One of the most important things I learned while studying with the Nutritional Therapy Association was that most symptoms and conditions could always be traced back to balancing what we called “the foundations”. When the foundations are improved, so is everything else! When we start giving our bodies what it needs, our innate intelligence will do the rest. Balance is key!
Properly Prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods Diet
Physical health and well-being is the foundation to living our best lives. When we feel well, we do better in all aspects of what we do. Today, society as a whole has become more disconnected from our food with our busy modern lives now more than ever. Wellness is ultimately reestablishing a connection to our food, to our community, and to the earth. Everything we consume affects us on a cellular level. Every cell is made up of proteins and fats, and uses carbohydrates as their fuel. When your cells don’t have the nutrients they need, they won’t be able to perform the way they are designed to. When our cells aren’t optimal it will affect everything else. Eating a variety of foods within our diets allows our body to get a variety of nutrients we need to thrive. Eating whole organic foods, avoiding processed and refined foods, and preparing our food at home are foundational starts to our wellbeing because they help reconnect us to our ourselves and keep our systems working optimally. Being mindful of what and how we eat helps keep our body and nervous system in a para-sympathetic state also known as “rest and digest”- remember HOW we eat is just as important as WHAT we eat! This is why a properly prepared, nutrient dense diet is our first nutritional foundation!
-prepare meals at home often using whole foods
-buy organic when possible- pesticides and herbicides act as antibiotics
-start with the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list
-only eat in a calm and relaxed state, be present and enjoy your food
-eat a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats
-get in a variety of proteins, fruits, and root veggies
Digestion is our nutrient intake system- it must be working properly to get nutrients in- and nutrients are the basis for EVERYTHING in the body to work optimally. The inverse is also true- that we need the correct nutrients and cofactors for digestion to work optimally. The importance of digestion doesn’t just end at preventing uncomfortable symptoms that many people experience today. Every single cell of the body depends on the digestive system to provide the nourishment it needs for structure and function. Digestion issues are at the root of almost every concern or at least impacts things like the immune system, allergies, depression, anxiety, hormone disorders and auto immune diseases. Over the counter drugs may alleviate symptoms but are not improving overall digestive dysfunction. There are many ways digestion can become uncomfortable and lead to bad symptoms. Digestion is a “north to south” process meaning every stage of digestion affects the next stage- starting with the brain.
-Slow down and don’t eat while distracted or while multitasking: this will help keep you in a para-sympathetic state otherwise known as rest and digest!
-chew slowly: this starts the chemical digestion process and alerts the rest of the system
-Make sure you are making enough stomach acid by: Drinking enough water and electrolytes, lower stress, eat protein with every meal
(often times acid reflux is actually caused by too little stomach acids- we need HCl in order to absorb nutrients)
-drink water before eating: to prime the digestive tract
-fiber from raw carrots, bamboo shoots, well cooked mushrooms: supports microbiome and regularity
-use of digestive bitters: helps prime the digestive tract, stimulates HCl production, supports the liver, help with digestion of fat through bile production
-incorporating gelatin and collagen into diet to repair intestinal lining
Blood Sugar Regulation
Blood sugar affects all aspects of our physiology! Controlled by the central nervous system, It is the foundation that controls our energy production and balance as well as hormonal balance, brain health, and the integrity of every organ and blood vessel. We never needed to regulate blood sugar ourselves until more recently in human history between the introduction of processed foods, toxins, chronic stress (sympathetically dominant), and eating unbalanced macronutrients. Primarily using any one macronutrient for energy production long term can create issues with how the body uses all macronutrients. If blood sugar regulation is not working efficiently, overall health cannot be achieved, leading to oxidative stress, glycation, and erratic energy output, making it a top priority in every health challenge. Dysregulation happens when there is a sudden spike in blood sugar, which then create a spike in insulin, followed by a spike in cortisol. This may show up as chronic fatigue, insomnia, hormonal issues, or poor metabolism.
Blood Sugar Tips:
-eating a balanced whole foods diet: avoid processed foods
-balanced macronutrient ratios: variety of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
-ALWAYS pair proteins and carbs together: reduces spike in blood sugar and insulin
-reducing stress and practicing mindfulness
-manage sleep patterns (circadian rhythm)
-drink filtered water and limit toxic load
Minerals run the show! They are the smallest compound that make up our enzymes, which also means our hormones. Minerals are not made by our bodies therefore they must be consumed by the foods we eat. Over generations we’ve become more mineral deficient because of industrialized agriculture and mono cropping which led to deficient soils. The demand for minerals also goes up to support the busy and stressful lives we live in a modern society. More stress means higher demand for magnesium, copper, sodium, potassium etc. If we don’t have the ability to absorb minerals properly we won’t we able to utilize them for their many functions such as maintaining proper nerve conduction, contracting and relaxing muscles, regulating tissue growth, as well as many other functionals all throughout the body. Knowing that we are electrical beings, it is essential for proper mineral balance to attribute to our electrical communication within cells.
-Don’t fear salt! High quality sea salt is so much more than just sodium, it contains several (72+) trace minerals that we also need
-Eating a variety of different whole foods including fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins
-Trace minerals are found in foods like oysters, sea vegetables, shellfish, grass-fed beef liver, cooked leafy greens, eggs, coconut water, cacao, bee pollen, bone broth
-Incorporating adrenal cocktails will help bring up and balance sodium and potassium (needed for handling stress!)
-Download the Root Cause Protocol Handbook
Fats are a concentrated source of energy and are required to be consumed for optimal health. They are essential for hormone production, utilization of proteins, regulating energy, and absorbing fat soluble vitamins. All fats and oils are combinations of saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Fats were vilified for a long time in diet culture due to misinformation and the popularity of vegetable oils and trans fats. Fats itself were never the issue- just the type of fats that were produced. For millennia we only consumed animal fats or cold pressed oils. Yet vegetables oils and hydrogenated fats are highly processed and have only widely became available at the turn of the 20th century.
Its always the best practice to consume foods in their whole form because they will be more nutrient balanced and include the appropriate cofactors for those nutrients. This holds true for fat consumption. Vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (or PUFAs) which are relatively unstable and go rancid easily which then creates free radicals.
Diets high in refined vegetable oils will cause inflammation in the body which leads to endocrine issues, cardiovascular issues, depression and cognitive issues. A bonus for eating healthy fats is that it makes food taste good and helps make you feel full longer.
Healthy Fats tips:
-Go for cooking with fats like coconut oil, tallow, butter, ghee
-swap traditional salad dressings for olive oil/avocado oil/coconut oil and vinegar
-opt for FULL FAT options for things like milk, yogurt, and cheese
-Avoid ALL vegetable oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil
-READ INGREDIENT LABELS!
Water is the number one macronutrient! Our bodies are about 60% water by volume and possibly up to 99% molecularly! If the body’s water content drops by just 2%, symptoms of dehydration can already start occurring including fatigue, brain fog, muscle cramps, and anxiety. Hydration is important for every function, organ, and system of the body. Many Americans are living in a state of chronic dehydration. Chronic signs of dehydration include heartburn, joint pain, back pain, constipation, and even asthma. Electrolytes are needed for proper absorption and they help maintain electrical currants in the body.
-Getting electrolytes in through incorporating quality sea salt, trace mineral drops, coconut water, fruit, and broths
-have your water tested and use a water filter
-using a refillable water bottle to keep track of daily intake
-having set times/reminders to drink water ie. First thing upon waking, glass of water before eating
-use lemons/limes/cucumber for taste and electrolytes