Stoke your Fire

Our body is a furnace . . . a fire . . . a stove. We are warm-blooded creatures. And how we feel is related to how that fire is being tended.

The analogy is an apt one, and not especially contrived.

If you have ever had to take care of the sacred s'mores fire, or a campfire that is intended to last into the night, or a wood stove that is meant to heat a house in the deepest corners of winter, you'll know that it is part science . . . part art.

The three components of a fire are: fuel, oxygen, and the fire itself.

Any one of these by themselves will not create a fire. Even two of them together is uneventful. The magic happens when we put all of them together.

Same goes for our bodies:

  • our fuel is the food we consume
  • oxygen is the rest, the laughter
  • the fire spark is lit by movement, exercise

Watching the master fire-tender, there is a well-constructed structure of logs, kindling, and newspaper already in place before the match is even lit.

What you don't see is someone trying to light a log directly, nor an attempt to burn a lasting fire from some paper wads. 

In our bodies and with the foods we eat, it's no different. The master eater will find balance between complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. She will take care to not make the beginners mistake of eating a high-glycemic carb that will burn up in a matter of ten minutes. Instead, along side some quinoa or sweet potatoes, she will include leafy vegetables drizzled with olive oil and vinegar, and a few slices of chicken breast on the side. Later for a snack, she will have a heaping handful of spinach topped with a free-range hardboiled egg and a 1/4 cup of fruit on the side.

If we are not attuned to eating this way, our brain thinks "no way . . . I'd starve on that diet." But what it's really thinking is "if I eat this way, I'd miss the initial energy rush from my favorite foods like pasta and bread. Besides, I don't believe that food can satisfy me for any real length of time."

Getting our body's fire in order . . . to stoke it properly . . . means taking an initial step of faith that this more balanced way of eating will support us.  It's difficult to believe at first when all we know is the pyrotechnics of fast-burn foods. But if you're willing to give it a try, you might be surprised at how the steady warm burn of your fire feels and how well it supports the activities of your daily life.

- Coach Rebecca

Rebecca Boskovic