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I wrote a while back about the sweet craving-comfort food connection (in cookie monster post) and how traveling can be a trigger.
Well, here I am, traveling for the holidays. I’m on vacation, and tempted by the wonderful sweets here in Mexico. Flan. All kinds of cookies and treats from the bakeries. Churros. Hot chocolate. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Why is it that my hand didn’t go out at all the fruit stands? Hmmm… However, I did buy whole fruit–apples, tangerines and guavas– at a market — which was a bit of a walk out from the center. Fortunately, I was staying in an apartment with a kitchen, so I could wash and cut these to eat. Today, I’m in a new town, and no kitchen or knife, either.
This is all to say that in addition to missing home and being drawn to sweetness, there’s a convenience factor that goes with a sweet tooth on the road.
Reminder for future travels.
Bring along a plastic knife, or pack a real knife if I know I’m going to check my luggage.
Load up on fruit whenever I can. It satisfies the sweet craving, before I feel the urge for flan.
Bring or buy dried fruit. (Difficult for me now since I’m wearing braces, but normally a great alternative.)
Awareness and intention. I can’t use the excuse that I’m on vacation to take a vacation from taking care of myself!!!
In Chinese Medicine, the end-of-summer “season” (as well as all the “end-of” seasons) is associated with the Earth Element. It’s the time when some things come to a close, while other things begin.
At such a time of transition, the Earth Element reminds us to be grounded; think about healthy roots that help weather the uncertainties of transitions. The Earth Element is also about being centered; after all, the earth is the center of the other elements: metal, water, wood and fire.
Here are some ideas to support you in being more grounded and centered at summer’s end, and on any day.
Do you find yourself at times craving sweets more than usual? When I feel stressed or wanting some “comfort”, I’m mightily tempted to indulge in my favorite almond croissant. The flavor associated with the Earth Element is sweetness, so that sugar craving can signal a state of being uncentered. The problem is that sugar can add fuel to the fire, by throwing you off balance even more with spikes in blood sugar and energy. Consider some natural sweetness: add honey, instead of sugar, to sweeten your tea; treat yourself to the natural and healthier sweetness of dried dates.
Acu Point: Hara
This point is a couple of fingers’ width below your bellybutton. This is your “energy center”, the place from where you have greatest balance. If you have lots of thoughts and ideas flying around in your head, you might feel light, ungrounded. If you’re dragging your feet, heavy on the ground and sluggish, your energy needs some uplifting, to be centered. Next time you feel uncentered, take a seat with your feel on the floor, or stand with your weight evenly on both feet, and rest one or both hands gently on your belly, under your navel. Take a few long deep and slow breaths. Learn more about this.
Grounding Through Routine
In Chinese Medicine, routine is associated with the Earth element and the idea of “home”. Do you have a daily routine that feels “homey” to you? A daily morning walk, afternoon yoga practice, or bedtime reading… I talked about this earlier in terms of the benefits of routine for healthy travel, but consider that every day of your life is a journey.