The first year we called New York home, we lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I was quite an enigma, as a 27yr old SAHM with 3 kids. I bought bright teal Hunter rain boots, but quickly realized I should have bought them in black, or charcoal at least :).
I saw so much variety, but so much sameness. All forms of humanity, all chasing their dreams together.
I noticed families the most - both parents, professionals. Clean cut. Clearly in Finance, Fashion, Advertising, Business, heads of industry, appropriately dressed - fashionably in black. Goals. Small children, pushed in strollers (that somehow had no crumbs in them) by their doting babysitter, kissed and squeezed by their parent, told they were loved and to "be good". Beautiful. Parents, in a rush. Eyes on their phone, phone to their ear, joining a meeting over coffee - don't spill it!! Pause. Laughter, genuine and forced, over a meal and a drink. Slicked back hair, nice watch. Professionally blown out and highlighted hair, delicate jewelry. Achievements. Success. Prestige. Focus. Drive. Leading companies. Changing the world.
My very favorite part about living in that neighborhood was Saturday mornings.
I would go out for a cup of coffee, or to run a quick errand, and I would see all the all-put-together-and-fancy-pants men and women suddenly transformed... Dressed down scruffy-chinned. Baseball hats and sweaters, fashionable sweatpants. Hair up. Yesterday's hairspray. Fresh faced, lip gloss and glasses. Eating bagels slathered with cream cheese, and getting some on their faces. Walking with their tiny kiddos - watching them with mixed awe and admiration, sipping their cup of coffee and gazing at them. They had worked so hard all week... for themselves, their families, for their goals and dreams. Their phones no where to be seen, because that little one slowly walking next to them was holding their hand.
The natural rhythm or work and rest was visually evident in these men and women's appearances, in their posture, in their pace.
On Saturday, their faces looked different - relaxed and satisfied, and proud. Like they felt that they had done a good job, and now could enjoy the what they had worked so hard for. This scene always caused me to take a deep breath - a sigh of relief, and agreement. We. Work. Hard. We enjoy it! It fills our hearts and minds with the feeling of satisfaction and pride. Its stressful, but it's worth it. (Is it? we wonder...) And then (then!), we can rest. It is so good to rest and to be restored after days where all the energy had been expended and used up.
As we head into the weekend, here are some thoughts about the practice of Restorative Eating.
Taking a break. A sabbath. A mini-vacation. With regard to how we eat.
There is a natural rhythm to our weeks where we work hard at our jobs M-F, and then we shift to leisure. This leisure fills us up in a different way than our work does. We give our schedules, our minds a break from the daily grind, and we re-charge. We fill back up the energy that we expended that week, and we build up a reserve of things to be thankful for. We are restored.
We understand this concept in our bodies when we work out and train. After a particularly strenuous work out, your muscles need time to rest and heal - that is what builds them and makes them stronger.
I prescribe to my clients this practice of Restorative Eating: one day a week, where you give your body the opportunity to heal and restore itself.
This is not a new concept. It has been presented before in cultures around the world as "fasting". In America, we have incorporated this practice as a form of dieting: "Meatless Monday" "No Dairy Day" "Only Fish on Fridays".
But all those terms are restrictive instead of expansive. There is no need to view health as depriving ourselves. Instead, we must give our bodies what they need to become stronger and healthier. We need to give ourselves MORE of what our bodies need, not less.
And sometimes our bodies just need a break.
Your body WORKS HARD.
It is no small feat to supply all your cells with the nutrients they need, clean your blood, fight infections, stay alert, replicate your DNA over and over. All of your organ systems are working to keep your body healthy by sorting and circulating the nutrients it needs, and getting rid of the toxins, allergens, foreign proteins, and waste that it does not need. Maybe, in the same way that you need a break from the office, your body needs a break too.
This is why I recommend adding in a habit of Restorative Eating to your week! Foods that restore our bodies are all the foods you keep hearing about are so good for you. They are the foods that reduce inflammation, heal your gut, re-populate your micro-biome with good bacteria, nourish your muscles and tissues, make your skin look radiant!
This is how: Choose one day this week to eat only what grows from the ground.
Eat all the plants, nothing processed. Remove meat and dairy from your day. Gorge yourself on all the fresh crunchy veggies, or comforting roasted veggies that you can eat. Indulge in a pile of gluten free grains. Top it all with a decadent herbed creme. Feel like a vegan goddess for just one day. Drink water instead of wine, decaf tea instead of coffee. You may be surprised at how energized and alert you feel, and it may be addicting :).
***To learn more about this practice of Restorative Eating, contact me for a FREE Health History Consultation! I would love to chat with you about finding ways to nourish and heal your body, so you are full of vitality and stregnth!**
What I have found working with clients, is that as you experiment with foods with the expectation of enjoyment and fulfillment, you actually experience both those things. If you face food with a mindset of restriction or "off limits", then you will always feel deprived. This is not the path to weight loss, or healthy longevity.
Approach this day of Restorative Eating with the same mindset as you would going to a luxurious Spa. Its like a day of pampering, and resting - not a day for restricting.
This mind set shift is so helpful in creating the healthy lifestyle you want. There is so much to say here, but I'll start with this: nourishing your body should be ENJOYABLE. Restorative eating is not going to extremes, it is part of taking simple, actionable steps that add up to monumental life change.
It is not doing a 40 day fast, or a 30 day cleanse, or even a 7 day detox. It's one day. One day a week. It is a simple habit that results in being able to EAT FREELY + BE WHOLE.
If you are curious about how to incorporate this healing practice into your life, lets talk! Health Coaching is unique, customized for you individually, or for your family's needs. Let's work together to discover how your body was meant to be cared for, and how to daily invest in yourself through better habits, beliefs, and practices - so you experience the freedom and satisfaction that comes from transforming your life. There is so much to be discovered and to be understood!