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The Most Important Question to Ask Yourself Before You Eat

What question should you ask yourself before eating? What does mindful eating even mean? If you'd like to eat mindfully, click through for helpful eating tips! #mindfuleating #intuitiveeating

Before you sit down to a meal, do you ever think:

“Am I going to gain weight from this plate full of carbs?” “I’m so tired; I need a big cup of caffeine, no matter how jittery it will make me.” “Is this treat going to stick to my thighs like all of the other desserts I eat?”

If this sounds even vaguely familiar, you're not alone. Most of us wonder what our food is going to do to us. We worry. We stress. And we let food control our mood. In other words, we tend to be reactive to our choices, rather than proactive. We label those choices (and ourselves!) as “good” and “bad,” then beat ourselves up along the way.

Can I be honest with you? I used to have these same conversations with myself, over and over. I ate from a place of genuine fear, and felt disappointed with myself when I wasn’t “perfect.”

Long before I embraced my need to balance kale and chocolate, the dialogue between my ears went something like this: “What will that dish do to my body?” or “Will that extra helping of carbs derail my fitness plan?” or “What if I respond poorly to that food I’ve never tried before?”

Every bite was fraught. And since we humans need to eat, that meant that my stress levels were unnaturally elevated, several times a day, every day.

It’s no way to live. And it’s certainly no way to eat!

As I’ve embraced my Food Story – and learned to play an active role in rewriting it, each day – I’ve come to realize that food is my friend. And a very nourishing one, at that! Now, instead of fretting about what food will do to me, I consider what each bite will do for me.

Rather than reacting, I proactively choose my food: meals that will give me energy, bites that will boost my mood, snacks that will nourish my gut, nutrients that will enhance my brain power, and even dishes meant simply to bring me pleasure.

Above all, I’ve found that redirecting the conversation transformed food from something to fear into pure nourishment, emotionally and physically. And if I can do it, after so many years of thinking the other way, then I know that you can, too.

Instead of worrying about all the ways a meal might not work for you, ask yourself just one question: how do I want to feel? Then, cook and eat accordingly. 

Of course, it’s not always easy! After a lifetime of scolding ourselves for giving in to cravings or years of black-listing certain foods (hello, carbs…), it can be a challenge to reimagine what we put into our bodies in a proactive way. That’s why I’ve put together this handy-dandy starter list of recipes, helpfully grouped by how you want to feel. Decide what you want your food to do for you, then deeply savor each life-affirming (and delicious!) bite.

What question should you ask yourself before eating? What does mindful eating even mean? If you'd like to eat mindfully, click through for helpful eating tips! #mindfuleating #intuitiveeating

I want to feel…

Happy Boost your mood with some of my favorite meals to bring a little sunshine into your day: Updated Matcha Latte L-theanine in this green tea is the ultimate mood-booster! Fiesta Sheet Pan Dinner The name alone plus the vibrant color (and nutrients!) are enough to make you smile. Cashew Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars Nuts and seeds help boost production of the feel good hormone serotonin. And the chocolate layer is just the icing on the {mood-boosting} cake!

Energized Gear up for a big workout or tackle ambitious projects head-on by fueling your body with energizing foods: D’s ABC Smoothie Created for my son Daniel (known as D), this superfood blend helped keep him energized for hours and hours as an athlete on the field. Overnight Oats An easy breakfast that will magically happen while you are sleeping. The combination of almond butter, chia jam, and oatmeal will keep you going all morning long.

Soothed Find comfort in these craving-worthy dishes that will help you take those relaxing deep breaths: Lavender Latte Also known as a cup of calm, the smell alone can promote relaxation! PB & J with superfood chia seed jam Recreate the magical feelings of biting into a childhood classic with this grown up version of our favorite sandwich.

What question should you ask yourself before eating? What does mindful eating even mean? If you'd like to eat mindfully, click through for helpful eating tips! #mindfuleating #intuitiveeating

Clarity Cut through that mental fog by feeding your body these brain-boosting meals: Kale, Quinoa, Blueberry and Avocado Quinoa Salad with Walnuts All the brain foods together in one place! Ginger Salmon This easy dish is packed with both omega fatty acids and anti-inflammatory spices to help improve memory and reduce cognitive decline. Dessert Chia Pudding Loaded with antioxidants and omega fatty acids, this decadent treat can support brain function and decrease signs of depression.

Healthy Punch up your immunity during stressful times or ease the discomfort of seasonal allergies with these superfoods: Anti-Inflammatory Green Juice The name alone says it all! Live Dirty Eat Clean Bowl All immunity begins in your gut, and this colorful dinner is a delicious place to start. Immunity Zucchini Noodle Soup Loaded with ginger, garlic, turmeric, and veggie-filled nourishment, this is the spring (and lighter!) version of my signature cozy Immunity Soup.

Pleasure Food is a source of enjoyment! Savor every spoonful of these delicious dishes: Red Velvet Superfood Smoothie Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please! Healthy Chocolate Mousse Rich, creamy, and decadent with an avocado and cacao base! It doesn't get any better in taste, nutrients, and ultimate satisfaction!

Now it’s your turn! Share your favorite way to choose your food based on your desired mood! Let’s inspire one another to think of what food CAN do for us with each nourishing bite. Comment below!

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