The “NOW” Diet

Sat nam…mtherlvrs…

Why my restricted diet didn’t work:

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I grew up in a controlling home; Mum and Dad were eastern Europeans and followed the mantra of “finish what’s on your plate before you can leave the table”. Food was served to me, and I rebelled growing up by ordering chicken fingers and fries on special request at every dinner out (even when not on the menu). “Picky eater” was what I was dubbed. But in retrospect, I can see that my little self was trying to solidify herself in self-assurance and in my rebelling, I was attempting to gain control over my own life. I became so keen to rebel that it then became my identity because I was so sick and unhappy of being told what or when to eat. Essentially, my identity became “Fuck you, I’ll do the opposite of what you want me to do.” The trouble lay in my identity becoming a mask of coping through rebellion, instead of true intuitive listening to my own needs. What the hell did I like to eat?

Long ass food journey of Bulimia, Anorexia, seasoned with Anxiety and Depression. Honestly, now, as I heal, I can say that self-awareness and being present is the key to finding myself. There is no fear and no need to escape myself when I’m present. If I dissociate, numb myself, mindlessly eat shit that bloats me, if I don’t tune into my true hungers, be them mind-based or physiological or BOTH, then I lose myself. The cycle continues in this catalyzing way, the vicious turmoil of pain and more pain, craving more and more escape. More water, more salt, more foods that engage my psychological needs to FEEL (think shitloads of Tabasco, heat, FEELINGS, SENSATIONS, etcetc).

After high school and university, binge-purge escapism persisted. I was a sensationalist. I rebelled so hard and didn’t eat the “real food” served at home, buying into my now-ingrained habit of rebellion by way of non-food items (egg white fluff pancakes, fat-free coffee whitener, sugar free jam…copious amounts of splenda…) paved way to finding a healthier way in more routine, and Timothy Ferriss’s “slow-carb” diet. This was a new awakening for me. A peek at physiological nourishment. So I followed, strictly. Slowly, binges stopped. I ate on time, without hours of punitive fasting, and real food like eggs and hummus. But my deep sense of self was still not looked at. I was covering up the wound, not looking at the pain, again, escaping. I’ll bless my own soul for surviving though, because each step along this journey has molded my NOW. Thanks sexci Ferriss for the SC diet because it gave me nourishment, body nourishment and not soul, albeit, but still good food. But, HARK- (?)

This new diet, “Paleo” became what I believed to be my saviour. But then my life gradually took on an insane routine-oriented blinding, rubbish-path. Obsessed with timing of food, and so keen to listen to body hunger cues while still bloating and dishonouring my intuition, I closed off my own life.

Today, right now, I am changing. More aware of myself than ever before, I don’t want to hide from my feelings anymore. When I release this stronghold of routine, I am forced to FEEL. When I feel all of my needs, all my body’s speech, I am so goddamn grounded. Fuck, I just now had the first real food breakfast I’ve had in years, instead of my usual super-diluted protein-powdered blended “smoothie bowl” (sometimes smoothies good, sometimes chew, aye?!). What I am realizing is that the reasons my “diet” and most “diets” don’t work, is because WE are always changing. We have to constantly tune into our needs, no singular rules will work. For example, kefir, good shit, right? Honestly though, not alllll the time! Sometimes my body doesn’t want kefir, and sometimes it does. That’s WORK. That’s discomfort in awareness. Listening, because we are DYNAMIC beings, this human shit we partake in. Always changing, no constant, no definitive rules. Sometimes poo 2x a day, sometimes 4 (sorry for those less than 2….bless your souls….might I suggest flax? sometimes…).

That’s that. I’m on my way. We all are, aren’t we?

And now, some funny indian comedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o_GAZMnmuM&t=70s

Have a sweet ass Monday!

Feel it in your “GUT”?

A good day starts with good shit.  Is that not true?

In the Western world, talking “shit” is considered embarrassing, and not appropriate.  Alright, so maybe I don’t really want to hear about my brother’s “solid one” and give him a high 5 when he reports to me at breakfast, but(t) I think that the topic of our gut is something that is of integral importance to health.  I think that social support around the topic is another healing component of colon health, and that this directly relates to state of mind and contentment.

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Be honest with yourself here, how good do you feel after you’ve had a great bowel movement?  Pretty good, like you can take on the world, invincible 😉 ?

According to Ayurveda, proper management of the colon is the foundation for treating the digestive system and all our digestive diseases.  And furthermore, our gut health is directly related to our state of mind, our body’s immunity and our happiness.

