a taste of soul sustenance

Hello blogosphere, I’m Nathalie. I have to admit, this is my first post and I’m a little terrified. I guess the thought of who knows how many invisible people silently or not so silently judging me from behind their computer screens is intimidating. But the reality is that I have to start somewhere. So bear with me as I begin to educate myself on the blogging world and work to improve my own blog over time.

I am appropriately writing my first post on my 28th birthday, which feels right because I believe a birthday marks a celebration of new year of life and new beginnings. I titled this blog Soul Sustenance because it celebrates everything in life that brings me joy and balance, and what better time to embrace those things and share them with others than a celebratory day?

Let me explain more about my passions, which really are the essence of this blog:

  1. Food (the literal meaning of sustenance in the title of my blog) – I can’t deny it, I love to eat. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and actively observing what brings me joy, and most of those moments in my life revolve around food. It’s not just the food that I enjoy; it’s how food has this amazing power to bring people together, stimulating conversations and often a sense of love and connection. I don’t just love to eat, but I enjoy the act of researching new restaurants, creating lists of places I want to try, and then going and checking them off the list. I love to feel the ambiance, the energy of the other diners, evaluate the service of the wait staff and of course I hope to savor every bite from appetizer to dessert (my personal favorite course).  And I can’t forget the wine…Most of my life I have been a self-proclaimed non-cook, shunning the idea of toiling in the kitchen for hours to make a meal for myself that will take me approximately 5 minutes to consume (I’m a fast eater). Maybe it’s the time in my life; given I live alone, work a full-time job and generally consider myself to be an impatient person. Maybe it’s because I live less than 5 minutes from a Whole Foods, so who really wants to cook when the option of an abundance of fresh, pre-prepared food awaits after a long day? While I still consider myself more of a diner than a chef, I am gradually starting to appreciate the art of cooking – at least when I have time. From the health perspective (which I discuss next), it’s definitely the way to go and there is something very gratifying about pulling off a meal that both tastes great and is nutritious. So clearly food is one of my passions and it will continue to be a central focus of this blog as I explore new restaurants and recipes and share the joy it brings me with you fortunate readers.
  2. Health/wellness – I started my “active” life as a dancer at the age of 3 and I’ve never stopped moving since. My choice of exercise and activities has expanded since then to include almost anything that gets my blood pumping. I have also taken an interest in the overall body and how it can change radically through exercise and nutrition. It’s convenient to love to be active when you have such an affinity for eating, but I don’t just exercise in order to justify eating more (although that’s fun too). The endorphin rush of finishing an intense spin class or even better, hiking a mountain in the fresh Colorado air (my home state), is a natural high that can’t be beat. I also love understanding how food fuels the body and impacts everything from our level of energy, to our mood, to our physique. I read and research a lot on the topic so I plan to share some of my findings here.
  3. Spirituality – What a loaded word: “spirituality”. I believe everyone has their own definition and I’ve been spending the better part of the last couple of years defining my own. For me it’s a lifetime journey that I’m only just beginning, but I am starting to see themes and connections between my readings and experiences and those of my friends and family. I’ve been finding my own spirituality through reading, meditating, and yoga and I have truly found a passion in exploring the concept of life and the higher self. I can’t talk about these very physical manifestations of my joy of food and exercise without also contemplating what does it all mean and why does it matter anyway…
  4. Service – …which leads me to the concept of service and living life with a purpose. If there’s one thing my spirituality quest is teaching me it is that we are all connected and no one is an island. One of my favorite metaphors I read once is that living beings are like ice cubes. We appear separate and individual, but we are all comprised of the same elements and “melt” into the same glass of water. We need to support each other because nobody can achieve alone. I live a very blessed life and I couldn’t imagine not sharing those gifts with others and giving of my time, energy, and resources to those who have been less fortunate than I. More than anything, service gives us that higher purpose I mentioned before, and connects us to something beyond ourselves, beyond the realm of the ego, and I believe that above all should be celebrated and shared.

So those are my passions, or the sustenance of my soul, and the focus of this blog. There is however one element for me that ties it all together, and that is travel and exploring other cultures. I’ve spent my life trying to incorporate travel and foreign language into my everyday existence – through work and my free time. I currently work in a company with a presence in Latin America, and I am fortunate to travel often to some of the places I adore most in that part of the world. But I also have a running list of new destinations, as I do with new restaurants, and nothing excites me more than planning a trip. In my blog I will be exploring what I consider the four pillars of a balanced life – food, health/wellness, spirituality, and service – in the context of other cultures and through my travels to new places. Each community, whether it’s my own current city of Atlanta or an indigenous population in the rainforest of Brazil, has it’s own concept of these elements and I plan to investigate them through my travels and describe them here in this blog.

Welcome to this journey with me and I hope it feeds your soul as much as it does mine. Namaste!

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