Nutrition for the Soul: Lessons from the Worlds of Should and Must

by | Apr 14, 2014

Photo by sookie

Last week I read a beautiful essay by artist and my good friend, Elle Luna, describing what she calls The Crossroads of Should and Must. In it she shares the lessons she’s learned after a year of choosing Must instead of Should.

“Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. ”

“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self.”

Elle’s experiment took her from a tech startup, to an empty white room, to Bali, and ultimately to her calling: painting. Such a journey inward is never easy, but as was clear from the resounding response to her piece, the conflict between Should and Must is something that we all struggle with.

At their core, Should and Must represent competing motivations. Should is our responsibility to others and the world at large. Must is our responsibility to ourselves. Sometimes these overlap, but often they do not. That is when we need to make a choice.

As Elle so eloquently explains, in most of our lives choosing Should is the easiest, safest path. But as I thought more about this I realized that the opposite is true for food and health.

When we choose what to put in our bodies, Must is our default.

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5 Lessons About Exercise You Can Learn From Your Dog

by | Apr 9, 2014

The same thing happens every day. Whether it’s raining or the sun is shining. Whether we had a late night encounter with raccoons or we’re well-rested. Shortly after lunch every afternoon my dog Toaster wanders into my office and puts his little head on my lap.

It’s time to go to the park.

While it’s clear that Mother Nature plays a roll in his timing (potty time is a an excellent trigger), it doesn’t take more than a glance to realize that there is a deeper motivation under all that fluffy fur.

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Focus More on Your Brain and Less on Your Diet if You’re Serious About Losing Weight

by | Mar 31, 2014

Photo by Humphrey King

Weight loss is tricky business. Obviously what you eat has a huge impact on your health and body weight. But anyone who has ever tried to modify their diet for the sake of losing weight knows it isn’t so simple.

Most of us understand intuitively that broccoli is healthier than cookies. We can talk about sugar, fat, gluten and antioxidants all day, but that doesn’t change the fact that cookies taste good and you still want to eat them. Any weight loss plan that simply tells you what to eat and neglects why you make the choices you make is unlikely to help you in the long run.

Nutrition knowledge is important, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. The real secret is understanding your behaviors and motivations at their roots, and using this information to have a meaningful impact on your health. In this sense, good health starts in your brain, not on your plate.

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How to Eat More Mindfully in 19 Seconds

by | Mar 24, 2014

Photo by ashley rose,

Mindful eating has been the most difficult healthstyle habit for me to cultivate. By far.

Although I have developed several tactics to help me remember to slow down and pay attention to my food, it is usually the first thing to slip when stress and life get the better of me.

Humans, especially Americans, are notoriously susceptible to triggers in our surroundings that provoke overeating. Rather than paying attention to when we’re full or have eaten enough, we’re more likely to continue eating just because there is more food on the plate, the TV show we’re watching is still on, or because everyone else is still eating.

Dieters are even worse than most people in this department, since they have a long history of ignoring their internal satiety signals that tell them when they are and aren’t hungry.

When you eat mindlessly your environment wins and you’re more likely to overeat. You also appreciate your food less, since you aren’t focused on the sensory pleasures of eating. Cultivating mindful eating habits is therefore one of the most valuable tools in your foodist tool belt, because it helps you eat less while enjoying it more.

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The 2 Essential Skills for Getting Unstuck from Your Bad Habits

by | Mar 17, 2014


UPDATE: Thanks for everyone who joined, video of the event is above.

Phew! It’s been a crazy few weeks of work and travel for me. It feels soooo good to be back in my home court habits of eating well and getting exercise. It’s crazy how addictive good habits can be once they become part of your life.

I know that many of you have had tremendous success building a healthstyle you love. I’ve received hundreds of emails from people who have had life-changing results from Summer Tomato and Foodist.

For many it was just one or two simple insights that let them stop struggling and finally get to the level of physical and emotional health they’ve always wanted. Sometimes they realized dieting wasn’t the answer and stopped the cycle of deprivation and rebound. Others realized it was easier than they originally assumed to stop being sedentary and fit in regular activity.

But I’ve also spoken to many of you that aren’t quite there yet. You like the idea of building habits and eating delicious food that also brings you health and satisfaction, but life keeps getting in the way.

You might tell yourself it’s a time thing, or blame stress, money or social obligations. But whatever the reason, you haven’t quite figured it out yet.

