Nourishing yourself: Is this part of your well-being plan?
- Jul 08, 2020
At the Aroga Lifestyle Medicine clinic, Nutrition~Exercise~Mindfulness~Love & Support~Sleep~Substance Control is a holistic framework for health and well-being. Well-being is greater than anyone aspect: it is the sum and overall balance of each that can fluctuate with the joys and stresses of life. Some areas may come more easily to us. Others may be trickier, or more challenging. But as an MD and facilitator of group sessions, the first question I ask is: what does well-being mean to you? Making changes to promote your health in ways that are positive, motivating and that resonate deeply with you are more likely to be effective and long-lasting.
What does Nourish mean to you?
Naturally, there will be different interpretations of this word. According to the Oxford Dictionary, nourish is to ‘provide food or other substances necessary for growth, health and good condition.’ Nourish – from a nutritional perspective – can describe the power of nutrient-dense plant foods to prevent progression and even reverse chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers, through reducing inflammation, enhancing insulin sensitivity and improving weight loss, among other benefits. , For some in our groups, nourish relates to healthy food – making healthier choices, having a positive relationship with food as fuel, and modeling strong habits for others. Participants speak proudly of gains they experience shifting to a whole food plant-based diet: reducing – even discontinuing – medications, enhancing mood, energy and sleep, losing weight … and perhaps most importantly, experiencing a newfound sense of pride, accomplishment and self-esteem.
For many, nourish is more than just food, and includes nourishing mind, body and spirit, for oneself and for others. Some examples of nourish as defined by participants include:
- Paying attention to ‘things that light me up’ and bring joy; creative pursuits and laughter;
- Taking a ‘mental break’, including the time to disconnect and be in solitude;
- Stimulating one’s mind through engaging talks and lectures;
- Cultivating awareness, kindness and a sense of calm through meditation and mindfulness; and intentionally nurturing a positive mindset and gratitude.
- Nourishing the whole body with good food, sleep and exercise;
- Enriching one’s spirit through organized religion or personal spiritual practice to feel connection to a larger whole
- Getting out into nature to replenish energy stores and refresh the senses
- Nourishing relationships, kinship and emotional connection with others, including connection with family & friends, community (eg. volunteering) and to a greater cause (eg. advocacy and activism)
- Nourishing self through self-compassion, self-care and prioritizing one’s own needs
What nourishes us in our daily lives – food, sleep, exercise; positive relationships; doing what brings you a sense of vitality and makes you feel alive – are key to identify and cultivate. The challenge is to ask yourself – What nourishes you? Have you made time for that today?
 For further reading: Bodai et al. Lifestyle Medicine: A Brief Review of Its Dramatic Impact on Health and Survival. Permanente Journal. 2018; 22; 17-25.
 Qian et al. Association between plant-based dietary patterns and risk of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 22, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2195
 Esselstyn, C. Resolving the coronary artery disease epidemic through plant-based nutrition. Prev Cardiology. 2001; 4 (4): 171-7.
Aroga Lifestyle Medicine
Aroga Lifestyle Medicine is a trail-blazing clinic with an multi-disciplinary team that believes that most, if not all, cardiac and metabolic illnesses can be prevented and treated with intensive lifestyle modifications. Using evidenced-based therapies, patients are empowered to experience true healing and wellness.