Eat Like a Pilgrim, Write Like a Pro

pil·grim [pil-grim, -gruhm] noun

1.  A person who journeys to a sacred place as an act of devotion.
2. A traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.
3. An original settler in a region.
We should be adopting almost all of the Indian and pilgrim eating principles. Fresh water from streams, lean meats in the form of naturally fed game, poultry and fresh-caught fish from pure streams and a clean ocean. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Those were the days!” Diane Kress, R.D.

(To read my LIVESTRONG.com article featuring Kress’ insight, visit: Fabulous Fall Foods.)
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As writers, we are pilgrims—people voyaging and settling into foreign places. And like many pilgrims throughout history, we work extremely hard. If we don’t fuel our bodies and brains with plentiful nutrients and sufficient amounts of energy, we can develop a slew of complications, from fuzzy thinking and memory lapses to headaches, insomnia and fatigue. For our sake and the sake of our careers, it’s best we keep such challenges in the fiction category… Don’t you think???
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HEALTHY STEPS FOR YOUR VOYAGE:

Choose fresh over processed. 
While we wouldn’t want to eat precisely like the pilgrims of Mayflower voyage fame, who survived on long-lasting foods like dried cow tongue, we can all benefit from eating more nutritious, whole foods. Studies have shown that the antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains not only support your body’s defenses against infections and disease, they boost brain function.
Eat often.
Anyone who’s been on a lengthy voyage will tell you the importance of frequent meals or snacks. In order to maintain positive levels of glucose, which is your brain’s main fuel source, you must eat enough and at proper time intervals—typically every 2 to 4 hours. To ensure stable blood sugar, energy levels, appetite control and moods between meals, emphasize those natural foods.
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Get Your Healthy Fats.
Although there’s still much we don’t know for certain about early Americans’ diets, we do know that they ate plenty of fish, nuts and seeds. A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats we must get from food, can cause fatigue, depressive moods, memory problems and mood swings. Omega-3s play a vital role in brain function, so eat rich sources, such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, ground flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil, often.

Practice Gratitude.
Most of us don’t have to hunt, gather or scrounge for our food. For that alone we should be grateful. Where did the food on your last plate come from? Who created, purchased or prepared it for you? If someone served you, did you look them in the eye to say “thanks?” Did you enjoy it or eat it mindlessly in front of the TV? Did you chew and eat slowly, observing the flavors and textures? Or did you gulp it down?
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Research conducted by Robert Emmons, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at UC Davis and Editor-In-Chief of the Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy, showed that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by about 25 percent and improve physical health and sleep quality. What good are we as writers without positive moods, health or sleep?

A Healthy Brain-Boosting Day

Breakfast:
Steel-cut oats, milk, fresh fruit & walnuts
Tea (rich in brain-boosting antioxidants)
Snack:
Sliced apple with cheese or nut butter
Lunch:
Herb-crusted salmon
Fresh or steamed veggies
Whole grain roll
Snack:
Air-popped, herb-seasoned popcorn (a hearty whole grain)
Dinner:
Homemade bean & vegetable chili
Cornbread, made with whole grain flour, topped with honey
Milk or wine (milk for protein, wine for antioxidants…and fun :))
Morning, noon & night:
Say “thank you.”
Ponder your blessings.
Jot them down in a gratitude journal.

Which pilgrim-style step are you willing to work on? Which have you mastered? What are you particularly grateful for today??

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