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Nutritional health

Our body’s innate intelligence can guide food choices

If we would just get out of our body’s way, it would guide us exactly where we need to go. It knows the nourishment it needs — be it food, rest, movement, connection with others or self, and on and on.

Somewhere along the way we, as a society, have disconnected from our bodies. We look outward — to commercials, advertisements, articles in magazines, TV shows, etc., rather than inward to be told what we “need,” to be healthy, happy, strong, secure, you name it.

Here are some ways to reconnect with our selves:

Cravings

A craving can mean one of two things. It can be our body’s way of telling us that we need more of a specific nutrient. For example, craving chocolate can often be a sign that our body needs more magnesium — an essential nutrient that many of us are deficient in, particularly when we have many processed foods and/or sugar in our diets.

It can also be our body’s way of saying that we have a sensitivity to a certain food. Many people crave highly refined carbohydrates and sugar. We eat more and more and never feel truly satisfied. If you feel this way, here is my suggestion: Remove the food you “can’t live without” for two weeks. Of course you will crave it initially, but the point is to remove it from your body so your body can adjust to being more balanced and healthy without it. This may not feel easy to do at first, but if you allow yourself this time, you may be surprised to find that after just a couple of weeks, you don’t really miss it.

Sit, be still, and breathe

When you take those couple of minutes to close your eyes, take some slow, deep breaths, and focus on your breath to calm your mind, you can check in with your body more easily. You can see where there is tension, stiffness or pain. When you make this a regular practice, you will be able to “hear” what your body needs. Maybe it needs more water, or rest, or to stretch, jump, or dance. Maybe it needs some carrots or sea salt. You get the idea.

Eat foods from nature

As close to their natural state as possible is best when it comes to foods. When we eat real food — not from packages — our bodies often respond quickly with better mood, energy and overall health. Check out where some local farmers markets are. Buy foods that say 100 percent organic. Make your own version of a boxed favorite using fresh ingredients.

Move your body

Our bodies were built for movement. And until not that long ago — really within the last 100 years or so — we moved a lot more. Today our lifestyles are more sedentary and we have to plan movement by going to the gym, taking a class, etc., rather than it just being a part of our daily life. We understand that movement is necessary and essential to our overall health, but often we create a picture of what that movement is supposed to look like, e.g. going to the gym, and if we can’t fit that picture into our lives, we just don’t move that day. How about just turning on some great music and letting your body move? Don’t think about it, just do it. This is so great to do with children and partners, but is also wonderful to do even when you’re doing the dishes or doing your daily activities. If you’re watching television, get up during the commercials and run in place or do jumping jacks. You get the idea.

Our bodies are extremely adaptable. They will adapt and thank us with good health when we give them healthful nourishments listed above. Which will you try today?

Jeni Hall of Dublin is a board certified nutritional therapist practicing in the Monadnock region. Her mission is to empower you to heal your own body and keep it healthy. See www.jenihall.com, for more information.

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