Butter. First we loved it, then we feared it. We started spreading margarine on our toast after being told it was the healthier alternative. Now it seems the tables have turned once again with people second guessing whether hydrogenated oils are really benefiting us. I thought it fitting to address this topic, seeing as we will all be faced with a shortbread cookie or two, and maybe even some pastry around the table this holiday season. I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to pass on that flakey shortbread cookie made with real butter. And to all those people out there who scrape only the pie filling from their slice because they say they don’t like the crust: I kind of don’t believe you.
Pay attention to what you are eating. Be present.
No, I don’t just mean paying attention to your food choices – opting for lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of veggies. What’s on your plate should demand your attention. We have become mindless eaters. We absently scroll through our newsfeeds while we sit down to eat, we eat on the go – on trains, in cars, walking down the hallway in between meetings – failing to acknowledge or even notice the food in front of us. It’s no wonder we are constantly fighting cravings to snack. Our bodies are missing an important sensory aspect of eating when we consume without really paying attention.
I’ve been learning a whole lot about the gut, digestive health, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and the low FODMAP diet as of late. It’s fascinating stuff! The low FODMAP diet is a relatively new protocol for managing symptoms of IBS, and research has proven it to be successful in relieving the symptoms of 75% of people dealing with IBS and digestive health issues. Diet is an obvious factor when it comes to our digestive health, but other factors like gut bacteria, stress, caffeine consumption, exercise, hydration, and eating patterns can also have a significant impact on how well our bodies absorb nutrients and whether or not the digestive process causes us uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and abnormal bowel movements. These things can really impact your day to day life, and prevent you from living fully and confidently. Sometimes, the only advice given to people with digestive health issues (diagnosed or not) is to eat more fiber and drink more water, which usually doesn’t help. The low FODMAP diet is a welcome addition to IBS and digestive health symptom management, and it’s seeing real results!
Work-life balance. What does it mean to you? Give and take, push and pull, sacrifice. How about work-life integration? Combine, compliment, coordinate. Maybe we’ve been striving for the wrong thing.
Just the other day, someone I work with commented on my appearance in the following way: “You look very ‘city’ today!” To provide some context, I am currently working at an outdoorsy over night summer camp where everyone looks just a little bit disheveled almost all of the time. Dirty clothes, sweat pants, hoodies, old t-shirts, greasy hair – it’s a busy little world over here and staff don’t always have a ton of time to take care of themselves. The daily grind here at camp can wear you down, and sometimes it shows.
Walking downtown the other night, I saw this couple coming out of a burger joint, presumably after having indulged in a meal which may have included fries, onion rings, and maybe a milkshake. Sometimes you just crave a good hamburger with all the fixin’s and the greasy sides that go along with it. They probably really enjoyed their meal, I know I would have! Just then, they walk right into the heavenly smell of freshly made waffle cones coming out of the Marble Slab next door. Can you guess what happened? The guy is already sold, and asks the girl if she wants to go in to get dessert, or at least just look – the most deceiving words of all time; you go in, you’re not coming out empty handed. She replies with a stern “no”, while half laughing. Oh c’mon, pleads the guys, as the girl keeps walking towards the car as if distance from the ice cream parlour will make it easier for her to stick to her guns.