Nourishing Your Soul – as part of a healthy diet

Let’s talk about sweets, desserts, pastries, pizzas, hamburgers, pancakes. The best things in the world right? But often with constant thought and guilt attached to it. Too much time is spent thinking about, speculating about and obsessing about this type of foods. We have all the Instagram models posting pictures of themselves eating cupcakes hash tagging “balance” and we have the bodybuilders engaging in 10,000 cal in a day challenges on YouTube downing 10 donuts for breakfast as if it was water. If it a couple of years back was trendy to NOT eat the cake it is now trendy to EAT the cake (+10 more in one day). But what hasn’t changed is our obsession with the topic. And I get why we do get obsessed although I couldn’t always relate to that. I can be fortunate to say that I had a completely normal relationship with food growing up (at least until I hit my last teenage years); I ate when I was hungry, stopped when I was not, ate homemade baked goods when available and sweets as a treat during the weekend. I don’t remember it being complicated although sweets and treats were a big part of our lives, sometimes the biggest highlight of our weekends, but there wasn’t this obsession around it or guilt around it. But I also grew up in a small town where no Mc Donald’s existed until I was 14 years old and where mothers normally baked all bread, cakes and biscuits from scratch at home. Fast forward 20 years and living in London – where the availability of ANYTHING is EVERYWHERE. Wherever you go and look you are constantly reminded of what you easily can buy and eat. The fast food industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and they are constantly looking for new ways to make money – at the expense of people’s health.

One of my biggest soul foods growing up was my mum’s homemade blueberry muffins. And I went from only having that a couple of times a year when my mum decided to bake it to having it available to me every single day in a multibuy package for £1.50. That was wonderful to start with but that excitement soon faded away. I now probably haven’t had a blueberry muffin in years and I haven’t asked my mum to bake any when travelling back to Sweden. The constant availability of the blueberry muffin made it less special to me and made me crave it less. This goes directly against science though and the fast food companies would hate me saying it. Since they are trying their hardest to actually make us crave their foods more – by adding salts/sugars/oils together that makes the food irresistible to a lot of people. But going back to my blueberry muffin – it is still something that I have a very fond memory of and it is something that truly nourishes my soul. And when we want to make lifestyle changes and make sure that we eat a more nutritional balanced diet we have to remember that we are not only supposed to feed our bodies but also our souls. “Health” actually stands for physical, mental and social wellbeing. And if our food choices and nutritional diets go against our mental wellbeing it is counterproductive. If you consume too much energy thinking about what not to eat, you probably should question yourself why that is.  If you are saying no to social events because you are afraid of what you might be tempted to eat when there, you probably should question yourself if that is a wise choice to. Think about the things you are missing out on because you are too worried about what you might end up eating. Also think about the overconsuming you have done when not allowing yourself to have what you actually want and replacing it with something else that didn’t satisfy you so that you then ended up also having what you initially wanted. A lot of things to think about but bottom line is again that life is too short to not enjoy it and nourishing our soul is part of our mental health.

If you are one of those people that think that if you allow yourself to have some treat, you are scared you won’t be able to stop yourself it is like with everything, you have to practise it as part of a new habit. So how can we put it into practice? How it has worked for me is to use the 80/20 method; I consciously make sure that 80% of my daily food intake come from nutritional dense food sources and for the rest of 20% I am more flexible. By practising this on a daily basis and allowing myself to have what I truly crave has made sure that I don’t “over crave” something or go overboard. I don’t deprive myself of anything that I want because the longer I do that I will end up eating it later and in a bigger quantity. And rather than starring at that cinnamon roll that is in front of me thinking about NOT eating it for hours I like to use my brain for more useful things so I just eat the cinnamon roll and move on. You can nourish your body at the same time as you nourish your soul. You really can have that cake and eat it too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.