What Does a Well Nourished Body Feel Like?

How do you feel during the day? Some of you don’t feel well and you’re probably looking for ways to feel better, but I’m sure there are a lot of you that would tell me you feel fine. You may wish you were a few pounds lighter, or had a little more perk in your mornings or afternoons, didn’t get that pesky cold every winter, or could avoid taking that prescription for this or that, but those things are normal and you feel fine.

Have you ever considered what GREAT feels like?

We’ve become used to comparing ourselves with a rather unhealthy average which leads us to believe that conditions like fatigue, overweight, poor sleep, PMS, stomachaches, headaches, regular colds and flu, allergies, asthma, etc. are normal and as long as we only have a few of these things, we’re fine.

When I hear symptoms like these, I don’t see them as normal, I see them as your body’s signal to look deeper into its chemistry and work out the kinks. Our bodies are strong and incredibly resilient, but give us subtle signals when things are out of balance that can turn into the loud cries of chronic disease when left unattended.

Many of you have goals of your own – you’re using diet, exercise and lifestyle strategies to help you feel better, to help you feel fine. My goal for you is to feel better than fine. Through nourishing your body with foods that specifically support you, I want you to feel great.

When you have a well-nourished body, you…

  1. Are in control. This means that you choose foods based on their quality and function in your body – foods that will nourish you and leave you feeling your best. You’ll conquer your cravings; not by sheer determination, but by regularly giving your body the nutrition it desires so you’ll stop craving “quick fixes” like fried foods and sweets. Making food choices based on cravings or convenience is a thing of the past.
  2. Maintain good energy throughout the day without the use of stimulants like caffeine or sugar. My hope for you is to supply your body with the mood and energy-boosting qualities of real foods in order to reduce fatigue, improve sleep, and keep you in good spirits all day. I’m not against the occasional cup of coffee, but when you can’t get out of bed in the morning or get through the afternoon without it, that coffee or sugar is controlling you. See #1; coffee isn’t in control – you are.
  3. Experience Smooth Digestion. A nourishing meal should leave you feeling satisfied, yet light and energetic. The idea of needing to unbutton your pants or take a nap after a meal doesn’t exist in your day. You don’t have to suffer from gas, bloating, indigestion, reflux, constipation, diarrhea or fatigue after your meals. Meals should be life-giving, not energy-draining.
  4. Maintain a healthy body composition without counting calories or feeling deprived. Diets that are too restrictive or remove food groups completely aren’t sustainable over the long term. They’ll leave you with strong cravings, your body’s cry for vital nutrients. Yes, your meals and snacks will look different than they used to, but they will be constructed to maintain a healthy body over your lifetime rather than achieve a certain number on the scale. Your meals should satisfy you.
  5. Love food and enjoy eating. Understand that food is sacred; it sustains life. You may find yourself spending more time planning and preparing meals. That’s okay. When you understand the far-reaching effects of nourishing yourself well, you’re happy to give a little extra love and attention to what goes into your body. You have a healthy appetite and find meals that are satisfying and delicious to you. You don’t have to sacrifice taste for health. In fact, you may find healthy foods to be even more delightful!

Nourishing yourself well is a process of education and experimentation in which you answer your body’s subtle signals with real nourishment. Many of you may be eating all the “right” foods, but still don’t feel great. Each individual is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Learning what’s best for you takes time. In fact, it’s a lifelong process where we become increasingly aware of how to achieve balance in our body. I’ve heard from many older men and women who tell me they continue to feel better and better every year – even better than they felt in their twenties!

I encourage you to remember these 5 markers of a well nourished body and challenge yourself to find ways to achieve each goal. These are goals I have for myself as well, so I look forward to partnering with you on this journey!

This post can be seen at the following blog carnivals: Fresh Bites Friday, Fat Tuesday, Strut Your Stuff Saturdays, Monday Mania, Better Mom Mondays, Inspire Me Monday and Traditional Tuesdays. Hop on over to check out some other posts you might enjoy!

Lacto-Fermentation

Though colder, snuggle-up weather appears to have arrived, we are still appreciating the bounty of the year’s harvest here in California. Now’s our chance to stock up our freezer, fridge and pantry with local, organic produce before the farmer’s markets run slim or the grocery store gives way to less nutritious produce, picked too early and shipped too far.

One of my favorite ways to preserve food is through the artistic process of lacto-fermentation. This practice maintains the flavor of vegetables and fruits beautifully, while improving their nutritional worth with lovely, life-giving beneficial bacteria.

Lacto-Fermented foods can:

  • Encourage healthy digestion
  • Optimize gut flora (in the same manner as yogurt or probiotics)
  • Assist in detoxification
  • Lengthen the shelf life of foods without the use of harmful preservatives

The basic process of fermentation goes like this: take shredded or chopped veggies (like cabbage for sauerkraut), and submerge them under liquid or the vegetables’ own juices, always with added salt. Salt helps draw out the liquid from the vegetables as well as inhibits the growth of unwanted bacteria. Whey can be added to speed up the process and ensure a consistently successful ferment. The mixture is sealed in an airtight container (like a glass Mason jar) where the naturally present bacteria work their magic at room temperature for 3-5 days. The final result will be tangy, soft and delicious. Once fermented to your liking, the veggies are ready to be eaten or stored in the refrigerator, slowing down the fermentation process and aging your ferment to perfection for up to 8 months. (Source: Weston A. Price Foundation)

Ferments take time, but little effort. Trading some common condiments for a homemade, lacto-fermented version is a great first step in upgrading your daily routine. Consider switching from store-bought ketchup or mayonnaise to a fermented version. It takes a little preparation, but once it’s done, you’ll have a nourishing item to add to each meal in your fridge for up to 8 months.

Recipes:

Sauerkraut

Salsa Verde

Ketchup

Apricot Butter

Mayonnaise

A Recipe for Quick Salsa

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Transfer salsa into the Mason jar.
  2. Stir in whey with a spoon. You will need 1Tbsp. whey per cup of salsa.
  3. Cover jar with lid and let ferment on the counter for 2-3 days.
  4. The salsa is ready to eat after 2-3 days and can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 months.
  • If you need some instant gratification, Bay-Area locals can find raw, lacto-fermented sauerkraut at their local farmer’s market from Farmhouse Culture.
  • Have favorite ferments of your own? Know of a local source for raw sauerkraut? Let us know on Facebook!

“God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

This post can be seen at the following blog carnivals: Traditional Tuesdays and Tuesday Time-Out. Hop on over to check out some other posts you might enjoy!