Food is Not Your Only Form of Nourishment
When it comes to nutrition, what do you think?
Perhaps thoughts of different types of food come up, the plethora of diets, weird looking vegetables, farming and it’s impacts on the environment, or maybe images of your favourite “junk” food, resulting in you salivating and foaming at the mouth.
Sorry about that.
Well, today we aren’t going to be discussing nutrition in the conventional sense. Instead, I hope to transform the way you experience everything by broadening your definition of “nutrition.”
By teaching you that everything you experience through your five senses is a form of nourishment. Through these varying types of “nutrients,” your body responds in different ways, and shapes you into who you become.
So yeah, it’s powerful shit.
Sight, sound, smell, touch, and yes, taste, all provide a form of nourishment to our body to varying degrees. How these so called “foods” nourish our minds and body ultimately comes down to our perception of whatever we are experiencing through these senses.
Perception is like the gut is to our digestive system — it acts as a barrier that allows the good stuff in and keeps the bad stuff out.
When we surround ourselves with people that make us laugh, feel welcomed, push us intellectually, and follow a lifestyle that is conducive to overall good health and well being, we become better humans for it. We are the sum of the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Our closest, most connected people, provides us with healing nourishment. No, I’m not talking about cannibalism here.
Sight is another interesting sense. Out of all the senses, the neural pathways that make up our ability to see far out number those for all the other senses. What we look at tells us a lot about our environment. What is pleasant, what we should fear, where the food is, who we find attractive, whether or not our home is sanitary, how to read, and much, much more. If we focus our attention of removing clutter, and looking at things that make us feel good, our biochemistry changes for the better. Makes sense.
Then why do so many of us live in homes with too much stuff, fail to get out in nature on a consistent basis, and constantly complain about all the stuff that happens on the news?
Movement and touch is another powerful form of nourishment. We release powerful hormones, neurotropic factors, and endorphins that promote the positive growth, repair, and feel-good response from exercise. Moving in a multitude of different ways forces our cells to communicate to one another to become more resilient, and adaptable to different stressors. Muscles grow back thicker. Our nervous system speaks to our skeleto-musculo system more efficiently. We become stronger. Our bones become denser. Our range of motion improves. It improves our response to food in a more efficient manner. We sleep better. We feel better.
The moral is this: Everything is connected together in some way. Anatomy and physiology text books are great at breaking down various systems into seemingly unrelated parts. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Everything we experience has the ability to alter our bodies biochemistry; which alters our mood, our health, our perception; which alters our biochemistry; which…
You get the idea.
Think about a very stressful time in your life. It caused your heart to race, your mind to become scattered, and possibly either lost your appetite, or had a heightened desire for addictive foods. A single event — and your perception of that event — altered your entire bodies functioning.
“Everything we experience has the ability to alter our bodies biochemistry, and thus our health.”
This might seem a bit overwhelming, and I’m not going to begin to introduce concepts of autonomic nervous system, vagus nerve, and intestinal permeability. So let’s step back a bit here, and worry about what we can control.
Spending more time focusing on your own locus of control will yield you much deeper health, and improved well-being.
What you perceive through each of your five senses nourishes you. Choose your forms of nourishment with care.
Whatever you spend most of your time thinking of, you become.
You can’t change what others think of you, the person cutting you off in traffic, the stock market, your boss from yelling at you, and millions of other things you experience consciously, and subconsciously everyday. But you can begin the process of reshaping your perception. That is in your control.
There are a multitude of ways of doing this, and some I believe more powerful than others. However, for now I think the best thing you can do is to pick one thing and introduce it into your life immediately. Then tomorrow, add something else, or make that current thing one percent better.
You are constantly consuming throughout the day. Make sure you choose your form of nourishment carefully. Be unrelenting in providing your whole body high-value nourishment.
What to Do Next?
Add the following non-food, highly nourishing activities into your daily routine.
- Deep breathing
- Mantras — Positive self-talk and self compassion
- Declutter — Practice ‘Minimalism’ and remove items that don’t add you value
- Audit your close social circle and see if the people your surround yourself with the most are helping, or hurting you.
- Go for a nature walk
- Create a sleep ritual (e.g., No electronics in bedroom, lights out at 10pm, dark and cool bedroom)
- Read something that you find interesting
- Listen to an audiobook
- Aromatherapy — diffusers with essential oil blends
- Light natural candles with favourite scents
- Replace synthetic skin care products with natural alternatives
- Listen to calming music
- Take a hot Epsom salt bath before bed
- Foam rolling or massage
- Stretching and mobility routine
- Learning an instrument
- Practice any favourite hobby
Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.