I will never forget her story.
A 70 something female, known for being ornery and cranky, with intense chronic back pain. This particular day she lay on the therapy mat, face down, weeping. The conversation that preceded eludes me, but somehow it had allowed her to open up enough to share the hidden story of her forced abortion, decades earlier. All I could do was listen and pray and allow her fear and grief to be heard. When she returned the following visit, her back pain had lessened and continued to improve henceforth.
It was in that moment, I realized that our human frame is so deeply interconnected with our psyche. To this day, I am positive that sharing her story was more freeing for her body than any exercise or manual treatment I could have given her. Some call this a somato-emotional release.
Even with all the technology and medical advances of today, we are still attempting to learn about the mysterious intricacies of how we have been woven together.
Vicky Vlachonis in her book, The Body Doesn’t Lie, lists probable emotional and physical sources of pain. For women with back pain, the probable emotional source is loss of power/buried emotions.
What prompts buried emotions?
What keeps someone from withholding their story?
Last week I talked about shame. Shame and fear run in pairs, like old toxic friends. You are used to having them around for so long you barely recognize their existence and toxic hold on you.
Brene Brown explains, “There may be no more powerful relationship than the one that exists between fear and shame…..They work together so furiously that its often hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.”
It may help to know that at one time or another we all wrestle with the fear of not being good enough, yet somehow we cling to it like life’s blood. Oddly enough this very life blood we hold dear, is sucking the life right out of us.
Ann Voskamp describes fear as something that “doesn’t stop the really bad things as much as it stops you from really living.” Women, I hear fear in your voices because I have learned first to recognize it in myself. I am not talking about trivial fears, but about life sucking fears.
Buried emotions, buried dreams, buried purpose all rob our joy in living.
In the same way that the gut is the center of our entire body system, our psyche is controlled out of either fear or love.
This blog is about health and wellness, but being well is about so much more than just getting ready for bathing suit season. Wellness comes from deep within. Knowing we are loved, and accepted, and have a purpose.
Neither courage, nor gumption, nor perfection, nor faith can cast out fear. Only perfect love can. (I John 4:18)
Despite what you believe, God, The Creator, your Creator is for you and loves you. Living out of that love, frees you. You don’t have to live under the fraudulent thought that you are only the sum of past mistakes. Freedom allows you to live from purpose. Free to love, serve, give, and share your story.
Fear is toxic for the gut
The brain has long been thought of as housing our emotional center, but catchy phrases like, I’m just a ball of nerves” and “I have a gut instinct” are actually more than just figures of speech.
The vagus nerve travels from the brain down to several organs and tissues in the abdomen and sends signals back and forth. Researchers are discovering how the stomach may have a role in how we respond to fear. In this fascinating study the researchers noted, “The innate response to fear appears to be influenced significantly by signals sent from the stomach to the brain.”
So our gut controls our fear?
Well, the Vagus nerve can modulate inflammation by assessing the healthy or unhealthy community of microorganisms (microbiome) in the gut. This is one way your gut health can have an affect on mood, stress levels and systemic inflammation.
The presence of healthy bacteria in one’s gut creates a positive feedback loop between the gut and the brain and improves the action of the vagus nerve.
Understanding the link between the gut, emotions, psyche, and the body is crucial to restoring, as opposed to managing, the body’s disrepair.
This article explains the dynamic between stress and the gut,
“Exposure to stress results in alterations of the brain-gut interactions (“brain-gut axis”) ultimately leading to the development of a broad array of gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional gastrointestinal diseases, food antigen-related adverse responses, peptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).”
Fear is a toxic food that negatively affects the human body and the microbiome in the gut. It is a reckoning and all encompassing force that negatively affects the body. The affects of fear and chronic stress will slow digestion, change the acid balance in the stomach, increase nausea and diarrhea, cause loss of appetite and abdominal pain, increase the imbalance of proper healthy gut bacteria, and keep you in more of a chronically adhered and chronically inflamed state.
