Shelter at Home, Tip for Sanity: Nourish Yourself

I’m going to tackle a very unpopular topic today.

Choosing foods to nourish oneself as an act of self-kindness.

Facebook is crawling with memes about binging on junk food as a coping mechanism for the stress of uncertainty and the discomfort of being stuck in the house. There are also self-fat-shaming memes about the results of this behavior and pledges to count carbs and fat grams and workout harder.

I’m here to propose another way.

What if we chose our food based on the nourishment it will provide? Not the 10 minutes of comfort we feel while eating it, but the long-term results of providing our bodies with the necessary building blocks for healthy brain chemistry. What if we shopped like wise adults seeking to support our mental, emotional, and physical health rather than like teenagers who found a $50 bill on the sidewalk?

I know for an absolute fact that there is no dessert that will make forget my misery for more than a few minutes (trust me, I’ve done extensive research for decades!) and that junk food leaves me feeling crabby, bloated, jittery and achy. I’ve come to the conclusion that the rewards of brief oblivion are not worth the persistent consequences of inflammation, irritability and a weakened immune system.

I’m not talking about deprivation, martyrdom or denial. I certainly am not trying to take your sweets or snacks away! I’m merely suggesting that you take a step back and question how you’ll feel after eating that doughnut or brownie or family sized bag of chips. Can you find another, less destructive, way of soothing your frazzled nerves? Can you find a creative way to satisfy your taste buds and not overload your body’s detoxification system? Can indulgence be the exception rather than the rule?

I’m working on how to support my unique nutritional needs with the staples in my pantry and the fresh foods available locally. Nobody enjoys pretzels or ice cream more than I do, but given that I could literally die by popping into the convenience store for some, is it worth the risk? Can I find a way to satisfy myself with the dried figs in the back of the cupboard or the pumpkin butter from the farmers market? As it turns out, yes, I can!

This situation is challenging enough without having to deal with unbalanced hormones, stiff joints, and sugar crashes. Don’t think for one second that I wouldn’t rather be eating a pizza followed by freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. But I will feel much more nourished and steady after the Buddha bowl I made with oats, sliced radish, homemade arugula pesto, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Sure, you won’t be finding that on any restaurant’s menu anytime soon, but it was tasty and satisfying and comforted me on a deeper level than briefly pleasing my taste buds.

I’m not here to judge anyone. We’re all doing the best we can with this messed up situation. Rather I’m here to promote self-kindness and to encourage everyone to think about the choices they make and the long-term effects they have. Nourishing myself wisely is one of the kindest things I can do for my well-being. In this climate of uncertainty, it one of the few things I have a fair amount of control over.

And that’s why I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this cup of tea and a spoonful of pumpkin butter. And then I’m going to roast some vegetables for dinner.

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