To kick off this series lets start with my expanded version of Vitamin A.

Vitamin A that we get from our foods is essential for normal growth and development. Throughout our lives it helps to maintain normal vision and keeps our skin, eyes and immune systems healthy. You get vitamin A from animal foods such as liver, dairy products and fish. Many of our colourful vegetables are full of carotenoids, (like beta carotene) which are converted to vitamin A in the body. We can easily get our daily requirement by eating some of my favourite foods like butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. Pretty much everyone knows that carrots are great for your vision — all thanks to vitamin A.

Here are a couple of recipe links to inspire you to indulge in Vitamin A:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Sweet Potato Hash

Love yourself more

Vitamin A(ppreciation) is the practice of loving and appreciating your body just as it is. The idea of loving our bodies is so foreign to most of us. We can so quickly spit out what we would love to change or even what we truly hate about the various parts of our physical appearance. It is time to make peace with ourselves. We need to remember that the body is an absolutely amazing, and mysterious universe all to itself. Take your heart for example. Did you know that your heart beats about 100,000 times a day, sending 2,000 gallons of blood surging through your body? Although it’s no bigger than your fist, your heart has the mighty job of keeping blood flowing through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that feed your organs and tissues. Thank you heart for keeping me alive! Give a tennis ball a good, hard squeeze. You’re using about the same amount of force your heart uses to pump blood out to the body. Even at rest, the muscles of the heart work hard — twice as hard as the leg muscles of a person sprinting. Did you know that, simply by looking and smiling at each other, moms and babies can synchronize their heartbeats to within milliseconds of each other? And that the heart sends out a powerful magnetic force field that can be measured up to 5 feet away? Take a moment now, place your hand on your heart and give it some love and appreciation for all it does for you, automatically, every second, day in and day out.

Vitamin A(wareness) is the ancient practice of being aware of one’s sensory experience in the present moment—of “being mindful.” Found in most cultures throughout history, the practice of living in the present has been shown by modern day science to improve immune function, enhance a sense of peace and clarity and improve our relationships. But just like we must eat nourishing foods on a regular basis we must practice this powerful skill regularly. Use this simple exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime to get you started.

Just breatheOne Minute Breathing
All you have to do is focus on your breathing for just one minute. That’s it. Just pay attention as your breath moves in and out of your body. Naturally your mind will wander (or dart in my case), but the whole point of the exercise is to just gently bring your attention back again (and again and again AND again) during that minute. The trick is not to get rid of our thoughts (I don’t believe that is possible) but to not follow them when they arise. Something as simple as taking a few minutes each day to practice this can result in wonderful changes in your experience of the present moment.

Do you have other ways that help you “be present” or any favourite recipes that are packed with vitamin A? If so, I would love for you to share them below.