GERD, IBS, and IBD are some of the most well known gut disorders linked to chronic stress. Stress develops quicker when our emotions, like fear, stay buried. This chronic state of stress can also form adhesions all around your muscles and organs, like scar tissue and impede the normal rhythm and harmony in your gut from the outside and the inside.
Your gut health is crucial for balancing the health of the rest of your body, so addressing the gut first is paramount.
Physical foods that are toxic for your gut are sugar, refined/industrial seed and grain oils, Trans fats, and processed foods. To recognize what a processed food is think: does it have more than 5 ingredients and/or does it have ingredient names you can’t pronounce or find in your pantry.
I believe God has provided exactly what we need to fill both our soul and our gut with foods that nourish instead of damage.
Healing food for the gut.
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Michael Pollan
The microbial community (microbiome) that live in the gut, mainly live in our colon. They feed off of digesting dietary fibers. These microscopic beings are the control center for so much of our body particularly our metabolism, brain, immune system, digestion, absorption, and inflammatory regulation. We have the power to affect our microbiome positively or negatively daily through what we eat.
The way you eat shapes this community of microorganisms. Our bodies were built with a revolving door of bacterial species so it is important to protect these little boogers because they can help our body ward off chronic diseases.
A diet that is healing to the gut should regularly consist of fresh organic vegetables, pasture raised organic eggs, organic healthy cuts of meat, wild caught fish, healthy fats rich in omega 3’s, plenty of spices, and fermentable fiber.
Make sure to eat healthy prebiotic rich foods several times a week to help maintain the good probiotic bacteria in your gut and encourage good healthy bowels.
Prebiotic foods consist of apple cider vinegar, raw leeks, raw garlic, raw or cooked onions, lentils, chickpeas, raw asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes.
Probiotics are found in either supplement form or in healthy fermented food with live active cultures.
We all know by now that homemade food is healthier and less expensive. To be completely honest, I have yet to make my own kombucha or ferment my own sauerkraut. I am a working mother who needs food that is healthy yet timely. I get asked many questions about what processed foods are better than others. My answer to this is, weigh your options. Are you choosing between a diet coke and bottled kombucha? Then opt for the healthier choice, even if its not the purest brand on earth, fermented in your kitchen for weeks on end, finished with a perfect picture for social media.
Give yourself a break.
For fear of giving you more anxiety (see what I did there?)
I am listing probiotic rich foods with fermentable fiber that you can purchase.
10 Foods that Heal the Gut
- Kombucha:Organic, raw, unpasteurized, non GMO Revive Kombucha. Try the Free Ride Flavor if you like cherry coke.
- Fermented Veggies: Unpasteurized, fermented, kosher Sauer Kraut and Raw Pickles from Bubbies
- Kimchi: Kimchi usually found in Asian dishes, also made from fermented cabbage
- Miso: Organic, Fermented, non GMO Miso
- Bone Broth: Bone broth from Grass Fed Beef or Pasture Raised Chicken
- Kefir: Coconut Water Kefir a probiotic rich drink like Kombucha
- Cacao: Raw Cacao Nibs good for antioxidants and a small amount of dietary fiber, yay chocolate!
- Gelatin: Unflavored, Grassfed Gelatin used in soups, broths, smoothies, and homemade jello, YUM!
- Yogurt: Almond milk yogurt with active live cultures
- Coconut Oil: Organic, unrefined Coconut oil It’s kinda like Duct tape, useful for everything!
Still need more inspiration? Check out:
1.Plenty of homemade gut healing recipes on my Pinterest page.
2. Top 10 Leaky Gut supplements by Dr Axe
3. Remember, “The cure is in the farm, not the pharmacy.” (anonymous)
4. Besides food there are also other lifestyle modifications that can improve the health of the gut, like sleep, prayer, visceral manipulation, digestive breathing, and exercise. Look for these to be addressed down the road.
5. 10 Things you’ve got to know about fear. My favorite is “All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends.” Guess what? His love never ends. We can learn to live out of love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Here’s to living free!
Feel free to share your story. Comment below. If sharing on social media use #remedystory