Healthy…and Happy

This is the blog post I wasn’t going to write this evening. I knew this morning that today was one of those unusual holidays, Evaluate Your Life Day. I decided not to engage in that celebration, even though a kernel of an idea arose at the thought. Throughout a busy day, that little idea grew. And when “happy” kept coming into my awareness, through signs and the actual song Happy by Pharrell Williams, I accepted the nudges and invitations.

I consider myself an optimistic, positive, happy person. I have been these last seven years especially, after facing my fears and moving beyond them. However, an intriguing thing has been happening to me. The last two or three months, people have told me repeatedly that I look happy, seem happy, appear to be so happy.

When something happens repetitively, it gets my attention.

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I appear to be happier, even though in my own estimation, I have lived on Happy Street for a while. People who tell me I seem to be happier are linking this high level of energetic being to my increased healthiness. And I find that fascinating!

Could there be a correlation between feeling good, health wise, and feeling GOOD, happiness wise?

For Evaluate Your Life Day, I considered that possibility and did a little research.

When I began a plant based lifestyle, 15 months ago, I wasn’t thinking about happiness. I was focused on healing and finding relief from chronic pain. It was the right focus. Changing my diet to one of fruits, veggies, rice, legumes and nuts literally changed my health…and my life.

It is an ongoing journey that has brought me many unexpected benefits. Not only did my pain subside, other minor health ailments cleared up as well. I began to experience episodes of euphoria that at first puzzled me. Then I realized this was what good health felt like.

People noticed that I lost weight, quit using a cane, stopped limping. And now they notice that I am happy. I wondered today, is it because my face is relaxed, rather than carrying a slight frown? When at rest, the subtle drawing together of my eyebrows was due to the pain I felt but didn’t verbally express. And often my apparent “lost in thought” look was me considering how much it was going to hurt when I stood after sitting through a long meal or a meeting. I no longer battle pain like that. Was this the difference in my countenance?

Or was it deeper than that? Had those bouts of euphoria developed into joy and happiness?

I found many studies online, linking positive thoughts to better health. And only one finding a correlation between improved health and happiness. A new study out of Australia suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables may make you feel happier.

Researchers studied more than 12,000 Australians for two years. They asked people whether they normally ate fruits and veggies and how much. They also asked the participants how satisfied with life they were, on a scale from 1 to 10. Then they tracked diets for two years, and whether people increased their fruit and veggie consumption, while also studying their satisfaction levels.

Results showed that those who added more fruits and veggies per day to their diets, increased their levels of life satisfaction as well. Research has suggested that greater levels of carotenoids, found in some fruits and veggies, are linked to greater optimism. Plus an increased intake in vitamin B12, also present in fruits and veggies, boosts a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin, which helps to regulate mood.

Redzo Mujcic, one of the study’s researchers wrote, “Perhaps our results will be more effective than traditional messages in convincing people to have a healthy diet. There is a psychological payoff now from fruits and vegetables, not just a lower health risk.”

Perhaps, indeed!

Many of the people that I talk to about their health are afraid their happiness will decrease if they give up foods they enjoy. What if the opposite is true? What if, by increasing fruits and veggies, they felt happier while feeling healthier?

And if adding more fruits and veggies increases levels of satisfaction with life, what would switching entirely to a plant based diet do? Perhaps it results in bouts of euphoria…that becomes a high level of sustained happiness!

I think it warrants more thought on my part, and more research. But what an intriguing correlation. I am willing to be the guinea pig and live it out, as I continue in my journey of pursuing greater and greater health, and see what happens. The best way for me to impact others in a positive healthy way, is to live my life openly.

I am an ambassador for health…and happiness.

Super Bowls

I realized this evening that all of my meals today were nestled within a bowl. I started my morning with my usual celery juice, consumed from a glass, however from that point forward, bowls held my food. 

