How to use nutritional awareness and experience vitality.

How does food make you feel?

I always pay attention to how food is effecting my mood and my body. As a part of my nutritional awareness I focus on how I feel after eating certain foods. I have learned a long time ago that food is not just about nutrition it is also about emotions.

nutritional awareness

We all need to indulge occasionally and that is exactly what I did last Saturday.

On this particular Saturday, I planned a trip to Ikea. There are three things I like about Ikea: couple watching, Swedish meatballs and the fact they have liquorice including my favourites: Schoolkrijt (Crayons) – it’s a Dutch thing.

The story behind food.

There is a story behind Ikea. I lived in the UK for 10 years, many of those with my partner at that time. And I remember many, many happy trips to Ikea where  every trip would end with a visit to the Ikea restaurant for Swedish meatballs. In other words, I associate Swedish meatballs with good memories; It makes me feel good. It is also a habit to have meatballs at Ikea. An association that has become ingrained in my brain: Ikea = meatballs.

I had made my plan: Arrive at Ikea, get some “Crayons”, eat them all whilst I shop, finish of with Swedish Meatballs and chips. When I arrived at Ikea I was very disappointed to see they didn’t have “Crayons.” However they did have my other favourite: Bassett’s winegums. I decided to indulge and “since I was picking up one bad thing, I might as well have more”….and I did. –“But only for the taste”, even though I knew very well what they were going to taste like and that I probably wasn’t going to enjoy them.

During my shopping trip I was continuously stuffing myself. Enjoying what I was eating whilst also in a hurry to finish my bag of candy. Not only do I lose all self restraint when I eat licorice, I also I lose all self restraint. I eat fast. Once it’s gone it’s gone, that is my attitude. As a child licorice was my comfort food. I would buy licorice and I would smuggle it up to my room where I was often studying/ hiding from stress and tension.

Back to Ikea….

I finished my shopping trip and my bag of candy. It would have been around 200 grams which is a lot of sugar. After my shopping trip, as promised, I went to the restaurant and stuffed my face even further with meatballs and chips. I was very aware that I wasn’t really enjoying it. Who wants to sit in an Ikea restaurant, alone, surrounded by all these happy families and couples? I ate fast and I went home. I felt bloated and sick.

The day went past. When my evening plans cancelled, I decided to go and see a movie. On the way out of the cinema I couldn’t resist to get a “tiny scoop” of buttons and chocolate covered raisins at the local convenience store. They tasted disgusting.  I was reminded how far I had come with my food habits. I threw them out.

My body was loaded with sugar and I started to feel down. It was a sadness. A combination of letting myself down, feeling slightly sick from all the crap (sugar) I had eaten that day and a feeling of loneliness and isolation. And than it struck me: I know this feeling.

The power of Nutritional Awareness

Nevertheless, the sadness was making me feel good. I understood this feeling, I was comfortable inside it. And in that moment I realised that it was the food that brought me to that point. I thought by myself “Wow, this is nutritional awareness, this is what food can do to people”.

Now consider this for a moment: How is food causing you to feel in a certain way? Can you relate the food that you crave to a specific “happy moment” in life that you are trying to hold on to? What foods do you use to numb pain of past (or present) experiences. How do you feel after you have been indulging in foods that you know are not good for you?

There are no right or wrong, good or bad answers to the above questions. Enjoying food good. But you can use nutritional awareness to be a driving force for change allowing you become the person you are meant to be. Denying yourself awareness is denying yourself nutrition for the soul.

Off course, if you now gained the awareness that you are not aware, you have just treated your soul with some great healing nourishment.



How to clear your mind

Papers piling up, ironing not getting done. Simple things not being cleared away. All signs of stress and overwhelm.

clear your mind

So look around. How messy is your house?

Clutter can cause stress. Furthermore, if you are stressed, it is likely that this is reflected in the clutter around you. In other words, what your house (and wardrobe) look like, is often a reflection of your mindset.  Is it time for you to clear your mind and de-clutter your life?

As you grow older, you collect possessions and experiences. As a result, over the years it becomes increasingly difficult to be flexible in life and business. Often the result is that life grinds to a halt, as we can no longer see what matters.

So where do you start?

Detox your life, clear your mind.

Detoxing is letting go of things that no longer serve you. In fact, if you want to clear your mind, start by detoxing your life. Detoxing your life means looking at different areas and start clearing out clutter.

