While I’m busy working on our new wedding collection and journal launch next month, I’m so glad to have Laken from Peach and Humble guest blogging all week about nutrition and how to nourish your body, heart and people. I don’t have many guest bloggers, but when I started reading Laken’s blog, I knew we were kindred spirits and she’d fit right in over here! Not to mention, she’s married to a Tyler and has their first little girl due in October (just like Vivi)! Nutrition is definitely an area I’m no expert in so I’m taking notes right along with y’all! Welcome Laken!
Hi, there! I’m Laken and I’m so excited to be joining Val all week to share something near and dear to my heart: creating a nourishing kitchen. I am passionate about real food and helping real women bring real wellness into their daily lives. But before I jump in, here’s a little disclaimer about me and my beliefs on food and nourishment: I don’t believe in hard and fast rules. I don’t believe in guilt or judgement. And “diet” is a dirty word in my book.
This week I’m going to be sharing simple, sustainable habits for creating a culture of happiness and wellness in your kitchen. And today is all about your body. That one body that you’ve got. That temple that you’re walking around in day to day. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” and I believe whole-heartedly that nourishing our bodies to the best of our abilities is giving Him the glory.
1. Pay attention to your gut.
Gut health is the very core of our overall health, and it’s impossible for us to be truly nourished if we aren’t maintaining a healthy gut. The gut (a generalized term for the entire digestive system) has been getting a lot more mainstream spotlight recently, with advertisements for probiotics all over the place…but it’s with good reason! A happy and healthy gut is essential to a happy and healthy body. The short and simple reason is this: Your gut is where foods are digested and converted into nutrients, that are then delivered to the rest of your body. Those nutrients are critical to the systems and organs of your body functioning properly. The gut also keeps damaging toxins from entering into your bloodstream.
So in order to give your body what it truly needs, you not only need to be eating the nutrients, you need a gut that is in good working order. Plenty of good bacteria, also known as gut flora, is a necessary part of well-functioning digestion. The simplest way to ensure you are supplying your gut with adequate good bacteria is supplementing with a strong probiotic. My husband and I make the effort to take probiotics every day, and I truly believe they are changing our guts for the better. But I’m also a big believer in taking as few supplements as possible, rather opting to receive nutrition through food as much as I can. So we make the effort to eat or drink something fermented (aka: something rich in naturally-occuring probiotics) as often as possible. Our favorites are kombucha, kefir, fermented pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt.
I grew up in a low-fat, fat-free, fat-is-the-enemy household. It took me a long time to shake the negativity I had grown to associate with the word “fat.” But the thing is — fat is a critical component to our bodies. Our brains are roughly 60% fat and without it, our very cells couldn’t do their jobs. Fat keeps your brain in shape and your hormones happily balanced. It even helps you lose weight, which may seem counterintuitive to those of us who have grown up in an anti-fat culture. We can’t expect to function well, right down to the molecular level, if we aren’t consuming fat on a regular basis.
But this isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for all fats, for all fats are not created equal. It’s the good fats that are necessary, not the fake or highly-refined kind. I try not to worry myself with separating saturated vs. unsaturated fats, but rather just focus on getting fats from real food sources. That includes things like coconut, fish, avocado, meat and milk from grass-fed animals, and eggs from pastured hens.
What if I said that you could — and maybe even, you should — have dessert every night? I’m not trying to sabotage you or make you buy bigger jeans, and I’m not saying that consuming an entire cake on a Tuesday night should become commonplace. But rather, I want you to break up with the guilt that we frequently associate with indulgence. Because so much of what we eat – and don’t eat – is influenced by what we’re feeling or what kind of day we’re having instead of what our bodies actually want or need. And that is exacerbated even more when we have deep-rooted feelings of guilt or rebellion tied to a particular food. So I say, eat dessert! Listen to your body. If you want something sweet, eat something sweet. When you allow yourself the freedom to have what you want when you want it, you’ll find yourself starting to let go of those long-held food/feeling associations. You’ll be better able to listen to your body, which is necessary not only for giving it what it needs, but also for feeling good about it. (And if you don’t feel good about what you’re doing, you’ll never be able to sustain it.)
So am I suggesting that you bake a batch of cookies every night? Not necessarily. Although, I wouldn’t be 100% opposed to it. Instead, I want you to experiment and find what you like best. For me, I want to finish the night with something sweet but I don’t want to feel miserably full or heavy. So I like to make a fruit-based dessert, like baked apples with a scoop of ice cream. More than flavor, pay attention to what kind of texture you’re craving — creamy, crunchy, soft, icy — and you’ll feel even more satisfied.
Pretty photos are from Laken’s blog, Peach and Humble!
Laken is a writer and mentor living in the deep south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is passionate about making wellness a real and attainable thing in the lives of women — in a non-preachy, totally-manageable, real-life kind of way. Laken shares about real food and creating a good life at home over on her blog, Peach and Humble.