Using Food to Ground and Nourish Yourself

Recovery is an intense, emotional experience. As you start to feel the feelings you used food or exercise to manage in the past, it may feel extremely uncomfortable at times. Over time, you’ll learn to ride the waves of emotions, so you don’t feel like you’re drowning in them or fighting against them.

With these emotional highs and lows, you will likely feel uprooted in your life. You’re digging into all your old patterns, habits, and mindsets – in all aspects of your life. You may feel overwhelmed and scattered at times and in desperate need of grounding.

Grounding is the idea of feeling balanced, centered, and present in your life and being able to connect back to that, even when things may feel crazy in your life. When you feel grounded, you have roots in your life and self-care tools you know you can rely on.

Through recovery, you will be growing your roots to create healthy relationships with food, movement, your body, or other people. There are many therapeutic grounding tools you can use like placing both your foot on the ground or getting outside to stand on the earth.

Yet, one of my favorite ways to feel grounded is to use food. Grounding yourself with food can help you connect with food in a different way and allow the energy of food to balance your mind and body.

When it comes to nutrition, balanced blood sugar will help you feel grounded. Having consistent meal times with a variety of foods – including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – will help your brain and body get essential nutrients. When your blood sugar is balanced, it supports balanced moods and stable energy. When it’s out of balance – often from restriction – you feel hangry, tired, cranky, irritable, lightheaded, and it may lead to binges because your body is starving for food. Working with a dietitian can help you create a sustainable meal plan for your individual body, then you can work towards being able to listen to your own body’s cues over time.

Another way to feel centered using food is eating grounding foods. In the winter, these nourishing foods are abundant coming from roots and starches. These root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, or roots like ginger and turmeric can energetically ground you. Since they are roots that grow in the ground, you can imagine them supporting your own roots. They also contain nutrient-rich carbohydrates and a wide array of vitamins and minerals to support your immune system in the winter. Try roasting root veggies or making warm soups, stews, or chilis to ground yourself. There’s something so soothing about a warm soup in the winter to feel cozy and grounded. You can also make tea with ginger and turmeric to warm up.

A third way to feel grounded with food is to pause and breathe before a meal. Taking 5 deep breaths before you eat adds a moment of mindfulness and helps prepare your body for digestion. When your nervous system is calm, you’re able to “rest and digest.” With time and practice, you may find this to be a soothing practice to connect to your body and enjoy food rather than having meals be a time of anxiety.

By including these grounding tools in your life, you may be able to start to develop a new relationship with food. Instead of viewing food as numbers and the enemy, you can view it as a way to nourish yourself. You can use food as medicine to feel grounded in your life.

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