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Cooking & Recipes Archives - InnerSpark
How To: Start Growing Herbs at Home

How To: Start Growing Herbs at Home

Spring is here and the weather is starting to warm up. Now is the perfect time to learn how to grow your own herbs at home!

An herb garden can be as small as a pot of soil or as big as your backyard, but whatever size garden is right for you, it is sure to be a rewarding pastime. There’s a wonder in harvesting your own herbs, even if it’s just a handful of Peppermint or Chamomile to turn a cup of tea into something special. The wild freshness of home-grown herbs brings a living magic into the present moment that can turn any experience into an appreciation of things both simple and immediate.

Want to begin growing your own herbs at home?  Sign up to receive our amazingly informative, simple, step-by-step guide for the super novice to the experienced. 

First, you need to figure out where you’re going to grow your garden.

Keep in mind that a “garden” does not need to be in the ground. A pot of herbs growing on a patio or balcony works fine, or maybe a box in your kitchen window would better suit your needs. If you would like to grow herbs but don’t think you have the space, be creative. Here’s what you need in an ideal location:

  1. Sunlight – Look for an area that gets sun for most of the day. If you must choose a partially shaded spot, although more sunlight is better, it is preferable to choose one that gets its sun in the morning. The morning dew can provide the moisture that causes diseases in plants, such as downy mildew, so it’s best to have some sunlight in the morning to get rid of this excess dampness.
  2. Water – How are you going to water your herb garden? Will you use a garden hose or a watering can? Think about what it will be like to move your water from its source, like a sink or a spigot, to the location of your garden. Making several trips for water, or wrestling a lengthy hose, can become a chore, and your garden is more likely to succeed if you actually enjoy maintaining it.
  3. Safety – Pick a place that is relatively safe. If you have pets or children, consider how you will ensure that your herbs are not vulnerable to tiny hands or used as Fido’s territorial marker.
  4. Size – Once you’ve found an area that meets the above requirements you can start thinking about scale. How big is your garden going to be? There are plenty of beautiful options out there for growing in containers like pots or boxes, and if you’re new to gardening then a small “container garden” may be just what you need to get started.

Now that you’ve got your location in mind, it’s time to think about what kind of herb garden you want to grow.

Most herbs have some medicinal value, like Echinacea and St. John’s Wort, and some also happen to be great seasonings, like Sage and Rosemary, while others go well in a tea like Chamomile or Peppermint. Maybe you want to dedicate your kitchen window to growing culinary herbs, and a pot on your patio for tea or medicinal herbs.

You can mix and match, and feel free to experiment! Choosing which herbs you’re going to grow can be a very personal decision, as you’re going to nurture these herbs, and one day they are going to nurture you, so take the time to research your herb selection and make your garden an expression of who you are and what you and your family need.

After doing some research and making a list of the herbs you want to grow you can start shopping on-line or at your local nursery for seeds. It’s important to look for seeds that are organic and non-GMO. Be careful when shopping for seeds online; it can be tricky. Some companies have one or two organic seed varieties to choose from, and they’ll use those to get you to click on their website and browse their catalog. Unfortunately, just because a company offers some organic seeds does not mean that all of their seeds are organic, and you have to look for the word “organic” on the page that you’re buying the seeds from, otherwise you might be setting yourself up for this subtle switcheroo.

Another word to look for is “heirloom,” which means that the seeds of the parent plant will be the same as the offspring seeds… this is just a technical point that lets you know what your getting is not some sterile laboratory hybrid. Heirloom is not the same thing as organic. Growers can organically raise a sterile hybrid and still sell it as organic, or dowse an heirloom plant in chemicals and still sell it as an heirloom. If you buy seed that is organic and heirloom, you’re going to get the safest product on the market.

Finding healthy seeds nowadays is probably the hardest part of gardening, period, so if you’ve made it this far then welcome to the club! You’ve already shown all the dedication you’ll need. At this point you’ve picked out a location, a growing container, and your seeds. The next thing you’ll have to pick out is soil. Technically this is what Horticulturalists call “growing medium” because so many of them are growing plants in a chemical soaked “soil-less growing medium” that has nothing to do with soil at all.

