The GWI Nutrition for Healthspan Initiative is introducing a series of blogs providing simple guidelines for changing food habits for your vibrant health and wellbeing. For more content, we invite you to read the chapters of the book that the Initiative has just published.


Listening to your body and being mindful is a basic step towards healthier food choices, and consequently vibrant wellbeing.

How often, when feeling unwell, we search for a fast solution, so to move on with our busy lives? Have you ever asked yourself, what may be the root cause of the imbalance? The body is an intelligent and sensitive machine that gives us early signals and desperately asks for attention. There is hardly any disease that appears just in one day. Take a moment and ask yourself:

  • How am I feeling now?
  • Do I know my body? Do I listen to my body?
  • Do I know my thoughts pattern?
  • How do I nourish my body and mind?

For many of us, our habits, desires and circumstances are what drive our food decisions. When we don’t understand our body’s signals or its resources for processing food and drinks, we end up with problems that become the cornerstone of many diseases. The food you eat plays a major role in the development of chronic diseases and the “minor annoyances” that quietly persist day in and day out.

Food also impacts your overall mental health. Processed food is implicated as causing many illnesses and bodily ailments such as headaches, bloating, low energy, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal distress, poor cognitive function, and much more. For some people, even certain healthy foods can trigger reactions in the body that make them sick. Recognizing the impact of the food you eat will help make changes to shift how you feel. Take some time to reflect on your habits by asking yourself the questions:

  1. Why do you eat? Hunger? For fuel? Emotional trigger?
  2. Why do you eat the way you do? Familiarity? Culture? Health? The love of food? To fuel your system? Connections with certain textures or smells? Availability? Don’t like to cook? Don’t know how to cook? Don’t have tools/ resources needed to eat differently?
  3. How do your thoughts and emotions affect your eating? What is the story you keep telling yourself about food, what you eat, why you eat the way you do? What emotions, both positive or negative, come up when you eat (in general and around specific foods)?
  4. Are there times when you do not eat? Why? Stress? Self-image? Discomfort when you eat? Not enough food? Intentional fasting for faith or health reasons?
  5. Do you feel you need to improve the way you eat? If so, do you find it difficult to change your eating habits? Why? Do you have certain types of cravings? Are these cravings triggered by a specific event?
  6. Do you experience pain or discomfort? Are there certain foods that, when you eat them, cause pain or discomfort such as bloating, gas, headaches and yet you continue to eat them? Why?

There is no “one size fits all” menu for people to follow in order to achieve optimal health as each person’s dietary needs are as unique as they are. The more you know your body, the more you will understand what it is asking for to stay strong and healthy. Caring for your body does not have to be complex, but it does take some time and effort to ensure that you are treating it in a way to help it thrive.

Consider the following practices for wellbeing:

Breathe – Take a moment and observe your breath. Is it slow and deep or rather fast, irregular and short? Breath is the most important function, nourishing all organs and an easy tool to energize body and calm the mind. Spend time each day focusing on your breathing, inhale slowly from your nostril and let the air pass down to the stomach expanding belly and lungs. Allow the oxygen to saturate your whole body.

Hydration – Our body is made mainly of water, thus, make sure to provide as much liquids as needed to assure optimal health. It is recommended to drink water any time you feel thirsty, depending on daily activities, weather condition and body structure.

Movement – Introduce daily rituals of moderate exercise, stretching, walking or another physical activity that will engage your body. Choose anything that serves you the best and you like doing. Introduce small changes into your routine that will be naturally activating your body. If possible, be in nature and enjoy the daily sunlight.

Rest / Sleep – Allow yourself an optimal time and space for relaxation and prioritise sleep. We tend to underestimate the role of relaxation, while, in daily routine, it is mandatory to take time to restore and rejuvenate all organs to assure proper cognitive and behavioural functions.

Mindfulness – Dedicate time to meditate, journal, walk in nature or any other way to be present in a moment.

Take small steps and changes in your daily routine and observe the transformation in your body and mind. Stay tuned for more easy-to-follow guidelines.  Click here to download the booklet.

Alina Tyszkiewicz, Co-Chair, GWI Nutrition for Healthspan Initiative

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