You may know the feeling.
Perhaps it’s the middle of the afternoon. You experience a dip in energy, and you reach for that instant pick-me-up. Whether it’s a favourite chocolate bar or a cappuccino, it’s clear what you crave.
But what if that craving isn’t actually yours at all?
These days, it’s no secret that our diets aren’t what they were fifty years ago. Typically, they’re far richer in sugars and additives than ever before… and also far more depleted in nutrients.
So how does such a modern-day diet affect us?
In terms of the symptoms…
These can range from tiredness and moodiness to the development of any one of many auto-immune diseases, from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease) to Psoriasis, Rheumatoid arthritis and a whole array of mental health issues.
And in terms of the root causes?
Increasingly today we’re recognising the importance of microbiome – the bacteria in our gut. The gut-brain axis and the two-way communication between the brain and our gut (with its microbiota and enteric nervous system) has been the subject of extensive research recently, due to its vital role in our health and wellbeing.
Long-term poor diets lead to yeast overgrowth and these micro-organisms then dictate our cravings. White and beige foods (simple carbs and sugars) are their favourite grub, and that’s what we keep craving when our gut is dominated by such pathogens.
One of the best ways to look after ourselves is to maintain a healthy balance of so-called ‘good’ bacteria in our gut, and to increase the variety of these beneficial ones.
So how can you do this?
> Choose foods with ‘good fats’ such as oily fish (wild, not farmed), avocado, nuts and nut butters (making sure there’s no sugar added). Cook with coconut oil and ghee, and have good quality olive oil on your salads, in your soups and dips.
> Avoid processed foods and generally products that are made in a factory, such as chips, ready meals and sauces, which usually a high amount of salt, sugar (and other preservatives) and are made with oils and fats that are highly detrimental.
> Give your body a chance to digest what you eat. Make your meal time a mindful practice; keep an open posture with your upper body open and shoulders relaxed. Take two or three deep breaths before you start eating, to relax your system and give thanks for the nourishment you are about to ingest. Do not rush! Digestion starts in the mouth – savour every mouthful and chew it well.
Both what we eat and how we eat affects us so much more than we realise…. and holds some of the keys to changing how we are, physically, mentally and emotionally.
If you are interested in learning more about how to ‘Feed your Brain, listen to your gut’ – as a ‘Lunch & Learn’ session, as a webinar or as part of a bespoke twelve-week programme, please get in touch.
NB: Nutrition is integral to how I work with clients, yet it is not my only focus. Far from it. As I see it, it is vital to take a holistic approach that also looks at movement and breath work.