That’s what I want to help you with today.
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In the Future Everything is Perfect

by | Feb 24, 2014

Photo by rhett maxwell

This week is so crazy, you guys. Today alone I have a client meeting, a lunch meeting, a 2-hour home repair that took months to get on the calendar, and I’m giving a talk before dinner. That’s on top of my normal writing deadline, dog walks and workout––not to mention eating, showering and looking presentable.

Tomorrow isn’t looking much better. And I’m traveling to five different cities in the next four weeks.

Last year with my wedding, site redesign, and book launch, I didn’t think my life could get any busier or more stressful. Somehow my schedule for 2014 is already more intense.

We all have things that make our lives crazy. If you aren’t juggling 12 projects and an insane travel schedule, maybe you have a demanding full-time job plus kids to raise, or you’re taking 20 units this semester and working part time to meet your ever-growing tuition bills.

The question is: where does this leave us if we want to start doing something new, like regular exercise or cooking? How will we ever be able to squeeze one more thing onto our to-do list?

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Is It Celebrating or Emotional Eating?

by | Feb 19, 2014

Photo by King….

Johann Helf has a passion for healthy living and its benefits. He has spent many years of his life making positive changes and likes to share tips with others to help them be successful. As owner of Lotus Blooming Herbs, he sources and enjoys sharing shilajit directly from the Himalayas as well as other high-quality Ayurvedic products.

Is It Celebrating or Emotional Eating?

by Johann Helf

Most people think of emotional eating as a response to stress, depression, or other unpleasant life experiences. But have you ever noticed how much unhealthy eating is related to celebrations?

Birthday cake. Anniversary dinner. Office milestones. Cocktail parties. Even when celebrating personal goals such as exercising regularly, losing weight, eating smarter, or breaking “bad” habits, we often celebrate with food.

It’s easy to forget that happiness and pride are still emotions that can invoke emotional eating.

Don’t get me wrong. Rewarding one’s self is a great way to stay motivated. And the occasional food reward can be good for your future resolve. But too often reaching for high-calorie, low-nutrient gratification can be self-defeating.

Is it really rewarding yourself to sabotage what you worked so hard for?

Try these ideas as alternatives to food rewards. Calorie-free motivation not only keeps you on the right path, but can actually generate more fun and memories:

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Surfing the Urge: How to Quench Cravings

by | Feb 10, 2014

Photo by Aristocrats-hat

You probably know by now that I’m not the biggest fan of willpower. It’s weak. It’s fallible. And it often backfires when we need it most.

If you were dating willpower I’d tell you to dump the jerk immediately. Seriously, you can do better.

The reason I’m so hard on willpower is because the vast majority of the people I talk to still believe it is the solution to their health and weight struggles, and it’s not.

For long-term goals, willpower is far too unreliable to carry you through. Eventually it will break down, and the rebound you experience will be far worse than if you weren’t trying to control your behavior at all.

That said, willpower can be incredibly powerful for short-term goals. When you need to study for an exam or tolerate your family during the holidays, self-control is often your greatest asset. The most effective foodists must learn when and how to use willpower to your advantage, and when to let it go and fall back on habits.

When it comes to food, one of the best uses for willpower is when you’re experiencing cravings. Cravings are internal signals that drive you to act against your better judgement. They can come on suddenly and be intensely powerful, driving all else from your mind except the object of desire.

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5 Ideal Vegetables For Lazy Cooks

by | Feb 5, 2014

Baby savoy cabbages

I’ve mentioned before that cooking isn’t exactly my favorite pastime. I cook regularly, but more often than not my mission in the kitchen is to get food on the table as simply and quickly as possible. I’m like busy and stuff, ya know?

Over the years I’ve developed several techniques to optimize my time in the kitchen, but lately I’ve come to realize that tips and tricks aren’t the only factors that determine how much work it is to get dinner on the table. It turns out the choice of vegetable, and even the varietal, can play a big role as well.

Whether I’m feeling too busy, too lazy, or a bit of both, these are my go-to veggies to save time and effort in the kitchen.
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6 Simple Ways to Stay Fit in the Winter

by | Feb 3, 2014

Photo by michael pollak

Sub-zero temperatures and 12 feet of snow? Pffff. That doesn’t stop foodists from staying active.

Last week I asked those of you who live in the colder regions of the planet how you’re keeping fit despite the extreme weather this winter. And just as I had hoped, you demonstrated an extraordinary level of imagination and creativity.

As a California native who has only experienced snow and freezing weather a handful of times, I learned a ton about your winter healthstyles and I’m thrilled to share your insights.

A few patterns emerged that seem to work for a lot of different people:
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