If you’ve been careful in selecting your seeds then you should be just as careful in selecting your soil, because whatever is absorbed by the herbs in that soil will eventually be absorbed by whoever consumes the herb. Keep that in mind. Organic potting mix or organic topsoil is what you need.

Finally, we get to the fun part, germination!

Be sure to read the instructions on the seed packet, as some seeds require several nights of pre-soaking or scarification before being planted and failing to follow these instructions could mean that it takes your herbs much longer to sprout, if they sprout at all. Once your seeds are prepared you can either plant them directly into your pot of soil, or you can use a germination tray, which I recommend. Germination, the period of time between the seed “waking up” and when it forms its first “true leaves,” is the most difficult time in a plant’s life. If you can provide a good environment for germination, then your herbs will have a much higher success rate. A germination tray with 72 cells and a clear lid, provided plenty of water and sunlight, will hold in warmth and humidity to create a tropical micro-nursery for your seedlings, the perfect little incubator.

Here’s a look at the incubation setup that I’m using for Spring 2018.

I’m using a Jiffy brand, 72 hexagonal cell germination tray. It’s sitting on a lawn chair (up and away from the reach of our canine roommate, Winslow) in a full-sun location, just a few feet away from my garden hose. I’m using an organic topsoil that is similar to the soil that the herbs will spend the rest of their lives in. On one side of the tray I drilled two tiny holes, just big enough to put zip-ties through. The zip-ties act as hinges for the plastic lid. I also drilled a couple holes in the opposite side so that the lid could be gently tied down with a piece of twine. With the hinge and twine in place, I know my lid will not blow away in the wind, allowing me to leave the whole kit outdoors day and night.

Even though this was taken on a beautifully sunny day with temperatures in the 60’s, you can tell by the condensation collecting inside the lid that my incubator is several degrees warmer (and much more humid) than the air outside. I’m also using a technique known as “bottom watering” where I try to keep about half an inch of water in the bottom of the tray beneath the cells at all times. As the water in the soil evaporates it is replaced by water drawn up from the bottom tray in a process called “capillary action,” ensuring that the soil is always at the perfect moisture level for germination.

Here comes the most delicate step in the process: transplanting.

The first two leaves that you’ll see are called seed-leaves, and they look just about the same on every plant, regardless of whether it’s a dandelion or an oak tree. The third and fourth leaves are the ones you want to wait for, as those are the true-leaves. The appearance of true-leaves means that it is safe to transplant your seedling from its incubator to the pot, box, or plot that you will be gardening in.

To transplant, I recommend sliding a butter knife down one side of the cell containing your plant, and gently wiggling the knife to lift the roots out of the cell. It is important to lift the roots from the bottom, because if you pull from the top you increase the risk of breaking the roots, and the more you damage the roots the harder it will be for your seedling to survive in its new home. Finish transplanting by placing your seedling in its new location and burying the stem up to the bottom of the true-leaves, so that the true-leaves are just above the soil surface. Give it a generous amount of water so that some of the soil you had hilled up around the stem will be carried down to the roots. Do not pat the dirt around the plant as you may damage the roots or compact the soil so densely that the baby roots can’t grow through it.

And congratulations! All the hard parts are done. Just water your herbs regularly and you’ll start reaping the benefits immediately. Remember that while it may take a few weeks for your herbs to mature, having fresh herbs to soothe your aches, flavor your meals, or enrich your tea is only part of the reward of gardening. The work that you put into nursing those little seedlings is repaid everyday that you get to enjoy watching them grow, and the love that you put into caring for them is returned in physical and energetic bounty upon harvesting. The feeling gained from cultivating carefully selected herbs from seed is something unique, somewhere between pride, humility, and satisfaction, that has to be experienced.

I hope you have found this helpful and that you will join me in co-creating with the Earth naturally and organically.

Want to begin growing your own herbs at home? 

