Dr. Tara's "Fave Five": Love is in the Air

Happy February!  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this “Fave Five” is all about love.  And not just romantic love, but self-love, too.

1. Recipes for Love: The Way to A Woman’s Heart is Through Her Stomach

Superfood Spinach & Citrus Salad, photo credit @terianncarty

Superfood Spinach & Citrus Salad, photo credit @terianncarty

Yes, the original expression referred to men and dates to the 1800s, but I’m speaking from personal experience here.  Eating well is one of life’s true pleasures. If you’re looking for a way to celebrate V-Day, consider preparing a nutritious and delicious meal for your partner.  Or for your friends. Or for yourself. It’s a wonderful way to show your favourite people and your own amazing and capable body some love.

Of note, you may have heard that the latest version of Canada’s Food Guide was released in January.  I’ll provide a more detailed review in the near future, but two of the principle recommendations are to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and choose protein foods that come from plants more often.  These recipes certainly meet the mark!

SUPERFOOD SPINACH & CITRUS SALAD (a beautiful & nourishing salad featuring a variety of colours, flavours and textures)

BEETROOT HUMMUS (a pretty pink and versatile chickpea and beetroot dip)

SWEET POTATO LENTIL SOUP (it’s full-on soup season and this creamy and nourishing soup is packed with veggies, fibre, and plant-based protein)

“NUTELLA” COOKIE DOUGH & COOKIES (because who doesn’t want to eat spoonfuls of doctor-approved raw cookie dough?!? And this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, paleo and low-carb, too!)

2. Life Hack: Self-Love Exercise

Self-love is about learning to accept and love ourselves for who we are, the way we are.  It’s about being grateful for our strengths and our “flaws”, and becoming comfortable in our own skin.  

To be honest, this is a tough one for me.  As a slowly-recovering perfectionist, I am by far my own worst critic.  I have struggled with poor body image and hated myself for being impatient, overly-sensitive and hot-tempered.  But learning to appreciate my body and recognizing that my sensitivity and temper come with being empathic and passionate — these are the greatest gifts I can give myself.

This topic really deserves its own blog, but I wanted to share one self-love exercise that I have been doing recently.  It may not be your cup of tea, but I hope it leads you to reflect on how you talk to yourself — because you really are listening.  I’ve been standing in front of the mirror after showering, and saying aloud, “I love you”. And thanking my body for what it can do.  I admit, the first time it felt pretty darn silly. But it’s intimate and powerful and it’s changing how I see myself.

3. TED Talk: “Falling in love is the easy part” by Mandy Len Catron  

Mandy Len Catron wrote an article about how to fall in love with someone by asking them 36 questions.  Spoiler alert: she did the experiment on herself and it worked. In this humorous and thought-provoking talk, she reflects on that experience and the difference between falling in love and choosing to stay in love.

4. Interesting Reads: The Language and Evolution of Love

Secrets of a Happy Life: Speak Your Partner’s Language

What language do you speak?  And I’m not talking English or le français here.  In this blog, I’m talking about “the little things”, words of appreciation and affirmation, physical touch.  Yes, I’m talking love languages.

This may not be a new concept for some of you.  Gary Chapman’s best selling book, “The 5 Love Languages”, has sold over 10 million copies.  Still, if you’re anything like me, a little re-reflection on the subject can be helpful from time to time.

Dr. Tara’s Sunshine Reflections on Luck & Love

Change is one of the few true constants in our lives.  Not only do our bodies change, but the essence of who we are also changes.  What we enjoy, what we do, what we need, how we see and connect with the world — all these things evolve.

In this oldie-but-goodie blog, I reflect on the impact these changes can have on love and marriage.

5. Quote of the Day

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” - Lao Tzu