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5 Ways To Practice Self Care Through Food

5 Ways to Practice Self Care Through Food

1. Don’t Do Anything Else But Eat
In a time when it’s not uncommon to be juggling multiple jobs, multiple kids, chores, errands, and that new project you’re working on, taking time to be present when you eat is so important.
First, take your plate of food and sit down. Remember that? When you had time to eat sitting down at a table? Don’t let yourself eat in the car or stuff bites in between grocery store trips. You cannot feel satisfied by your food if you are unable to even recall what you ate because you were too busy to really notice.

Once you are sitting down, Put.Your.Phone.Away. This will be very hard for some. Many of us use our meal breaks to catch up on emails or social media. But, in the same way as running around and eating, you cannot feel satisfied or nourished by what you ate if you are distracted while eating it.

You owe it to yourself to take a breather, even for just ten minutes. Clear your head and focus on your food.

2. Savor Slowly
You’re not sitting at the table and your phone is nowhere in sight. Now, it’s the fun part!
You don’t want to rush through your meal just to get back to your other tasks. Take small bites, chew slowly, and savor each bite you take.

Consciously being aware of your eating provides an even deeper sense of satisfaction. You are more likely to think afterwards “That was really delicious. Now I am re-energized and I can continue with my day,” as opposed to thinking, “Did I eat enough today? What did I even make?”
Chewing slowly and thoroughly is also better for digestion. Your mind and stomach will thank you!

3. Express Gratitude
While you’re eating, express gratitude for the food in front of you. This can be done in your mind (or out loud if you want). Be thankful that you have access to such good food and the equipment and the knowledge to prepare it.

Be grateful for the nutrients you are feeding your body. Think about what tasks that food is going to fuel you up for, and how it makes you successful in your day.

And, of course, be grateful that it tastes so delicious.

4. Eat the Rainbow
A big part of eating for self-care includes incorporating nutrient dense foods. Food is first and foremost a way to survive. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients that serve different purposes for our well being. Try to prepare meals with different colors to ensure diversity in those nutrients.

5. Indulge
The “Balance” rule applies to everything in life, but especially indulgences! Treat yourself to our favorites sweet (r maybe it’s a fancy cheese or wine) once in a while. It’s important to be purposeful with indulgences and to practice steps 1, 2 and 3 while indulging.

Sometimes food has a nostalgic attachment and it can be wonderful to revisit that. By treating your indulgence as just that, an indulgence, you can enjoy your treat while still nourishing your body.


Emily Leis Photography Alexa Federico is a 22-year-old born and raised just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She is an avid reader and green tea drinker. She blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates healthy recipes and share her life experience living with Chrohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. After seeing extraordinary improvements in her health from following a modified Paleo diet, she is now a firm believer that “food is medicine.” You can follow Alexa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

They’d Never Know

They’d Never Know

When I was a child, I had a mantra I would repeat to myself. As I played, while my hands and body were busy creating the scenes coming forth from my imagination, my mind was busy trying to keep me safe.

Over and over I would think to myself, “You will never be loved. You will always be lonely.” I must have repeated that phrase hundreds, if not thousands of times.

Some might say my family life didn’t warrant such drastic cruelty to myself. I had two parents. We had a roof over heads and food on the table. We went on vacations. There were no beatings. To be honest, I don’t know where this deep sadness came from, but as far as I can remember, it’s always been a part of me. I’ve always felt like I was completely alone.

I have a vivid memory from when I was around 13 years old. We were driving from an event in New Jersey, back home to New York. It was an old car, a blue Plymouth Duster, still driveable but totally falling apart. There was a spot in the back seat where the metal from the underside of the car was exposed. I placed my bare foot on it.

As it started to get uncomfortably hot, I considered removing my foot. The thought I had next is what makes this scene so memorable for me. I thought to myself, “No. When you get older you will kill yourself so you have to train yourself to be strong and not be afraid of physical pain.”

