On-Camera Meteorologist Stephanie Abrams is a huge advocate for healthy living and eating. Hear her thoughts on pursuing a healthy lifestyle that’s right for you and maintaining your mental health.
Food is something we all need to survive. The quality of what we consume depends heavily on the soil, weather, environment and products used through the entire growing process. Over the years we have seen our farming practices change. We’ve gone from the Dust Bowl to genetically modified food in about 60 years and many products we buy these days are made in a factory rather than a field. Food brings us together and is something that has been celebrated for centuries. While it can spark memories and be the focus of tradition, it can also lead to pain when allergic, over consumed or used for comfort.
Before I continue with my personal journey with food, I want you to know that my mantra is “do you,” so long as you aren’t hurting anyone in the process. I’m sharing part of my story, because perhaps there will be one person who can relate and make some simple changes that will make them feel better. My journey, way of life, perspective will certainly not apply to all and that’s okay. We all must find what works best for ourselves!
We all want to look and feel healthy, which is defined differently by all, but what REALLY sparked my passion for healthy eating was my mental health. Like majority of humans I struggle with negative self-talk. After quite a personal journey, which is a story to be shared another time, I found that the quality of food and portion size consumed helps tremendously with my physical and mental health. If we put the wrong gas in our cars we don’t expect them to work, yet we chose to load our bodies with sugar, chemicals and food that is not natural to our planet and then we are shocked to hear about the growing numbers of sick people in our country. We know the type of food we need to eat in order for our bodies to work best physically, yet we’ve been convinced somehow our mental health is not connected to what we eat.
I have taken a lot of time to learn more about how the body works…and experimented with how I feel depending on what I consume. I determined that eating foods found in nature make me feel the best. Items that are packaged and have ingredients that I don’t recognize make me feel sluggish, gain weight and I don’t have the same mental clarity. I also made the decision to stay away from GMOs (genetically modified organisms), preservatives and other additives. GMO food, which is not tested by the FDA, has its DNA engineered and is not found naturally on Earth. Both GMO crops and animals currently exist. One of the benefits touted is that the crops are more resistant to extreme weather. When a particular pesticide is sprayed on GMO crops it kills weeds and other plants around it, but the GMO crop is not affected. As for GMO salmon, they grow to size much faster. From what I’ve read, it takes about half the amount of time for the GMO salmon to be big enough to sell vs. conventional fish.
Because my mental and physical health is so dependent on what I consume, it’s important to me that I avoid chemicals and eat as much natural and organic food as possible. Our body is constantly fixing itself, like if you have a cut, and regenerating itself, your skin is replaced in about a month’s time. With that said, I have concerns over how our cells are affected/deformed due to chemicals and how that in turn disrupts proper mental and physical processes. If our building blocks are not receiving the nutrients they need, we can’t possibly function well. We would never put a plant in a dark room and feed it soda and expect it to grow; yet we’ve been convinced otherwise about ourselves.
For me, I have found I am at my mental and physical best when I consume actual food (1 ingredient items or if packaged, I legitimately understand EVERY ingredient), drink lots of water, meditate and sleep. I certainly haven’t perfected all of this, but I know the mental and physical consequences that quickly follow when I “fall off the wagon.” You must do what’s right for you, but if you are struggling, don’t give up hope…there’s a lot out there that can help. Just because it’s not mainstream doesn’t mean it’s not right or it doesn’t work. Do your homework and never give up! I would never say that one way is the right way for everyone, but fueling my body with organic foods bursting with vitamins and minerals that my body can fully understand has made me feel mentally and physically better.