We have all had THAT new year’s resolution.
Being such a common practice, a majority of you already know what I’m talking about: getting fit. Every new year, there are groundbreaking numbers of people at the gym. However, after the first two or three weeks, the number of those fulfilling their gym memberships completely diminishes. We all know that it is best to eat our fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and exercise on a regular basis. We all know what to do in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but we don’t do it; well, we don’t stick to it.
After those first few weeks, there is something within us that just throws our motivation right out the window and we forget about this universal resolution. So, what is it? What makes people enter every new year, with the SAME goal, but never reach any results? For some time, I couldn’t realize the answers to these questions; I couldn’t see what was holding me back from the healthy life that I wanted.
I soon discovered I missed a very important step.
We never recognize the thing that we need to get into shape before we can even get to our bodies: the mind!
I used to be an extremely active person. I ran track in high school, came to college and joined a step teamed called the Ladies of Elegance; I was always in motion and working out, even if it was fun, it was still active. However, I didn’t realize that I was only capable of staying so active was because my mind was in good spirits. I wanted to go to practice; I wanted to perform on stage; I wanted to win a meet; I genuinely loved doing all these things. When my mind was right, my body followed suite and placed me within activities that not only kept me looking good, but kept me feeling good too.
I had my motivation thrown out the window, so I had to find it again.
Losing my Uncle Wayne was the hardest time of my life. There was so much that I had to deal with and accept that I never wanted to deal with and never thought that I would have to accept. I found myself not as focused at practice, not concerned with my well-being and ultimately, I became very unfit. To the naked human eye, I don’t appear to be unfit; if you could grab a kaleidoscope that revealed my soul, then you’d easily see how unhealthy I am.
I thought that if I kept pushing myself at practice, kept trying to get myself in the gym, then I would eventually feel better. I kept being so concerned with my outside that I never gave any attention to my inside, and eventually my body began paying for it. Nearly five years later, I cannot say that I am completely better, but, I am getting much healthier. It wasn’t until I realized that my lack of health came from my mind, not my body, and that I had to start treating my mind better so it would trickle down to the rest of me.
So, how did I begin making my mind feel good?
It all started with the one thing that affected both my mind and body the most: food.
I absolutely love food. I love to eat, I love to cook, I love people to cook for me and I am willing to try just about every dish; except stuff with olives, I’m not the biggest fan of olives. Anyways, though I was always consistently eating and making sure that I had my three-square meals—plus snacks…a lot of snacks—per day, the food that I was deciding to eat matched how I was feeling: bad. My attitude and demeanor changed, and so did the stuff that was going into my body. Though I was still going to practice and still—attempting—to go to the gym, I found myself becoming more and more sluggish with each day, but I couldn’t see why. I kept trying to work my body, but realized that I kept adding fuel to the fire. I kept trying to “look good” that I forgot that the whole phrase includes “feel good” too.
The late-night Chinese food orders and secret trips to McDonald’s had my body all out of whack. You would think that I would’ve figured out sooner to not eat these things, but, an unhealthy mind has just as much control as a healthy one. So, I started seeing the mistakes in the food I was eating and vowed to get fit the right way: starting with my mind.
What foods can get our minds feeling good?
In order to bounce back and get Deiona in order, I had comprised a handful of foods—and snacks, can’t forget the snacks—that will boost the mind with healthiness, happiness, energy, and other positive attributes. These are just my top 5, but the list is so grand you’ll easily be able to craft your own:
- Fresh Brewed Tea (hot or iced) + Coffee: Every day, before I have breakfast, I make sure to have a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. Both of these can boost your brain by promoting enhanced memory, focus and overall mood. Now, the big distinction is “freshly brewed”. Bottled or powdered teas contain a lot of extra sugar and don’t provide the same benefits as fresh tea leaves or a tea bag. Only the freshest will do!
- Nuts and Seeds: Quick and easy go to, nuts and seeds serve as a great snack and a great brain food. With the high levels of vitamin E, it has been stated that these can improve your cognitive health, especially as you get older. Peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax seed—great to add in smoothies—peanut butter and almond butter are just to name a few. All great treats with great results.
- Green and Leafy Veggies: I have grown a genuine love for green and leafy veggies—especially kale. Leafy greens are so great for the brain because of the loads of vitamin A and K they give to the body. Studies show that brain complications, such as dementia and mental deterioration, tend to occur to those who decide not to eat their greens. Want your brain to stay in order? Then eat those greens!
- Coconut Oil: You can eat it, put it in your hair, on your skin, substitute it instead of using other cooking oils; coconut oil is so versatile, it’s scary. For the brain, coconut oil acts as an anti-inflammatory, fights against memory loss and destroys the bad bacteria of your body, especially the ones that resides in your tummy. All those looking to cut belly flat and supply your mind with love, here’s a solution!
- Turmeric: Though a spice, I have this with as many meals as I possibly can. It contains a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, helps boost antioxidant levels that keeps the immune system healthy, and even improves the brain’s intake of oxygen—this keeps you much more alert and gives greater capabilities of processing information. Try replacing salt and pepper with this glorious spice; your mind will thank you later.
All foods are great, but obviously some are better than others. Let’s stay focused on the stuff that will boost our mind so we can then boost our bodies. Cheers to good health and good food!