Click here to sign up to receive our amazingly informative, simple, step-by-step guide for the super novice to the experienced. 

Experience the rich bounty of Mama Earth whether you’re in an apartment or the hundred acre wood. 


I’m Devon Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT and I am a Nourishment Guide + Earth Medicine Intuitive + Empowerment Mentor helping people to heal their four bodies and create sustainable lifestyle and health transformation through plant spirit medicine and gem elixirs, holistic nutrition counsel, lifestyle coaching, vibrational healing, virtual workshops and courses, and other mystical goodness.  Through my unique approach, my clients fall madly in love with themselves and their bodies, awaken their inner healers, recognize self-care as a sacred duty, and enjoy more ease through identifying the roots of their perceived challenges and transmuting them into gold!  I blend the best of both worlds with Western science and ancient metaphysical wisdom for the ultimate experience.  Sign up for 5 Days to Ignite Your Metamorphosis to experience shifts right away.  If you feel called to work together, please schedule a complimentary, magical Discovery Session.

The Energies of Winter: Lifestyle, Movement, & Food

The Energies of Winter: Lifestyle, Movement, & Food

The light is returning.  At the Winter Solstice, despite the fact that it’s the darkest (and coldest) time it’ll be all year, we’re welcoming the return of the light once more.  This is the Wheel of the Year’s “New Moon” and a time for planting seeds in the darkness, the void, the place of no-thing from which all things manifest. 

What are you ready to bring into your life?  What are you ready to manifest?  Think about little baby seeds planted into the soil.  Despite nothing happening above ground, there’s a lot happening below the surface.  The seeds are being cracked open, are activating their codes of becoming and growth, and are preparing for their journey ahead.  This is the energy of winter.

Ways to Support Yourself & Honor the Medicine of Winter

Lifestyle: Even though the light is returning, it’s freaking cold and dark.  We’re still in a reflective, introspective space.  Hibernating and rejuvenating are key for this time.  The more deeply you allow yourself to rest and restore, the better equipped your entire system will be in the coming year and seasons.  This is the time for replenishing our vital life force.  Do not miss it.  In ages past, Yule (now Christmas) was a time for gathering and merriment before hunkering down for the long, dark January ahead.  As Imbolc (now Groundhog Day) approaches, we can begin to feel the thaw taking place.  The days are growing a little longer and hope is returning.  Honor the stillness and the depth available here. 

  • Make lots of clear plans with clearer action steps and at the time same time, don’t feel the need to hurriedly act upon them.  Again, the clearer you can allow yourself to become, the greater the reward when the time is right.  What do you deeply desire?  What needs to be done to allow the space for it to come true?  Dream, plan, prepare to act!
  • Continue choosing more restorative movement over higher intensity sessions in early winter.  Then, as Imbolc approaches, begin to tune in and feel your body’s desires begin to change.  Appetites may reduce and the desire to move more will begin returning as we make our way closer to spring. 
  • Hands-on self-healing is a fast, effective, and pleasurable way to calm the system and deepen into stillness.  Hint: the stillness is where the clarity on your next steps lives!  Check out this guided video I made for you!
  • Prioritizing adequate rest (notice the desire to sleep a bit more during this time and honor it) is essential
  • Maintaining regular meal times supports blood sugar balance, energy levels, and digestion, and of course, all of this soothes the nervous system
  • Syncing with the sun as much as possible (i.e. really winding down at sunset and engaging in relaxing, nourishing activities from then until bedtime and then being up before sunrise)

Movement:  As much as being outside may feel daunting and totally undesirable, bundle up and head outdoors midday for a nice walk in nature.  Enjoy the brisk air and the sunlight – even if it’s just through clouds. 

  • Walking is such an underrated form of movement and is truly the kindest and most effective.  It’s been shown to support the body through reducing stress hormones, lowering the risk of osteoporosis, and doing it outdoors has even more amazing benefits!
  • Yoga and rebounding are ideal right now to prevent stagnation in the muscles and lymphatic system.  Kundalini yoga and breath work is my absolute favorite technology.
  • Dancing is fantastic, also!  Many experience depressed and funky moods in winter and I know of no better way to quicken the blood, raise energy, and lift my spirits than putting on some music and just dancing it out.

