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Nutritional Health: Choose to choose more consciously

Tis the season of overindulgence. Typically people spend more money and eat more food this time of year than any other. Why? Because that’s just what we do. What if, instead of doing what we’ve always done and then looking back and asking, “Why did I do that?” and feeling bad about it, we make our choices more consciously?

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), that the vast majority of the foods you eat need to nourish your body. If you can honestly say that at least 80 percent of your diet is healthful, nutrient-dense and nourishing, then simply enjoy the 20 percent that may not be serving any part of your body other than your taste buds. Enjoy it and move on. When you know you are going to partake of yummy stuff that may not be so good for you, make sure to take extra good care of yourself by eating as many nutritious foods throughout your day as you can.

Bone broth, for example, can be made anytime with any bones, including those of birds, beef and even egg shells. This would be an excellent choice for daily intake. A nice big salad with a simple dressing of highest quality olive oil and a splash of lemon or lime juice or vinegar would help counter-balance those sweets. Also remember to drink plenty of plain ol’ water.

We always have choices. Starting today, let’s choose to choose.

What does that mean? It means that, when you reach for that cookie, drink, chocolate, etc., you are going to be aware that you are doing it. I’m not saying, don’t reach for it. This isn’t about being “good” or “bad” or feeling guilty. In fact, I am trying to show how we can remove the word “guilt” from our language when it comes to food. By being truly aware of what you are eating — before you eat it and while you eat it — you can avoid negative feelings after you eat it.

Recognize that food can nourish and support our bodies or it can hurt them. It’s really that simple. When we choose to eat something that can hurt our bodies, it doesn’t make us bad people.

There is a difference between grabbing and eating without realizing what you are doing, and choosing to partake of something. The difference is awareness. Before reaching for something, create the habit of taking a slow, deep breath and asking yourself, “Is this what my body really needs right now?” The answer may surprise you.

There are many reasons why we overdo it at this time of year. Just the stress of the season can cause us to reach for those comfort foods that we love so much. Not to mention there are so many of these goodies around. Another reason we keep reaching for more and more of a certain food (think of carbohydrates like cookies or chips) is because there are very few actual nutrients in those foods and our bodies need nutrients to be healthy. Our brain says to our body, “Nope, not enough nutrients,keep eating more until we get what we need.” The problem is, with foods lacking nutrients, you could eat barrels full and your body would still not be truly satisfied. I’ll get into this topic more on another day, but for now, know that there is a reason why we crave more and more of certain foods.

So, if you are going to indulge in something this season, make it your choice to do so. Enjoy it thoroughly, and then let it go.

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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