“We’re inundated with information about how to be well, and the more access we have, the more possibilities we have to be well, but also the more crazy-making it can be. I’m just wondering, as a parent, and as a woman, what are you consistently mindful of?”
Ariel Foxman , InStyle Mag interview June 2016.
A Catalyst For Change
Do you feel stuck and can’t seem to make any real changes in your eating, exercising, health, or weight? This day and age, we get “fed” a ton of health information, but does it actually lead to any real change? Maybe it’s the human plight. Thousands of years ago, the Apostle Paul lamented these very words,
“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” Romans 7:15 (The Message)
One thing that can help you move away from the point of being stuck is to explore what genuinely matters to you. Being mindful of the things that have great importance to you as opposed to holding on to what shames you. As Brene Brown said, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
Shame, anxiety, and fear keep you stuck and render you immobile. Immobility is traumatizing for your mind, brain, musculoskeletal system, digestive system, endocrine system, and every other system in your body.
Dr. Porges defines trauma as “immobilization with fear.”
When it comes to a change in your health, you need a catalyst. The catalyst helps propel you forward to make a choice. Honestly, your choice is more powerful than your knowledge because it has the power to lead you to real change. Once you recognize your catalyst for change, share your story.
My son was having headaches a couple years ago when he was 9. At first I didn’t think much of it, until the headaches were becoming more frequent and more intense. The pediatrician told us not to worry, they are just headaches, and prescribed Tylenol. It escalated so much that he was taking Tylenol regularly and would go to bed writhing in pain with a cold compress on his forehead.
I had a choice to make: be ambivalent to his pain and continue with Tylenol or seek an alternative, holistic approach. My Naturopath discovered through a blood test that his inflammatory response markers were very high. She prescribed a couple supplements to address this. Our first order of agenda was to try giving him more fat in his meals to see if his blood sugar was affecting his headaches. Then we tried cutting out gluten and neither of these approaches reduced the headaches much. I had suffered from headaches for years and it broke my heart that my son was experiencing my same symptoms at such a young age.
Michael Greger, the author of the book, How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease said, “The primary reason diseases tend to run in families may be that diets tend to run in families.” Personally, eliminating corn and all corn products was an important step in eliminating my own headaches. So we decided to eliminate all corn products for Caeden and his headaches finally started to improve.
Have you every realized how much corn is in processed food? It’s even in the Tylenol that I had been giving him regularly. My son learned at the age of 9 to read the labels on everything and discovered that very few processed foods, even gluten free processed foods, are made without corn. Eliminating this food group for him, has been the main antidote for his headache relief. It is not easy for an 11 year old to pass up candy and treats, and sometimes he doesn’t, but he is more aware of what he puts in his body and what may have caused a headache if it occurs again.
What is Your Catalyst?
I do not mean to say that everyone with a headache will automatically be healed if they stop eating corn and corn products. By the way, Michael Pollan talks about the horrifying amount of corn in the traditional American diet and claims Americans are “processed corn, walking.”
My point is to explain that when it comes to making a change in our diet, we need a catalyst to propel us to act. Your catalyst can be, pre-Diabetes, chronic headaches, belly fat, aching joints, or high blood pressure; whatever it is for you, don’t let it shame you into not seeking change and help.
Don’t choose to stay stuck. Instead, be mindful of what is important to you, find a community like Remedy where your story can be heard, and take the next right step toward a healthier you.
You may feel too that you have been inundated with information on food health, but do you truly understand Why food promotes healing in the body, What foods can heal and When food best promotes healing?
I want to write a series of posts about the healing of food. It has been a very personal experience for me and my family and I have a passion too for you to truly understand the importance of food for your health. I have written below in simplified terms and it is not an exhaustive list. If you want more clinical info you can check my sources at the bottom of this page.
WHY FOOD HEALS
On average people retain only about 25% of what they hear. So i am going to say it again, listen up…..
We are what we eat. Not only that, we are what we absorb.
Even though you may be consistent with your multi vitamins, if your diet mainly consists of junk then your body may not be able to absorb the nutrients from inconsistently eating healthy foods.
Your regular diet renders your gut incapable.
Let’s take a brief look at a couple systems in our body where a consistent diet of healthy food can make a great impact.
1) Your Gut- the Digestive system
The gut is called our second brain. Our intestines house over 70% of our immune system and are the main connection between what we ingest and the affect it has on the rest of our body. Gut health has been a very trendy topic lately, and for good reason. If our gut isn’t able to function properly then it gets inflamed and the absorption of nutrients from food won’t occur. The toxins from food can leak out into the rest of the body, (leaky gut), and sometimes the body will work so hard to fight against the gut inflammation that the body will attack the good cells leading to an auto-immune response.
2) Your Brain- the Neurological System
My son likes to call his brother fat head, because he learned in 5th grade that the brain consists of 60% fat. In fact the brain is our fattest organ. Much like babies who need proper nutrition for brain development, adults also can nourish their brain through proper nutrition. We have been intelligently created with a gut-brain axis where the Nervous system and the Digestive system communicate with each other through the microorganisms that live in our GI tract. Our stress response, immune function, and memory can be directly affected for better or worse by the foods we eat.
3) Your Hormones- the Endocrine System
Our Endocrine system contains very important glands/organs that secrete hormones. These hormones affect our growth, metabolism, internal balance, reproduction, and our fight or flight response. One important organ is our Pancreas which secretes the hormones, Glucagon and Insulin. When we eat, there needs to be a healthy balance of these two hormones. A diet of whole foods consisting of the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat can keep these hormones working properly. When our diet is mainly processed foods filled with too much sugar then our body will get used to staying elevated levels of blood sugar and pretty soon will become resistant to Insulin, thus leading to Type II Diabetes and many other metabolic syndromes.
4) Your Muscles & Bones- the Musculoskeletal System
My grandparents used to tell me eating my vegetables would make my hair curly. Pretty certain this is not scientific fact. Eating a healthy diet with many vitamins and minerals will however ensure our bones and muscles stay strong and our joints stay lubricated.
Our muscles help to set our metabolism, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight. When our diet has wrecked our gut, the toxins that leak out of the gut can affect our joints. One study noted that 50% of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have arthritis and approximately 60—70% of the arthritis seen in patients with IBD affects their knees, ankles, hips, elbows and wrists. The majority of these patients are only given medication for their symptoms which ends up inhibiting the proper function of the gut. This is why the health care system needs an overhaul and many good doctors are finally paying attention to addressing gut inflammation through the balance of healthy food.
5) Your Life and Health
Maya Angelou said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. ”
Your life and health may require more than just food for proper healing. Stress, lack of sleep, and medication will each affect all of the above mentioned systems Food is a good place to start, however because we have a choice about what we put into our body.
Thriving in life is not about accumulating. It is about loving, serving, and giving. It’s about being mindful vs mindlessly numbing. Mindful of the food we put into our body, of the time we spend being active, of the ways we give our time and service to those around us. My hope is that you find your catalyst, understand what you value, slow down, be present, and make the choice to thrive.
Next week we will talk about what specific foods have healing properties.
So I ask you dear reader, as a parent, and a woman, what are you consistently mindful of?