Lose the Blues

If your mind, body and soul feel stuck, consider a nutrition reboot

When rebooting a frozen computer, sometimes the only option is to pull the plug and pray it resets the circuitry. The same can be said of a frozen state of mind. In the dead of winter, our sunny, feel-good Vitamin D stores might run low, leaving us feeling “meh.” Those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), in particular, know that the winter blues are no myth.

Shaking free of the doldrums often requires a reboot of mind, body and soul. Get quiet, get honest and ask the tough question: “What’s holding you back?” This assessment provides a vantage point to review day-to-day habits that support you, and those that don’t. It becomes readily apparent how food choices lead you closer to or further away from optimal efficiency.

To guide you in your own personal reboot, we seek the wisdom of two locals who take this subject seriously enough to create careers around it. Imagine a one-step-cooler Martha Stewart and you have Salt Lake City’s Anne Dorsey, founder of Milk and Honey Wellness. Meal planner and lifestyle coach Jesse Rich is a super-athlete and trail runner who is a certified nutritionist at Forward Progressions. Both share insights and suggestions on how to reach your personal best in 2018.

Food & the Mind
Hunger isn’t the only reason we forage in the fridge. What we eat influences our emotions and motivations—whether we feel happy, invincible or just ready to hit the couch in a food-induced coma. “The connection we humans have with food is remarkable,” Jesse Rich says. “Food can be our best friend or our worst enemy.”

Rich notes that with many of his clients, it isn’t so much what they eat but how they eat. Do they eat alone or with others? Humans are social beings who take time to prepare and enjoy food. “When surrounded by the people we love, and nourishing our bodies with healthy food, all other states of happiness come into alignment,” Rich says. “Dedicate some time every week to prepare food with friends and family and see how your emotional and physical state changes.”

Anne Dorsey concurs. She’s dismayed that in just a few generations, humans have completely transformed what, when and how they eat. “Supermarket food contains chemicals, additives and sweeteners wrapped in pretty boxes with catchy packaging,” she says. “We eat this stuff, along with fried fast foods, in our cars, in front of our TVs or at our desks, giving little thought to where our food comes from and how our food choices impact our brains, our emotions and the world around us.”

Food & the Body
In providing your body the fuel it needs to perform, it’s easy to overdo it. Reflect on how your body responds after eating certain foods. Do you feel stronger? Is your energy sustained or do you quickly crash and burn? “We eat with all of our senses,” Dorsey says, “but many of us never stop to really enjoy the look, smell, sound, texture or even taste of our food.” In fact, she says, few people really chew their food. Instead, they’ll spend time at the doctor’s office complaining of upset stomachs, constipation and a range of other digestive disorders.

The Milk and Honey Wellness approach to this problem is simple: Eat + high-quality food = a feeling of well-being. Dorsey stresses the importance of getting to know your body. Not only is it important to take a closer look at what you are eating, she says, but also why and how you are eating it.

Rich agrees. “We all want to feel good,” he says. “We want to be fully present for our friends and family. Many distractions can take us away from being our healthiest self, but feeling good in your body can be quite simple: Start with love.

“Remember all the remarkable things your body does for you every second of every day,” he says. “Think of your body as a machine that needs to be maintained and taken care of. Try listening to your body just a little bit more. Notice how you feel after eating certain foods. Your body will indicate to you what is good and what is bad by varying sensations.”

Be mindful of the cues of hunger and satiation, Rich says. Forgetting to listen to your body makes it easier to lose touch with what your body wants and needs.

Food & the Soul
If the idea of “soul” throws you, switch it out with the concept of one’s ability to radiate energy or frequency. Consider the difference between crunching on an organically grown apple versus a package of “taste the rainbow” Skittles. Both simulate our taste buds with something sweet and fruity. Both foods operate at a “frequency,” with the organic apple’s being higher than the candy’s.

Vibe high, and the magic around you will unfold. — Akilnathan Logeswaran

To boost your frequency, Dorsey stresses the importance of getting outside, even when daylight is limited and outdoor temps are frosty. “Getting outside isn’t just about breathing some fresh air—which in and of itself is a good thing. It’s about exposing yourself to some good old-fashioned sunshine,” she says.

The sun strengthens the immune system and helps build strong bones, Dorsey says. Sunlight also improves emotional well-being and helps overcome the winter blues. In fact, she says, one of the standard treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is to sit in front of a light box, which emits the same wavelengths of radiation as the sun. “Do yourself a favor and give yourself a dose of the real thing,” Dorsey says.

For those who really want to feel better this winter, Rich asks this question: “Have you ever considered cooking an art?” If you are looking to improve your health, Rich says, “try cooking. Be spontaneous and don’t follow a recipe. Find foods in the market that you have never tried before. You will find a renewed creativity and discover more variety on your plate. Practice and invite some friends over for dinner. Receive their compliments with grace, and enjoy your new-found talent.”

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