Southern at Heart
With the Healthy Well You

Some of the biggest things people think of about living in the South are Southern twang, fried everything, and sweet tea.

I am a Southern woman with a capital S: I love living where the cotton grows, the rivers flow, and the stars are bright as the day is long, but I don’t quite fit into that fry-everything category. I do, however, have that sweet Southern twang, and I like my tea just a little sweet. I love fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, and buttered biscuits, but I also believe everything can be made healthier.

I often hold a ladies (momma’s) luncheon where we have a fancy spread with whatever frittata I can throw together in a hot minute, sweet potato hash that you’d never guess is healthy, and a teapot full of Earl Gray tea paired with the most perfect antique tea cups. And I’ll don my apron and sweat in the kitchen in great anticipation of the laugh-until-you-cry moments as my dearest friends sit around my dining room table while our children play their little hearts out. I love moments like this, whether sitting around my dining table with my best girls or with my sweet family.

And while I love the Southern life, I’m rocking the boat with healthy recipes, meditation in the side yard, and seeing to the wellness of myself and those around me. I’m a nutritionist where I run a nutrition coaching business, a Reiki Master and a health and wellness business. I love what I do and have a passion for helping others, whether it’s with nutrition, healing from an ailment or trauma, or with a change of mindset.

I am a true believer in the mind-body connection. I believe that everything we eat has the power to fuel our body for its greater good or to send us into a downward spiral in which we lose our connection to the world and all its beauty.I believe nutrition is more than just what you eat. There is a connection we feel when we choose our foods. If we took the time to till a garden, sow the seeds, water the plants, and harvest our food, then we may have a sense of pride or feel a connection to the world around us when we sit down to our meal.

Not only do I love the way foods make me feel—whether it is from the energy they give me or the love I put into making a meal for my tribe—but I also love the connection I feel to the world around me, which is why it is so important to get out and about and explore your surroundings. Go for a hike, walk the dog, get your best girlfriend and put those babies in the stroller and hit the pavement.

Not only is this good for your physical body… it is good for you mentally and emotionally. Your physical body craves movement. Those muscles need to be moved and want to be moved. It is what they were made for. Your mind is also desperate to be exercised. I know how that sounds, but think about it: When you spend time doing something you love, something that makes you happy, endorphins are released. Endorphins are the happy chemicals in the brain, and when you exercise, those little happy chemicals are sent out to help reduce stress and anxiety. Emotionally, a good long talk with your gal pal can help you release all kinds of emotions such as; anger, sadness, frustration and many others. Even walking your dog can help emotionally. My best girl, Socks, is great for when I need an emotional pick me up. She just knows when I need her.

You see, if you stop to think about how you eat, when you eat and what you eat, you may start to notice how it can be connected to emotions, how you physically or mentally feel in that moment, or like we do most things in the South, connected to an event of some sort like a bonfire, birthday party, birth, death, and so on. We celebrate everything with some sort of meal, and that’s not a bad thing. It is just how we show we care. Often though, these meals are not the healthiest, and we tend to be gluttonous at times.

I encourage you to stop and look at how you go about your day. Look at what you eat and what your family eats. Start by making small changes like buying fresh fruits or vegetables to go with a meal or to have as a snack. Once that becomes a habit, make another change like adding in healthy protein options like nuts and seeds or peanut or almond butter to go with that apple. Each time you make a change you are setting yourself and your family up to succeed. Next, get outside and play with the kids, go for a walk, go to the park, or take a hike. The more you move, the more they will move and after a while things will become second nature for you.

There are so many beautiful things to see and do here in the South. We have some amazing state parks, walking trails, places to hike and climb like Little Rock City in Sand Rock, Alabama. There are some really great farmer’s markets that have some of the most amazing locally grown produce as well as homemade breads and jellies and jams. It’s not just the South that has all the beauty though, all over the U.S. there are some amazing places to visit and see the wonders of this world. I am challenging you to get out and explore and see how you change for the better.