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  • Writer's pictureFaith Hakesley

Feeding Your Body and Mind

+JMJ+ I want so much for you to feel good, healthy, and as strong as possible and so want to remind you that what you eat affects your mind and body.

The stress relieving foods listed here (from Dr. Josh Axe) are just some examples of how your body can affect your mental health.

Remember that good nutrition isn’t always about weight loss or looking a certain way. It’s also about making you *feel* better. Believe me, I have to remind myself of this all the time!

What you feed your body also feeds your brain.

If you are looking to make positive changes in your life, focus on healthy habits and foods that help to reduce inflammation in particular. Doing so can help you to create drastic positive changes in your physical and mental health.

And, no, reaching for that donut or grabbing takeout or a microwaveable dinner from time to time doesn’t make you a “bad” person! Do, however, try to use convenience foods and treats in moderation and be aware of how they make you feel afterwards. If you find that a particular food or ingredient makes you feel worse (increases in joint pain, foggy brain, intestinal discomfort, etc), try eliminating it completely for awhile and see how you feel.

Stay consistent and you will feel and see positive changes in your mind, body, and spirit.

To give you an example, a little while back I cut all sugars and gluten from my diet (except for certain fruit) for a period of time. There were a number of reasons for my doing this (heart health being one of them). As someone who struggles with a sweet tooth, the first few days were not pleasant (I actually felt fatigued and ill) but once my body adjusted itself, I had never felt so amazing. It was as though a switch had been flipped and I slowly found myself with extra energy, a mental clarity I had never experienced before, a better overall attitude, my sleep was better, and many of my usual aches and pains had been greatly diminished. This experience showed me just how addicting and harmful some food ingredients (like sugar) can be. Nowadays I do enjoy treats (I love to bake - it’s therapeutic for me) but it is always with the knowledge of how it will affect me physically and emotionally if I go overboard. I always enjoy figuring out how I can modify a recipe to make it lighter so I can still do my baking but do it in a healthier way. Its all about moderation!

I am far from being an expert on nutrition, but I have learned so much over the course of my journey and now know what works for me (even though consistently and discipline are admittedly difficult-always a work in progress). I will never forget my first meeting with a psychotherapist a few years back. One of her first questions was, “What are your eating habits like?” She then went on to ask about my sleep and exercise habits. My therapist was covering all the bases, everything that can contribute to better mental health. Good nutrition, sufficient sleep, and exercise may not solve all your problems, but they can certainly help!

By the way, if you’re trying to get more physically active, I highly recommend checking out Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home programs. There are several available for free on YouTube. Her workouts honestly changed my life for the better (I talk about it a little bit in my book).

Your mind, body, and spirit are connected. You may think that something like diet isn’t related to your mental health but it most certainly is. Just as the things you allow yourself to ingest on an emotional level can either help or hurt you (for example, pornography destroys the mind and soul and, as a result, can have a negative affect on your physical health as well), what you eat can either fuel or destroy your body. A well-fueled body means a well-fueled brain!

You can’t add watered down or yucky fuel to your car engine and expect it to function at its finest. The same is true for our bodies, minds, and souls.

Learn to listen to your body and do what works best for you.

There is so much information out there especially regarding inflammatory foods (sugar is one example) and so I encourage you to please do some research. If you’re looking for a place to start, Dr. Josh Axe and Dr. Mark Hyman have some helpful information out there. I don’t always agree 100% with their methods but they are very knowledgeable about nutrition and taking a more natural approach health and wellness. Vitamins can be helpful, exercise is great and something we should all do but in the end nothing can cancel out an unhealthy diet.

If you are trying to create good habits and changes in your health and well-being, don’t be afraid to pray about it and ask God, a saint, and your guardian Angel for help. You’ve been given this one earthly life and your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It’s okay (and good and holy!) to take care of yourself.

What you feed your body also feeds your mind and soul. I encourage you to know your worth and make wise choices that lead you to greater overall health and wellness.

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