I tried a smoothie bowl for the first time this morning. I have a fruit smoothie every day for breakfast. It is convenient to take my morning smoothie with me if I have early appointments. Today I had time to sample the smoothie in a fresh way, as I’ve seen pictured on Instagram. I appreciate the community of health conscious sojourners that encourage one another on that social media site.  (Connect with me there. I’m cindylauderdalemoore)

After blending  together a banana, peach and wild blueberries, I poured the mixture into a bowl. That’s the smoothie part. I added sliced banana, sliced strawberries, more blueberries and chia seeds. This was an excellent cold and fruity breakfast, eaten with a spoon. What I will love about this treat is the huge variety of  bowls possible. And creating breakfast in this way engages my creative side. I can make the meal pretty. 

Lunch was a fresh salad in a bowl…tomatos, cucumber, carrots, celery and avocado on a bed of mixed greens. The salad dressing I made yesterday was a tasty addition to my salad. I didn’t snap a picture. 

This evening I enjoyed another meal in a bowl. Commonly called a Buddha bowl or hippie bowl (my favorite term!), this is a simple and nutritious meal. Like the smoothie bowl, there are endless possibilities for combining raw and cooked food to create a healthy and appealing meal. 

I filled my bowl with brown rice, stir fried veggies left over from last night, black beans and fresh diced tomatoes. This colorful meal tasted as good as it looked. The simplicity of the food and the preparation of it created a deep awareness of how I am nuturing myself. 

Because it is important to me, I looked up the symbolism of the bowl. The bowl symbolizes receptivity, wisdom and the gift of seeing the bigger picture. A bowl of food represents the ability to nurture and sustain myself and others. 

I love that. Nurturing and sustaining myself and others is perfectly aligned with my healing journey. The bowl just became my favorite way to enjoy a meal. I feel inspired to collect a few more interesting bowls to dine from. 

What is This Feeling?

I wasn’t going to post a healing journey update until Monday, when I crossed the half way mark on this cleanse. However, as I was doing my free writing this morning, on day 12, I had an aha that I wanted to share. 

Tuesday of this week I realized I felt different. I was ten days into a cleanse that, as detailed by Anthony William in his book, Medical Medium, consisted of a raw fruit and veggie diet for 28 days. Something had changed! I had a difficult time putting into words what exactly had shifted. But I could feel it. 

I am lighter, having lost weight as a result of the vegan diet. However, it’s more than that. I feel lighter, cleaner on the inside. 

And I’ve done more than drop pounds. I haven’t had indigestion since I began the cleanse. Or a headache once I got past day 3. I’m sleeping deeply at night, without a sleep aid, I’m allergy and congestion free, and hydrated. I never realized how dehydrated I was, until last week. 

The numerous little aches and pains that I had are gone. Best of all, the pain level has greatly diminished in my lower back and legs . I still have some stiffness and pain in my left leg when I first wake up, or if I sit with that leg bent for too long. However my leg muscles relax more quickly and for the most part, I am pain free throughout the day. I am deeply grateful for that. 

In addition, I’m learning about my beliefs around food. The free writing I do every morning has been instrumental in going deeper into that love/hate relationship that I’ve had, and resolving issues, which is crucial for my future health. 

Finally, I have connected with others who are on a similar healing journey, by way of my blog posts and social media. There is a community of souls out there, people who are taking back their health, and thanks to Anthony, healing from a variety of diseases and disorders. I have been privileged to encounter these courageous men and women and walk with them. We encourage each other and learn.

What is this feeling? I have written that question down several times and mused aloud about what I was experiencing. So many wonderful shifts are occurring, so many positive changes. What is this? What?

As I wrote this morning, and tried to capture the differences I’m feeling, a thought arose. Very clearly the words came, This is what a healthy body feels like. 

Tears filled my eyes. 

This is what being healthy feels like. I’ve been in pain for so long. I’ve had various minor issues for so long. I had forgotten what feeling good feels like. Now, I feel light, energetic, peaceful. My body isn’t using massive amounts of energy fighting against viruses and inflammation like it was. The war on the Epstein Barr Virus and/or shingles, and inflammation, isn’t over, yet. But I am winning this battle…one step, one day at a time. 

What is this feeling? Health.