Food: Simply, eat seasonally all the time and you can’t go wrong.  To say Nature is smart is such an understatement that it’s almost disrespectful.  We have all that we need to support our bodies and what they are undergoing as we mirror the Earth at any given moment.  Period.
What’s available to you right now?  Much of winter’s menu is similar to falls – root veggies like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, turnips, carrots, beets, etc.; deep, mineral-rich, life-giving greens like collards, arugula, and kale; Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, cranberries, grapes, pomegranates, cauliflower, and more!  Mmmmm!  To check what’s in season locally for you, this is a great resource.  Focus on deeply pigmented produce right now to support the blood and circulation. 

Herbs such as Echinacea for immune support and ginko biloba for circulation are great winter supports.  For deeper rejuvenation and restoration, beautiful adaptogens such as ashwagandha, mucuna, reishi mushrooms, and holy basil are lovely (under the guidance of an expert who’s working directly with you). 

Need to kick a bug?  Try my favorite recipe:

1-2c Warm water

2-3T Apple cider vinegar

Small knob of fresh turmeric or about ½-1t powder

1-2t Raw organic honey

1 clove of garlic

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of black pepper

2-3 drops oil of oregano

Put in a blender and drink!

And of course, there are so many plant essences and gem elixirs to support you right now.  This is a good time to connect to your internal, liminal realms.  Passionflower essence, magnolia flower essence, Datura flower essence, mugwort flower essence, and crocus flower essence are perfect for connecting to our higher selves, our ancestors, and our dreams.

Enjoy this beautiful transition and all it teaches us.  Earth is our mirror and we are all in this spirally dance of life, death, birth, spring, summer, fall, winter.  Embrace the changes and dance the dance.  Honor your needs during this time and all that you are noticing.  Don’t miss a potent opportunity for reflection, dreaming, and planning.  I’d love to hear from you!  Please share with me and let me know how I may support you.

 

I’m Devon Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT and I am a Nourishment Guide + Earth Medicine Intuitive + Empowerment Mentor helping people to heal their four bodies and create sustainable lifestyle and health transformation through plant spirit medicine and gem elixirs, holistic nutrition counsel, lifestyle coaching, vibrational healing, virtual workshops and courses, and other mystical goodness.  Through my unique approach, my clients fall madly in love with themselves and their bodies, awaken their inner healers, recognize self-care as a sacred duty, and enjoy more ease through identifying the roots of their perceived challenges and transmuting them into gold!  I blend the best of both worlds with Western science and ancient metaphysical wisdom for the ultimate experience.  Sign up for 5 Days to Ignite Your Metamorphosis to experience shifts right away.  If you feel called to work together, please schedule a complimentary, magical Discovery Session.

 

Roasted Roots

Roasted Roots

Tastier than it is easy to prepare Roasted Roots.  And that’s saying something.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Get These:

2+ cups (depending on how many you’re feeding) of all the delicious roots of your choice diced:

sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, beets, turnips, etc.

1 rough chopped red onion

2T coconut oil

Salt, pepper, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves

Then Do This:

Toss your veggies in the oil and spices, arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet, pop in the oven for ~45 min., enjoy!

Serve with a side of grains and beans or meat for a complete meal!

Eat mindfully and in the company of loved ones and notice how the dish impacts you at every level – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Slow down and observe! 

 

I’m Devon Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT and I am a Nourishment Guide + Earth Medicine Intuitive + Empowerment Mentor helping people to heal their four bodies and create sustainable lifestyle and health transformation through plant spirit medicine and gem elixirs, holistic nutrition counsel, lifestyle coaching, vibrational healing, virtual workshops and courses, and other mystical goodness.  Through my unique approach, my clients fall madly in love with themselves and their bodies, awaken their inner healers, recognize self-care as a sacred duty, and enjoy more ease through identifying the roots of their perceived challenges and transmuting them into gold!  I blend the best of both worlds with Western science and ancient metaphysical wisdom for the ultimate experience.  Sign up for 5 Days to Ignite Your Metamorphosis to experience shifts right away.  If you feel called to work together, please schedule a complimentary, magical Discovery Session.

