How to get out of your own way with food

You know the drill: You've heard a kajillion ways to "get healthier," that you "should eat this not that," "go to the gym a certain number of times a week," etc. etc. The information about how to "be healthy" is on overload, and yet this overload can be more overwhelming than eye-opening.

Often, you - yes, you! - know exactly what your body needs. Or I should say, your body knows what she needs, but perhaps you've lost touch with how to hear what she's crying out for. It's easy for this voice to get buried beneath the mountains of external information.

In my experience, I've been through multiple scenarios when I lost touch with my body's wisdom. I was too afraid to listen because I knew I needed to make a change. So instead of making that change, I'd drown out my body's voice by pushing myself too far on a run when all my muscles were asking for was rest. I'd drink a beer when all my body really wanted was water. I'd eat and eat and eat to fill a void that I knew couldn't be filled by a meal and could only be filled by listening to, and following, my body's intuition.

When you get out of touch with your body's voice, or refuse to listen, you may take actions that can make you feel like you are getting in your own way. These actions, often referred to as "self-sabotage," step between your body's true needs and the reality that you live out.

So how can you tap back into your body's wisdom? I see this process like peeling back the layers of an onion. All of that external information, the "shoulds," the pressures on your body - each of those are one layer on the onion. At the center of the onion is a little, but mighty core. As you peel back one layer at a time, you get closer and closer to that core, or in this case, your body's intuitive wisdom.

Peeling back the layers is a process that is rarely (if ever) linear and often takes time. There's a whole lot of products and solutions advertised on the health market that promise quick fixes, but when you rely too much on these quick external solutions in place of listening to your body, you may stray from the power of your self-sufficient skills (I'm not talking about medication that you need to take - listen to your doctor on that one. I'm talking about fad diets, superfoods, and certain supplements). When you learn how to tune back into your body's knowledge and listen to her needs, you have the opportunity to strengthen your personal skills and abilities that become tools during both challenging and smooth times.

I've found creative practice to be incredibly helpful during dips where I feel my actions straying away from my internal physical knowing (in fact, it was one of these extreme dips that led me to start drawing food in the first place!). Creative practice may take shape through a drawing, a print, or a painting, but it can also happen through dancing, writing, or cooking a meal at home! All of these creative processes help me come back to a space where I feel grounded and can sink into the spaciousness that helps me better listen to my body's wisdom.

One wonderful meal that requires a lot of hands-on creative time is tamales. I was really grateful to have some of these bebes frozen from the holidays (my family and I made them together) to steam up at home at the drop of a hat to check off "A dish that uses leftovers" from Creative Kitchen. This is an incredibly fun process to share with loved ones. I'm still a newbie at it, but I've illustrated the steps below.

The best way to learn how to make tamales? Learn from someone who's been makin' 'em for years.

First and foremost, you're going to need a lot of hands:

1) Mix the masa (we added blue corn to our last batch and it was delicious).

2) Soak the hojas (corn husks) in water.

3) Grab one of the corn husks and spread the masa mixture on the bottom right corner like so:

(use a rubber spatula to make the spreading process easier):

4) Dollop a few spoonfuls of calabacitas onto the spread masa (see Frito Chile Pie recipe for how to make calabacitas):

5) Roll up the masa into the corn husk. Fold the bottom end up and over the bottom third of the tamale. Tear off a strip from another corn husk to use as a tie:

6) Use the strip of corn husk to secure the fold-over third to the main body of the tamale.

7) Pop in a steamer or throw in the freezer! Steam until masa is firm. Unwrap. Enjoy!

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