Food as Medicine: Nutrition & Mental Health – Guest Blog

If you follow me at all on any of my social media accounts you know that I personally feel proper nutrition can solve 90% of our problems with physical and mental health. I’m super excited to be featuring Kimberly Benny INHC of Revived Nutrition today on the blog!

Health and Wellness

One of my favorite writers, Virginia Woolf, once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,”. I have personally found this notion to be quite true over the years; daily, living the day-to-day and also at a more profound level as I underwent treatment and recovery from a lifelong eating disorder along with clinical depression and panic disorder. Food and the activities surrounding what we eat are major cornerstones in each of our lives. Think on how many significant memories involve eating a meal with family and friends. Aside from the enjoyment factor, and often ceremony, surrounding food preparation and dining we must eat to survive. How important is nutrition to our mental health? If we are what we eat how does this affect the people we become: our personalities, how we look, how we choose to act and lead our lives, even food intolerances and allergies?

It was 2010 when my childhood life and my adult life collided. My negative and unhealthy emotional coping methods no longer worked in my role as a wife and mother as they did for so many years growing up. Anorexia, depression and panic kept my heart and mind numb from honestly dealing with and setting firm, healthy boundaries with my ill parents. My clouded mind didn’t allow me to handle the circumstances regarding my parents or my life as a whole in the best manner. On the flip-side, and notably, those diagnoses were also three keys to my survival in living through emotional trauma. When rock bottom finally hit, and I conceded to my pains and went into intensive out-patient therapy, the world of food and how it related to my overall well-being opened up. I realized that when life throws us hard we try and maintain equilibrium no matter what and this will look different for each individual and can materialize in many ways. For instance, many of us feel a lack of appetite when strong emotions hit. There are also many that feel a strong need to consume more. Our response when it comes to how we handle stress as it relates to our appetites is extremely bio-individual and unique to each person. Whether you are viewing under-eating or over-eating, at either end of spectrum, they are both emotional numbing behaviors. Our responses are like a reflex stemming from personal experiences, our genetic make-up, environmental triggers and even more that is still being uncovered by the bright minds of today in nutrition science world.

During my time in treatment the amazing social workers, nurses and doctors lead me through deeply healing activities both surrounding the dining table with others, writing and also speaking aloud to work through buried emotions. One significant way I began to heal my relationship with myself and food was to keep a daily food diary. A food diary is part food log and part journal. You combine your daily accounts of what you are consuming with your thoughts around each meal, snack and activity. This brings intentionality regarding your food and movement choices and a way to gain ground in making wiser choices along your personal wellness journey. If you suffer from any food intolerances or suspected allergies a food diary is a great start to weeding out any culprits as well. You can then take your food diary logs to your health care team and ask for further testing or insight so you can, hopefully, get back to eating a little of everything that makes you thrive for a whole, well-rounded life.

Making small, trackable choices towards living well in your life is essential to sustaining lasting, positive change and transformation. This is true of most anything you endeavor. Even more vital to having enjoyment back in your life when it comes to food prep and mealtime may be radically accepting who you are, where you are and what you have in the moment you are in at any given time. That is the path to truly loving yourself and knowing your worth. If we are what we eat and we must do so to survive, let it be with minimal limitation but full intention on providing ourselves the best footing with which to sprint forward to live our very best lives.

32447358_2062632847358101_1048291488481411072_nKimberly Benny, INHC is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with Revived Nutrition. Kimberly teaches nutrition, integrating a variety of wellness methods; offering accountability to individuals and families through group coaching and also specializes in herbal and aromatherapy remedies. She hopes to bridge the gap between conventional and alternative modalities of healing through classes, workshops and group mentoring sessions. Over the last 8+ years Kimberly has utilized many methods to begin and then sustain mind, body and spiritual healing for herself: prayer/meditation, therapy/positive thought techniques, herbs, oils, homeopathy, building in a strong support network of family and friends and, of course, finally seeing and using food as medicine rather than as a negative, emotional coping habits.

Connect with her here:

Facebook Business Page 

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Email: kimberly.inhc@gmail.com