Beliefnet
Fresh Living

stress.jpgHere’s a fairly universal human foible that I’ve observed:  the more stressed out we are, the more poorly we eat.  We think, “I don’t have time to shop, cook, and clean up…it’s easier to just pick something up on the way home, or even skip a meal.” 

If you recognize yourself in this logic, I don’t have to tell you its most serious flaw–making bad (or non-) food choices makes our bodies unhappy.  When our bodies are unhappy, we’re more susceptible to the physical effects of stress.  When we expereince heightened stress, we make more poor food choices.  And wheeeee!  Around and around we go.

The stress of my home staging and moving process is definitely having this effect on me.  I’m not eating right, I’m off my usual routine of whole grains, fresh, seasonal produce, lean meats, and simple snacks.  And right on cue, I notice myself feeling either sluggish or jittery, brain-foggy, extra-sore after my exercise classes (when I make it), and just generally “off.”

So the other night, I declared a return to clean food.  I told my husband what I was feeling, and he agreed that we’re off our routine and should figure out what it takes to get back on it, even during this high-stress time.

The problem is that we’re in home-selling limbo and have no desire to make elaborate meals that require messing–and cleaning–up the kitchen that we’ve so carefully cleared of clutter.

So here are 4 simple return-to-clean-eating solutions that we’ve come up with to get our good habits back online without causing more stress than we already have:

1.  Soup for Supper – Get a box of low-sodium, nutrient rich chicken or vegetable broth, toss in some vegetables, greens, canned (rinsed) or fresh beans, and you’ve got yourself a healthy, simple, cleansing dinner.  Best side effect of a big pot of soup for supper?  It leaves you with soup for lunch the next day.

2.  Mindful Eating First and Always – A cookie will not pack a box for you, and a fast-food hamburger will not initiate a bidding war over your house.  So make sure that when you’re eating, you’re doing so to feed and nourish your body, not to distract your mind from stressful thoughts or numb yourself from anxieties and aggravations.  For tips on how to eat mindfully, check out this great gallery.

3.  Pre-Chopped Veggies – These usually annoy me because a) they cost more than buying celery, carrots, et al in their whole form and b) I’m sure that nutrients are lost when the veggies have already been chopped, their cell walls disturbed.  But.  In a stressful period, pre-chopped veggies are a way to, well, make it easier to eat your veggies.  So shell out the extra cash and get chomping!

4.  Seasonal, Seasonal, Seasonal – We’re so lucky that our high-stress period happens to coincide with the beginning of the most abundant fruit and vegetable season of the year.  Piles of fresh peaches and bowls of berries make for healthy, nutritious snacks…and they look great on a countertop when prospective buyers visit our house!

Do you have trouble eating right when you’re in high stress mode?  How do you cope? 

(image via: http://www.stressrelatedillness.com/

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