If you’ve recently been bitten by the foodie bug, or are trying to bring more healthy food habits into your daily routine, doing so involves more than just choosing healthy food at the supermarket. The various habits and rituals attached to food are equally important to what you’re putting in the basket for your weekly shop, and can have a great effect on the long-term sustainability of your wellness practice. The way you approach consuming your meals, how you view food as a whole, and a couple of small rituals and habits to complement the process can make a real difference to improving your relationship with food gradually and consistently. Today, I’ll be touching on five key elements related to food that are sure to promote good health and wellness at all times.
1. Prioritise Mealtimes by Sitting Down for Dinner
This particular habit is one of many traditional rituals that have fallen by the wayside in a world driven by technological distractions. Prioritising mealtimes in a way that features an element of ceremony (like sitting down together for one meal a day with the people you live with) is a great habit to encourage everyone around the table to have a healthier relationship with food. Ancient civilisations went as far as considering mealtimes sacred times, and bringing back an element of that helps to fulfil one of our primal needs as human beings. If we don't align for meal times, when else will we?
2. Eat Slower to Improve Nutrient Absorption
Once you’ve gotten the hang of carving out thirty minutes for a meal at the table every day, it’s worth trying to eat a little slower to encourage your body in its state of “rest and digest”. By chewing your food more thoroughly you not only stay more present in the moment (which is very useful for growing your mindfulness practice), but food is broken down in a more optimal way that enhances nutrient absorption in the body. This directly contrasts how difficult it is for us to digest in fight or flight mode, which may be happening if you’re eating while standing up in between two stressful work meetings or calls.
3. Couple Food “Education” with Togetherness
This habit is more about your attitude towards food, and how you go about learning different recipes, exploring your preference, and ultimately what the things are that benefits your overall health and wellbeing. By looking at your food “education” in a way that doesn’t isolate you from the other members of your family (me against the world!),for you with your partner, friends or children in a bid to promote togetherness around the act of eating a meal or snack. Leave room for some chats and ask leading questions so that you and the other person can get the most out of the interaction, including learning from each other about ways to live better through food.
4. Substitute High Sugar Foods For Natural Alternatives
This habit goes without saying, mostly because we all know this to be true. How eager we are to implement this kind of thinking is an entirely different story, especially if our sugar consumption is slightly off the charts at this very moment. Start by substituting high sugar cereals with natural smoothies made from fresh fruit. Adding mango (or the often overlooked naartjies!) into the mix is a great idea, as both are sweet enough to curb any sugar craving and eliminate you having to reach for the Top Deck slab. The same principle applies to snacktime, where you can choose to nibble on some raisins or blueberries rather than sugary treats. This will increase your blood sugar and teach your body that it can get the same “hit” from other natural sources.
5. Recommit to Daily Healthy Eating
This particular habit is something that you can attach to your morning ritual. By waking up and recommitting to making healthy food choices every day — whether writing it down in a journal alongside your gratitude check-in, or simply telling yourself you’re recommitting in the mirror after a shower— the end result is a more consistent healthy relationship with food. Doing so is an act of commitment towards nourishing your body and encouraging others around you to do the same, both of which will lead to more energy and an improved mood to be able to tackle any “life” challenges that have to be dealt with before you lay your head down at night.
If you want to learn more about some of the other ways to promote sustainable wellness in your life, like looking at your overall health in a more holistic sense, or introducing yoga into your week, have a think about scheduling a coaching session with me, and we can jumpstart the process together.