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How to Practice Self Care through Food

Self care isn’t always bubble baths and face masks surrounded by low-burning candles and lavender incense. We wish that’s what it always looked like, but self care is more than just one isolated activity that boosts our mood or energy. Self care is a practice that can take many forms, and sometimes it means just doing the little things for ourselves that make our overall life easier, but can be hard to do in the moment.

One of these self care acts that we can do for ourselves every day is being aware of what we’re putting in our bodies. What we eat has a bigger impact on our bodies, minds and overall well-being than we may realize, and being mindful of what we eat and fueling our bodies with the essential nourishment they need is the upmost important self care act we can commit.

Before we talk about what kinds of foods we should eat to promote heart, brain, and muscle health, we should talk about habits that surround the process of eating a meal.

When you usually eat, are you focusing on just the meal in front of you? Or are you trying to multi-task your meal time with answering work emails or scrolling through TV shows on Netflix? Healthy eating habits are just as important as what you’re putting on your plate, and that includes the environment you surround yourself with when you eat. If you find yourself multi-tasking during meal times, try to change your habit to promote focusing on your meal. Not only will you really get to savor all the flavors of what you’re eating, but slowing down and completely chewing your food promotes healthy digestion and cuts down on potential tummy troubles (ahem, gas) after you’ve finished eating. Paying attention to how our bodies feel while we’re eating also helps us know when we’re full, and keeps us from over-eating. If your attention is divided it’s a lot easier to munch mindlessly, and before you know it you’ve finished two episodes of your favorite show and the whole bag of chips.

Eating shouldn’t be a chore, but with as busy as the rest of our days can be, sometimes it feels more like a burden and less like something we can enjoy. Undoing this thinking can take some work, but respecting your body and its requests for nourishment can have positive benefits. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re thirsty, drink. Your body can function on a one-way relationship for a little while, but it truly takes two to tango. Cooking food for yourself is one of the most important acts of self-care, and making yourself something that is both nutritious and delicious should be a celebration, not a punishment. Having an appetite is what makes us healthy humans, and shouldn’t be ignored.

Balance is still an important part of nutrition, and how we eat should reflect that. It’s 100% perfectly ok to not eat health-consciously all of the time. There are some people who do eat very healthy almost all of the time and that is what works the best for them, but you don’t have to follow exactly what other people do to be considered “healthy”. You know your body the best, and if you are comfortable, happy and healthy, that’s all that matters. Something to keep in mind, however, is balancing food groups within our diets. Food shouldn’t be considered either “healthy” or “unhealthy” or put into groups of “can eat” and “can’t eat”. The goal is for your plate to be colorful, hitting all the food groups with a concentration on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and various proteins. However, if you want a piece of chocolate, or a scoop of ice cream, you can have those things! The keyword here is moderation. Just as it isn’t healthy to sit down and eat an entire bag of spinach for dinner, it’s also not healthy to sit down and eat an entire pint of ice cream (sometimes this still happens, you’re only human). As long as you aren’t eating an entire pint of ice cream every day, it’s okay to have these cravings and occasionally act upon them. You can eat healthy without cutting out every treat or salty snack!

That being said, if you’re not sure how to start incorporating healthier foods into your current diet, there are some delicious options that benefit your brain, muscles, skin and ultimately your overall health.

Foods for Brain Health

Our brains use a lot of energy, so much in fact that the brain alone uses reportedly 20% of all the calories we consume.  Some foods that support healthy brain functions include;

  1. Salmon

  2. Tuna

  3. Dark Chocolate (in moderation)

  4. Strawberries

  5. Blueberries

  6. Sunflower Seeds

  7. Almonds

  8. Whole-grain bread/pasta

  9. Brown Rice

  10. Oatmeal

  11. Avocados

  12. Eggs

  13. Kale

  14. Broccoli

  15. Brussels Sprouts

Foods for Muscle Health

Eating right in tandem with activities that exercise your muscles can help you build and maintain them. Some foods that support healthy muscles include;

  1. Beef

  2. Pork

  3. Poultry

  4. Seafood

  5. Milk

  6. Yogurt

  7. Cheese

  8. Eggs

  9. Sweet Potatoes

  10. Quinoa

  11. Brown Rice

  12. Whole grain bread/pasta

  13. Almonds

  14. Avocados

  15. Lentils

Foods for Skin Health

As it turns out, “you are what you eat” might hold some truth, and what you eat does affect your skin health, perhaps even more than your 10-step skincare routine. Some foods that support healthy skin include;

  1. Salmon

  2. Mackerel

  3. Red Peppers

  4. Spinach

  5. Coconut

  6. Avocado Oil

  7. Eggs

  8. Garlic

  9. Walnuts

  10. Tomatoes

  11. Pumpkin Seeds

  12. Pineapple

Thank you for visiting Cheerful Hearts by LauraBeth Ryan, a person that can help you practice self-care online life coach. We hope that you’ve found this blog helpful in taking the first step to practicing self-care with food! If you or someone you know needs a self care empowerment life coach, contact LauraBeth today.

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