Valentine’s Day Truffles For The Non-Traditionalist

Valentine’s Day Truffles For The Non-Traditionalist

These came to me yesterday as I was playing in the kitchen (my favorite activity) and are a much healthier, fresher, and tastier alternative to whip up when you want something new and unique.  Additionally, these little babies are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that also double as aphrodisiacs.

So go ahead and wow your partner or simply indulge yourself in these delicious little treats!

It’s amazing to note the connections between a plant’s energetic signature or essence and their physical benefits.  From a purely energetic perspective, these ingredients carry signatures of intimacy, love, and a softening or surrender – especially from rose and date.

These treats combine rose water (like vanilla or almond extract and available in the same section at the store; deliciously aromatic and leaves you feeling simply divine), cardamom (a known aphrodisiac that also helps digestion and boasts cardiovascular-protective, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, just to name a few), pistachios (studies have shown they lower your “bad” cholesterol), dates (also an aphrodisiac that boost circulation, which enhances libido, and cardiovascular-supportive properties), coconut butter (not to be confused with the AMAZING coconut oil; coconut butter offers all the health supportive properties of the oil, plus added fiber and minerals since it’s made using all the coconut meat), and of course, chocolate (the darker the better; I prefer at least 80 percent cacao to get the most antioxidant and phytonutrient for my buck!).

Makes 8 small or 4 large truffles

In a food processor combine:

4-6 pitted dates

1/3 c coconut butter (softened)

3 T pistachios

1 T milk of choice (I used almond)

1/2 t rose water

1/2 t cardamom

Process all until finely ground and sticky and set aside.

Next, take a metal bowl and add about 20 g of dark, dark chocolate of choice and another 1 T of milk of choice to it.  Take a small saucepan and fill it with water and place on stove over medium/high heat and place a metal bowl on top of the water.  May sound convoluted, yet it’ll save you from scorching your chocolate.  This method allows your chocolate to melt nicely and slowly.  *As a “lazy” option, simply throw your chocolate pieces into the food processor creating chocolate chip truffles instead of chocolate covered truffles.  Just as delicious and nutritious!*

Go back to your mixture while your water is heating and roll out your truffle balls by scooping out roughly 1 T of the mix for the larger truffles or 1/2 T for the smaller ones.  You can shape them however you’d like, perhaps make little hearts!  Set on parchment and place in the fridge.

Back to your chocolate, begin to constantly and gently stir your mix until nice and smooth then remove the pot from the heat and keep the metal bowl in the water.

Take your truffles out of fridge and drizzle each one with a spoonful of chocolate any way you’d like – the sky’s the limit here, people, so have fun with it!  You can roll them around in the bowl, you can drizzle, you can do whatever makes you happy!  When you’ve used up all your chocolate and your truffles are thoroughly coated to your liking, stick em’ back in the fridge to harden for at least 20-30 minutes.  Best served at room temperature so remove about 10 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy!

 


I’m Devon Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT and I am a Holistic Nutritionist & Plant Medicine Intuitive helping people to heal their four bodies and create sustainable lifestyle and health transformation through plant spirit medicine and gem elixirs, holistic nutrition counsel, lifestyle coaching, vibrational healing, virtual workshops and courses, and other mystical goodness.  Through my unique approach, my clients fall madly in love with themselves and their bodies, awaken their inner healers, recognize self-care as a sacred duty, and enjoy more ease through identifying the roots of their perceived challenges and transmuting them into gold!  I blend the best of both worlds with Western science and ancient metaphysical wisdom for the ultimate experience.  Sign up for my 4 Day Self Care Dare Challenge to experience shifts right away and please accept my invitation to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss the magic you seek.

