Healthy Food for Health

The Healthy Eating Pyramid

Do you connect eating healthy food with feeling good? Healthy eating habits make a big difference in how we feel about ourselves, physically and emotionally. Not only how we look, but mental and physical health. Have you ever pigged out on something you knew wasn’t good for you, only to feel sick later? I have! One thing that can trigger ill health or negative emotions is eating too much sugar.

Fresh-picked vine-ripened SWEET Strawberries!

Eating the right kinds of sugars keeps our brains and bodies going. Foods too high in glycemic response increase blood sugars rapidly then spike insulin levels, resulting in low blood sugar. After I had children that I couldn’t physically handle sugar like I had previously. If I ate refined sugar, I became the Wicked Witch of the West! But there are good sugars , like fruit, sweet potato, and sweet garden tomatoes.

First Crop 2012

Yummy tomatoes from my garden!

Sugars are one thing, but what about fats? Are some fats healthier than others? Fats in their natural state tend to be healthier than processed fats, such as hydrogenated oils like shortening, or fried foods with trans-fatty acids. Naturally fatty foods like avocados, eggs, olives, coconut, raw nuts, when eaten in balance with the rights carbs (sugars) and protein form part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Which leads to the third type of nutrient, protein. Protein in its natural state is healthier. Animal sources should be clean from unnecessary hormones or antibiotics, and fed clean feed– lean organic meat is safest. Vegetarian sources of protein include nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and vegetables for complete proteins.

Do you have a vegetable garden? Picking your home-grown produce to eat fresh is a treat! The active enzymes and natural sugar content of just-picked fruits and vegetables, ripened on the plant then popped into your mouth, makes all the effort of gardening worthwhile. Growing a natural, organic garden increases the vitamin and mineral content of the food, and avoids harmful chemicals. Organic foods can also be purchased, but sometimes are picked green for shipping. Nothing beats picking it off the vine and eating it picked fully ripe and fresh! Try it if you don’t believe it.
Fresh fruits and vegetables also hydrate the body. So does filtered or spring water. Do you drink enough water? One recommendation is to drink at least half your body weight (lbs.) in ounces every day.

Even with proper nutrition and hydration, getting nutrients to every cell of the body requires something more–exercise.   The lymphatic system has nothing to circulate it but our movement, so for optimal health some form of movement or massage is necessary.

Knowing about healthy food and nutrition is not the same as doing it! I write this article as a reminder of what to eat to feel healthier. Please contact me if you would like greater support in making healthy choices.

Meditation for Healing the Inner Child

Listen to your inner child

Are you looking to feel more peace, less stress, and more self-confidence? Healing meditation may be just the thing to regain balance in thoughts and emotions. This is an imagery meditation for healing the inner child.

First, choose a peaceful place where you can be undisturbed and by yourself for a few minutes. Turn off the phone and focus on YOU. A balanced, healthy self is foundational to everything else you do. Think of this as time wisely invested.

Get comfortable, uncross arms or legs to an open position. Your eyes may be open or closed. Relax. Take some deep, slow breaths. Notice your breathing. Breathe more deeply.

Notice your thoughts and emotions. How are you feeling right now? Take another deep breath, and let it out. Continue to breathe deeply and evenly.

Imagine yourself as a very small child, perfect and whole as the day you were born, with pure love for yourself and all those around you. See that loving child carried in your heart, feeling and wanting good things for you and for everyone.

What would that loving inner child tell you about yourself? What good things does your inner child like and admire about you? What do you most admire about this sweet little child? Tell your inner child what you most love about them. What do you miss about being an innocent little child?

Imagine that you ARE this little child. What do you most want to do? As a child, what sounds fun? As an adult, what would your inner child most enjoy doing? What makes you feel alive? Think of this inner child as part of you, close to your heart. What will bring out their joy? Do you have talents or hobbies you’d like to begin or start again?

Imagine being your inner child. Consider how important to this small child physical needs are–good food, water, resting when tired, going outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air, running around to play. See yourself outdoors, doing what you love to do. What physical activities do you most enjoy? See yourself resting or sleeping when tired from a busy, active day. Think of waking–what kinds of foods would make your body feel most alert and alive, healthy and vibrant? What sounds the most delicious? Now see that child as part of you, the adult. Are you honoring the physical needs of your inner child? What does your inner child tell you would give you balance and make you both happy?

Take some deep breaths. Slowly become aware of your surroundings. Take another deep breath. Notice how you feel. Do you feel more calm and serene? Does life seem more promising and inviting? Take a few minutes to write what you learned about yourself and your inner child.

If you would like further assistance in healing meditation and in healing your inner child, please contact me. I am not a therapist. I am experiencing my own healing journey and happily share what helps me.

Self Esteem Building Activities for Former Victims of Child Domestic Abuse

Are you a former victim of child domestic abuse? Do you struggle to feel good about yourself as an adult? Perhaps you hear voices in your head of names you were called, or discouraging experiences replay in your mind. How can you get past all that to feel good about yourself?

Here are some Self Esteem Building Activities just for you!

Before sharing these activities, please know that I am writing from my own experience. As a former victim of verbal and emotional child abuse, I had a lot of baggage as an adult. This was compounded by difficult marriage situations. In my second marriage, my husband sometimes treated me the way my father treated me as a child. It wasn’t until I reclaimed my self respect that I learned the proper way to treat myself. My first step was to respect and love myself.

How do we respect and love ourselves, when we don’t believe (or at least doubt) that we are worth anything?

I found my answer in the scriptures. I knew that it was a commandment of God to love HIM, and to love others (see Matthew 22:36-40). I tried to do this, but seemed to be failing miserably, especially in my own family! Then, as I searched those verses more carefully, I found a section I hadn’t paid attention to: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor AS THYSELF.” Wow! It was actually a commandment to love MYSELF!

Now, how to do that? I decided my first step was to treat MYSELF as if I were my own neighbor, my own best friend. If my best friend had a difficult day, would I criticize her? NO!!! I would encourage and help her recognize the good she did. I changed the way I talked to myself.

Second, I began to take care of my body and appearance. For me, this meant sleeping early hours. I included regular exercise as part of each day. I cut back on junk foods and began to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean protein. I dressed and groomed for each day, dressing my hair and wearing attractive clothes and makeup.

Third, I began developing my talents. I loved music, so I took voice lessons and joined a group of singers who sang at rest homes and played handbells.

Fourth, I looked for ways to serve others, such as singing. I paid better attention to the needs of my children and husband, realizing that Charity Begins at Home.

Four Self Esteem Building Activities:
1.    Treat myself as if I am my own best friend
2.    Take care of my body and appearance
3.     Develop talents

4.    Serve others, beginning at home

If you found this helpful, I would love to hear from you! Please share your experiences. If you would like additional support and ideas, feel welcome to contact me about building self-esteem.