Sedona Wellness Retreat

Self-Love Starts with an Optimum Nutrition Mindset

Support your Self-Love Retreat by rethinking your optimum nutrition. Join us for your private Self-Love Retreat or Day Package, and include the personal and powerful Optimum Nutrition session during your stay. Check out our sample Wellness Retreat to help plan your health-enhancing get-away!

Even though I teach yoga and meditation and am a cosmetologist of hair and facial services, my clients and I Inevitably talk about food. We may be in the middle of sharing a recipe about pineapple upside down cake, and it somehow evolves into a discussion about health and optimum nutrition.

I love exchanging ideas, our latest discoveries, and protocol regarding supplements and herbs, eating patterns, and food choices shared with passionate, motivating and inspiring vigor! I truly want to hear what makes someone feel better!

After all, the food we eat (pertaining to the root chakra of primal needs) is at the foundation of our existence! Stability in our emotional and spiritual states begins with the stability in our physical body. We can all relate to a time when our blood sugar dropped or we binged on junk food or skipped vegetables while traveling – the feeling was horrible and probably lead to blurry vision, mood swings, fatigue, bloating, constipation, irritability, sleep disturbance, or just an overall BLAH! feeling. These kinds of eating patterns and their not-so-positive effects, are not exactly ideal for creating strong positive energy for manifesting goals.

So, I always encourage an exchange of ideas and information about food for better health, because we all know it works. A Universal Law of sorts. High nutrition supports health, which supports well-being, which equates to happiness.

However, I have also heard some pretty radical approaches and veritably unhealthy habits that people have adopted, that might actually be undermining their health and wellbeing.

Whether it is from self-diagnosed information found on the Internet or the latest detox or weight loss trend, there are many approaches that conflict with good health and are actually sabotaging our equilibrium. Stabilizing nutritionally equates with better equanimity, less highs and lows, and a more even kilter emotional disposition from which to handle life. We know food, particularly sugar, effects our mood and behavior, so it behooves us to make wise food choices.

A classic example is a recent search I did on foods to boost energy. The internet brought up “Three Best Foods for Energy” and I thought only three?

That might be enough nutrition for a quick fix, but how do you sustain energy with just three foods? How do those foods work into your meal times? What about any underlying nutritional issues behind the search? The answer is more complex based on many factors. Finding answers and strategies to this kind of question is why people continually experiment with different foods, but at the core of one’s nutrition, I am going to suggest a guide to creating a solid foundation.

Mind, body, and spirit all flourish within a lifestyle of optimum nutrition, and not a momentary fad or flurry of hype.

In this age of information overload, much information comes out as misinformation, skewed perspectives, and health beliefs and practices that are not always evidence based…and are not always good for health and wellbeing.

Find out if your optimum nutrition mindset needs a reset, for sound nutrition will optimize your success for positive change in all realms of your life. You might even think of your dietary approach as the first step of Self-Love.

