Taking Care of Yourself {First!}

How come we feel so guilty when we prioritize self-care?  If our phone battery is dying we charge it.  If the car is low on gas we fill it.  But we wait until we’re feeling down and out, overwhelmed and at our limit until we think about nurturing ourselves.  Plenty of us are guilty of it, me included.  But over the last few years I’ve started to focus on things that nurture my mind, body and soul.  And I’ve come to realize why self-care is critical for my physical and mental health.  Here’s 3 reasons why practising self-care is so important:

1.  It actually makes you a more productive person.

Maybe it’s because I’m loving life in my forties, but I’ve become so much more comfortable saying no to others.  I’ve spent too many years over extending myself and it benefits no one.  Once I figured out that I can’t be all things to all people, I was truly able to see what is a priority for me and that has allowed me to stay much more focused on the things that matter more.  Honestly it sounds frou-frou, but stopping to smell the roses a little more gives me the stamina to be more productive in all facets of this crazy life.

2.  Good self-care practises are good for gut and immune health.

Did you know that approximately 80% of your immune system is in your gut?  It goes without saying then that committing to eating nutrient-rich whole foods, getting some form of daily exercise and reducing stress is a sure-fire way to make your gut happy and boost your immune system.  It also helps with hormone balance and has a positive affect on your moods.  That translates to less sick days, decreased risk of disease and a healthier body.  I’m a work in progress but I am creating habits that include taking time for weekly food prep, heading to the gym with friends and saying no to things that I know will just increase my stress load.

3.  Taking care of yourself helps your community.

Sounds crazy right?  But it actually makes loads of sense.  When I invest in myself I’m that much more able to help others.  I’m a better partner, a better mom.  I’m a much better friend.  I feel more confidant, positive and interested in investing time in my community.

For me, self-care can be as simple as quiet time to read in the morning before the house wakes up, Saturday morning breakfast with friends or as big as culinary school with my bestie.  It has really helped me start living my best life and as a result I’m so eager to help others.  I want you to live your best life and make self-care a priority too, whatever that might look like for you.  Maybe you’re starting with a cool cooking workshop (*ahem* look here), maybe you’ll go for a long walk with a friend or maybe you’ll just commit to saying no this week to something that isn’t an absolute priority to you.  Whatever it is, do it guilt-free friends.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Like what you read or have more questions?  You can contact Renee at thegratefulplate@yahoo.com

Spring Cleaning, Inside and Out

Be honest.  Are you itching to do some spring cleaning?  Not yet?  Well, have you watched “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix?  If you have, chances are you’ve been motivated to re-think your sock drawer at the very least.  If you haven’t seen it, here it is in a nutshell: organize your stuff and you organize your life.

I will admit, I am one of the millions of people obsessed with the show.  I am completely mesmerized by the very prescribed approach to tidying.  Essentially, the KonMari method is a step-by-step system that suggests you get rid of things that no longer serve you and treasure items that spark joy in your life.  It takes some practice but, once you get the hang of it, the system becomes easier to maintain.

Lately, I’ve been thinking, what if we applied a similar methodology to eating at this time of year.  There is some precedent for spring cleaning of our diets after all.  Think about it.  Two of the world’s major religions have periods of fasting at this time of year.  Although these fasting rituals are steeped in religious significance, their timing is also practical for giving our livers an effective break after a winter of heavy comfort foods.

If you’re not really one for fasting, however, maybe you are spring cleaning your diet in a different way?  Have you noticed any changes in your cravings, for instance?  What foods spark joy for you right now when you wander the produce section of your grocery store?  Coming out of the dark days of winter, it is natural to crave lighter and brighter foods.  If you can barely wait for things to turn green outside, chances are you’re craving greens inside too.  Your body is feeling the rhythm of the seasons.  Listen to it.

Conveniently, nature provides us with fresh greens in the spring and other natural cleansers that help us to detoxify and cleanse the liver.  Look for arugula, asparagus, avocado, bok choy, dandelion greens, garlic, lemons, peas, radish and rhubarb to name a few.  Try to lighten up on meat consumption too, if you’re an omnivore.

When it comes to spring cleaning your home, Marie Kondo may be the current queen of the closet; but, when it comes to spring cleaning your eating habits, Mother Nature is always the queen of that reality show.  Eat well and spark joy inside you.


Want more?  Check out our 15-Day Spring Meal Prep Plan to help you get started


Like what you read or have more questions?  You can contact Daniela at thegratefulplate@yahoo.com