Holiday Bill of Rights
by Evelyn Tribole
What if peace on earth could begin at the dinner table? Imagine experiencing an inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It's hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how to eat.
To help you foster inner peace with food, mind and body, consider your Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights:
1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.
3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying "no thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food.
4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.
5. You have the right to say, "No thank you," without explanation, when offered more food.
6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of "no", even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat "No, thank you, really."
7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family.
This selection was first discovered in Jean Fain's newsletter, "An Encouraging Word." Jean is the author of The Self-Compassion Diet. She has featured Evelyn's "Bill of Rights" twice in her newsletter. Evelyn Tribole is the author of Intuitive Eating.
Return to Home Page
An Exercise in Mindful Eating
by Cindy Hively
Mindfulness is simply the moment-by-moment awareness of life. But it’s not always so simple. We so easily get caught up in our own thoughts and self-talk that we are scarcely aware of life as it passes us by. This is very true of our eating. We eat meal after meal, snack after snack, barely aware of what we’re eating and how much we’re consuming.
Mindfulness is a return to paying attention to life. When we pay attention to our food---really pay attention---we begin to notice all sorts of wonderful aspects of the food, and we become aware of how much we’re putting into our bodies.
Mindful eating can both help you to build up your mindfulness meditation skills, and help you to eat a healthier diet. Try this simple exercise to promote mindful eating, adapted from Thich Nhat Hahn's book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (Bantam, 1992).
Time Required: 15-30 minutes
What You Need:
• A quiet place to eat
• An open mind
1. Choose a time and place for eating that promotes mindful eating. Try eating in a quiet, distraction-free environment. This means no eating in front of the television.
2. Before you begin eating, look down at your food. Take in what it looks like, how it smells, and think about where it came from. See if you can notice the urge to eat (e.g., your mouth watering, the feeling of hunger), before you take a bite.
3. Put a bite in your mouth. Notice how the food feels in your mouth and what it tastes like. Before you swallow, notice the things that happen in your mouth when you put food in. Notice how you salivate, notice the urge to swallow, notice the sensation of chewing.
4. As you swallow your food, notice what that feels like. How does your stomach feel now that it is one bite fuller?
5. Repeat your mindful eating for each bite until your meal is finished. Try to decide when the meal is finished based on the sensations in your body (e.g., the feeling of fullness in your belly, no more sensation of hunger) rather than on whether your plate is clean.
Simple Gracesby Ingrid-Goff MaidoffOne Thanksgiving, when my family was very young, I found myself longing for table graces that were all-inclusive. I had many friends, (including my best friend and husband) who were not comfortable with the "G" word, as they called it, and they didn't want to invoke God before eating a meal. I felt, though, that this was leaving us with an awkward silence, and we were missing the opportunity to express our gratitude and our connection to the food, to life, and to each other in a language that felt eloquent or sincere. So I took it upon myself to pen a collection which I call Simple Graces for Every Meal. Since then I have sold thousands of this little book, and received many stories of appreciation from people for whom the book has become a central family tradition. I'm happy to offer a few of the graces here, as we head into the holiday season.
Let the depth of our compassion nourish all we meet
just as the bounty at this table nourishes us.
With grateful hearts, we give thanks for the beauty at this table; for love, harmony, wisdom, and for the abundant plenty. May these blessings light our days and may their energies radiate through us to all beings in the world.
With joy and reverence we give thanks for the wondrous power of growing things, and for the sustenance our lives receive from the beauty of the earth
and the fellowship of all beings.
Let us savor our days as we savor this meal.
Let us linger to enjoy the bounty of each season.
Let us live to declare we find life itself delicious.
Return to Home Page
All graces are by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff from her book Simple Graces for Every Meal
© 1994, 2008
Ingrid Goff-Maidoff lives a poetic and love-filled life with her husband and two daughters on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her writing reflects a woman of cultivated awareness and sensuous spirit. Through Sarah’s Circle Publishing, Ingrid has quietly produced beautiful hand-sewn books of poetry and inspiration that have been delighting the public for over a dozen years.
