“All disease begins in the gut” - Hippocrates
Eating is supposed to be a pleasurable experience - not one met with anxiety and anticipation over whether or not you’ll be hunched over in pain 20 minutes later. It is very rare for me to come across a client who does not suffer from digestive discomfort of some sort. Whether this be bloating, flatulence, cramping after food, IBS symptoms, irregular bowel movements, reflux or extreme lethargy post meals. These symptoms are fast becoming something which is ‘normalised’ by so many people around me - how many friends do you have who tell you that they are ALWAYS bloated?
Believe it or not, feeling 6 months pregnant when you ain’t, just isn’t normal…
Saying goodbye to the warmth of the Summer sunshine is never easy, and embracing Winter can often be met with a runny nose, and an inability to get out of bed in the morning.
When the cooler weather hits, its important to understand not only what is happening around us and to our environment, but also to how our bodies react to these changes… and ultimately, what we can do about it to ensure we minimise the chances of getting sick.
The physiological impact of stress on the body is nothing short of amazing. Stress is a necessary and needed reaction in the human body – it’s our ‘flight or fight’ response and it’s what gets us out of dangerous situations quickly, or what gives us that extra boost of energy when we are going through a tough stint at work or within our emotional lives.
When we are stressed, several things happen within the body to help us ‘cope’.
Firstly, our adrenal medulla secretes the hormone adrenaline which stimulates our sympathetic nervous system and suppresses our parasympathetic one. This hormone is what many of us might recognise in the physical form when we experience an increase in heart rate, shorter breaths, dilated pupils and perhaps even sweating. Other adaptations triggered by adrenaline are a suppression in our digestive and fertility functions allowing the blood circulation to move into our arms, legs, and brain giving us the energy boost we need in that moment. Once the stressor has passed, our body then reverts back into the parasympathetic state of ‘rest and digest’.
The second major hormone triggered when we are stressed is cortisol – released from our adrenal glands, this hormone enables the body to secrete and maintain steady supplies of stored glucose from the liver, which gets pumped into our blood stream to give us the increased energy we need during that moment. Whilst our cortisol levels are increased, our immune system is suppressed to allow for this process to happen effectively.
Both of these major stress responses are normal, and safe for the short term. Where stress starts to severely affect the body is when we are ‘on edge’ most of the time and therefore our body remains in the sympathetic state for much longer than desired.
Like much of our body, so many of us take our largest organ for granted - for us women, a quick coat of foundation or a few layers of make-up manage to hide the dryness, blemishes or dark circles... at least for a few hours.
When we have these temporary quick fix solutions, it can become all to easy to give up on actually trying to do the 'right' thing by our bodies. Excuses come pouring in and we manage to convince ourselves that 'this is just how I am an how I will always be'.
When it comes it our skin, the saying 'you are what you eat' resonates strong and true. So much of what we put into our bodies shows up in our skin - whether it be through dry patches, pimples, inflammation, flakiness, rashes or the like.
Chronic skin conditions are best managed and treated by a practising dermatologist but general skin conditions, can often be adequately managed through a healthy diet, a monitored external environment, and a reduction or management of stress.
Factors affecting skin conditions are often those which trigger an inflammatory response in the body. This could be anything ranging from an emotional stressor, a specific inflammation caused from an allergy to a particular food, material or plant, or an inflammatory response from too much of a certain food, or too little of the crucial vitamins and minerals required to support healthy immune function.
SO many people ask me this question - How do I eat healthily when I don't have a lot of money to spend week by week?
It is most definitely achievable, but you need to know a few basic rules to help you properly organise for a healthy, low budget meal plan.
So here are my top 6 'must do's' when eating healthy on a budget.
It's not uncommon to just bombard our bodies with toxic substances without really thinking about it.... One of the main reasons we do this is because our bodies are just so damn good at 'dealing with them'. Everything that happens within us or at a subconscious level can be really hard to manage or understand because quite simply, it's out of sight, out of mind.
Personally, I think are bodies are TOO good at dealing with toxic overload. Unfortunately it's not until we becomes severely ill or unwell that we actually stop and reflect on our lifestyles and what is happening to us.
It can be super hard trying to rustle together healthy meals when you don’t have the right ingredients on hand (duh…). Having a pantry loaded with tempting snacks or sugary sweets, can easily undo weeks of hard work.
One of the first goals I ask my nutrition & coaching clients is to go home and clear out their fridge and pantry – this includes processed meats, bottled salad dressings, taco sauce, teriyaki marinades, chips, lollies, fizzy drinks, white rice, white flour…anything that will try try to lead you astray during your new healthy routine.
Re-stocking your kitchen can be a daunting task, so I’ve put together a pretty comprehensive list for the must have’s in any wholefoods household. Please don’t be overwhelmed by this! Start with what you can and build up.
For those who know me well, will know that I love foods from all over the globe – whether it be Indonesian, Indian, Japanese or Moroccan, I like to know I have the essentials on hand to whip up what ever my tastebuds so desire. And this list does just that – from what I have written, you should be able to create almost any dish from around the world without too much struggle or strife. Cool huh?
A few little comments before we get started:
- Some of the fruit and veg aren't always going to be in season, and sometimes, it can be expensive or difficult to always buy organic. My best tip here is to start with your local farmers market. You know where the produce is coming from, exactly what's in season and will get the best deals on organic fruit n veg where you can afford to do so.
- If you are vegan, you will obviously omit the protein items which don’t fit into your diet. Make sure you load up on foods rich in iron, calcium, B12 and vitamin C to ensure your body isn't missing out on some of the essential building blocks it needs.