The connection between the brain and the gut is one of the most important concepts for us to understand in this day and age of overly processed diets.
Our brains require at least 25% of our nutrient intake. So if we are eating a poor diet, you can bet your brain will not output much of anything of quality. We see this in a higher rate of suicide, depression, anxiety. We see this in an inability to focus, anger and emotional difficulties.
We need to take a deeper look at this correlation, personally as well as a nation.
While I said 25%, that is for adults. Infants require over 85% of nutrients for the brain health and a child – 45%. So if we are not aware of the correlation of gut and digestive health and the brain, we are not addressing the source of the problems we face as a culture.
What is the absolute worse thing you can do for your brain – feed it —- did you guess it?? YES! SUGAR!! That glucose is NOT helping the brain. What does the brain need? What is it’s primary building block – FAT. But not any kind of FAT – we need nutrient dense, toxin free fats. That’s going to look like pasture raised, organic, wild caught in clean waters – animal tissue. That’s been really hard for me to get around being a 12 year vegan. But folks, the science is out. We are not meant to thrive as vegans.
“Is it better to get my nutrition from supplements or food?”
This is a question I get often. I always believe it’s best to get nutrients from our food, growing what you can yourself, getting food locally, bio-organic and pasture raised or organic in the stores.
Kale is abundant in the garden now and I can eat up to 10 cups of this a day in a salad, stew and with kale chips.
That’s a lot of nutrition right there. With nutritiously dense soups and stews this time of the year, (from bones and meat from local pastured beef) it doesn’t take a lot in terms of time or money to maintain good nourishment free of supplements.
However, I do personally additionally take MCT oil and EFAs and occasionally extra D3 K2 and magnesium as well as other trace minerals. I also cook with a lot of herbs and roots on a regular basis using food as my medicine.
When it comes to chronic disease, no doubt the root cause stems from poor digestion.
Improving your digestion is the one thing toward holistic health that can make the most positive difference in your well being.
When people come to me after trying every diet out there and still can’t seem to lose weight – I know it’s their digestion.
When I see clients who say they have the best diet ever, yet complain of low energy, skin issues or cravings of sugar. I go straight to addressing digestion. Because even if you are eating the “best diet ever”, if your digestion is not working properly you may not be assimilating your nutrients.
One of the questions I ask every client is about their bathroom habits – it may not be a pleasant topic but it’s vital. My grandmother knew that if you were sick – there was something wrong in the train station.
If you eat and experience ANY of the following – there is likely something non optimum with your digestion and a back log in the “train station”.
Abdominal pain & discomfort
Alternating constipation and diarrhea
Let’s look at why your digestion may be out of balance.
What causes bad digestion?
Eating very quickly, not chewing your food well.
Eating while on the run/while multi tasking, watching TV, reading, texting, checking social media, etc.
When your body is in the sympathetic state your “rest and digest” branch of your nervous system or the parasympathetic state is off. When your sympathetic nervous state is fired up, your body produces adrenaline which takes blood away from your stomach and lowers stomach acid so you won’t digest food very well.
The gut flora can be out of balance. This is especially true for those who have taken a lot of antibiotics over their lives.
What can you do to improve digestion?
Chew your food slowly and completely – your stomach does not have teeth, let your mouth and teeth do their job.
St in peace and in a comfortable place without distractions or stressful conversations.
Do not read anything while eating.
Be present with your food and breathe.
Eat from a place of gratitude and breathe.
Put time aside each day to plan, prepare and enjoy healthy and relaxing meals.
Keep your portion sizes about the size of your fist so you’re not eating too much.
Eat living foods like kimchi, fermented veggies and fresh greens with every meal – these foods have built in enzymes to help digest the food.
It’s best not to drink with meals – and never drink ice water with meals.
I find that most of my clients are low on HCL and benefit greatly with a supplement of digestive enzymes,
Put your fork or spoon down in between bites.
Drink water between meals.
Digestion requires a lot of energy and resources so you must do everything you can to take extra stress off of your body.
You will be amazed how much better you feel when you begin to improve your digestion with these simple and effective tips.
Last year my husband and two boys were on their way up to Vashon Island for NVC Family Camp in my mini-van. As they were exiting the I-5 they were rear ended by an SUV. While my husband and older son were not too badly effected my youngest son Dax who was in the furthest back has suffered with migraines since the accident.
When a parent sees their child laying on the floor screaming in pain as they clutch their head it’s a heartbreaking. The times I have felt helpless have been few but this is that moment when all that comes over you is to stop the pain. We have been to doctors, chiros, cranial sacral therapist, done energy work, adjusted diet (if you know me, you know we eat really well – no gluten, no dairy, whole foods, etc but I became even more vigilant).
I am always studying, reading, searching, asking for answers, not just for my son but for every single client and anyone who ever asks me about a holistic approach to help them with something. I keep searching because I know there is a solution to the root of the problem – not just a pill to mask a symptom.
Recently in my studies in herbs I found a wonderful new book called Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de La Foret. In it she describes essential kitchen herbs with a new light.
It was one paragraph that stood out – that of GINGER and it’s effects on migraines that had me excited.
While I couldn’t get my son to down straight ginger, I’ve started making more things with ginger. A ginger kefir “soda pop”. But my favorite is the Warm Gold Milk.
Here’s my recipe but I always encourage you to try your own and start building your own HEALING KITCHEN LAB NOTEBOOK!
Today I used 1 can of Organic Coconut Milk – full fat. I used 1 T of Coconut cream (oil) 2 teaspoons ginger (powder) 1 T turmeric (powder) 1 tiny pinch of black pepper (finely ground) in a saucepan. Warming, not quite a boil, Stirring constantly. Then I put the whole thing in my Vitamix and blended with about 1 T raw honey. Made 2 cups. Drink warm as this is so soothing but I think it is good when it’s cool too.
I’ve modified her Warm Golden Milk recipe a bit as my son cannot tolerate dairy of any kind and my other son cannot tolerate any pepper or capsicum. But the knowledge and this recipe has been not only a treat but a real solution to migraines for my son. I noticed since I began making and drinking this I have not suffered any migraines or any form of head ache which would sometimes occur weekly.
The most frustrating can be when you don’t know the cause – but knowing that ginger, and we use it in the form of the golden milk drink so turmeric is in there as well, I will continue to look into the properties of ginger and see what the root cause might be.
Since Ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain and since I know ALL disease, illness stems from digestion in one form or another, this gives me more to work with.
We already know our digestion has been under attack since even when we are in the womb. With the understnading now that micro organism populate the gut and the intestines and anywhere we have an imbalance we will see problems. With the onslaught of over use and over prescribing of anti-biotics we are being attacked directly through this outdated thought process of doctoring.
That’s one more step to take back control of our health.
A few things I learned doing just a little more research on Ginger. I knew it was awesome but did you know? It’s been called “universal medicine” but don’t take my word for it. Here is another great book to take a look at.
The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: The Most Complete Guide to Natural Healing and …