The term “self-care” gets thrown around a lot lately. But what does self-care really mean? Today we’re going to take a candid look at self-care. Thanks to bio-individuality, (“every body is different”) self-care probably means something different for each and every one of us.
So what does self-care mean to you? Do you practice regular self-care? Do you put on your own oxygen mask first, and take care of yourself first, so you are better prepared to support others? Or do you put everybody else first, ending up feeling exhausted?
For me, self-care is definitely about putting on my own oxygen mask first. Taking care of number one so I have enough energy to do everything else I need to do. But sometimes in this crazy-busy work-a-day world, we forget to put on our own oxygen mask first (even me!) And in Western cultures, women especially, and likely men as well, tend to bite off more than we can chew.
We strive to be the super-mom, the super-employee, the super-boss, super-homemaker, and the super-spouse. However, we often end up with the short end of the stick. Feeling like we’ve actually only done a half-assed job at any one of those things, and feeling completely exhausted as a result. As the saying goes, “If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”
Though I’ve yet to visit Morocco, it’s on my bucket list and hopefully, I’ll get there one day. In the meantime, we’ve really been loving eating this Moroccan Veggie Stew lately. I searched out a Moroccan Veggie Stew recipe online, and found so many different ones with different ingredients, that I decided to combine several and make my own!
This one-pot Moroccan Veggie Stew with garbanzo beans, lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes, and spices is delicious on a cool fall or winter day. The spices are pungent and warming with flavors that create an interestingly delicious combination. In fact, the ingredients in this Moroccan Veggie Stew provide a powerhouse of healing benefits.
The purple onions are full of the flavonoid anthocyanins, a phytochemical with antioxidant benefits. Onions also contain quercetin which can help reduce inflammation and pain, aid in preventing cardiovascular diseases and has anti-cancer properties as well.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber and betacarotene, as well as providing trace minerals and vitamins like iron, calcium, selenium, most of our B vitamins, and vitamin C. And then there are the flavorful, health-boosting spices.
More and more research each day is pointing to the benefit of eating anti-inflammatory foods for a healthier life. Sadly, the Standard American Diet, (S.A.D.) which consists of processed foods, fried foods, red meats, and foods high in sugar, trans fats, and salt, is very pro-inflammation. Add to that the fact that our bodies are bombarded daily by toxins that can contribute to inflammation as well, from the air we breathe, to the water we drink, and even on the fresh foods we eat in the form of pesticides and glyphosate. So we need to do all we can to help detox and protect our bodies.
And since inflammation has been linked to a host of diseases from diabetes and heart disease to cancer and dementia/Alzheimers, we could all stand to eat healthier. If you read my last post, you saw how diet has been directly linked to mental health. When you’re fueling your body with low-grade fuel (ie: S.A.D diet) there’s no way it’s going to be able to function properly over the long haul. So it’s really important to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible, at every meal, every day.
Most of the top anti-inflammatory foods are plant-based foods, and the recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies is nine half-cup servings a day. That’s 4.5 cups of veggies and fruits a day, every day. And if you can eat more than that, and eat organic, all the better. Guess what? When you’re loading up on 4.5 cups or more of high-fiber, delicious veggies, and fruits a day, along with some healthy fats and oils, you will feel satiated and full. You won’t have much room left in your belly to snack on processed, fried, chemical-laden junk foods. Wahoo!
So what are the top anti-inflammatory foods, and what can they do for you? Lately, many doctors and universities have been putting together top anti-inflammatory foods lists. And I took a look at many of these lists, all of which differ somewhat. However, 12 foods were among the top on all lists. So in Part 1 of this two-part article, we’ll find out the health benefits of the top six anti-inflammatory foods.
Is there a link between diet, inflammation, and mental health? You might not have given it much thought before, so you might be surprised by what you’ll learn here. As you likely know, mental health issues have a big impact on our society. In fact, their impact may be larger than any other chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and autoimmune diseases.
There are so many factors involved in complex conditions like mental health issues. Interestingly, science is only recently starting to unravel one of these factors – chronic inflammation as it relates to diet.
And the diet, inflammation, and mental health trifecta can be a hard-to-break vicious cycle. Poor diet leads to inflammation, which can lead to mental health issues, which can lead to making poor diet and lifestyle choices, and on and on it goes…Let’s take a deeper look to see what seems to be going on with diet, inflammation and mental health.
First, let’s look at the links between chronic inflammation and mental health (there are a few). Then, we’ll take a look at new research into natural approaches – things like foods, nutrients, and lifestyle changes – and how these factors contribute to increased mental wellness.