The path to a healthy body and happy soul is based upon self-study, mindfulness, love, and awareness. Understanding our relationship to eating cultivates a lot of insights and helps us start living to our highest potential.
― Nataša Nuit Pantović, Mindful Eating
For most people, every day sees their life getting busier and more stressful, rather than simpler and more present. These changes affect our health and wellbeing, particularly our gut health.
When we are fully aware of the present moment and mindful, we connect more with our children and partners, work more efficiently and live safer, less stressful lives. Stress and an unhealthy diet are ultimately the main causes of disease. As a starting point in avoiding this outcome, we need to support the body’s systems by consuming healthy foods and fostering a lifestyle that includes mindful or relaxation techniques which in turn improves the quality of the life we live.
Our bodies and minds need about eight continuous hours of good sleep to recover from our busy days. Research has found that people who don’t get enough sleep have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, fatigue, stroke and heart disease.
Our diet has a huge impact on our body and mind. Food is one of the most dominant tools we have to help prevent disease and illness. We need a healthy immune system and a healthy gut to prevent terrible damage to our body. 80% of our immune function is determined by our gut function. That’s pretty significant and worth investing in!
The fermented foods that I am so passionate about inoculating the gut with beneficial bacteria and work to build a resilient immune system. The good bacteria in fermented foods and drinks help to support our gut health and digestive system. A byproduct of our gut function increases the flow of serotonin which is our happy hormone. This can mean that eating fermented foods actually makes us feel good. The fermented dairy that I provide in my workshops is called kefir. It’s an ancient heirloom culture which when translated from Turkish means ‘feel good’. Knowing that even makes me smile.
When I think about what it means to be healthy, there is an element of exercise. Did you know that physical activity also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress? Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. Getting sweaty increases the production of cells in the hippocampus which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Research shows that employees who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. So being active not just makes you fit but also helps your brain and body to get healthy.
So it’s time to work with your body to improve your health and wellbeing. It will pay dividends in the long run when you are living longer and not dying longer. Work from the inside out and use your gut as your greatest ally by getting rid of the stuff that will drag you down. You may know what’s coming but are you doing it?
Tips to start your spiral upwards to great gut health
In addition to getting rid of harmful foods, including processed foods, sugars and alcohol by:
1. Adding more vegetables to your diet. This is a fast track to healing your gut. Fermented foods, activated nuts, and seeds must go onto the shopping list. (Or come to a class to learn how to do it at home.)
2. Include turmeric, garlic, and ginger in your meals and add collagen to boost the beneficial properties in your food. An easy way to do this is to consume bone broth.
3. Take time to cook and enjoy it! Make time to get acquainted with your kitchen. Get involved in your making your sauerkraut, brined vegetables or fermented condiments. This is really simple and making messy; creative krauts can be a great family activity. It’s a fun activity to do in the school holidays with friends!
4. Consume calming teas and beverages.
5. Add fermented foods and drinks to your everyday meals. Think in terms of small amounts consumed frequently.
6. Be more active, connect with nature and enjoy outdoor activities.
7. Use essential oils, meditation, and yoga to help create a relaxing environment.
8. Be clear with your thoughts and your behaviour. Don’t underestimate the impact on your life of positive, happy and supportive thoughts. Your behaviour and mood have consequences on your actions, so take control and be the human being you want to be.
Our lives are here to live to their fullest. Be proactive in how your life looks! Enjoy!