Food Aware: Taking the Next Steps in Your Journey

Lysa Ingalsbe

Lysa Ingalsbe › Lysa Ingalsbe, RN, Certified Holistic Coach, has been studying health and wellness since 1992. Her journey began ...


Eating well is a lifelong journey–one that some of us start early in life and some later (but hopefully not too late). Finding foods that provide us with optimal energy and brainpower is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. We are constantly bombarded with various fad diets and health slogans these days, requiring us to dig deep inside and sift through the nonsense of what we are being sold.

I recently wrote an article, entitled “Become Your Own Nutrition Expert,” where I discussed the idea of keeping a food journal to gain awareness of how some foods provide you with energy and others leave you feeling lethargic and ready for a nap. I encouraged the reader to eat whole foods and avoid caffeine, sugar and to keep wheat intake low.

If you have already undertaken the suggested steps and are wondering what is next, here are some further tips for continuing on your journey:

  • Increase mindfulness around eating. The more you pay attention to what and how you eat, the more in touch you will be with yourself and those around you. Sit down when you eat, take a deep breath in and out. Look at your food, smell the food, give thanks for the nourishment it is going to bring you. When you eat, notice the sensations that happen in your body. Keep aware of all the effort your body puts forth in the digestive process.

  • Honor your body’s needs by allowing yourself to eat the foods that work for you even it’s a little inconvenient for those around you. It’s fine to let those in your life know what you are eating, and what you are not. If it’s hard for them, bring something with you that you can eat and share (you might inspire those in your life to try something different too).

  • Stay inspired by looking up recipes online. HandPicked Nation has some amazing recipes. If you have two or three favorites for each of your staple foods, you will not get bored with them (if you do, you can just look up more!) Rotate foods. Make enough for a couple of days so you don’t have to cook each day but then give that food a rest for a week or so. When you rotate the food back in again, you will welcome it.

  • Keep trying new foods and take note of how you feel when you have them. Expanding our diet is like reading a new book or visiting a new spot. It widens our taste buds and brings fresh life to our established routines. It is good to keep open about food and be adventurous.

  • Most importantly, keep checking in with yourself and tweak when needed. Sometimes we need to play around with the ratios of our food groups. At times we need more protein than complex carbohydrates and fat. Other times, we need cut back on the protein a bit and have more carbs. There are also times when we need more fat (one example is if we are exercising a lot). You will know you are having the right amounts when you have long stretches of feeling energized and satisfied.

When we keep alert to what our body needs, we create an awareness inside that requires us to be awake in our food choices, creating a more comprehensive bond with our food. Eating becomes more than just filling our stomachs. We start connecting with our food in a more meaningful way that allows for a deeper form of nourishment: physical, emotional and mental–in return we get to experience life more fully. Being food aware will always pay dividends.

Photo Credit: Staci Strauss

Are you ready to take the next steps in your journey?