All too often, people look to experts and to the latest trend or fad for a magical approach to wellness. Whether it’s a popular new workout program or some kind of just-discovered supplement, we venture too far away from the power that we all hold to affect small changes in our lives that can and do have hugely positive effects. As massage therapists in Colorado Springs, we see a lot of people suffering from chronic pain and stress and while we are able to provide relief and relaxation, we are just a small part of what achieving total wellness actually means. That is why we like to talk to our clients about the power and the importance of self-care or ones own ability to make lifestyle changes for the sake of better health.
One of the easiest and most impactful places that a person can start practicing self-care is in the kitchen. With all of the diet fads out there these days, it can be hard to know when one is eating well but the good news is, there are some pretty easy ways to get on the road to better nutrition without joining a foodie subculture or changing ones lifestyle too drastically for now:
Spices Are Good For You
Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy does not have to mean eating bland and unseasoned foods. On the contrary, a lot of the really flavorful herbs and spices out there that make some of your already favorite dishes special can actually be incredibly good for you. Take tumeric for example, one of the primary ingredients in yellow mustard and in a lot of Indian style curries. This ground root that usually comes in a powdered form has well known ant-inflammatory properties on the same level as some over-the-counter drugs like Motrin. Not only that, but there have even been studies linking the consumption of tumeric to relief of pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Tumeric can be found in most any spice isle and can be added to a lot of other common dishes like as an ingredient in BBQ sauce for a weekend cookout or even in a creamy salad dressing.
Eat the Rainbow
Not literally of course. What we mean with this silly little catch phrase is to eat fruits and vegetables of as many different colors as you can get your hands on. We all know that fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals but they also contain phytochemicals like carotenes, chlorophyll, and flavonoids that have been shown to have beneficial and even cancer fighting effects. These pigmented substances are present in the color of the fruit or vegetable so the more variety you eat, the more beneficial cancer fighters you absorb. This can be easy as well. If you already like to eat green bell peppers in your stir-fry or chopped up into your taco meat, try adding a few red, yellow, or orange ones next time too. Most grocery stores these days offer a wide variety in a lot of fruits and vegetables so definitely take advantage.
Avoid Processed Food
Here is another bit of advice we have all already heard before but what does it really mean. In reality, most food that we eat, whether it is out of a box or straight from the farmers market ends up being processed in some way or another. When you go home, chop up that fresh spinach, and cook it in olive oil, it is being ‘processed’ to some degree by your knife and by your frying pan. What are bad processed foods then and how can you tell? The easiest thing to do is to look at the ingredients list on the label. First of all, the more items on that list that you could only decipher with the help of Google, the worst that product is for you. Look for equivalent items with basic ingredients that you could even buy separately in that same store. Also look out for hidden sugar, sodium, and trans-fat in cleverly masked ingredients like high fructose corn syrup (sugar) or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fat).
Self-care in the kitchen is an easy way to take control of your own health and thus lay a stronger foundation for general wellness.