In 2010 I took a trip to California to visit one of my best friends who lived in the northern part of the state with her then-boyfriend (now husband). While there, I was exposed to the way she had been eating for some time – which was real food – prepared daily – in the home. This shouldn’t have been a real eye opener for me, considering I came from a family who ate healthy meals together every week night, but college and living on my own had left a void (or a box of starchy white noodles) where that connection with food used to be.
I came back from that trip feeling rejuvenated, and quickly made the connectio
n that it was probably – to an extent – caused by the good food I was putting in my body while on that trip. (The ocean waves didn’t hurt either.) I realized I had become detached from food over the past few years, and I decided to remedy it when I returned home.
So began a slow journey – which I’m still on – to eat less processed food and develop a healthy relationship with eating good food. Many people refer to this as “mindful eating,” where you teach your brain and body to enjoy real food by making more deliberate meal and snack choices. Replacing fast food and freezer meals with healthier items proved easier than expected, and I quickly noticed positive changes, including better sleeping habits, higher energy levels and a cure for my eczema and skin issues that I had dealt with for years.
Juicing was an organic (no pun intended) result of eating healthier. Before Sunshine Juice Co. opened in Evansville, I would occasionally order juice online from other retailers or stop in juice stops when visiting larger cities. Once Evansville had a juice option, I was hooked. Cold pressed juice offers and easy pick-me-up between meals and a great way to get a daily serving of fruits and vegetables. I love that juice provides an easy option for traveling and on-the-go moments and it has opened my mind to certain foods and flavors I previously had avoided – like beets and kale.
What else did I dig my hands into?
Dirt. Literally, I started gardening. I also started watching where my food came from, and choosing local when possible. Because growing healthy food? That’s hard work. Making organic cold-pressed juice? That’s also hard work. I wanted to support the folks locally who provided a undeniable service to our city. During the warmer months, I love shopping at Franklin Bazaar or the farmers markets in Evansville, Newburgh and Henderson and planning my meals around what I find there. During the winter months? I do what most people in the midwest do and count the days until spring, and try to incorporate winter root vegetables and seasonal greens and cranberries into my diet. (You can find all of those in Sunshine Juice, too, by the way! Coincidence? I think not!)
If you’re thinking about making health part of your journey in 2016, I say go for it! Here’s an article I love about mindful eating, including tips to get off the dieting roller coaster and start appreciating food.