Although she does give the occasional talk, poetry reading, and Universalist sermon, it is through her books, her website, the Artisan's Shows of Martha's Vineyard, her "Portions of Joy" e-newsletter, and now her on-line Journal, TENDING JOY, that Ingrid reaches the world.
by Linda Carrington
First and Foremost: A Disclaimer
I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a nutritionist or any kind of expert on nutrition. While I have studied nutrition rather extensively, both formally and informally, and I am a near-lifelong vegetarian and vegan-in-progress, I am presenting this program simply because I have found that, with the addition of green smoothies and other whole foods to my diet, I have been in better overall health than I have since I developed a serious, disabling case of ME/CFS in 2004.
Though I can’t explain it scientifically, (even if my former science teacher self thinks I should be able to), here is what I know: This past year has been one of the most stressful of my life. Normally, that would have left me bed-bound and sick with swollen glands, sore throats, fevers, flu-like symptoms and major fatigue and weakness. But, after being forced by circumstance in May of 2010 to increase my fruit and vegetable intake, largely in the form of green smoothies, I have had zero… count ‘em… zero traditional ME/CFS crashes. I can only attribute this to my greatly improved diet and my three new best buddies: green smoothies and a couple of pretty impressive blenders!
So, What IS a Green Smoothie?
A Green Smoothie is typically a blended concoction made primarily with nutrient-rich and oh-so-healthy fresh greens and/or other vegetables combined with fruit.
• Nutrient Density: A green smoothie can provide a full day’s worth of fruit and veggie nutrition in one easy to digest drink. Good digestion begins in the mouth, and as stated at http://www.greensmoothie.com/blend/green.php , “A blender is a perfect set of teeth.” Give your digestive system a head start with a gift of smooth green goodness every day!
• Energy Savings: It is quick and easy! I find it much easier to toss a bit of this or that in my blender, mix it up, drink it down, and be done with it than to hang out in the kitchen cooking for any length of time.
• Nutrient Bio-availability and Blood Sugar Stability: By blending your fruits and vegetables, you help break down the plants’ cell walls in advance of them hitting your mouth, giving you a head start in the nutrient absorption process. By using the complete food, fiber and all, you slow down digestion of fruit sugars that can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes.
• Rehydration: We are often more dehydrated than we think, especially after a night’s sleep. Having a green smoothie every morning is a great way to re-hydrate and nourish yourself with green, water-filled goodness to start your day.
• Portability: You can mix a day’s worth and bring some along in a bottle for later use.
• Easy Clean-up. No washing a lot of dishes after! Rinse your knife, blender, and cup with a couple of drops of dish soap, and you’re done!
But What About Protein?
There are many schools of thought about protein and what kind and how much is enough, and you will have to decide for yourself what is right for you. But, you might be surprised to learn that your body can do very well (some would suggest far better) with less protein than we Americans have traditionally been taught. You might also be surprised to learn that plant foods are full of protein. Most vegetables have around 10% protein, while spinach and broccoli are about 40% protein. The big winners in the plant protein contest, weighing in at 58-90% protein are seaweeds (algaes) like spirulina and chlorella.
For more on the protein content of various plant foods, see: http://www.vegparadise.com/protein.html, http://www.soystache.com/protein.htm, and USDA Nutrient Database: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl .
• Start with more fruit, fewer veggies, and slowly reverse that as your palette adjusts to new and interesting flavors and textures.
• Start with already established recipes from books and websites, some of which are listed below.
• Vary your greens and fruits daily. Your body needs nutritional variety in order to stay healthy. While it may be easy to make the same smoothie every day, real health benefits are seen when you rotate your recipes and try new combinations. The more variety you get in, the more likely you’ll be feeding your cells the nutrients they need.
