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December Blog- Giving and Receiving for Your Health!   

Patricia Diefenbach, ND, MS, CNS, CPT 

Christmas, Hannukah, Bhodi Day, Winter Solstice and Zoroastrians Zarathosht Diso- are many of the interfaith celebrations that take place in December!  Many of these celebrations involve the giving and receiving of gifts. 

No matter what your faith, it is important to not only be able to give, but also to receive. Giving requires the act of letting go, while receiving invites us to open ourselves up and let something in.  

In Deepak Chopra’s book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” he explains the Law of Giving and Receiving as the constant flow and exchange of universal energy. In order to amplify or increase anything you desire, you must give it to others. Chopra further suggests that you must think energetically about what you want to experience. For example, to achieve greater peace and love in your life, expand your own experience by sharing feelings of peace and love with others.  

There are three necessary steps to fully achieve your desired experience. They are: to give constantly; to learn how to receive; and finally, to be grateful and appreciate all that you have.  

The energetics of giving and receiving fully apply to how we give and receive nourishment for our bodies. This holiday season I invite you to expand the way you give and receive food for your health. Give to yourself by expanding the routine foods you eat. Receive by practicing gratitude and mindfulness at mealtimes. 

Both of these concepts-giving AND receiving– are essential in supporting your health. 

Giving your diet diversity with a variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Research suggests that biodiversity correlates with stability. Biodiversity of plants in your diet promotes a healthy microbiome, which is extremely important for your overall health and functioning immune system.  

Diet diversity is associated with lower risk of developing food intolerances and allergies. Further, greater variety of daily fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of physical inflammation and provides plentiful antioxidants to combat oxidative stress (analogous to rust) in your body. Oxidative stress is involved in multiple chronic conditions and diseases.  

You can increase the nutrition that you receive from food with mindful eating practices. Grounding yourself with breathing and chewing your food thoroughly greatly affect how we absorb and assimilate the nutrients from our food.  

This December, in the spirit of giving and receiving for your health, I would like to introduce the 50-foods, 7- day variety challenge. Can you diversify your diet by eating 50 plant-based foods in seven days?  

It’s easier than it sounds. First, all plant-based foods count. If you drink a smoothie with spinach (vegetable) coconut water (liquid) mango (fruit) pea protein powder (whole grain) beets (vegetable) this counts as five ingredients! Another example is to stir-fry four different vegetables with ginger and garlic which equals six plants. And finally, my personal favorite strategy for this is to switch to a different variety of the same food. Go from a Granny Smith apple to a Gala apple, to eat two different kinds of fruit. 

You will be pleasantly surprised to discover how many fruit and vegetable gifts you are able to give…. and receive! 

Happy Holidays! 

Dr. Patricia