You know that feeling when you are flying in an airplane and then it hits a little turbulence and for a moment (that feels like for-freaking-ever by the way) you are floating and feel like you have nothing to hold onto or ground you during the gut-wrenching experience?
Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling this last month. Why? Because #anxiety.
I have literally been on a plane, train, or automobile every weekend since the end of February for reasons I plan to disclose very soon! 🙂 #minusthetrainpart
Anyway, I tell you all of this to hopefully address the fact that I’ve been super MIA on the social media sphere, but sometimes things just gotta give so you can focus on the present, and man oh man, am I trying to LEAN into the present moment now more than ever during this crazy season. I know once things settle down, I will be back at it with your regularly scheduled N&N programming. 😉
The thing that kicked off my crazy travel plans was my first ever trip to the Pacific Northwest for the Nutritional Therapy Association Conference!
It was so much fun. We PACKED it in. Nutrition education, sight-seeing adventures, familiar faces and all the tasty eats + treats you could get your hands on.
Ok, I’ll stop making you jealous from all of the food pictures.
The theme of the conference was all about the microbiome + gut health. It WAS fascinating, to say the least, and my little nutritionist heart skipped a beat everytime I got to listen to one of my nutrition idols get up and speak.
So, after a weekend full of information here are my biggest takeaways to share with you guys:
EAT (A LOT) MORE VEGGIES
We need more variety + balance when it comes to our veggies! Dr. Terry Wahls (who through her own protocol put her severe Multiple Sclerosis in remission) recommends eating 9 CUPS of non-starchy veggies every. single. day. I don’t even do this. #iamnotsuperhuman #butsheis But I am beyond motivated now.
This is what helped her restore brain + nerve function and allow her to walk again after being bound to a wheelchair for years. The variety is SO important because of the various phytonutrients, vitamins + minerals your body (and mind) need to function at it’s best, and in her case, literally fight off disease. There’s a reason why “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away!”
I encourage you to start taking pictures of what you eat each day, and look to see what veggies you ate. None? Yikes. Only the same one all the time? That’s ok, but let’s change it up some more! This is where eating seasonally to your area will help bring a balance to your dinner plate without breaking the budget.
Make it a game and try to see how many colors you can eat in a day! #artificialcolorsdefinitelydonotcount
FOOD = MOOD
We don’t really think about it, but so much of what we put into our bodies affects our mental health on a serious level. We’ve grown up in a culture that focuses on our food intake based on certain behaviors or feelings we experience. We either celebrate, binge, restrict, cope, comfort or numb our feelings with food. And what happens in that cycle of when we make less than ideal food choices to submerge those feelings? They throw off our gut flora and literally cause a chemical shift in our mental clarity + stability. #thisaintnowoowootalk #itsscience
Dr. Deanna Minich, food + spirit author of The Whole Detox, takes this connection one step further with a technique called “laddering.” The idea is to take a food that you have difficulty with and get to the deep-rooted emotion beneath it, so you can address the emotion in order to change the eating habit. Each time you say the food, then name the descriptors or feelings associated with it to uncover the part of you that needs healing.
Her Example: “Ice Cream”
Ice cream is….
- after school snack as a kid
- reminds me of my mom
- brings me comfort…
Continue up to 20 times until you uncover why someone is seeking comfort in binging on ice cream. Was it their mom’s favorite treat, and she passed, so it’s the only way to feel close to her? Were they left alone after school every day and felt fearful because mom wouldn’t come home until late at night, so they ate ice cream for comfort?
Super interesting stuff you guys. I think you could do this with anything, not just food, so that you can release any sort of built up emotion around a situation + get to the root of why you might be feeling negative or struggling with someone/something in your life! Experiences, places, feelings, events…the list could go on!
If you want to get extra woo-woo (because I know I do!) check out her work on Food + Spirit, and how she relates colors of foods to chakras + body systems. It’s FASCINATING.
MICROBIOME IS THE SOIL TO YOUR HEALTH
Another fascinating + ground-breaking lesson came from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who helped her sons’ autistic tendencies subside through her own protocol called the GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) Diet.
So much of our health is determined by the status of our intestinal lining + the gut bacteria that reside there. We as a modern Western culture are sicker than ever, with higher rates of mental health issues, infertility, autoimmune diseases + cancer.
For fear of bad germs, we’ve killed off the good ones, and now with the lack of healthy gut flora, chronic illness is on the rise.
Dr. Natasha says that there are only TWO instances in our life where we can have a blank slate for our gut health: at birth and after contracting cholera. She doesn’t wish cholera upon anyone (yikes), but the premise here is that you have to work REALLY hard to build up a strong immune system, because we don’t really have a second chance at a new one, especially in a modern world that lives to destroy it with antibiotics, prescriptions, chemicals, fake-foods, alcohol, stress, sugar, caffeine, etc.
If you are sick all of the time, whether it is something serious like an autoimmune disease and chronic infections or something that you don’t see to be a “serious” issue like regular headaches, achy joints or a little extra weight gain, I highly encourage you (READ: everyone, really) to think about the state your gut is in, and consider arming yourself with the best nutrient-dense food, supplements + fermented probiotics you can get.
You might roll your eyes now or think, “I’m just getting older, that’s just the way it is”, but rather than dismissing it, wouldn’t you want to be AHEAD of it and live the most vital, optimal life you can? I’m pretty sure that answer is yes. Think about it.
In denial? Take this FREE GUT QUIZ to see what state of health your gut might actually be in.
A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. – Roosevelt