• Add sweeteners if needed. I have a fondness, when my smoothies need to be just a bit more sweet, for flavored Wisdom Naturals Sweetleaf liquid stevia. I also find that adding a bit of good, natural organic lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, powdered licorice, or other natural, unsweetened juices and spices help make a recipe-gone-wrong more palatable.
• Start with spinach. Adding spinach to almost anything does little to alter its taste. Add more and more spinach and when you are ready, move on to other, potentially more bitter greens like kale and collards. Note: Removing the stems of large-stemmed greens like kale can cut down on the bitterness.
• Experiment! Start with a basic smoothie recipe like the ones offered below, and then play with adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to the mix. I have successfully used cooked sweet potatoes, cooked squashes, cucumbers, carrots, cooked and raw beets, tomatoes, dandelion greens, and more to my smoothies. Sometimes it works, sometimes, it doesn’t. But it makes me feel like Harry Potter in Potions Class when I experiment, which is pretty darn fun, I must say!
• If you feel like you simply must have more protein, feel free to supplement with one of the many products out there on the market. Lately, I’ve been using Garden of Life Raw Meal if I feel like I’m not eating very well and need a boost.
• Sensitive to Fruit Sugars? Have candida or blood sugar issues??
According to Tera Warner, the Green Smoothie Queen and founder of the Raw Divas, a group of diverse women dedicated to spreading the word about nutrition and healthy living, blood sugar issues can be aggravated by having too much fat in the diet. So, first cut back on fat (it’s a good thing to do for all of us, really!) Then add more veg and less fruit to your smoothies. If that isn’t helping, substitute sweet fruit with non-sweet fruits like cucumber, tomato, avocado, etc. Also try sub-acid (more alkaline) fruits like apples, pears, and berries instead of bananas, mangos, and other highly sweet and/or acidic fruits.
The Psychology of Good Nutrition
Change is hard.
Change is hard.
Change is hard, but so worth it!
• Start small and work up. You can succeed with making changes in your life on a gradient, not all at once. Moving too quickly into new habits can leave you feeling stressed out, deprived, and discouraged and could result in binges on less healthy foods.
• Leave perfectionism behind. Any improvement is good improvement, no matter how small! Pat yourself on the back for each and every healthy choice you make as opposed to beating yourself up about “falling off the wagon.” (Top Secret Info: There is no wagon!!)
• Timing is important: We are most likely to follow through on our good intentions early in the day, when we are not tired, stressed, or over stimulated. I love how each morning, I am able to get a full day’s serving of both fruits and vegetables into one
basic breakfast drink. Anything I do on top of that is worth bonus points for my body.
• Establish a routine. Arrange your environment for success. Have your blender out and ready to go at all times. Pre-wash and store your fruits and greens in a handy, easy to grab spot. Keep your fresh ingredients on your upper refrigerator shelves, not buried below in the crisper where they will just turn into compost.
15 Fabulous Green Smoothie Combinations to Get You Started
Add water as needed to blend. You may want to start with about 70% fruit and 30% greens, with your goal being to reduce fruit and increase greens. Work up to 30% fruit and 70% greens.
Here's a selection of Green Smoothie “recipes” chiefly from Frederic Patenaude and the Green For Life
book by Victoria Boutenko (http://www.greensmoothie.com/blend/green.php
Always blend the fruit first –add water as needed.
1) 2-3 cups any greens of your choice, 2 cups papaya, 2 oranges, 3 dates (soak dates for a few hours ahead for best results).
2) 1 handful lettuce leaves, 1 handful mint, 4 bananas, 1/2 cup water.
3) Winter Smoothie - 1 cup organic frozen berries (any kind), 2 cups fresh spinach, 1/4 inch fresh ginger, water.
4) Spring Smoothie - fresh orange juice, ripe bananas, frozen mangoes, and several large leaves of kale (extra frozen mango gives lovely thick consistency you eat with a spoon).