Heart Healthy Foods & Menu

Heart Healthy Foods & Menu

It’s officially February, which means we’re definitely fully into the swing of 2016, Dear Ones!

February is Heart Health Month and we have some exciting posts coming your way on all matters of your literal and metaphorical heart and we’re starting today with some heart-healthy foods for you to indulge in this month and beyond.

The heart is an amazing, magical muscle. Its steady beating begins before you even take your first breath and continues all throughout your life. Every trial and triumph, every time you’re scared, happy, sad, or ecstatic, your heart quickly responds and pumps blood, fluids, nutrients, and hormones through your body as needed. For decades on end, it keeps going, dedicated to keeping you alive and all of this is happening with something just about the size of your fist.

Without a smoothly functioning ticker, life simply wouldn’t be possible.

Take a moment and place your hand high on your chest near your neck to feel the gentle pulsations of your heart. Breathe deeply and close your eyes. Notice how your heartbeat responds to you and deeper breath. There’s much wisdom here if you’ll only pause and listen. This beating is your purpose and reason for being alive. What’s worth fighting for and what’s worth continuing to beat for? You’re very much needed here and by incorporating some of the foods below into your regular diet, you can help safeguard what matters!

Simple Heart Nutrition Guidelines:

Whole Grains: What is a “whole grain”? It is the grain in its entirety – whole wheat (if tolerated), brown, black, red, or wild rice over stripped white rice, steel cut oats over rolled or quick, etc. Go for foods such as rice, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, teff, and corn. If this is a new practice for you, start by looking for places in your diet where you can make simple substitutions if you already regularly consume processed grain foods, or go for adding whole grains into your meals or snacks.

Fruits & Veggies: Yes, we all know we should eat more fruits and veggies and do you know why? These Earth-produced gems provide potent antioxidants found exclusively in plants and are what give different fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. Think of eating the rainbow everyday and incorporating as many colors as possible into your daily menu. In addition to being shown to protect the heart, these substances appear to elevate each others magic and work best in teams!

EAT THE RAINBOW!
Red: tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, raspberries, grapes, cherries, red beans, kidney beans, adzuki beans, red rice
Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, winter squashes, apricots, cantaloupe, turmeric, mango
Yellow: zucchini, lemon, banana, corn, ginger, millet, pineapple
Green: broccoli, peas, green beans, lentils, mung beans, leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, collards, kale, bok choy
Blue/Purple/Black: blueberries, blackberries, eggplants, dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), prunes, olives, figs, red cabbage, black rice, black beans, scarlet beans
White: daikon radishes, tea, bananas, garlic, whole grains, cauliflower, coconut, mushrooms

Good Fats: Go for plenty of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from delicious options such as flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, wild salmon, almonds, avocados, olive oil, and walnuts. These substances have been implicated in a number of heart-protective qualities including reducing risk of arrhythmia, plaque build up, and high blood pressure.

Additionally, limit sodium intake to ~1500 mg per day and opt for more nutrient dense sea salts and Himalayan pink salt that provide an array of minerals. Go for getting AT LEAST 25 grams of fiber each day, which truly is not difficult if you’re increasing your intake of whole grains and produce. Fiber inhibits the “bad” cholesterol from taking over by binding to it during digestion to sweep it out of your body instead.

Sample Heart Healthy Day:

Delicious lean proteins, quality fats, and phytonutrients aplenty!

Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal (oats soaked overnight to improve digestion and reduce cooking time) with milk of choice (cow’s, goat’s, or nut), cinnamon, walnuts, flaxseeds, hempseeds, and blueberries
Green tea with lemon juice

Snack: Apple and almond butter

Lunch: Baked salmon with olive oil sautéed red bell peppers, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, cashews, and black rice

Snack: Carrot sticks and hummus

Dinner: Chicken breast with baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, mixed green salad with tomatoes and oil and vinegar

To your heart!


