Nutritious Guest Post - Analiese from Green Plate Studios

Watermelons

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. (Mary Anne Radmacher)

Hi there! I’m Analiese, and I blog about food, health, and holistic living at Green Plate Studios, though some of you may recognize me from my former blog, Tulips & Tea. As a long-time reader and fan of Kaileen’s blog, I’m so excited to be guest posting today!

A couple years ago, frustrated with my lack of energy and general feelings of blah-ness, I embarked on an effort to transform my health. In the process, I discovered a passion for wellness that changed not only my physical self, but also my career and life’s work. Wanting to help others experience the same level of health and happiness, I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and now spend my time writing about and counseling others in nutrition and wellness as a holistic health coach. What an amazing two years it has been!

It can be difficult, especially as a woman, to prioritize our own wants and needs. There’s a lot of pressure to maintain a façade of perfection: fabulous social lives, successful careers, and always-amazing relationships – not to mention a physical appearance that meets with society’s approval. Yet, it’s critical to realize that we must first nourish ourselves – literally and figuratively – in order to build a strong foundation that will enable us to truly live the life of our dreams (our own dreams that is, not anyone else’s!).

Sounds great, you might be thinking. But how exactly do I put it into practice?

Here are the 4 elements of self-care that I've experienced as absolutely essential in my path toward wellness:

1. Find your glow with fresh, whole foods.

Clean, unprocessed foods boost energy levels and provide you with the nutrients you need to look and feel your best. Reclaim your right to super juicy good health (not to mention beautiful skin, shiny hair, and all-around goddess-like vibrance) by consuming a colorful, plant-heavy diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Eat close to the source by emphasizing local, seasonal fare and, as Michael Pollan says, avoid "anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce."

Have fun with food by experimenting with new recipes, and remember that a meal doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. Here are some of my favorite resources for learning to cook and eat with whole foods.

2. Integrate movement into your life in a way that feeds your spirit and invigorates your soul.

When it comes to movement, a world of delicious, heart-pumping adventure awaits. Think outdoor activities like swimming, running, walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, rock climbing, and mountaineering. Restorative yoga and tai chi practices. Booty-shaking salsa dancing, hip-hop dancing, and Zumba. Martial Arts. Tennis. Boxing. Frisbee. Whatever makes you break a sweat and puts a smile on your face. Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, ask yourself what kind of movement you crave. Let your body's intuition be your guide.

3. Release whatever doesn’t support your true self.

I believe that true wellness is so much broader than simply fulfilling the needs of the physical body. To truly call ourselves "healthy," we must consider the whole package. True wellness means filling our lives with the things that align with our essential selves, and that goes for our relationships, careers, and virtually any other facet of life you can think of.

Take steps to clear out the sludge: toxic people (you know the ones I'm talking about), less-than-fulfilling relationships, negative habits, soul-crushing jobs, stressful commutes, etc., even if it means making big - and potentially scary - changes. Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke is great resource on this topic.

4. Create space for possibility.

When you let go of the clutter, you create a clean canvas on which to paint a new image of your life. Fill the newfound time and space with things and activities that will support your personal growth and feed your real self. That might mean nurturing friendships, creative pursuits, a new career path, or a renewed commitment to your own development. Ask yourself what you envision for yourself one year, five years, and ten years down the road. Set specific goals and trust the voice inside you, the one that whispers “You can do it!” You can do it. With your foundation firmly in place, you’ll soon begin noticing that suddenly, anything seems possible. Lean into the possibility. Your life awaits.

I hope these thoughts inspire you to begin (or continue) your own wellness journey! I would love to hear about your successes, challenges, and experiences.

Analiese is a food writer, holistic health coach, and sustainable foods advocate. A lover of vinyasa yoga, cooking, gardening, dark chocolate, and the outdoors, Analiese lives, works, and writes from her perch in beautiful Annapolis, Maryland, where she lives with her husband, Jason, and a fittingly foodie dachshund named Basil (yes, like the herb). Learn more by visiting Analiese’s website, or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Image Credit: via We♥It