5) 1/2 bunch romaine lettuce, 1 cup strawberries, 2 bananas, water.
6) 4-5 kale leaves, 4 apples, 1/2 lemon juiced, water.
7) 2 big handfuls mixed baby greens, 2 pears, 2 mangoes, 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries.
8) Choc-mint – 2 cups spinach, 10-12 mint leaves, 3 bananas, 2 Tbs. carob powder, 1 cup water.
9) 1 handful of spinach, 2 stalks of celery, 2 bananas, 2 pears, 1 apple, 1 cup water.
10) 1 small handful of spinach, 2 cups arugula, 2-3 mangoes, 1 cup water.
11) 1/2 head romaine lettuce, 1 small pineapple, 1 large mango, 1-inch fresh ginger.
12) 1 handful wild greens (e.g. dandelion), 1 small handful mint leaves, 3 cups honeydew melon.
13) 3-4 stalks celery, 2 ripe persimmons, 1 banana.
14) 1 handful chard leaves, 5-6 kale leaves, 3 large bananas, 1 cup water.
15) 1 handful parsley, 3 cups of peeled papaya.Return to Home Page
Nourishment: Mind, Body, and Spirit
by Sue Ingebretson
It’s easy to see the mind-body-spirit connection in healing practices such as yoga and tai chi. The purposeful movements blend into an experience beneficial to the body and soul.
In other activities, this connection might not be as apparent. For example, do you think of mealtime as a mind-body-spirit experience?
For those who consume today’s Standard American Diet (S.A.D), the likely answer is no. Most processed foods end up with few, if any, of the vitamins and minerals inherent in their primary ingredients. It’s easy to see what processed foods lack. It’s also easy to ignore what they have in abundance. Various sweeteners, salts, artificial flavors, dyes, and chemical preservatives/additives top the lists. Is this nutrition?
Food is meant to nourish the soul as well as fuel the body.
Living foods such as leafy greens are rich in nature’s nutrients. Available in wide varieties, try broccoli, kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, collards, arugula, mesclun, spinach, etc. Experiment with preparation and rotate an assortment of greens into your daily meals. Synonymous with life and vitality, look for leafy greens to provide you with a living source of energy. Greens are rich in folate (think foliage) and not only provide a healing abundance of fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients, but they also help the body to detoxify, improve circulation, and elevate the mood.
For many, the body is starved for nutrition. Malnourishment runs rampant in today’s hurried world, and the introduction of whole, healthy, nutrient-dense foods brings welcomed relief. Transitioning mealtime from a quick grab and go, to a meditative, mindful event isn’t as complicated as it may seem. It’s simply a matter of focus. Focus on the types of foods you choose, the way you prepare them, and your surroundings. Turn off distractions such as TV’s, radios, and computers. Solitude is a good thing. Focus on developing a healthy relationship – with yourself, others, and with food.
Learn to focus and quiet the mind before your meals. Listen to your body. Are you hungry, fatigued, anxious? Focus on each bite and how your food makes you feel. This focus will be your greatest teacher.
Feeding the body at a core level takes an intentional approach. It takes planning and purpose. What foods will you choose to fuel your body? With some simple planning, you too can transition your mealtimes into a healthy and healing mind-body-spirit experience.Editor's Note: Sue Ingebretson is one of the Guest Mentors for Session 2 for "Buddha Chick Training for Women with Health Challenges," beginning Sept. 12. We are very excited to have her with us!Return to Home Page
Sue is a writer, speaker, health coach and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at California State University, Fullerton. When Sue found her health spiraling out of control, she wanted to know why. Her tenacious research into the causes of chronic illness led her through a maze of traditional and nontraditional healing methods. She eventually connected the dots and found wellness. Her book, FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness,
details her own journey from illness to wellness. It is a half diary/half tutorial guide that exposes the facts, fibs, and fairytales of failing health and offers practical solutions.www.RebuildingWellness.com