Hi!  I’m Devon Battaglia, MS, RYT and I am a Mystical Nutritionist helping chronic dieters, weight fluctuaters, and body haters to create sustainable lifestyle and health change through nutrition counsel, lifestyle coaching, flower essence therapy, and other mystical goodness.  Through my unique approach, my clients fall madly in love with themselves and their bodies, recognize self-care as a sacred duty, and enjoy more ease through identifying the roots of their perceived challenges and transmuting them into divine nectar!  I blend the best of both worlds with my science background and ancient metaphysical wisdom for the ultimate transformation and remembering experience.  I’d love to learn more about you and offer a free 30-minute self-care audit session to assess your deepest desires and how your current lifestyle is helping or hindering your process.  You may schedule here and be sure to sign up for my newsletter to receive a free guide of Radical Self Care Dares to shake things up and get you headed in a direction of blissful whole-being nourishment.

What Are “Real” Foods & Why Do They Matter?

What Are “Real” Foods & Why Do They Matter?

A “real” food is a food that is as close to its natural form as possible. It is directly from the Source, with little to no human intervention, additives, chemicals, preservatives, and other things that are difficult to pronounce. A “real” food typically has one ingredient – almonds, quinoa, broccoli, apple, etc. Without getting into the science and the biochemical pathways of your body, these foods are made of things that you are made of and provide your body the necessary substrate to continue its living activities.

As an example, by just simply being alive, your body creates “radical oxygen species” (those things that “antioxidants” work to protect you from) and this doesn’t even take into consideration the host of invaders and toxins that you’re exposed to from the outside every day. Your body is c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y working. Even while you sit still and do nothing, there are millions of reactions taking place in an endless cycle of cell death and birth, destruction and repair, growth, detoxification, digestion, assimilation, storage, creation, and on and on…

So, to continue to keep it simple, your body’s ideal fuel source to continue this amazingly beautiful and complex orchestra of functioning is real food! Capiche?

There’s absolutely no reason to feel overwhelmed or slip into that “all or nothing” mentality with diet. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” diet and perfection is overrated. The point of a healthy diet is one that makes you FEEL amazing, vibrant, nourished, and that supports your body. Little, bitty, baby additions (note “addition” – not cutting away anything) to your diet (and life in general), make huge impacts. The body knows real foods when it is lucky enough to receive them. In fact, in a 2011 study (Romaguera et al.), participants simply swapped 100 calories of their usual daily soda intake with 100 calories of yogurt and saw a decrease in their waist circumference – without changing anything else at all in their diet or lifestyle.

While the study focused more on observable measures (waist circumference, to be specific), I find the biggest marker in clients and myself is what’s felt. Really focus on and observe how all levels of your being are impacted when real food makes a regular appearance in your diet. Through living from feeling, nature takes its course and the stuff we were reluctant to cut away from our lives gets chocked off by the abundance of real nourishment that takes its place.

Try this week: simply aim to add a number of servings (that seem reasonable and appropriate to you) per day of a real food and note the differences! For example, if you’re brand new the world of real foods, maybe you add some veggies to dinner or have a piece of fruit for a snack. If you’re already mindfully striving to make these additions, maybe make it a goal to try a fruit or vegetable this week you’ve never tried before or simply prepare one you already love in a new way to expand your repertoire. Like baked sweet potatoes? Why not try em’ mashed with a splash of your choice of milk (cow’s, goat’s, almond, coconut) and a bit of (REAL) butter or ghee or coconut oil!

Share with me! I’d love to know how your experiment goes with real foods!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and for additional guidance and support, reach out to me for a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your needs. Learn more about InnerSpark’s offerings, including our virtual workshops here.

Romaguera, D., Angquist, L., Du, H., Jakobsen, M., Forouhi, N., Halkjaer, J., Feskens, E., van der A., D. Masala, G., Steffen, A., Palli, D., Wareham, N., Overvad, K., Tjonneland, A., Boeing, H., Riboli, E., & Sorensen, T. (2011). Food Composition of the Diet in Relation to Changes in Waist Circumference Adjusted for Body Mass Index. PLOS One. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0023384