You are what you eat! mom would exclaim at random times when I was a child. I didn’t understand what she meant, really. I had visuals of becoming a huge head of broccoli and wondered if that was the reason my eyes sometimes had a tint of green flickering among the brown. I wasn’t allowed chocolate very often, but I did eat my fair share of carob chips. I can’t stand them to this day! To be honest with you, it scared me to death to think I could become what I ate: broccoli, or chicken, or worse yet, a PIG! Talk about playground mockery in the making!
But there is now something about that statement that makes sense to me as an adult, although I would modify it to reflect my life now:
You are what you consume!
So the question is, what do you consume? In a world full of negative media, unrealistic expectations, and never-ending violence, what do you choose to consume? That which is most accessible? Or the more hard-to find diamonds of positive gems hidden underneath the hard surface of the rocky times in which we live?
Picture your life being an all-you-can-eat buffet, where you have the ability to set before you a plate of positive and nourishing items, or the sometimes more accessible like the junk food at your fingertips.
In my own life I am presented daily with a smorgasbord of choices starting the moment I get up. What am I going to feed my family for breakfast– cheery Cheerios, or madmom muffins? Seriously, some days I wonder why I was awarded the title Mom. It seems hard to get out of bed, especially because the sun isn’t cooperating as it hides behind clouds loaded heavy with rain and snow, so how can I be cheery, after all? Believe it or not, I can. So can you.
Just like your body needs to detoxify from sugar if you indulge too much (research now supports the facts that too much sugar has a severe negative effect on your physical and emotional wellbeing), your mind can also overcome the effects of negative media and negative consumption. It takes practice and patience, just like making food choices, but the results will be gratifying and remarkable.
A new pyramid….
For years the United States Department of Agriculture used a food pyramid to guide consumers about what food choices they should make. As time evolved, so did the USDA, realizing that not one diet fits all. So they changed the pyramid, and most recently rolled out a brand new program called MY PLATE.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
The image allows the consumer to think carefully about what they should be eating.
Do you see how the food plate now is shaped just like the wheel of life? In my mind, this is progress. For the balance of nutritious food fits so perfectly with the balance of a nutritious life.
I will relate the new MY PLATE image to the wheel of life focusing on friends and family.
In diet, fruits are full of natural sugar and can help protect you from chronic disease.
In life, being around friends and family that are sweet can give you a huge boost in your mood. Research suggests being around positive people increases your emotional health and leads to a longer lifespan!
In diet, veggies are typically more savory than sweet, and many different types should be consumed to get a good mix of nutrients that your body needs.
In life, it is important to be open to many different types of friendships. Some of the closest friends I have to this day were ones that would have surprised me years ago. By being open and receptive to diversity, my best friendships are an eclectic group that includes young and old, poor and rich, face-to-face or on-line, gay or straight, diploma or not, religious and agnostic, and married or single. I have been truly blessed by the richness and perspectives of these savvy (and savory) friendships.
In diet, protein can be found in meat, nuts, eggs and cheeses to name a few. Protein is vital for providing energy and nutrition.
In life, my family and friendships provide me with energy to continue to do what I love. When I feel low, or have a lack of energy, I know it is time to speak with one of my various friends who will feed me the motivation, energy and ideas to get back on track.
In diet, grains are a good source of important vitamins and minerals and a major source of complex carbohydrates. They can be found in whole foods like whole-grain pasta, quinoa, and brown rice.
In life, my friendships and family members that have more complex personalities not only teach me to educate myself well, they also teach me patience and tolerance. Sometimes I see people in my family or social circles going “against the grain” but recognize that life demands that every so often we MUST go against the norm to grow into who we are to become.
In diet, dairy is a great source of calcium. But what about people who are lactose intolerant? They are led to find other options of receiving the calcium and vitamins through other foods.
In life, I turn to my friends and family when I need to find a new solution. My family can clarify when I need to explore a new idea. My friends help me recognize so very often how there are other ways– other options.
You are what you consume.
So tell me, what is on YOUR plate? Are you consuming what you need to in your life and passing over the unhealthy choices? I know that I have the power and the choice to be mindful and although it is sometimes a struggle, I try to choose well. How about you?
by Jen Slayden