Here are 10 steps to detox your life

  1. First of all, food. What is it that you are eating?  Since the quality of the food you eat is often a sign how you feel, this can tell you a lot about your state of mind. Also, stress and lack of sleep reduce your resistance to bad foods. If you need to recover after a period of bad diet, use a detox program to cleanse your body from the inside. Also, make sure you get enough sleep and improve the quality of the food you eat.
  2. Clothing. Get rid of clothing that you no longer wear: Make a “donate pile” and “throw away pile.” Anything damaged or torn, has to go on the throw away pile. Not only will you create more space in your wardrobe, you are also helping others that need the clothes more than you do.
  3. Change your job. Yes, changing your job can make a huge difference. Are you stressed at work and don’t know what to do about it? Perhaps it is time to look around for another opportunity.
  4. Out of sight places. Go through cupboards, the attic and garden sheds. What is still usable, donate. Everything else either recycle or throw away. Not sure where to start? Marie Kondo describes in her book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” a mindful approach to getting rid of clutter.
  5. Your house. Any jobs left to do? Because now is the time to complete them. Paint walls, hang that painting, pay those bills. Finishing something you have been avoiding, helps to clear your mind. Every job done, is another achievement you can be proud of.
  6. Change scenery. Explore a new sport or hobby to breath new energy into your life. Start a new adventure that is going to lead you to a new perspective on life.
  7. Relationships. You may notice your old friendships are not giving you the energy the way they used to. Are your friends un-reliable, not showing up or not able to commit? Do you still share the same interests? If the relationship zaps your energy, it is time leave it behind. This means that new friends can enter.
  8. Change where you live. Bring something new to your life by moving to a different city. Without doubt this is not the easiest way to detox your life. But it certainly is a clean break from the things that hold you back.
  9. Change a habit that no longer serves you. Whether it is food, an addiction (such as smoking) or a behavioural pattern, releasing it will give you a sense of achievement that will help you in reaching even bigger goals.
  10. Finally, are you holding on to feelings and emotions from the past? Most of us do. But past experiences can have serious consequences on your current life. Clearing your mind, can have a massive impact on the level of happiness in your life. Working with a mindset coach can help you re-discover happiness.

In conclusion. Stress and clutter go hand in hand. On the one hand, reducing stress can reduce the clutter. On the other hand you can reduce the clutter, to reduce stress. But whatever your approach, you are likely to feel more relaxed and more in control of your life.

3 Ways corporate culture can make you look sick

How good do you feel in your job? We all know that a job causes stress can lead to sickness. But can your corporate culture influence how you look?

corporate culture, leadership mindset, vitality

Throughout me working with clients and organisations I have identified 3 ways that you company culture can make you look sick.

1. Values and Purpose

If you work for an organisation that has corporate culture based on values you don’t share, it can cause significant stress. For example, you will experience stress if you value spending time with your family and you have a job that requires you to travel 80% of the time.

There is another way that values and purpose can make an impact. No career development path or if you don’t feel valued. Also a lack of management’s commitment to the values an purpose of the organisation.

2. Your corporate culture generates negativity

There is a reason why positive psychology is gaining traction. Positivity is good for you, it attracts positivity. Can you imagine working in an organisation where the energy is negative? Negativity can manifest and grow in different ways.

In his book “Power vs Force” David R Hawkins, describes different levels of energy and he relates them to emotions. He also applies them to organisations.

At the lower end of the energy scale, you find shame, misery, guilt, and blame. You can find these characteristics in organisations (as well as individuals) that operate in a negative energy field. Towards the positive end of the scale you find harmony, acceptance and understanding, characteristics of well-functioning companies and individuals. Beyond that, at the extreme positive end, you find peace and enlightenment.

3. Misalignment of personality and duties.

During a workshop I gave in healthcare, we measured if attendants were people focused or task focused. To my surprise, 95% of attendees registered as task focused. I had thought that most nurses would be people focused. My reasoning being that when you become a nurse you want to care for people. It raised a question in my mind: Is it possible that people focused individuals, through education, can become ‘task focused’?

An article on sheds some light on this. The premise of the article is that you can’t change your personality, but you can change behaviours or adopt different characteristics.

I have seen in healthcare that many people lacked the energy and radiance that you expect from healthy people. This made me believe that you are able to change the way a person works, but this causes stress if it is not aligned with the underlying personality.

In Conclusion

Not only does stress cause your body to go into a state of fight and flight but also directing essential energy and resources from maintaining psychical homeostasis, causes a physical imbalance. Illness and disease is often related to chronic stress, caused by a negative corporate culture.