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7 Ways to Eat Consciously and Transform Your Body And Life

True health comes from a place of love, not from a place of fear. It’s the desire to give your body what it needs, in the right amounts, to thrive, to feel good, to be nourished, to be energized. It’s learning to love yourself with food and feeding yourself the foods that love you back. Pay attention to the foods you use, where they come from, what they look like, how they taste, how they make you feel. Conscious eating means being conscious of your food choices and how the foods you eat affect every level of your existence, from your body, to your mind, to your spirit, to the world you live in. Here are 7 conscious eating tips to help you re-connect to your body, love your body, and transform your life.

fruit_watermelon_grapes_pomegranate_citrus_pic1) Eat life giving foods. Eat foods that give you life, foods that are filled with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and essential fats to nourish your body. Avoid foods that rob you of nutrition and deplete you of energy. Your body is a beautiful machine. Give your machine beautiful fuel. It’s as simple as that. Drink more water. Eat more vegetables and fruits, more raw foods, more foods with fiber. Give your cells what they need to function at their best.

And here’s the best part: when you eat balanced and are eating real foods to energize the body (as opposed to processed foods and chemicals that drain the body), your cravings start to subside. Instead of feeding your body empty calories (like fat-free foods, and processed, empty calorie foods), feed your body the nutrients it needs to satisfy it. Overeating and cravings begin to dissipate. You are satisfied with smaller amounts of food because your body is getting balanced, wholesome nutrition. Doesn’t that sound great?

2) Investigate your plate. Learn about your foods and how they got to your plate. Did they come from mother earth or were they made in a lab? Learn how food affects the body, where it comes from, how it affects our environment, the animals we live with, and the future of our planet. At first this might not interest you at all; you might just want to lose weight. But part of being conscious of the foods we eat and learning to love the food we put in our bodies, and ultimately learning to love our bodies, comes from the understanding of how that food got to your plate.

3) Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when it’s had enough. Always. The problem is we don’t listen. We wait until we are totally stuffed before we stop. If you are a chronic overeater, or go long periods throughout the day without eating, then at first you will not be able to hear when your body is full. woman_eating_vegetables_soup_dinner_picYou need to stop eating when you still feel a little hungry. Wait awhile and see how you are. This is how you train the body to eat less. And when you are eating high nutrient foods, your body automatically knows when it’s had all that it needs. It’s really quite beautiful. Listening to your body is more beneficial to you than a diet or eating plan that tends to teach us to ignore our bodies, and just eat what's outlined on the plan. Your body knows what to eat, and how much. It will tell you but you have to be willing to listen. And you have to slow down to listen.

4) So slow down. Eat in a calm state. Chew your food. Savor each bite. Put your fork down in between your bites. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it’s full. When you slow down, you not only work together with your digestion, rather than against it, but you also absorb more of the nutrients from your food (meaning fewer cravings later). Stop eating in the car, on the phone, and on the go. Connect to your food and make eating a special, sacred time, an opportunity to show yourself that you are important. Take time to eat each meal in a ritual space—clean environment, at a table, sitting down, even light candles—and mindfully savor each bite. What you eat and how you eat reflect the love and respect you have for yourself. This will be more healing to you more than you know and is an important key to optimal health.

5) Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. Simple. How many of us mindlessly eat because we are bored or lonely? Or eat to numb our emotions? We are living in a time where we have become desensitized to the cues of our bodies. We suppress our emotions and feelings with food, and other distracting behaviors. Are you eating because you don’t want to feel sad? Are you eating because you are scared, angry, lonely, bored? Emotional eating is very common in our society. We struggle with dealing with emotions tied to inadequacies and fears, so we numb them with the pleasure sensations of food (and other things). And then we tend to reprimand ourselves for overeating the next day and continue this cycle of negative self-talk and non-love. Food is not a quick fix solution to the ailments of life. Using food as an escape mechanism is problematic to anyone who wants to change their body or change their life.

family_cooking_fun_happy_baking_pic6) Start preparing your meals. Not only do you know exactly what’s in your food when you cook it yourself, but you are infusing your food with love and telling yourself that you are worth it. That your life is worth it. Try it at least a few times a week to start. It doesn’t matter if you live alone or not. Even making something as simple as a smoothie or pudding (http://www.gracevanberkum.com/recipes/) is a fantastic start. Author Ashley Turner eloquently states: “Lovingly preparing food and cooking for yourself will increase feelings of self-worth, inner security, grounding and be a ritual to receive the love you give yourself -- the most important love in the world.”

7) Learn from the journey. Do your best in every given moment. Everything is not always going to go according to plan. Sometimes you might not be able to eat the things you want to eat. Learn the lessons to avoid the same situation from happening again. And if it does, that’s ok, too. Forgive yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. Transition and change take time, so stop being so hard on yourself, give yourself space to grow, and enjoy your journey.

Conscious eating means eating with intention: intention to nourish your body, intention to honor your body, intention to respect your body, intention to love your body, intention to love your life. Don’t you want to live your best life possible? This starts with your body functioning at its best with the most energy possible. When you eat life-giving, energizing foods centered around love, your body has a surplus of energy to start focusing on manifesting the life of your dreams. Each and every one of us deserves to live a life of energy, happiness, and love.

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