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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Eat to Nourish Your Body & Soul

by Jenna Richardson

What do you think about every time you sit down to eat? Are you evaluating the food on your plate as “good” or “bad,” or too high in calories or too full of sugar? Are you eating certain foods that make you feel guilty later? Are you worried about how you will burn off the calories later in the gym? Most importantly, how is that working out for you?

Our relationship with food is a complex one. There are so many reasons why we eat certain foods or go on restrictive diets. Often, we want to lose weight. We also want to reduce our risk of chronic disease and we understand that a healthy diet is the foundation of a healthy life. Yet all kinds of emotions, misconceptions and pressures come between our plates and mouths.

Instead of thinking of food choices as what you “should” or “should not” eat, based on a nutrition fad or latest findings, think of food as fuel for your day and medicine for your life. Think of food as a way to connect with family and friends. Think of food as a way to nourish your body and your soul.

Eating whole, nutrient-rich foods is one of the best ways we know to optimize our health. While eating certain foods can reverse disease, and others can cause it, we have to realize that one size does not fit all. Each person has their own genetic and environmental factors, as well as lifestyle behaviors, that predispose them to certain illnesses and diseases. These factors also affect the way we process different foods in our bodies.

Nutritional deficiencies are often a root cause of disease and dysfunction, from mood swings, depression and anxiety, to sleep disturbances and fatigue. As functional medicine practitioners, we recommend specialized micronutrient testing to measure the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential micronutrients in your cells. Once you identify your own specific deficiencies, you can determine how to replenish and supplement your body with what it needs to function optimally.

At the end of the day, and the beginning of every meal, you have a choice to make: how to fuel your body with the best foods for your body. You’ll feel better, more energized and less deprived when you choose food that nourishes you from the inside out.


Jenna Richardson is the clinical director of Princeton Integrative Health in Lawrenceville. 609-512-1468. See ad on page 33.

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