Almost all of us have a distorted image of our body, often due to the importance our culture places on outward appearance and the onslaught of media images of airbrushed models and celebrities. On a daily basis, we talk to ourselves in ways we would never speak to another. Imagine speaking to a child the way you speak to yourself about your body. It would devastate and squelch a child. It affects you similarly, causing stress and emotional pain in your body, which can make improving your health or losing weight even more difficult.Our culture’s preferred body type shifts every decade or so, but whatever it is, it is usually unattainable without spending enormous amounts of time, energy and money. Think of all the intelligence, creativity and time you spend on improving, altering and judging your appearance. Who would you be and what could you accomplish if your valuable resources weren’t used this way? Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body. It makes us forget the magic of our internal rhythms and fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have.
The body you have right now is incredible! It never misses a heartbeat, it maintains homeostasis, and it miraculously digests whatever you put in it. It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence and love. By focusing on the 1% you don’t like or wish was different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique and delightful.
What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body you have? You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body, instead of the opposite?
Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk, and to reconnect with your inner wisdom? Take a minute to imagine what that would feel like. It would mean celebrating your body, rather than punishing it. It would mean nourishing your body, rather than depriving it. It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish just like a child flourishes when treated with care and respect.
Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are on everyone’s mind this season. They seem to go hand-in-hand with the holidays, and fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables needn’t be limited to this time of year.
Cravings for sweets can be greatly reduced by adding sweet vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, squash, turnips and rutabagas, to your daily diet. Sweet potatoes elevate blood sugar gently, rather than with the jolt delivered by simple refined carbohydrates, so there’s no energy crash after you eat them.
Much higher in nutrients than white potatoes and especially rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes offer a creamy consistency that is satisfying and soothing. They are healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and help to remove toxins from the body. They can increase the quantity of milk in lactating women and can lessen cramps and pre-menstrual symptoms.
If you don’t have any sweet potatoes in your kitchen, go out and buy some (organic and local if possible) and make the recipe below.
Recipe of the Month
Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro
This recipe is an eye-opener for those who find sweet potatoes cloyingly sweet or who are tired of eating them smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar. Japanese sweet potatoes, with their pale flesh and delicate flavor, are a treat if you can find them.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4 sweet potatoes
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
butter or olive oil, salt (optional)
1. Wash the sweet potatoes and bake them whole, in their skins, at 375 degrees until tender, about 40 minutes.
2. Wash and chop cilantro leaves.
3. When sweet potatoes are done, slit open the skin and place on serving plate. Season with salt and dots of butter or a sprinkle of oil, if you like, then squeeze fresh lime juice all over, and shower with cilantro leaves.