1st World Survival Kit – Stress and Nutrition

Those of you who follow my blog know that most posts are based on my opinions on how we can strive to live better lives – nutritionally, psychologically or socially. I feel like I am slowly getting to a ‘simple’ answer on how we can try and survive – live longer, prevent disease, be happier – whatever your goal is.

There are obviously ZILLIONS of factors that affect one's physical and mental condition – from our genetics to our environments. Most of the time these factors are not really in our control. But what are in our control are our nutritional status and our stress levels. Now many of you probably don’t believe me when I say your stress is actually in your control. I never used to believe that statement. Being a typical A type personality, a hard worker, a conscientious and nerdy scholar – I never used to think my anxiety or stress levels were ever in my control.

Over the last few years, life has thrown me some pretty stressful events and I got to a point where I decided my adrenal glands couldn’t take much more, so I decided to do something about it. I had also encountered many people who were sick and doctors had seemed to say that stress was the cause of their illnesses. I used to frown upon doctors who said stress was the cause – I thought it was a cop out… But I am slowly starting to see that they were probably right! So I set out to try and find something that worked for me. I started yoga and I did a few meditations courses. Here is what I learnt:

  1. I learnt that yoga was more about calming the mind than about whether I could touch my toes or put my feet flat in down-dog.
  2. I learnt that meditation was whatever it was – there was no recipe, no good or bad meditation and no superior method.
  3. I learn that both helped calm me down, reduced the number of thoughts I thought everyday and helped me be a nicer person (to be really honest).

You can do whatever feels right to you. Maybe it’s prayer, or seeing a therapist or doing charity work. Find something that gives those adrenals and that big-ass butterfly in your tummy a rest!

Now to my passion and my favourite topic on earth – nutrition. I am not going to start preaching about how I think you should eat – I have done that enough. I do believe that you need to start being aware of what you are eating if you want to live disease-free into your 30ies, 40ies and all the rest. We all decide what goes into our mouths – so therefore we are in control of our nutritional health. Start asking yourself these questions before you take a bite:

  1. Is this food going to nourish my body – in other words is it filled with nutrients or is it dead?
  2. Does this food go off after a few days? If the answer is yes, then it is probably quite nutritious.
  3. Would you give this food to your child to eat?
  4. Is your body hungry or is it your mind that is hungry?

Start thinking about food as nutrition rather than calories, or something to fill the gap, or something to make your taste buds happy and then poison the rest of your body.

I am a huge lover of food – the sweet treats and the green juices… But generally I try to eat for nourishment – that’s the point of eating isn't it? But then occasionally I indulge – just like everyone else – but this is done consciously. I am aware and I eat with purpose - give nutritional awareness a try!

If we start focusing on these 2 controllable areas of our lives we will be the happy, full-of-life, green juicing, trail running 75-year granny that we want to be. Stress and poor nutrition make us sick eventually on some level. Make these a priority this year – and ill see you on the trails in 43 years time!