Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love Yourself, Love Your Body

Don't compromise yourself.  You are all that you've got. 
- Janis Joplin

Beautiful Body Types

Almost all of us have a distorted image of our body, often due to the importance our culture places on outward appearance and the onslaught of media images of airbrushed models and celebrities.  (Dove is doing a great job on trying to change that with their 'Campaign for Real Beauty' initiative).  On a daily basis, we talk to ourselves in ways we would never speak to another. Imagine speaking to a child the way you speak to yourself about your body.  It would devastate and squelch a child.  It affects you similarly, causing stress and emotional pain in your body, which can make improving your health or losing weight even more difficult.   

The Power of Exercise!
Think about all of the intelligence, creativity, and time you spend on improving, altering, and judging your appearance.  Who would you be and what would you accomplish if your valuable resources weren't used this way?   Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body.  It makes us forget the magic of our internal rhythms and fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have.

The body you have right now is incredible!  It never misses a heartbeat, it maintains homeostasis and miraculously digests whatever you put in it.  It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence, and love.  By focusing on the 1% you don't like or wish were different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique, and delightful.

What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body that you have?  You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, which is great, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body rather than the opposite? Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk, and to reconnect with your inner wisdom?  Take a minute to imagine what that would be like.  It would mean celebrating your body rather than punishing it.  It would mean nourishing your body rather than depriving it.  It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish when treated with care and respect.

Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes seem to be on everyone's minds this season (at least they are on mine!)  They go hand-in-hand with the holidays along with pumpkin and other sweet vegetables.  Fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables needn't be limited to this time of year.  Cravings for sweets can be greatly reduced by adding sweet vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, beets, carrots, parsnips, squash, turnips, and rutabagas to your daily diet.  Sweet potatoes elevate blood sugar gently rather than with the jolt delivered by simple refined carbohydrates, so there is no energy crash after you eat them.  Much higher in nutrients than white potatoes and especially rich in Vitamin A, sweet potatoes offer a creamy consistency that is satisfying and soothing.  They are healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and reproductive organs and help remove toxins from the body.  They can increase the quantity of milk in lactating women and can lessen cramps and premenstrual symptoms.  If you don't have any sweet potatoes in your kitchen, go out and buy some (local and organic if possible) and make the recipe below:
Sweet Potato - A Holiday Favorite

Recipe of the Month: Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro
This recipe is an eye-opener for those who find sweet potatoes too sweet or those who are tired of eating them smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar.  Japanese sweet potatoes, with their pale flesh and delicate flavor, are a treat if yo can find them.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Put the Lime in the Coconut! (sweet potato)
4 sweet potatoes
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro (1/4 bunch if you find them too strong)
2-3 limes
butter, ghee, or olive oil
sea salt

  1. Wash sweet potatoes and bake them whole, in their skins, at 375 for about 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Wash and chop cilantro leaves.
  3. When sweet potatoes are done, split open the skin and place on serving plate.  Season with sea salt and dots of butter or ghee, or drizzle with olive oil.  Squeeze fresh lime juice all over and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
  4. Serve over grains and greens.

Be well,


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