Let’s have a look at our gut bacteria.  Our gut flora is an array of microorganisms residing in our large intestine that functions directly to impact our health in order to:

  • help the body digest certain foods that the small intestine cannot digest
  • produce some vitamins like Vitamin B and K
  • combats aggressions from other microorganisms and maintains wholeness of intestinal pH and integrity
  • It plays an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect.
  • A healthy and balanced gut microbiota is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning.

While our general composition of microbiota is similar in most healthy people, everyone does have a different make-up of gut microorganisms, with more than 3 billion microbial genes in our gut (150 times more than in our own genes!).  The personalization comes into play based on environmental factors, ethnicity (for example, Japanese people cannot easily digest lactose), and studies show that a big influential factor on our gut flora health is environment, diet and lifestyle.

So what happens when our gut flora is off and what causes it?

Dysbiosis is a condition where there is an imbalance of out gut microbiota, and occurs when we are under stress, abuse our health, and make poor diet and lifestyle choices.  This can be linked to disorder and malfunction of the bowels, inflammatory diseases, allergies, obesity, diabetes and many more.

Let’s link this to brain function:

Studies in rats show a link between gut health and brain function.  The Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) is a network of cell that provide a gateway between the bloodstream and the nervous system.  It protects our brain from toxins, and filters out threatening components in our blood.  A study took mice that were raised in a germ-free environment, where they had weak gut flora, and weak protective mechanisms and immunity, and showed that their BBB had weakened junctions.

This leaky barrier resulted in nerve damage to the brain, particularly the hippocampus which controls stress and memory formation.  Other affected areas were the frontal cortex (our happiness brain centre!) which functions for executive control and decision making, and the striatum, for coordinating movements.  These deficits lasted through into adulthood.

Gut flora determine our relationship to the environment around us, as 75 percent of the immune system resides with the gut. They determine much about our emotional well-being, since 80 percent of our serotonin is in the gut. The enteric nervous system—often referred to as the “second brain”—is embedded within the gut. Gut microbes determine our vulnerability to disease and stress, and direct our potential to thrive emotionally, physically and intellectually.

http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/The-Outer-Womb/the-gut-microbes-and-poop/How-Our-Gut-Flora-Shapes-Us.html

According to a study reprinted on the website Green Med Info:

“… [A]n increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with probiotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating proinflammatory stimuli to brain, may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life. All these findings justify an assumption that treating gastrointestinal inflammations may improve the efficacy of the currently used treatment modalities of depression and related diseases.”

So how do we promote healthy gut?

Dr. Mercola recommends:

    • Fermented foods are still the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented raw (unpasteurrized) grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).

If you regularly eat fermented foods such as these that, again, have not been pasteurized (pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), your healthy gut bacteria will thrive.

  • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are definitely an exception. I have used many different brands over the past 15 years and there are many good ones out there.
  • If you do not eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement certainly makes a lot of sense considering how important they are to optimizing your mental health.

Probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behaviour-regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve, which is yet another reason why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. Two other important factors to treat gastrointestinal inflammation and also help relieve depression are:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/06/can-inflammation-in-this-organ-be-at-the-root-of-your-depression.aspx

How does this link to a good shit?  The life you live, the stress you put yourself under, the food you eat, and how you eat them, all factor into your colon health.  A marker for damaged or compromised gut flora is directly related to healthy bowel movement functions.  Are you plugged up?  Incomplete?  Grumpy?  Take a look at your state of mind, your diet, and lifestyle.  Consider where you are and where you want to be.  Maybe this is where you begin to change your life.

3 Healthy Habits for the New Year

Simple Health for Now:

Feeling sluggish? Want to start 2015 with good habits, but don’t know where to begin?

In India where I got certified as a Yoga Teacher, we had some simple routines to follow to maintain balance in life.

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Here we go:

1. Walk for 10 minutes before each meal, and after each meal. A little more brisk before, and more leisurely afterwards.  This simple task allows you to approach your body and meal with a sense of calmness, and to truly take time for yourself at this beautiful process of fuelling to thrive.

2. Take 60 seconds before eating your meal to tune into your breath and to cultivate gratitude for your food and how it will react in your body. Tune into the process of how much work went into bringing your food on your plate, hug yourself, appreciate your body for all it does, and relax.

3. Enjoy your meal without your phone, and with a demeanour of rest. Eating under stress changes the way we digest our food. Do you feel like you have some extra weight on you? It is just as important HOW you eat as it is WHAT you eat. Sit, breathe, relax, love.

That’s it that’s all!