Some "Food for thought" to help you nurture and nourish your most valuable of assets- The amazing machine called Your Human body!
Just take a moment to look back over how much you have invested in your business or your career and compare this to how much you have invested in the amazing machine called your human body and the fuel called food which helps to maintain its optimal performance.
I meet many people whose health is suffering because of Self neglect. We are hearing so much today about wellbeing especially psychological wellbeing. However, if you fail to apply and provide the right fuel called food to this amazing machine no amount of walking with nature, breath work and tree hugging will help- I know I have practised yoga for 30 yrs. I love to hug a tree but only when I am well nourished!
Very often, we fail to look after this amazing machine. As we slowly deprive it of what it needs we end up with long term chronic health conditions that can take a long time to resolve and sometimes never leave.
Obesity, joint pain, inflammation, skin flare ups psoriasis, IBS symptoms, The list is endless.!
As a nutritionist I believe that What we eat- the fuel and How we eat it are a massive part of maintaining both physical and psychological well being. In Ayurvedic medicine which is the sister science to yoga, HOW you eat is as important as WHAT you eat. Practising mindful eating is one tool you can use to support digestion. Follow this link for a mindful eating exercise.
Reflect on how, when and where you eat
Breakfast for example -
If you get the chance to actually eat breakfast. Often rushed, whilst doing multi tasks- emptying the dishwasher, sorting out the children, feeding pets, checking e mails, looking at the exciting lives of all your friends via social media. If you are still working from home, possibly logging on and having breakfast at the lap top as you check messages and the days planned activities.
Lunch is often a quick bite whilst trying to catch up on e mails, and now, more and more people are working from home lunch seems to get lost somewhere in between the morning log on and the evening log off!!!
Then our evening meals are often spent in front of the TV focussing on the screen in front of us
Snacks just get inhaled!!!
None of this is wrong, it’s just how, in the 21st century many of us seem to live our lives. If you get the opportunity, look at an animal when they are eating. When they eat the are totally absorbed in the process. They don’t check their mobile phones, watch TV or drive or walk!! They are mindful and focussed and this is what mindful eating incorporates.
How can this be beneficial?
Digestion begins in the mouth where the salivary glands aid in carbohydrate breakdown. The chewing of food can break it up into smaller pieces for the enzymes in the stomach to work more efficiently. This can in some instances really help with those people who find indigestion, bloating etc a problem or those with Leaky gut syndrome.
For people who eat really quickly, mindful eating is a great way to slow everything down and to just be in the moment thinking and focussing on eating and allowing the food to be a wonderful fuel for the body. Mindfully eating your food may help you feel fuller as you enable the digestive function to do the job it is designed to do.
Clients who suffer with anxiety often bring their problems to meal times, and in the process feel detached from the meal. by mindfully eating and focussing on their food, they are giving their body and mind an opportunity to rest.
A couple of other ideas to help you to protect your most valuable asset!
The amount of food eaten should be the size of your cupped hands,!!!
This allows space for the stomach to churn this food so it is properly broken down. Visualize when you over fill the washing machine with loads of dirty laundry. It does not have the room to be churned and so does not get completely thoroughly washed. Your stomach is the same. Over filled can lead to reduced digestive capacity which can then put pressure on an already compromised digestive system.
A few other ayurvedic and nutrition principles:
Try to avoid excessive liquids with your meals as this may dilute the digestive enzymes.
Leave some time in between meals to allow the full process of digestion to occur- although Big gaps can be detrimental to blood sugar- that’s for discussion another time.
From your stomach, once your food has been broken down the concoction called Chyme starts to move into the very long tube called the small intestine. This narrow tube is about 7 meters long!!! Its like a hose pipe coiled in your body cavity but, what goes on here is magical!
It s in this tube that most of the absorption of nutrients takes place and this is essential in order to enable them to be transported via the blood stream to different parts of your body to be re built into you! Sometimes when the digestion is compromised and food has not been digested fully, leaky gut syndrome can manifest. Imagine your garden hose with a few holes, the water will squirt out. Instead of being absorbed into the cells, these particles pass into the bloodstream! Causing in some individuals an inflammatory, response- skin rashes, hives, joint pain and inflammation, headaches, brain fog, fatigue. To name a few
On top of this some undigested food particles will continue into large intestine where other issues can arise such as bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhoea and or constipation, which is caused by undesirable bacteria having a great time breaking down your undigested foods and making lots of smelly gas and smelly poops!
Leaky gut syndrome can not only be caused by foods, but if you are stressed, your body may become more depleted of nutrients and the digestive process becomes less important as your body tries to cope with the stressful situations. As nutrients are depleted and so are the enzymes that digest your food. Plus when you are stressed you are more likely to reach for foods that are not supportive of optimal health.. Rich carbohydrate and fatty foods.
Stress has a massive impact on how the body metabolises nutrients.
Your digestive health as well as your metabolism are often forgotten when it comes to coping strategies for stress. I regularly encounter clients with digestive issues which have been brought about by stress. I focus on 4 areas- The adrenal glands, the Thyroid glands, the digestive process and exercise, as all are interrelated and one area cannot functional optimally without the others. The following link gives details on your body and the stress response linked to your nutrition.
Chronic stress leads your body into thinking it needs more energy to “run” and this is where you may encounter the desire to eat higher carbohydrate foods as your body maintains this “fight and flight “response. This leads to blood sugar dysregulation and fat accumulation often visceral fat- around the belly which is also linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
So even if you are maintaining energy balance a high level of stress may lead to accumulation of abdominal fat
Essential nutrients are also more easily depleted. The hormone cortisol overrides all other hormones and so “steals” vital nutrients for itself. Chronic stress has been shown to have an impact to reduce the thyroid gland’s function.
Fatigue, constipation, slow digestion, weight gain, weak hair and nails, are just a few of the issues related to a poor functioning thyroid gland. A healthy gut bacteria and digestion has been shown to help with thyroxine synthesis.
Working to address this nutritionally, Eat a diet in highly nutritionally dense foods which contain essential vitamins and minerals to support adrenal and thyroid function
Eat a rainbow and avoid beige - great for interior design no good on a plate! - lots of fresh foods. As unprocessed a diet as possible with a good quality multivitamin
Ways to deal with chronic stress nutritionally
The stress response is very draining on key nutrients- Magnesium- irritability, poor sleep unable to relax. B complex vitamins to help with metabolism. Vitamin C and zinc. All are easily depleted during physical and psychological stress.
Eating foods rich in these is a good place to start- found in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and food that has not been processed.
So in summary in order to to protect your most valuable asset
Eat regularly and avoid Skipping meals
Rest and exercise enough
Focus on eating nutritionally rich foods and avoid too many carbohydrates
Support your digestion by mindfully eating and working on healing your leaky gut.
Speak to a nutritionist !- Book a complimentary discovery call with me to find out how I may be able to help you. See the link below.
By providing your body with fantastic nutrients to it on a daily basis will enable you to not only protect your most valuable asset but live your life optimally with joy to its full potential and to "Be your own Hero."