Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nourishing Ourselves

I've sat down at the computer numerous times this past week, each time starting a new post. I have wonderful recipes with lovely photos to share but somehow I just wasn't inspired enough to follow through with them. Writing a blog post, or anything in my life for that matter, comes from some sort of deep seated inspiration. It's about sharing what's alive in me to light a spark in you.

Spring is here in all of its aliveness. We've been watching leaves change from a light, vibrant green to a more subdued, darker green. The ladybugs have come out of hibernation and my boys are fascinated by them. They go on daily, if not hourly, ladybug hunts through our herb garden, giggling with delight as the bugs crawl up there arms and fly away. All of the tulips in our garden beds are now in our house in vases. They simply don't stand a chance outside against my five year old daughter. "Look mama what I picked for you!" she calls to me.

Life is beautiful, and although this is a recipe blog, our lives are filled with so much more than food. Nourishing ourselves not only comes from what we put in our mouths but what we take in from our environment, the people around us, and our thoughts about it all. Life seems to be held in a delicate balance. Managing children, meals, cleaning, exercise, taking care of your own needs, and fun can be difficult to balance sometimes and at other times not so much. It all flows best when we are nourished.

But what does it mean to be nourished?

Tasting and feeling satisfied by wonderful, nutritious food is certainly a large part of it. Being able to properly digest and absorb your food is by far one of the most important aspects of nourishment. The health of our bodies lies in the health of our guts. Creating a healthy gut is a first step.

We are also nourished by filling up our senses with beautiful things, such as noticing the way the evening sunshine dances on the leaves or the sound of the spring rains pounding on the roof. A garden full of young, tender herbs. Sunflower seeds sprouting before your eyes. Apple trees blooming, bees buzzing. Noticing and breathing in the magnificence in your own back yard is nourishment. In fact, simply breathing deeply is nourishment.

Taking care of your own needs and exercising is nourishment. For if you didn't move your body, how would it function properly and get nutrients where they needed to go? Right now I am taking a yoga class twice a week and working out on other days, one of them with a personal trainer. I am also receiving Soma Bodywork once a week by a very skilled practitioner here in Bellingham. Years of breastfeeding and a few pregnancies compiled with sleep deprivation can disrupt the flow of energy in your physical and emotional bodies. Soma works to reintegrate your whole being at the neuromuscular level.

New experiences nourish us. Taking a new trail on your hike is a simple, new experience. Reading a new book, learning a new skill, cultivating a new friendship, even spring cleaning, would all be considered nourishment. Children's brains develop and grow through new experiences. But ours can too. It's never too late.

I receive emails each day called "Daily OM" and today's was entitled 'Gladdening Nourishment' which I thought was fitting as I pondered writing this post today. The first lines of the email were this: "Do something silly today, the pure act of being silly can reset our serious nature and help create the shift we need." Doing something silly is a new experience and new experiences can create new, neural pathways in the brain. Gosh, what a simple way to stay healthy. I need to take note, ha ha.

Another part of the email I wanted to share is this: "We play yet we do not lose ourselves in play, and our imaginations are never truly given free reign because we regard the products of irrational creativity as being valueless. Yet silliness itself does indeed constitute a vital part of human existence on a myriad of levels. Our first taste of ethereal bliss is often a consequence of our willingness to dabble in what we deem outrageous, nonsensical, or absurd. We delight in ridiculousness not only because laughter is intrinsically pleasurable, but also because it serves as a reminder that existence itself is fun."

What nourishes you?

A few other notes:
We have a winner for the Dairy-Free Cookbook giveaway I did last week. Please go back to that post and scroll to the bottom, I have updated it with the winner's name and comment. If you won, please email me your shipping address.

I have a cooking class at the Cordata co-op in Bellingham, WA coming up on May 3rd entitled "Wholesome Gluten-Free Baking" ~ more details on our website.

The Nutritionist is in: Tom Malterre, MS, CN will be available to discuss diet questions and concerns Free of charge with you at the Bellingham, WA Food Co-op on the following dates:
  • April 28th, 2010 at the Downtown store from 4:30 - 6:30pm
  • April 29th, 2010 at the Cordata store from 5 - 7pm

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. What an inspirational post, Ali! I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that nourishment comes from nutritious food, but also largely from other sources. Our environment, our physical activity levels, our relationships...they all play such a huge role in how our bodies function. I'm glad to see that you're enjoying the spring and finding nourishment from all around you! I read a quote once that I think is so fitting for this season: "Spring is when life's alive in everything." I couldn't agree more. :)

  2. Ali,
    thanks for a wonderful post! Nourishing our souls as well as our bodies is so important - thank you for reminding us of that! Enjoy being SILLY today and a little bit everyday!

  3. I love absolutely everything about this post, Ali. Thank you so much for writing it! Your beautiful photos, words, children tales, guidances on so many levels ... all nourish me when I come visit. I truly appreciate you and your blog!


  4. Thank you for the lovely reminder. Over the years, I too have learned that there are many ways to be nourished and fulfilled as a human being. Certainly carrying creative vision for the life I want to live has helped me manifest a healthful existence. I applaud you for making time to care for yourself. Happy day ~ Sarah

  5. Ali,
    This is my favorite piece you've ever posted... and that is saying a lot since I'm obsessed with every single one of your recipes. Too many people seem to forget this far too often (myself included), and it's so ironic since it is the one thing we should never forget. Thank you!
    Much love,

  6. Wow...what a wonderful post. It really makes you look at life in a different way when you actually stop to think about these things. Ballance is essential. Thank you for that :-)

  7. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    I am going to post a link on my blog.

  8. Great post! Thank you for sharing!

    I am going to post the link to this on my blog.

  9. this post is wonderful, and echoes my feelings exactly. unless we feed each part of ourselves - physical, emotional, spiritual - we cannot be fully fed, isn't that true? i've noticed that in my own healing process so much, especially with creative tasks. using my creativity is so nourishing, and feeds me in a way that nothing else can. it is energizing and fulfilling and beautiful. and yes, it is such a good reminder to do something silly! thanks for sharing this refreshing and much-needed post, and it is fun to hear what you do to stay nourished! i will have to read more about Soma.
    Kim |

  10. Ali - what a beautiful post, both your words, your inspiration and your pictures. You are truly an artist in every sense. Thank you for sharing so much of who you are - we are all truly blessed to know you either personally or through your blog site. Enjoy your springtime with your children.

  11. Ali,
    So glad I found your site. I am attempting the elimination diet on my own, as I have not found a nutritionist in my area who is familiar. Hoping to get your cookbook soon. What type of water do you use for drinking and cooking? I have been using distilled in plastic gallon jugs for years.
    Thank you so much for helping so many through your included!


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