This child, who tried to be tough and harm herself as a way to keep her pain hidden from the world, wrote the following poem at age 16:
They’d Never Know
They’d never know when they see her.
She always has on a smile.
She loves to talk and laugh and sing
will all who pass her by.
They’d never know when they see her.
She’s always out with her friends.
People who know her say,
she’s a friendly, happy child.
They’d never know when they see her,
what she really feels inside.
That she’s always cheerful and happy,
so the sadness she can hide.
They’d never know when they see her,
that at one time she wished she’d die.
That she used to cry her eyes out,
every night for quite awhile.
Only she knows what she has felt
and those feelings are still inside.
But she realizes that being happy
is the only way to survive.
So she goes out whenever she can
and upon her little face
is a smile along with the attitude,
I’m glad I’m living in this place.
And all the people who see her
say there goes that lovely child – but
they’d never know when they see her
the pain she has felt inside.

I share this story not to elicit pity from you nor to express a woe is me mentality. I share it in an effort to bring light to and to help release a common belief we have in this society. That we have to hide our pain.

Sadly, my story is not very unique. Sure the exact details are different, but how many of us keep our innermost sorrow and fear locked away in our inner dungeons? How many of us live our lives with a smile plastered on our faces so others won’t know the pain we endure?

There are many perfectly good reasons we hide our pain.

– So others won’t pity us, we don’t want to be viewed as weak.
– Because we believe no one wants to hear about it.
– Because we don’t want to wallow in the negative.
– Because, especially in many self-help and spiritual communities, you are “supposed” to be positive and keep your vibe high.

But the main reason we hide our pain is because we believe that there is something wrong with us for feeling this way. We are ashamed of our deep emotions, feeling broken for having them.
Everywhere we turn we are being told to “be happy,” “choose happiness,” and “think positive.” While these are helpful ideas at times, they can also be quite damaging. For when we deny our negative emotions, we are denying a part of ourselves. We are forcing our emotions to lie hidden instead of letting them flow and release naturally themselves.

Loving all our emotions is not exactly taught in our society. But it is a huge step in our growth and a huge act of self-love.

Self-love is loving all parts of ourselves, even those that are uncomfortable. Loving even those feelings that we believe define us as broken.

What if we could take it even a step further? I can’t help but wonder: What would the world look like if not only did we love and accept all of our emotions but also loved ourselves enough to be open and honest with others about those taboo feelings?

What would our world look like if we could love ourselves so much that we said to our family and friends, “I am feeling a bit depressed lately. I could use some support. Can you help me as I go through these strong emotions?”

What kind of adults would we raise, if children could say “I am really sad” without being told they have no reason to be sad? If children could say “I am really angry right now and not sure what to do with those feelings” without being told they better be quiet and behave? And how much could we heal ourselves by giving children the love and acceptance we didn’t receive as children?

I don’t know about you, but just imagining our world growing so open and loving, for all parts of ourselves and parts of each other, brings me to tears. A world in which not only would we not have to hide our tough emotions but could share what we are feeling with others and receive help as we traverse those difficult waters.

Can we love ourselves enough now to help bring about that world? Can we learn to love ourselves enough to allow our smile to turn to tears when someone asks how we are?

I believe we can. I believe we will. I believe we are.

Let’s love ourselves so fiercely that the world has no choice but to look inward and love all parts of itself. Once we as a species have come to love ourselves, we will have no need to try to lash out, hurt, or have power over others. Because we will know, without a doubt, that we all are powerful, special and loveable.

Hedy MacDonald is the founder of Sacred Soul Gardening, a sacred space for those on a spiritual path to learn, go within, follow their hearts, listen to their own wisdom and celebrate who they are, and the journey they are on. She plays many roles including mother, wife, daughter, energy healer, intuitive artist, and spiritual teacher, to name a few. She spends her days bringing spirituality down to earth, learning by living and accepting the roles she has chosen. She believes fiercely that loving ourselves is the key to great things in this messy thing called life and that unlike what others may teach, this greatness will include parts that don’t feel great at all. You can find out more about her heart-centered work at HedyMacDonald.com.

Self-Love And The Flu

Self-Love and The Flu

In January I came down with this horrid, nasty flu bug that took me completely out for nearly two weeks.

