Friday Feast: Pass me the veggies, peas.

We get our energy from food. Not from exercise. Not from supplements. Not from sleep. We get energy to burn and live from the foods we eat. We are what we eat. Literally.

There are seven personal habits of a healthy person:

*sleeping 7/8 hours daily

*eating breakfast almost daily

*consuming planned snacks

*being at or near prescribed weight

*never smoking cigarettes

*moderate or no use of alcohol

*regular physical activity

(Practical Stress Management, John A. Romas and Manoj Sharma, 2010)

I want to add: *no abuse of controlled substances such as prescription or illegal drugs.

Healthy eating enhances our ability to cope with stress and stressful events. If we are sustained through healthful eating, we are more capable of dealing with daily stress because we are not stressed by being overweight or under nourished. The whole idea to eating healthy can be summed up with one word: balance. The key lies in maintaining a balance of quantity and quality of food and regularity in eating. There are dietary guidelines leading to balanced eating for Americans as described by the government. I encourage you to review all the recommendations presented at MyPyramid and visit the website if you’re interested, but I also stress to you that just like the way we deal with stress is a habit learned many times from our relatives, eating habits are also learned early in life. If you are concerned about your eating habits, take a long and serious look at what you eat, how you eat it, and why you eat as soon as possible. It will be too late to seriously address your eating habits when you are faced with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease due to high cholesterol caused by a high fat diet.

The first step to balanced nutrition is awareness. Just like the principle of awareness of stress being the first step to learning how to cope with stress, awareness of eating habits is the first step to deciding how to maintain healthy eating practices. Because we take eating for granted, it is important to stop from time to time and look seriously at our eating patterns, write them down, and decide what changes if any we wish to make.

Ask yourself questions like:

+Do I eat breakfast regularly?

+Do I eat between meals?

+How much caffeine do I take in on a daily basis?

+Do I abuse any unhealthy substances such tobacco, drugs, or alcohol?

+Do I prepare most of my own food or does someone else make it and I heat’n’eat?

+Is my sugar consumption reasonable or is it too high? What about my salt intake?

After understanding that balance is the key to healthy eating habits and awareness of personal eating habits is the key to determining good balance, the next step is moderation. This is understanding that there are food choices available and that no one food should be consumed in excess. The key to healthy eating is know that there are food groups necessary to the body’s ability to function and that moderate choices will help you eat in a balanced way.

The body needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water in balanced moderation to achieve balance.

Lastly, there are things to avoid consuming in excess. These are alcohol, smoking, and drugs. While it’s common knowledge that many, many people turn to these substances for solutions to their stress, never are they successful. Never. The point is to learn coping methods and healthy alternatives to the use of alcohol, smoking, and drugs. All these substances do is post pone dealing with the stress. They do not alleviate stress in any way shape of form. They only delay the inevitable. And they pack on the pounds. Alcohol is full of sugars and useless calories. Smoking depletes the immunes system’s ability to function and ward off disease and causes disease. Drugs are a temporary fix. That is not coping. Drugs lead to dependence and decreased coping capabilities because they distort the nervous system’s ability to react and function.

Eat healthy and prosper!

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held