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What does non-violence have to do with dieting?



Last week brought (as an elementary school teacher might say) lots of big feelings!


Since my last newsletter, we honored Martin Luther King, Jr. and saw the John Lewis Voting Rights Act go down in flames in Congress.


And then Thich Nhat Hanh died at the impressive age of 95. If you don't know who he was, Dr. King put it best in 1967 when he nominated Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize. "He is an apostle of peace and nonviolence," King wrote. Thich was a Vietnamese monk, author, and spiritual leader who brought mindfulness to many in the West as he merged practices of inner peace and social activism.


These two men have had a profound effect on my own understanding, not only of civil rights, but of HEALTH — and the purpose it serves. After graduating from college, confused and frustrated, Hanh's writing led me to the following conclusion which has shaped my life and career:


Every choice to feed and care for our bodies (and other people's bodies) is an act of nonviolence.


A "diet" is merely a way of being that reflects our values and heritage. Those choices are deeply personal and can change over time, but "diet" as we understand it in the modern wellness landscape is not nearly so simple or straightforward.



So when I got the chance to answer a question at Forbes about dieting this week, I jumped at the opportunity! A reader considering everything from keto to veganism asked, Hey Health Coach, which diet is right for me? I wrote:


"Look at this choice about what to eat as an expression of who you are rather than a set of limits you’re placing on yourself."


In the article, we discuss:

  • Health considerations

  • The influence of past experiences with food

  • Physical and emotional cues that can help guide decisions, and

  • The truth about weight loss.

Writing about "wellness" in a world with pressing systemic problems is a strange task sometimes, but a week like this reminds me that culture, diet, health, justice, and resilience are inseparable.


How do you practice nonviolence toward your body?


A precious piece of fruit, a dose of fresh air, or an extra hour of sleep are pretty miraculous acts of kindness if you think about it.


My work is about teaching people how to practice nonviolence with the food they eat, the exercise they choose, and the policies they implement for the communities they lead.


If you'd like help establishing your own path to nonviolent health practices — solo or with me — you can find more information HERE.


Have a great week!


Sarah

 

Speaking of diets, did you know that Venus Williams, Colin Kaepernick, and pro soccer player Alex Morgan are all vegan?!

I had a fascinating opportunity last week to research and write an article for Triathlete Magazine about The Pros and Cons of Plant-Based Eating for Endurance Athletes. I discovered some very cool resources for anyone interested in eating more plants — not just triathletes and not just folks who want to go vegan or vegetarian!


 


Last, a bit of good news! Betty White left us with a final gift when she passed a few weeks ago. A campaign on what would have been her 100th birthday raised $13 MILLION for animal shelters. She was a champion for wildlife and animal rescue, and her old friend Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee researcher, paid tribute to her and her lifelong love of animals... a fitting end to a brilliant life.


 

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