Our bodies are powerful healing machines, to an extent that never ceases to amaze me. This is the reason I love nutrition and functional medicine so much. At the root of our wellbeing is the fundamental ability to resist and defeat all dis-ease and emerge stronger than ever before. Regardless of the form of illness, we are capable of taking control of our own lives and achieving freedom in becoming our own Healers. This can be done simply and easily throughout each moment of each day– using a little tool called awareness.
I believe that in order for us to flourish and to live fully, we need to be listening to our innate intelligence. This wisdom is our internal compass. It can guide us toward the optimal outcome of each opportunity we come across, if we can just listen. By simply being present in the moment, we can have the ability to heal our body and transform our lives.
To be present is the difference between mindlessly going trough the motions of life, and consciously embracing life moment by moment. We all have the ability to be a conduit of goodness. Awareness can take you from being the judge– who often misses important details — to the observer of the thoughts and/ or feelings that come from within as well as from the outside.
Using discernment rather than judgement allows us to escape the trap of making a person or situation good or bad, but instead go with how we feel. This feeling can be a result of what you’re eating for instance, who you’re around, or another aspect of your life that needs attention. Actively listening to what your body is telling you can be a simple but essential skill for thriving in all facets of life. It’s a skill that most of us have almost completely detached from. We’ve been conditioned this way, as soon as we get a bad feeling, society has taught us to either numb it or to distract ourselves in one form or another. In spite of this, trusting your gut, and developing a feel for what that looks like, is vital to living the life we were all put here to live
Speaking of your gut, the concept of being present is directly applicable to health, digestion in particular. Digestion is one of the most important and fundamental steps to optimizing ones’ health. It’s literally how you assimilate your own building blocks of life! Yet so many are unaware of the fact that they have digestive problems. This is unfortunate because digestion, in one way or another, is contributing to almost every illness or dis-ease out there. If we want to improve the health of the collective we have to change this.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution: relax when you’re eating and focus on your food. You’ll know you’re in a proper state for digesting once your mouth starts to water. When this happens, notice and appreciate the look and smell of your food. These proper conditions, along with enough water and nutrients, will allow your stomach to release all the ingredients for proper digestion. It is important to chew your food at least 20-30 times if you want to be getting your nutrients out of it. Set your fork down. Breathe. Enjoy. This is especially important to do with carbs which need to be broken down by the enzyme salivary amylase in order to be absorbed at all in your gut. Not chewing and enjoying ones’ almost negates the point of eating, which is to absorb and assimilate nutrients for your cells.
Once you delve into this practice of mindful eating, one of the loveliest forms of meditation in my book, you can rid yourself of a variety of unnecessary digestive complaints. The way you feel will either help or hinder your digestion and overall health. When we’re stressed, the brain won’t signal to the stomach that it needs to digest food. This is because many of us are so busy and stressed that we have tricked or bodies into believing they are in danger, otherwise known as the fight or flight response. Through generations, our bodies have learned to prioritize perceived danger over eating, because well, that caribou that our ancestors feasted on wouldn’t do much good if they were eaten by a tiger first. This is what makes it so important to relax while you eat. The technical term for this is being in a parasympathetic (think peaceful) peaceful, rather than a sympathetic, or stressed state.
This foundation of health is incredibly simple yet so commonly missed. This does not come without dire consequences. When food isn’t properly digested it will irritate the GI tract while also allowing invaders to get in, due to inadequate pathogen- killing stomach acid. The stomach must be acidic in order to properly digest food. However, this won’t happen if we are busy driving a car for instance rather than focusing on the meal we’re consuming.
Ways you can get into a parasympathetic state for proper digestion using using essential oils like lavender which is great applied to the mastoid notch behind the ear. Also helpful for de- stressing is drinking chamomile tea, listening to meditative or nature music. The easiest way I find is deep breathing, focusing on the sensation of inhalation and exhalation. Heck, watch a funny cat video before eating if it calms you down, whatever works. A quick meditation, or maybe even a little gentle stretching after any trying event can prove very helpful and this simple self care step will reward you for many years to come. Another way to assist in digestion is using digestive bitters. This is a great supply to have in your pocket or purse to ensure good digestion on the go.
Anyone can begin the process of healing today simply by listening to what your body has to say. Is your stomach gurgling or are you bloated after ingesting wheat? Are you irritable when you haven’t eaten enough fat to stabilize your blood sugar? Is that food you’re unknowingly allergic to quickening your heartbeat without your knowledge? These are all questions that you can answer to solve some of the most bothersome problems regarding you and your loved ones’ health!
I am a certified NTP who can help you to start this new chapter of your life. We were all equipped with the ability to optimize our lives and health. My practice simply brings light to what is going on in the body and educates the client so they can ultimately live a long and healthy life. I would love to help anyone who yearns to reclaim power over their health. If you feel this way, please send me an email. I will ask you to consider the phrase pay attention. This really makes sense, because devoting ones attention to the moment, whatever may be happening in it, does pay off quite handsomely. So please, pay attention to your body and listen to it. Who knows what awful disease you could prevent by simply tuning in.