If you listened to my very first podcast episode, I told you why self-care was important. There are so many ways to do self-care that I could talk about it until you were tired of hearing it. There is one thing that we have to do every day which gives you an opportunity to engage in self-care. That thing is eating.
Not only does eating keep us alive (thank you food!), but it is also a source of pleasure for many reasons. For example, food tastes good (or at least it should anyway) and it gives us a chance to spend time with family and friends, have a picnic at the beach, and so forth.
But one of the greatest things that food can do for you is help you stay healthy (or at least healthier). Eating good foods that provide your body with nutrition is one of the easiest ways to engage in self-care. The typical Western diet is rife with processed foods, sugar (the big baddie!), and all kinds of chemicals and preservatives. No wonder we eat and then feel hungry an hour later!
You are not a stupid person. You know you need to eat less junk and more plants. But a problem I sometimes run into with clients is that they WANT to eat healthier, but veggies just taste gross. This is especially true for people who grew up having to choke down veggies because they were not prepared in a way that packed in a bunch of flavors. I cannot tell you how many times growing up that I cut a boiled brussels sprout in half and swallowed that whole because I was going to barf if I had to chew that damn thing. As a result, I grew up thinking that I hated vegetables (I still do hate brussels sprouts). I am glad to say that I was wrong!
The truth is that you can overcome a taste aversion to food by exposing yourself to it, AND preparing it in a way that is delicious. For example, cooked broccoli is gross to me, but raw broccoli florets cut up into a salad or hidden in a smoothie are totally ok. Cooked spinach is gross unless I put it in something like a quiche, but I love it raw in place of lettuce. If you need to smother something in cheese in order to choke it down- do that. Over time you can reduce the cheese until you can tolerate the food without it drowning in something unhealthy.
Do it however you need to do it in order to get closer to a place of healthy eating. There are also tons of free recipes online. Places like Pinterest, AllRecipes, RecipeBox, and Yummly have great recipes on their sites, and their smart phone apps make learning new recipes even more convenient. Will you learn to love all veggies? Nope, and that is OK. As long as you increase your veggie intake from where you are now, you have made progress. Also, you might not feel full for long after increasing your veggie intake. This is because your body might be having a sugar withdrawal. Protein will go a long way in helping you to get accustomed to the new way of eating. It won’t take long before a good healthy meal makes you feel full for longer, your body just needs to relearn to eat right.
Water is another problem child in my consulting business. People say water tastes gross, and I used to be one of them. The truth is, it only tasted gross because my taste buds have become accustomed to sweet drinks, and compared to those water was booooooooring and flavorless. Now I crave a glass of water. Start by adding one glass of water per day. Flavor it with lemon juice if you need to have some flavor. Over time, start replacing one unhealthy drink with water. It won’t take long before your body is craving it, and it tastes great.
I wish you all good health!