What is Healthy Eating? Part 1

Could it be grilled chicken, broccoli and rice? Tofurky on Thanksgiving? A raw diet? No carbs? No fat? Pure juice? What kind of food does the phrase “healthy eating” conjure up?
So What Is Good Food?

But you and I know that there’s more to it, than that…right? In fact, I steer clear of some of the things above! We know that good food is yummy, pretty, and satisfying to all the senses, not to mention supportive to our bodies…

…And that health has more to do with the mind than people give it credit for.

A Nutritionist’s Big Health Idea:

In a parenting class offered by my kids’ school, a nutritionist, Julie Metos, came from the University of Utah to speak to us about nutrition and children. She’s director of the graduate nutrition program and she was wonderful. Gave facts and applicable information for parents but what left the biggest impression on me is this:

"Nutrition is more than just nutrients; it is nourishment for the whole being."

At the time I was in one of my modes where I read almost obsessively about nutrition, the latest science, what I should be doing, and enforcing all of this on my family.

But how healthy is it to have someone micromanaging your food? I know I wouldn’t like that. “Have some chicken… don’t forget your broccoli, do this, do that..."

Since then, I’ve lightened up a little bit. Can we/I be better? Sure, without a doubt, always room for improvement. But now I look at not only “healthy food” and “balanced meals” but at the whole experience of healthy eating. Am I teaching my children what is healthy, respecting their little bodies, their autonomy, their right to decide what to put in their mouths, or do I have to control everything? Do I teach by example, giving them time and opportunity to try new things?

Now, I do. I teach them, involve them, and love them, even when they haven’t eaten their broccoli, though they normally do!

Women, Be Sensual & Eat Well:

How about applying this to some us? Here’s a quick round of questions. Let’s play with our senses shall we?

Think about your absolute favorite food, or one of them. What are you in the mood for right now?

Right now. What is it? Can you smell it? Take a sniff, a good one. Mmmmm. What kind of memories does this smell bring up? Yum! Do you want to eat it? Notice what that smell alone does for you.

Now imagine that food right in front of you. What does it look like? Is it colorful? Is it a golden brown? A rich dark brown (like chocolate perhaps?) Does it combine with other colors, does it just look perfect? Again how does it make you feel? What do you associate with it? Do you allow yourself to eat it? When?

Now what does it taste like? When did you first taste it? Is it warm or cold? Is it savory or sweet? Spicy? What’s your favorite part?

Ok, now touch…do you eat it with your fingers? Does it crunch in your mouth or melt right away? How does it feel on your tongue? What do you like about the way it feels?

Now…listen. What do you hear? A sizzle? A snap, crackle, pop? A crunch? What’s that sound you so look forward to when you eat this?

…. Just think about it….

Health is in the Mind:

After that round of food sensuality thinking of our favorite foods, how do you feel? What kind of images, feelings, memories, places, or people come up?

Be honest here. No one judges these things but you…and maybe you shouldn’t either.

Besides opening my eyes to what I want from food–that is...comfort, security, good memories, happy times, a reassurance that life is good–this exercise allows me to practice enjoying food. It helps me be in the moment with food and overall, it helps me to understand what satisfaction is.

Eating well is not just about what you eat, but how you eat. So ask yourself if your food is yummy, pretty, satisfying to the senses and supportive to your body? You deserve only the best, nothing less!

If it’s not one or any of those things (heaven forbid!) not to worry. Here’s a mental trick:

1) Give yourself permission at a certain time, say for example, Saturdays or once or twice a week.
2) Then enjoy it, love it, LIVE IT! Really feel it with all your senses.
3) When you’ve done this, realize that you’re satisfied (…not stuffed! There’s a difference).

The point here is to stop looking at food as inherently good or bad. It’s just food, really. “Healthy food” is something different for everyone, and we’ll get more into that, but for today just say “yes! I’ll have that later”, wait till the right time, and enjoy that yummy food! Remember that nutrition is supposed to nurture, so keep a balanced perspective.
It’s Your Turn

I’m curious, what food did you imagine? What kind of nourishment did it give you? Do you agree that healthy is different for everyone? Help another gal and share what works for you here in the comments or on our blog!

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Anna Johnson is the passionate founding editor of KindredVine.com, the place for modern women to find connection and peace in a disconnected society; through tips, stories, and experiences of everyday things from other women, together we create better health and a better life for women one step at a time. KindredVine focuses on real food, natural living, positivity, tips for smoother days, and emotional health. The goal is to give women confidence and empowerment that they can trust themselves and love themselves. She teaches daily gratitude practices as well as easy techniques and applicable tips for health and self-development one step at a time.

Prior to founding KindredVine.com, Elizabeth focused solely on her family often leaving her in darkness, not knowing who she was or if what she was doing was right. Today, thanks to the positive influence of mentors and friends, she lives with confidence, positivity, and gratitude, putting herself first so she can then be able to share her love with those around her. She is now on a mission to share that with others. She also intends to give back by using KindredVine as a platform to help women and children in need around the world.

Elizabeth currently lives in Salt Lake City, where she also writes for www.utahfamily.com, owns up to her own health & wellness, eats real food, dances in the kitchen and can’t wait for ski season to begin!