#howimend: Nutrition Expert Danielle Levy On Healing Heartbreak In Nature



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By Kate Paguinto



Danielle Levy is a Registered Holistic Nutrition practitioner who specializes in digestive health, sports nutrition, food allergies, and women’s health. She is a passionate plant-based cook and food photographer, who publishes original recipes on her blog (yum!) in order to inspire others to live a healthier life. When she's not sharing recipes with her followers, Danielle teaches cooking classes and nutrition workshops to spread the joy of sustainable eating.

We got a chance to ask Danielle a few questions about her experience with heartbreak and she shared how living a healthier lifestyle and building a relationship with nature helped her heal peacefully.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

"I would tell my younger self that I am no less valuable, or worthy of love – regardless of whether or not someone else recognizes my worth. Growing up, whenever things ended with a guy, I would harshly, and unfairly blame myself. Over recent years, I realized how turning against myself this way, was the most painful part of the breakup experience. Thankfully, after much hard – ongoing work, I have learned to love myself more – and not be my own worst enemy."

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

"Heartbreak has taught me about inner strength and resilience - something I draw from each day. By fully embracing, and riding out the storm of heartbreak, I have gained more self-awareness, about fears, and insecurities – which has gifted me greater self-compassion. I have learned to forgive (myself and others) more fluidly, and to let be more easily. Harnessing heartbreak as a conduit to personal growth has ultimately helped me to become my own ally - so the pain has not been in vain."

What are your rituals during a breakup?

"Nature has always been healing and calming for me, so I ritually visit a quiet natural place. I have vivid memories of post-breakup mornings, going out into nature - in all kinds of weather, and feeling lighter, freer, and grateful to experience another day.

Journal writing is a practice that helps me mend. Writing down thoughts and feelings can be a therapeutic way to process difficult, emotions and experiences. The beautiful thing about spending time in nature, and journal writing - is that they are both essentially free! available to everyone, at any time.

Meditation is another invaluable practice that has supported me through breakups and other challenging times. Sitting quietly, and finding that still place inside - gives me a safe space to go through the process.

There have also been a few significant people in my life, who have helped me mend, and continue to open to up these people – for support. I have also benefited from the professional help of an incredible therapist, who has been another invaluable resource. As a health care practitioner myself, I have never succumbed to the cultural taboo of therapy, and value mental health as much as physical health – understanding how inextricably linked they are."

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

"I have learned that love exists inside, always, and is not really about the person who may spark feelings of love in me. To me, relationships are vehicles for learning and growing. But at the end of the day, people will come and go - so I try to focus on keeping that inner love open and alive."

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

"I think it’s about personal, healthy boundaries. To me, being at peace with people who I have been involved with, does not necessitate ongoing communication or regular online interaction. I simply try to listen to, and respect my own needs – on a case-to-case basis."

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

"I think it’s everyone’s true nature to love, so I try to stay true, and open – which feels better and right to me. Embracing vulnerability, as part of this process, is something I work on daily - which gets easier with practice. Another thing that has helped me stay open is letting go of shame, for the ‘brokenness’, that is part of being human. The cracks in our hearts that remain - are signs of our strength and resilience in mending and overcoming."

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Kate Paguinto

Kate is a Content Strategist and co-owner of Dizzy Cactus. She likes puns, Wes Anderson, and the Oxford comma.

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