By Melanie Albert, Founder & CEO, Experience Nutrition Group, LLC, Phoenix, AZ. Nutrition and food expert, author and speaker. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Holistic Nutrition and Whole Food Cooking Instructor at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.
I love self care! And, I’ve been practicing and advocating self care for decades. Self care is vital for life. Self care experiences are activities we enjoy for our own pleasure. My personal self care menu includes:
• Practicing yoga
• Receiving a massage
• Cooking with my niece
• Going to an NFL football game or the Super Bowl
• Walking on my golf course
Within the last few years, I’ve added Intuitive Cooking & Eating to my self care menu. As part of this self care experience within my life, I begin by going to local Arizona farmers markets and farms to shop. I intuitively browse the market and enjoy seeing the foods that are in season; their beauty, colors and textures. And, I purchase fresh, vibrant produce that I’m most attracted to and excited about. To me self care is eating whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Buying food from local farmers allows us to purchase fresh food that has not traveled across our country or from other parts of the world, which add to the carbon footprint of food.
In addition to local farmers market fresh produce, and whole foods, eating organic is vital to my self care. I intuitively started eating organic 20 years ago, way before organic was trendy and in the news. I intuitively “knew” that I did not want to eat food grown with pesticides or herbicides, or genetically modified (GMO) food. When I eat local, organic foods I feel as though I am putting the highest quality food into my body.
Preparing and cooking meals has also become one of my favorite self care experiences. I enjoy choosing all of the ingredients for my culinary creations, again intuitively. By looking at the beauty of the food and mindfully paying attention to what I’m craving or desiring to eat, I begin meal preparation.
It could be a fresh fruit smoothie with coconut water, hemp seeds, raw cacao and goji berries for breakfast. Or it may be a simple avocado wrap for lunch with local Arizona tomatoes, cucumbers, rainbow carrots, fresh garlic, and just picked Meyer lemons and fresh basil. Often the self care experience extends to the aroma of produce, such as the zesty lemons and sweet basil.
The mindful chopping of the veggies, as I prepare my beautiful meals is an enjoyable part of my self care experience. I love taking the time to mindfully enjoy the calming, rhythm of cutting the beautiful veggies. And, as many of my students know, I love the ritual of mise en place, getting all of my ingredients in place, for easy organization, as I prepare to cook.
For dinner, one of my very favorite self care cooking and eating experiences is a simple, beautiful veggie stir-fry with the fresh local Arizona produce from the farmers market. Will post this healthy organic recipe soon.
I invite you to practice Intuitive Cooking Experience as part of your own self care and share your experiences with us on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/experience.nutrition.now
Melanie Albert’s book, Enjoy Food & Life, is available as an e-book on www.EXPNutrition.com and you can join her on Twitter @NutritionAuthor She is available for speaking engagements, cooking workshops and retreats.