Although it's not always convenient, I appreciate the little reminder that it's time to head in for a tune-up. Wouldn't it be great if our bodies had a similar reminder letting us know when we've been driving ourselves just a little too hard, fueling up on all the wrong kind of food? Intuitively we know that when we fill up with clean, healthy and whole foods and exercise our bodies everyday, we feel great. When we slow down and take time to appreciate life, we help our engine cool down and idle in a way that keeps us centered and strong. Keeping strong, being open and aware and standing for our beliefs with a courageous heart and conviction are absolutely necessary to successfully navigate our path on every level - emotional, spiritual, physical and mental. Using the tools and practices of exercise, meditation, and healthy eating can serve us well on our journey. With a little preventative maintenance, we can proactively feed our body-mind some of the key building materials that help us to soar.
One of the things we know about driving is that less is more and slow and steady is a lot kinder on the vehicle than fast and furious with a lot of sudden braking. Relating this to our bodies we need to look no further than the fast food drive-thru. Is there a recent time when you cruised through life at a pace that was less conducive to a peaceful way of being? Skipping meals, daily drive-thru's, and portion distortion can create challenges in our quest for balance in body, mind, spirit and emotion. The roller coaster ride of managing the highs and lows of blood sugar can impair even the most "well-intentioned" and keep us from realizing our spiritual mission. Yet we have the power of our beliefs and the energy of our choices to set a tone for physical, mental, spiritual and emotional harmony. Creating a positive environment through the use of key nutrient foods is a practice and lifestyle that will help you to create the well-being you desire, the thinking to create a most satisfying life, and a well tuned body - your vehicle.
Some of our bodies' best support agents are known as neurotransmitters. These are powerful brain chemicals (acting like messengers) that we all need. When in balance, these neurotransmitters can be powerful builders of positivity and optimism, confidence and focus, balance and creativity. These chemicals are ready and willing to act on our behalf. What we eat and how we live can effect the levels of these important chemical messengers, and we are blessed with the power of choice at every meal time and snack window opportunity to put them to work.
Successful maintenance begins each day with breakfast. The brain loves to be fed every morning to start the day at its best. Motivation, concentration and a high level of energy are key to get your day off to a great start and building dopamine levels will help to insure your passion for life is always at play. Dopamine helps with fighting fatigue and lethargy. At breakfast choose foods like yogurt or eggs to insure your mind has the fuel to go strong and long.
It is amazing what a healthy, well balanced lunch will do for your mind. Most of us have
experienced a "carbo-coma" from eating refined carbohydrates. You know you are there when your desk top could easily double as a pillow. To keep you upright and moving with balance and ease be sure to stop for lunch and keep your eye on restoring levels of serotonin. Serotonin serves as a natural anti-depressant. When balanced it will help keep your cravings for sugar at bay and it will give your mood the boost to transcend the stresses that want to take you down. Serotonin increases under the influence of lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats like avocados and soy beans. Envision and prepare a chicken (or tofu) salad sandwich with whole grain bread, avocados and a side of edamame. This will keep your engine humming.
Sometime around three o'clock in the afternoon often offers an opportunity for personal growth. When you sense brain fatigue and you need to gain balance, mental fitness and clarity, reach for foods that promote peace and the empowering chemical acetylcholine. Rather than allowing stress to build beyond reason or inviting low blood sugar to take you down the path of conspicuous consumption (cake, cookies and candy) take a stand and meet your mind with healing snacks like almonds, sunflower seeds, soy nuts, whole grain crackers with nut butter, cottage cheese, or a healthy (trans-fat free) snack bar (that contains protein and fiber). It's like having that spare gallon of gas on hand for times when fuel is running low!
Remember to maintain this vehicle called your body that you have been blessed with. Let every meal, every movement, and every moment be an expression of your tremendous preventative maintenance. Our bodies demonstrate our thoughts and our actions. Give your mind and body every opportunity to think and feel more alive, stronger and healthier. Choose to use food as fuel for co-creation. Choose sustained nourishment. Don't wait until your oil runs low or your run out of fuel, express your best today.