30 Days of Mindful Eating: Physical and Mental Health

Some foods make you physically healthy and those might look a little different from the ones that make you mentally healthy. Both are important in you diet. Make a list of both and compare. Do you find yourself in a cycle of being overly restrictive and overly indulgent of those mental happiness foods? Write about it. 

Every time I eat Nutella, I laugh at myself. The second the taste hits my tongue, I feel my whole body relax. My shoulders drop down, my breathing slows, and I smile. It’s a comfort food.

I don’t eat it super often, but I incorporate it from time to time. Mostly because, despite how good it makes me feel, I don’t like the way I feel after having so much sugar. As a result, my body naturally regulates my cravings for it.

While I’ve never had the same sort of craving for nuts or brussels sprouts, for example, I do know that eating more plant-based, whole, unprocessed foods usually makes me feel better – physically. Rather than craving the food itself, I crave the way I feel after: more focused, clear-thinking, energetic, and well.

The balance of physical health and mental health, when starting with my diet, always comes down to finding a balance between these two. I’m still far from an expert at it. I’ve had some sort of voluntary dietary restriction for the majority of my life, especially after becoming vegetarian when I was 13.

With any restriction, there’s always a compensatory release. And while that’s never resulted in me falling face first into a plate of bacon, I do often have times when I don’t want to “think” about food. As much as I can, I’ve been trying to release into that because that equilibrium needs to be developed and updated over time.

I’m lucky in that it’s been a long time since I thought of foods as “good” or “bad,” or restricted myself from eating one thing in particular. Most days, I find myself naturally oscillating between foods that are good for my body and good for my mind. But even that can lead into skewed relationships with different types of food, so the practice of releasing judgement and enjoying whatever you need to enjoy so you can feel better in that moment is most important. Some days, your body needs more support. Other days are mental health days. So you have to adapt accordingly.

Black Iron Nutrition is offering a 30 Day Mindful Eating Challenge that includes journal prompts and tasks to help bring more mindfulness to our relationships with food. And I’m in! This post is in response to today’s prompt to keep myself accountable and get the most out of my participation. If you’re interested in joining the free challenge, sign up at Black Iron Nutrition’s website here.

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