It didn’t have the courtesy of taking me out during Winter break at school either. Nope, this rude little bug took me out HARD the first week of the quarter and kept me out for the second week. At the end of the first two days of class, when I realized that ‘Holy shit, this bug isn’t going to be pretty!’, I’d already been assigned a ton of reading/writing at school, had the Fall In-Love w/ Yourself Challenge to promote AND all the emails still to write for that. I also had the submissions for this, the 6th year straight, of Fall In-Love w/ Yourself February series.
I was not a happy camper. Not at all.

In fact, on the day of the January Full Moon, the Quiet Moon, I left work early and went straight to bed. I laid there all afternoon entertaining worries of having to cancel the challenge and of failing Winter quarter. It was a full-on pit/anxiety party all afternoon. Not fun or productive, but authentic and real – part of life.

By the time my husband got home that first full day of it I felt super cruddy, icky and miserable. When he heard my cough rumbling so ugly and deep within my chest he made me throat coat tea in my favorite mug.

And then a refill.

He asked what he could make me for dinner. I said rice noodle soup with peas. He made me a package of something I’ve never had before. It tasted so wrong – I just could.not stomach it. I said “no, I can’t eat this. Please throw it out.”

And he took it away for me, then he asked me if I’d like some pasta with butter. “Yes, please.”
It took a fair while longer than expected before he returned with this perfect dome of brown rice pasta with cheese on top. It was good. I quickly devoured all of it.

He sat and regaled me with his adventure making it. How he’d wanted to figure out how to pack some healthy fats and protein into it. How he’d made a red wine reduction and whipped an egg & half and half to get some fat and protein in me. He must have whisked nonstop – there was no evidence of that egg. I sure was grateful for it.

Over the next few days, while I struggled to rest and drink enough water, he made me dinners of eggs and toast and tomato soup and toast (I think I went through an entire loaf of gluten free bread with toast!). He brought me flowers for my bedside table, twice and a magazine devoted to George Michael to enjoy. Sunday afternoon he sat on the edge of the bed with my guitar, singing me Beatles songs while I laid down, feeling so very, very loved. That flu was awful, but his care was so sweet and gentle, so devoted and full of love.

The best part of all of his care during that flu?

I knew, without doubt, that I was worthy of it. I knew I was deserving of his sweet care and devotion, and safe to receive it.

That, my friends, is the gift of genuine self-love — that deep knowingness that you are worthy of sweet care and devotion. It’s taken me years of conscious and I’m sure a lot of unconscious work to get to this place of worth. This beautiful place of true self-compassion.

All of that work has been worth it.

So very, very worth it.

You can give yourself this gift of genuine, soul-deep self-love. You are capable of doing this work. You are so very, very worthy of receiving your own unconditional love and devotion, as well as others.

My prayer for this month is that these stories about self-love healing journeys will bless you in your own healing journey.

Blessed Be,
Kate

This year Grace & Magic is running the Fall In-Love w/ Yourself Self-Care FREE Challenge!
If you haven’t signed up yet, you can sign up until Friday, February 3 here. We’d love to have you join us!

Kate Love is a self-care guide and spiritual midwife, helping women (re)birth their magic within.

Are You Ready To Fall In-Love This February?

Are You Ready to Fall In-Love This February?

Are You Ready to Fall In-Love This February?

The 6th annual Fall In-Love w/ Yourself February blog series is almost here and I’m so stoked about the guest posts this year! I am in-love with these pieces and excited to share them with you all month long.

This year I will also be facilitating a Fall In-Love w/ Yourself Self-Care Challenge. It’s gonna be a powerful month full of opportunities to deepen your self-care, learn new ways to love yourself and, through weekly writing prompts, get to know yourself in a beautifully intimate way.

During the month of February, you will dive into a deeper, truer way of loving yourself!

Whether you’re brand new to self-care or have been at it for years and are ready to dive deeper – the Fall In-Love w/ Yourself Challenge will have something to offer you.

The Fall In-Love w/ Yourself Challenge Includes:

Filled with meaningful, and doable, steps you can take as you journey into a loving, healthy and healing relationship with yourself, a relationship filled with grace and magic.
Receive weekly emails with challenge choices and writing prompts and join a community of women in the private Facebook group as we all journey together.
Join the Fall In-Love w/ Yourself Self-Care FREE Challenge here.

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