Nutrition Tips and the Pandemic Mindfulness and Matcha

Some people live to eat, others eat to live – where do you fall on the spectrum?  Maybe you are what they call a foodie?  Someone that is particular about gourmet restaurants, gourmet foods, new restaurants, hip restaurants, and cool places tucked in the middle of nowhere. A side street no one has heard of, and you pride yourself on this hidden gem you have discovered.   If you are like me, you enjoy food and like food that nourishes your body, mind and spirit. Maybe you like to meditate, and you find that the meditation feeds your soul. Do you also nourish your soul with food that brings your body alive?  Food with the colors of the rainbow, foods that hit all of the taste buds, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and something called unami. Unami is just a fancy word for protein, which we all need. Have you searched the internet for information on well-known functional medicine doctors like Mark Hyman and Frank Lipman. Or have you either glanced or devoured cookbooks by Ottologenhi, Tracy Pollan, or New York Times critic Melissa Clark?  Ginger Hultins has a new cookbook on how to fight inflammation.

Let’s talk about good foods that nourish your brain.  Avocado, flax oil or seeds, chia seeds, walnuts (they simulate the shape of the brain), almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, salmon, dark leafy green, whole grains. These foods provide you with healthy essential fats that are good for memory – and they help you think clearly. And don’t forget that turkey has an amino acid called L-Tryptophan that is important to make proteins in the body that also helps nourish your internal organs.

Next on the list of importance, I would say is gut health.  I know it’s a buzz word these days.  Align (trademark) probiotics is advertised on the news and on TV, and on the little fliers you get from Walmart. But gut health is important because our gut helps us think clearly. Haven’t you heard that the gut is the second brain?  Digestive enzymes, fiber, turmeric, ginger, lemon, and Braggs apple cider vinegar are all great to add to your diet to decrease bloat from foods that cause inflammation.

My own routine includes a protein shake with frozen berries, sometimes half a frozen banana or avocado, collagen peptides, flax oil and almond butter.  Often, I have sprouted oats with some ghee, which is a good fat.  I have a recipe I made up years ago for gluten free muffins. Here it is:

Two and a half cups of almond flour (you can also use one cup of coconut flour or cassava flour or another kind of flour), one tsp baking soda, one half tsp sea salt, one tablespoon cinnamon, one half cup of apple sauce, 3 eggs, one half cup of agave nectar or monk fruit, one tablespoon vanilla, one cup of frozen or fresh berries. Directions:  Preheat oven to 300.  Line muffin pan with paper inserts.  In medium bowl, mix almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the oil, eggs, honey and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir to smooth.  Divide the batter into the muffin takes and bake for 35 minutes.  Voila!

I take a few immune boosters that have NAC, Quercetin, vitamin D, and vitamin E among other ingredients. And while I did get the vaccine, I am still concerned about getting Covid.  I try my best to eat well, get enough rest, and exercise.  I meditate, read and walk my dog.  But let’s face it – I am not always perfect, nor would I want to me. I have scoured the internet for advice. I have made it a habit of keeping up with the protocol from my local health store on keeping my immune system strong and keeping my lungs healthy.

But all the vitamins in the world and all the internet searches will not keep me healthy unless I also take care of my mind. If I don’t I practice discernment and discipline in a world where more is always better, I feel like healthy food and supplements will do nothing for me other than shrink my wallet. Social media and the internet have made instantaneous communication the norm, rather than the exception.  As I take my flax, eat my wild salmon, and sprout my bread, I have started remembering that my vitamin and food intake does not have to match the speed of information that is constantly bombarding me all day, every day. Maybe there is one pill that will keep me from aging and getting Covid. And just maybe there is not. I will continue with my protocol, and I will also continue to sprout my oats. But I have added an element that was lacking before the pandemic, which is embarrassing to admit given that I am a yoga teacher, but that element is mindfulness.  Like many, it has taken the pandemic to slow me down, to lessen the frenzy of going to Whole Foods, and to make me mindful while taking my vitamins. I now pause before drinking my Matcha and I hope I have inspired you to do the same, while also being aware of the relationship between what you eat and how you feel, and how certain foods can act as medicine.

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