Getting Back to Center with Nourishing Habits

At the tail end of my English sabbatical, I can say that I have enjoyed my time here immensely. I spent my days writing, creating recipes, reading and hiking, all of which are enormous luxuries. I admit though, being away from home for so long has been strange. Having to rely on someone to take me to the store because there’s nothing within walking distance has been difficult since at home I rely on exactly no one but myself. The whole experience has been wonderfully disorienting, taking me somewhat off-center. In order to manage it, I turned to my nourishing habits.


“Center” is our comfort zone where everything is familiar, steady and expected. But when things change, for better or worse, whether it’s great success, crushing failure, or even just a new determination to eat well, these events take us off center and can leave us feeling bewildered, anxious, and even in joyful situations, somewhat scared.

I think this is why traditional “dieting” can be so challenging. When you are asked to eat angelically, overnight, after a lifetime of questionable food choices, the about-face can leave you feeling completely unhinged, trudging your way through unfamiliar territory. For this reason, radical dieting is stressful and usually unsustainable.

Anticipating what circumstances might leave you feeling off-center is essential in order to plan how best to nourish yourself during the highs and lows that are part of the experience. Planning ahead for those moments will keep you from reaching for the most soothing thing you know. For anyone that struggles with weight, that soothing thing may very well be food.

Instead, nourishing habits are practices you can do any time your life feels stressful, chaotic or unmanageable. I often recommend that my clients make a list of potential habits they can turn to before the stress of changing their diet kicks in. Rather than coping skills, which sound similar but may take you down a road of overeating, drinking, smoking or some other unhealthy pattern, a nourishing habit will help soothe you while also enhancing your overall well-being.

What can be considered a nourishing habit? Well, it can be anything from a massage or a manicure, to taking a walk with a friend or preparing a simple and healthy meal. It can be writing in a journal or taking a hike in the woods. Anything goes really, as long as it is life affirming and health enhancing.

For me, I find nourishment in the day-to-day experiences of life, from waving hello to a stranger, taking a run in an unfamiliar place, or even making a green juice. These are all simple things that can be exciting when infused with the spirit of grounding practices. They bring me back to center and remind me of who I am.backtocenter6

What nourishes YOU? It’s a great question to ask yourself so that you can better know what you need in order to feel settled and comfortable when the swirls of life rage around you. It is a useful bit of information that you can carry with you into unfamiliar territory as an ally to help you stay in check. Whatever you’re passionate about, whether it be travel, reading, running, cooking or dancing, knowing what it is and keeping it in your tool kit as you head into uncertain territory is a great thing to have.


backtocenter3Turkey ChiliIngredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound organic ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 16 ounces of broth (I used vegetarian but any broth will do)
  • Garnishes: Avocado, Cilantro, Brown rice


  • backtocenter1Saute garlic and onion in oil until translucent. Add red pepper and sauté another 2 minutes or so.
  • Add cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, salt and pepper and stir until fragrant
  • Add chopped turkey or chicken meat to pot and cook until cooked through and crumbled
  • Add stock
  • Add crushed tomatoes, and all the beans. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 20 miutes to allow flavors to blend.
  • Serve with brown rice, avocado and cilantro. Enjoy!