Here are 10 things I have identified that are not sustainable over a long period of time:
1. Reading success stories based on restriction, elimination, and miracle cures can be convincing, especially with a before and after picture. Avoid being lured into a misinformation rabbit-hole by following recommendations that are not evidence-based.
2. Going vegan? You might work with a registered dietitian to learn what foods you need to get nutrients you need to avoid deficiencies.
3. “If only I could lose weight, then…” Weight loss does not solve all problems. But if you are carrying extra weight and are managing any risk factors for one or more health issues, losing weight can help. Adopting healthful eating and regular movement leads to a leaner body.
4. Processed foods are bad-right? Not so fast. Processed foods like canned tuna or frozen vegetables have simply been preserved for our convenience. Cheese and natural nut or seed butters are also processed foods. Eat less of the processed foods with a lot of added salt, saturated fat, added sugar, and food additives.
5. If you have been avoiding carbs to lose weight, you might be eliminating your BFF—best friend FIBER! Science shows that eating enough fiber from fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes helps with weight loss. Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.
6. Do not be fooled into avoiding all white foods. Cauliflower, potatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips, beans and yogurt have nutrients important for building protein, lowering cholesterol, and strengthening immunity. Generalized statements are often easily shared and spread misinformation.
7. Plant-based burgers CAN be better than beef burgers. However, some are made with coconut oil, which per tablespoon has 13 grams of saturated fat. Be sure to read the label. If your body and heart needs lower fat, then choose a healthy, lower-fat plant-based burger!
8. Black and white, good and bad, right and wrong…micro-judging every food choice by unrealistic standards can be hurtful. Keep your eye on the long-term goal. Do not have one? Find one. Ditch statements like “I was bad today…” and “I should…” and instead adopt a non-diet lifestyle. This means focusing on ongoing habits, not diet behavior.
9. If protein has dominated the center of your plate or the scoop in your shake, you may be surprised to learn that all the amino acids we need for building and repairing muscle are in whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables like potatoes and peas, nuts, seeds, and yes, fruits and vegetables!
10. A healthy lifestyle should be enjoyed. Over thinking your food and food behaviors can be oppressive. If obeying your dieting rules means you cannot eat with others, you might want to lighten up. Flexibility is the key to sustainability.

Self-Love nutrition is a lifestyle of ongoing healthy habits and not on-again off-again yo-yo dieting and restricting. The first step is to eat fresh whole organic foods and minimally processed foods with as few ingredients as possible. Hydrate throughout the day with quality water. Science is showing it is more beneficial to eat your calories earlier in the day and finish by early evening. Make choices that support your goals over time. Know you are moving in the right direction by accepting and loving your body now.

My latest approach has been to up the anti on the super foods I eat daily. I pre-make these “condiments” to last a week or so and add them to soups, salads, salsas, protein, etc. They can also be frozen for later use, but do not wait too long, the fresher your food the higher the nutritional value.

Here are a few of my favorites:

ZINC BUTTER This is really pumpkin seed butter, but the seeds are so high in zinc I think of it as zinc butter. Grind 1/4 C. of pumpkin seeds in herb / coffee grinder until fairly smooth. Place ground seeds in a small food processor and blend with a couple of tablespoons of your favorite oil. I use extra virgin olive oil or sesame seed oil. Add salt to taste. Celtic salt has the lowest sodium and mild taste. Scoop into a small condiment jar and finish within a week or so.

BASIL PESTO I cannot eat garlic, but of course add it to your recipe, if you do. I take an entire box of basil and stuff it into a small food processor. Add salt to taste, lemon juice from half a whole lemon, a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and just enough pumpkin seeds, to thicken it up and give structure, but not to dominate. Blend until fairly smooth. Scoop into a small condiment jar and use up within a week or so.

GREEN CHILI VERDE Broil 4 Pablano, 2 Anaheim, 1 Serrano, and 1 Jalapeno peppers in the oven – turning the peppers every 7 minutes until all sides are blistered.

Have a pyrex dish full of water cooling in the freezer with some ice cubes.

When peppers are done put the dish of ice water in the sink and put the peppers in the ice bath. Peel away the skin and seeds, to clean the peppers.

Place clean peppers in a blender. Add at least 1 cup water or veggie broth, a bunch of cilantro – stems and all, sometimes I add cleaned and chopped tomatillos, always ground cumin to taste. I use about 1-2 tsp cumin or more! Blend together adding as much liquid as necessary for the consistency you want to work with. Pour into a jar and have on hand for heating up with beans and cheese, on top of omelets and eggy dishes, addition to salad dressing, as a topper to protein dishes (like fish!), making rice, quinoa or lentils with a 1/4 cup or more to taste.

Every culture has a reference to health pointing at fresh optimum nutrition, low stress, body care like massages and hot baths, oils and botanicals, deep rest and hydration- the pillars of health. Why not embrace the lifestyle of feeling good – as they say in Thailand, “Sabai, sabai.”

~ Marnie Mills, Sedona Self-Love Retreats Practitioner

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