October 24 was World Food Day (“a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food”). As in integrated behavioral health program providing and promoting wellness events, we at Vista Hill SmartCare are excited to also promote World Food Day each year by sharing information on nutrition, mindful eating, and other related topics.
One of our partnering health clinics, North County Health Services in Ramona, has also asked us to collaborate our efforts with them on offering Weight Management wellness groups for patients; our Ramona team has come up with a series that includes a variety of comprehensive topics, such as reading food labels, the benefits of exercise, goal setting, diabetes and weight management and self-esteem.
And yes, the holidays are approaching. And so, I have been thinking more than usual about our relationship with food. My own experiences have taught me that “dieting” is not very productive nor successful in the long-run; making a commitment to lifestyle changes and habits ultimately have brought health and wellness into my life.
Food can be quite complicated. Relationships, body image, health, finances and other issues can all be tied up with eating and the rituals surrounding it. In our ever increasing, fast paced society, do we eat meals together anymore, much less home cooked food? Can we/do we grow any of our own foods? Can we/do we choose local, organic, non –processed foods? Do we understand about GMO’s? Is “low fat” or “sugar free” what we should be looking for? Is there a “one size- fits all” plan or diet that works for everyone? Ayurveda tells us that there are 3 different mind-body types, or doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which should influence what and how we eat.
I have spoken about the concern of childhood obesity previously and the necessity of families coming together in developing healthy lifestyle changes. Families and your support networks can make or break your success in maintaining healthy food choice changes.
We are not nutritionists, nor health providers, yet within our scope hope to support those seeking to achieve and maintain a more healthful relationship with food. When supporting children at risk for obesity and related disorders, as mentioned, we first and foremost encourage a family approach to activity and meal preparation and planning. We promote My Plate. When supporting those of all ages, we encourage overall life style adaptations and changes as opposed to dieting, including increased physical activity, especially outdoors, whenever possible, we educate about mindful eating, we encourage growing your own foods if possible and/or purchasing local, shopping at farmer’s markets, eating fresh foods, reading labels and preparing and eating at home and together whenever possible.
Food should be enjoyable as well as nourishing and sustaining, not something to fear. We wish you many healthful, joyful and delicious holiday meals in the coming weeks.