I’m a health freak. I’ve always been a health freak. When I was a child, I remember going to the health food store with a rustic vegetarian cafe (the only one) in the small town where I lived, and being thrilled by the unusual, delicious food. I particularly loved one sandwich they did: whole wheat pita bread with alfalfa sprouts, raw vegetables, and a sharp lemony yoghurt and tahini spread (not so ground-breaking now, but this was the 70’s in a small town in the South). They had home-made date bars and barely-sweet fig cookies. And carrot juice! That such a thing as carrot juice even existed blew my young mind. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved home-made chocolate chip cookies and ice cream and other ‘unhealthy’ things (oh, the things I would do for a good coconut cake…), but I’ve always had a very strong preference for all things healthy and vegetarian, and a real dislike (bordering on hatred) for processed and ‘fast’ food.
Now that I’m an old hag (!) I find that eating healthy unprocessed food simply makes me feel better. When I eat raw food, I feel like I am literally feeding life into my body. I have loads more energy, I sleep better, my mood is better, my eyes are clear in the mornings, and (importantly, from a style perspective), I look better.
Nutritionists and scientists often refer to the stomach and gut as the ‘second brain’ in a human’s body. We have more than 100 million nerve cells there…surprisingly, more than in our spinal cord or even our peripheral nervous system. These neurons send a LOT of information about what we have eaten back to the brain, and give it the freedom to not concern itself with digestion, but instead allow it the higher tasks of thinking and reasoning (and in my case, figuring out how to rationalise ridiculous shoe purchases). If we have so many neurons holding down the fort in our digestive tracts, food and digestion is obviously critically important to our health. Given all the health issues we have due to poor modern diets, we are clearly very good at ignoring the information our second brain is sending to us. In my experience the more effort I put into eating well (especially raw foods), the bigger dividends it pays back. Since I have a four year old son, having energy and wanting to be not just alive but in glowing health for as long as possible is a huge motivating factor for me to keep nutrition a top priority (and hopefully not to become too Gwyneth Paltrow about it).
What exactly does this have to do with a style blog? Well, mainly that a key component of style is vitality, or health. Each of the of Fabulous Fashionistas that I’ve met says that eating healthy and exercising regularly are the two most important factors in how they look and feel. It doesn’t surprise me; we all know that style takes some effort, and effort requires energy. If you don’t feel full of energy, style is probably going to fall pretty far down on the priority list of what to you expend your effort on. Vitality and style go hand in hand; they are both lifelong pursuits.
All of this is a long and anecdotally-laden way of saying, wherever you are on the spectrum of healthy eating, there is always a little room for improvement, and that little bit can make a big difference to how you look and feel. If you already eat well, try raw one day a week. If you already eat a lot of raw food, try juicing for a few meals a week, or try cutting out meat, dairy, or sugar for a week. Just start where you are, make an improvement that feels right and sustainable for you, and pay close attention to what improvements you see and feel.
This post is an old one which I had forgotten about, but the lovely Melissa of Fresh Air and False Lashes reminded me of it when she shared it on Facebook. I still like everything I had to say in it, and recently I’ve been taking my own advice! Inspired by my sister in law, I’ve cut out sugar, flour, and alcohol entirely for a few weeks. I’m on day 11 today, and I feel great. It is weird. I don’t even miss sugar at all (even right before my monthly cycle, which is usually when I’m especially driven to find something sweet). I was strengthened to try this no-sugar path by taking the two herbs that I mentioned in this post. I’m going to do a very comprehensive blog post, where I share all of the (sometimes personal) details of why and how I did this no-sugar no-flour no-alcohol regime, but I need to give it some time to have more data and information for you. It has been a very enlightening process for me; I’ve learned so much and I’ll be sharing it with you soon. xx
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