1) Learn to listen to your body. Any time you listen intuitively to your body it can tell you exactly what you need. Food choices become natural as you discern between biological and emotional needs. This takes practice! But it is well worth the effort, and once you are highly in tune with your body, there is no looking back.
2) Make digestion a priority. A heathy digestion is a major key to vitality, for optimum absorption of nutrients is what enables your physical body to thrive. Once you develop the skill of listening to your body, you become more aware of how your body feels throughout the day. You notice when you are bloated after a meal or still hungry 2 hours later – and discomfort becomes unacceptable to you. Your digestive system is unique to you, and only you can know exactly what works for you throughout the day, week, cycle and season.
3) Get off the stimulant-depressant roller-coaster. You might have a secret desire to be an urban hipster, sipping your organic espresso every morning at the coffee shop, or a sexy semmelier with a wine stem in your hand every night – but you are killing your adrenal system. It’s not sexy and cool to be addicted. And don’t blame the “anti-oxidants.” Vitality comes *naturally,* not through adrenal-overtaxing stimulants and liver-damaging alcohol. If you’re a “coffee every morning or death” kinda gal, cut it back (the exception would be if you’re doing a shot about 10 minutes before a heavy workout). If you have a wine-glass (or alternative) in your hand every night, you are stressing your liver and severely limiting its ability to provide optimum digestive support to your small-intestine. Sick liver = sick small intestine = sick you.
4) Drink water! How much? More than you probably think. Exactly how much, science isn’t certain, and it varies per person. A couple rules to follow: Drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day, and up to .18-.20 ounces times your body weight per hour before, during and after an intense workout. “Water” includes non-caffeinated beverages. If your vitality seems low, or you are hungry after a full meal, consider how much water you have consumed (both during the current and previous day).
5) Eat fresh meals whenever possible. This means avoiding microwaves (and irradiation of your food) and tossing together fresh ingredients with their life-force intact. “Live” ingredients = prana = vitality
6) Eat seasonally. Look around you – what is growing? Human beings have always adapted to their environments; it is what allows us to thrive. If it’s mid-Winter and you’re loading up on mangos that were shipped from an opposite hemisphere, you’re consuming food that is too light for your body. In Winter, the body wants heavier, sustainable foods like meats and roots; in Summer; the body wants lighter foods, fresh picked from the earth.
7) Be a Locavore! Eat locally-sourced food whenever possible. It not only sustains your community, it’s better for your health. Think about this: the food that thrives in your community does so because it has adapted to your unique environment. What better to help you thrive in the same environment than local food that is unique to where you are.
8) Choose organic. Organic, non or minimally-processed food is full of vitality. Plants that are sprayed with pesticides and given synthetic fertilizers don’t thrive on their own. Organic food supports sustainable agriculture that protects the vitality of the planet. Note that by Organic I don’t mean just the USDA certified version. See above for an abundance of “beyond organic” food from your local farmers who can’t afford the time or expense of the Federal red tape – trust me; their food is better.
9) Eat a lot of colour. Green, Orange, Red, Blue, Yellow, Purple and mixes in between. Life is prettier when you make it a rainbow. Nature provides us with such a spectacular beauty for a reason – it’s a sign of good health.
10) Pack the veggies in. Eat a blend of raw and cooked. Your body may prefer more raw in warm weather and more cooked in winter. That’s normal and appropriate.
11) Use a green superfood powder 3X a week. How? Put some in a smoothie pre or post-workout. What goes in your smoothie? All those rainbow colors. Spinach and blueberries tastes mostly like blueberries, so fear not! Have fun experimenting.
12) Consider a plant-based protein powder. If you’re keeping your blood sugar balanced and creating vitality with rainbow smoothies packed with superfoods, you’ll want to include a high-quality protein powder. Especially when opting for a pre or post-workout smoothie designed for fast absorption.
13) Explore a wide variety of superfoods – vibrant, nutritionally dense foods with healing potential. These aren’t “supplements;” they’re real foods that you can’t find a substitute for at the grocery store. Stuff like raw cacao, maca powder, hemp seeds, marine phytoplankton, bee pollen, medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and Chaga, and so much more. Superfoods pack a vibrant punch to your vitality, pack your immune system, get your prana flowing, and keep you healthy. Look for organic superfoods from high-integrity sources.
14) Make lunch your largest meal of the day, when possible. Large meals are twice as easy to digest in the middle of the day than later at night. Save the large gourmet dinners for special occasions.
15) Always ask the question: How does this food serve me? How am I going to use this food for fuel? If you eat a huge bowl of high-carb pasta at lunch before going back to your desk job, you do your body more harm than good (that applies to the high-carb, high-cal pasta before a night of couch-surfing as well). Your digestive system can’t work with that! In contrast, a high protein, very low glycemic index meal like sliced chicken and mixed greens salad would work very well for focus at your desk.
16) Never eat or drink anything without joy. Drink a green smoothie because you love how it makes your body feel. Drink that glass of wine because it is a perfect taste-compliment to your meal and you are celebrating. Plan most of your meals for the week because it makes your life flow with ease. Eat that cupcake because my goodness that tastes delicious and makes you feel like a kid. Never choke down healthy food. Never consume alcohol when you’re stressed or depressed. Never “diet.” And never make yourself feel guilty about your choices. Learn to live consciously, and you will realize that every choice you make to provide your body with optimum vitality comes from a lesson learned.