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Stress Solving Secret #5: Nourish Your Nerves

This is part six of an eight part article.

eating-salad.jpgThe body needs nourishment to thrive and a properly nourished body stands up better to the stress of life.  When cash is short, one of the ways people try to save money is to skimp on food by eating cheap junk food.  Don't!  Skimp on something else, but eat good food.

Actually, eating good food can be more economical than eating unhealthy food.  Remember that processed, canned and refined foods are not only unhealthy, they are unsatisfying.  White bread may be cheaper than whole wheat bread but you'll eat four times as much and still not be nourished.

Besides, whatever happened to homemade?  If you actually buy real food (fresh fruits and vegetables, especially locally grown and in season, whole grains, legumes and fresh meat) you can actually save money on your food budget.  If you look in most people's shopping carts you'll see lots of soda, chips, sugar sweetened breakfast cereals, frozen dinners and other convienence foods.  This stuff costs way more than real food.

Go look at the price of a bag of beans or split peas or lentils compared to these foods.  Compare how much you get in a can of produce to how much you can get (volume wise) in fresh produce for the same price.  Real food saves money.

Lacking in time to prepare it?  That can easily be overcome, too.  It takes less time to eat an apple, some nuts and a carrot stick than it does to open and warm up a can of something.  Simple food can taste great.

Get a crock pot.  Throw in vegetables and meat in the morning and come home to dinner in the evening.  Soak some beans overnight and cook them in the crock pot the next day.  It's actually quite easy to save money and eat healthier at the same time.

Here's another cheap, nutritious food that's easy to prepare.  Put some whole grain cereal in water in the evening and it will cook up in a few minutes in the morning.  Add a little butter, cream or flax seed oil.

In short, eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming.  It just takes a little thought and preparation.

Don't Forget the Herbs

chamomile and lavenderAnd, while we're at it, don't forget our little green friends, the herbs.  They can help us, too.  You see, plants live with stress, just like we do.  They have to endure conditions of excess water of deficient water, extreme heat or cold, poor soil and numerous other challenges in their lives.  Because of this, they can “teach” our body how to cope.

Generally speaking, the most useful herbs to help you through periods of stress in your life are adaptagens.  Adaptagens like schizandra and eleuthero root have helped me a lot during stressful periods of my life.  So have nervine herbs like kava kava, scullcap and lobelia. One formula in particular has helped me a lot. It's a Chinese formula for "burn-out" (weakened fire) called Nervous Fatigue Formula. However, there are many good Adaptagenic Formulas you can use. You can find a good list of both Adaptagen and Nervine Formulas in our Modern Herbal Medicine book.

However, here again, some of the herbs that might help us the most are actually free.  They grow in our lawn, in vacant lots and even cracks in the sidewalk.  Poor people used to know how to gather their own herbal remedies for free.  I'm glad I still know how to do this, because I'm often felt that if things ever got bad enough I could gather my own medicines and still help people.

But, even if you don't know how to gather herbs yourself, how expensive is a cup of chamomile tea or a bottle of eleuthero root capsules?  I have a friend in the east who was suffering from anxiety.  I suggested he take eleuthero and rhodiola.  He was blown away, not only with how fast the herbs worked, but how cheap they were compared to all the drug medications he'd tried for the same problem.

The bottom line is this, don't skimp on taking care of yourself and nourishing yourself properly during times of stress.  Those are the times when you need nutrients the most.  You'll be able to think more clearly, have more energy, work harder and solve your problems better if you eat nourishing foods and take some herbs and supplements.

Next: Stress Solving Secret #6: Plan for Pleasure