Self-Care Challenge Month 2: Diet & Nutrition

Last month I embarked on a Self-Care Challenge and invited you to join me. You can join at any time by reading the posts, contributing feedback in our Glass Half Full Facebook group, and using the Health Storylines online tool.

I’ve been practicing Self Care for years without even realizing it. Years ago, before I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease, I began to experiment with my diet. I didn’t necessarily have a bad diet but I often felt bloated, experienced abdominal cramps, and probably had what we now know to be irritable bowel syndrome.

I can’t recall what the impetus was but it happened over 30 years ago. I gave up eating beef. Within a year or two I was no longer eating any animal flesh and called myself a lacto-ovo vegetarian (plant-based diet with dairy/eggs). My bloating disappeared. My cramps were intermittent but I still had that occasional nervous stomach.

A diet is really a dynamic concept. It shouldn’t be fixed, i.e. eating the same foods every day. The seasons change and there are different foods to be consumed aligned with the season. Our bodies change. We continue to learn more about food, how food is prepared, nutrients and micronutrients. As I’ve learned more about food and nutrition over the years, I continue to tweak my diet.

Little changes can have a huge impact. When I started going for acupuncture treatments, 15 or so years ago, I was asked about my diet by the practitioner. No Western-trained physician had ever spent much time talking with me about my diet. Even when I complained of GI problems. I won’t even attempt to claim any real knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) but there is a long history of food = medicine. The first change I made during my course of TCM treatments was giving up that big glass of orange juice I started each day with. That cold sugar hit was not welcomed by my belly.

I’ve learned so much about food over the years and if I shared it, this would become the longest blog post in history. But, that’s not what I want to do. My diet & nutrition journey is likely different from yours. Becoming a vegetarian has helped me, yet it’s not the only way to eat a well-balanced diet. There are plenty of vegetarians that eat poorly and plenty of omnivores that eat well.

In the next month I will post in the Facebook group…mostly factoids from various nutrition newsletters I read. Here’s the Self-Care Challenge for YOU:

  • Become aware of what you’re eating, how much of it, and how often. The best way to do this is with a Food Diary. Using the online Health Storylines tool, you can keep track of your daily intake using the Food Diary feature.
  • Knowing what you already know about good foods and beverages & bad foods and beverages, each week select one bad food to omit for a week. And try to eat a new food — something plant-based. I’ll help you with suggestions.

Remember, small steps in making health behavior changes are the key. Good luck!


Ayurveda: Moderation is the Key

Shaaranya Geetanjali Chakraborty’s health journey includes many stops along the way before finding Ayurveda. Not only did the ancient tradition of medicine cure her of chronic constipation and eczema but it changed the course of her career. Shaaranya is a graduate of Vedika Global founded by Acharya Shunya, scholar of the Vedic Sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta. You can learn more about Shaaranya’s work here.

For more information about Ayurveda, check out Acharya’s book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy.

 


AIDS, activism, gut health, micro-organisms & role models: A conversation with Sandor Katz

Sandor Katz has been living with AIDS for over 20 years. In this episode he talks about his early activism, getting back to nature, and his passion for fermented foods.

You can learn more about the wonderful world of micro-organisms through Sandor’s books — Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation — as well as his website with links to his YouTube videos.


Food = Medicine (2): The Veggie Queen

This is a continuation of the last podcast episode exploring how food can be the best medicine. In this episode I spoke with Jill Nussinow, The Veggie Queen, at the Farm to Fermentation Festival. Jill is a Registered Dietician and author of cookbooks and DVDs. Her most recent book is Vegan Under Pressure: Perfect Vegan Meals Made Quick and Easy in Your Pressure Cooker.

This podcast is for anyone interested in adding more plant-based dishes to their diet or is curious about fermented foods.

 


Food = Medicine (1)

This is the first of perhaps several episodes to explore how food = medicine for a variety of people with different chronic health conditions. In this episode I speak with Retired Navy Lieutenant Laura Root and Edibell Stone, LPC & health coach about their respective diets.

Edibell strongly recommends a book that’s inspired her — The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace — and finds great plant-based recipes on this website.


Yoga

I can’t remember when I started doing yoga. I may have tried it for the first time during my college years in New York. Or, an introductory class I took in the late 80s in Fort Lauderdale. That is my earliest memory of doing yoga postures, or asanas, in a classroom environment.

I did start doing the seated lotus position when I was very young. Maybe all children can do this but I continued doing it and now it’s easy to maneuver into. It’s comforting to fold my legs into a pretzel.

But, I digress.

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Brain Health

One of the great advantages to being a consultant and having time flexibility is the chance to attend daytime events. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Brain Health Symposium at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club. Seven highly-qualified and fascinating guest speakers each presented about an area related to brain health. I’ll provide some of the highlights but I encourage you to visit the Commonwealth website to listen to a podcast if anything piques your interest.

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Self-Management 101

I was way into Self-Management before I knew anything about the term. My earliest memory of being in touch with how my body felt and trying to do something about it was in college. I’d spent most of my childhood feeling bloated after meals. I did love my mother’s cooking but dinner was the heaviest meal of the day and usually included some type of meat. I thought feeling like a beached whale was normal.

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