what I use: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap for shower and hand soap. Moroccanoil Hair Treatment. Aubrey Sea Buckhorn Nourishing Skin Lotion. Weleda Sage Deodorant. Griffin Remedy Daily Shampoo with Sea Buckhorn and Orange. Weleda Toothpaste. Trader Joe’s Cedarwood & Sage Multi-purpose Cleaner. I keep it simple.
And all this is not to say that a diner breakfast of waffles, bacon and eggs is out of the question. Because there is delight there, too. I just do things to keep that kind of fun in balance.
Image of Seattle market by rayb777 on Flickr.