Personal growth and improvement is having its moment…finally! We all want to be better than we were and have good and happy lives. We all look for tools that should be able to fix it all. Whether that’s meditation, therapy, spiritual growth, or a career we’re passionate about, we are constantly looking for the thing that’s going to help us achieve that happy life we strive for. While these are all fantastic methods to grow, we so often forget the easiest tool we have at our disposal. Food. Food is such a powerful tool to completely change our lives. Think I’m crazy? Well keep reading and I’ll tell you how to improve your life with food!
But before we get started…..
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How to improve your life with food?
Food + Mood
When I was constantly searching and researching for answers on how to improve my life, I discovered that diet is discussed very little. I suffered from severe anxiety and depression that made every day an uphill battle and I was sick of it. However, most sources say that a healthy diet helps make depression and anxiety easier….but that’s not really new information.
I have discovered that diet was much more than just a healthy tip tidbit. It was a total game changer for my mental health. My depression, anxiety and stress levels fluctuate based on the foods I am eating. With a balanced diet, there are fewer cravings, fewer vitamin deficiencies and fewer mood roller coasters. Are there days that we still struggle with our mood? Of course! We’re only human. But those days are much more manageable when we have a good base of nutrition.
You don’t have to give up the treats you love (ice cream, anyone?) either. If you’ve got a major sweet tooth, like me, it’s time for you to discover mindful eating. Check it out in the post below! Seriously, it’s ah-mazing!
Food is energy
We eat for energy. That’s the very basic purpose of food. Yes, we eat it because it’s also delicious but fundamentally, it’s necessary to stay alive. Eating certain foods can help you at different times.
Fats, carbs, and sugars are all just energy that our body breaks down differently. That doesn’t mean we should ever deprive our body of these things, it just means that we need to understand what type of energy we need at the time. Eating the right foods can make you feel relaxed or more energized. It can help you prepare for a work out or recover after one. Essentially, when discovering how to improve your life, evaluating how you need to feel or how energized you need to be can make all the difference.
Curious about when to eat which macronutrient? Check out this post from Bustle.
Improving Your Health
Your diet affects your health. Doctors have been telling us that for forever. But do we realize how much it affects our health?
What you eat affects you all the way down to your DNA, crazy right? Food and the nutrients in it, communicates with your DNA and can cause your body to react in certain ways. Highly processed and sugary diets speed up the aging process because cells don’t regenerate as easily.
A good balance of fruits, vegetables, sugars, carbs, and fats keeps your body and mind balanced. The nutrients available in your body affects muscle growth and repair. Your sleep patterns can change (for better or worse) depending on diet. Your body may produce more or less dopamine depending on the food you’re eating.
Essentially, you are what you eat. No, you’re not defined by the enjoyment you get out of eating a donut. However, if your diet consisted solely of donuts, that’s what your body would use to rebuild fresh cells. So, your cells are made up of whatever nutrients you ate. The more nutrient rich, the stronger and healthier your cells.
Little pro tip! If you’re struggling with skin issues, improving your diet can help. Within 30 days you have all new skin cells, meaning with a good diet your skin will be more glowy and less problematic than before.
Eat your water
Hydration is critical to your body’s function. Hydration affects everything from focus and mood, to cell reproduction and energy levels, to digestion + bloating, to sleep. If you’re dehydrated say hello to a unnecessarily hard day. So what does eating your water mean?
Basically, you eat more fresh fruits and veggies since, you know, there’s a lot of water in those. Eating your water has many benefits. Not only is it easier to eat your water than to drink a gallon of straight water, there are so many other nutrients in your food that help you feel good. Plus, because these nutrients are saturated in water, it makes it easier for your body to absorb those nutrients.
Food is essentially the centerpiece of society. It brings people together, strengthens relationships, and creates cultural ties for many. The best way to connect with others is over a meal.
Think about it. Many first dates start with dinner. Business lunches and coffee breaks are common. Friendly neighbors bring snacks to the newbies on the block. When someone suffer a loss or had a baby, people never hold back with helping them out by sending prepared dinners and snacks. Sharing snacks on the playground made you new friends as a kid and even now snacks can make your bad day turn around.
Humans crave connection. If we weren’t obsessed with connection, do you think the internet or social media would exist? We want to connect. We want to feel like we belong. Well food is the best and simplest way to do it. People rarely turn down an opportunity if it involves food. Seriously, who goes to a social event for anything but the food? If there’s no food, I’m not going.
food has been used as medicine for forever. Chicken noodle soup, tea, herbs, and oils have been used to treat illness since forever. Many of them have been proven to have actual medicinal properties which when used in conjuncture to modern day medicine can make all the difference.
And apart from the physically medicinal properties of food, can we talk about its medicinal properties for the soul. There is nothing better than a hot, savory, and delicious meal after a long, hard day. Nothing as nostalgic as some fresh watermelon at the pool or hot cocoa on a snowy night. When we tweak our diets to help our moods, we are essentially medicating our souls to feel better.
Fun fact! Egyptian pyramid workers received “pyramid beer” that kept them super healthy while working in such harsh conditions. Basically the beer was a low level antibiotic that kept them healthy and strong. Seriously, it’s fascinating! If you want to learn more about it check out this documentary! It’s technically about how beer is so critical to developing the world but, still it’s great. Especially if you enjoy beer.
When you’re figuring out how to improve your life, the best and easiest place to start is with your diet. With a little awareness you will be able to detect changes almost immediately after eating. Food is a powerful building block to a life you truly love which is why I will always consider it one of the most important parts to foundational self-care.
Food is crucial to improving your life. I’m guessing you know that now. I’m also guessing that you are actively looking for ways to improve your life.