Nurturing ourselves is a many faceted awareness requiring an understanding of your body and needs specific to:
- your hereditary influence which predisposes you to deficits in nutrients which then can be disease producing
- your blood type which can have allergic responses to many foods thus decreasing immunity to disease
- your basic constitution and build
- the utilization of hormones in your body to regulate the body’s metabolism
- the ability of you to chew your food which requires good teeth
- the presence or absence of digestive enzymes to help the body digest carbohydrates, fats and proteins which yield essential amino acids for prevention of disease
- the ability of the intestines to assimilate nutrients which are essential for health
- the ability of the body to utilize nutrients
- an intact lining of the gastrointestinal tract
- a balance of pre- and pro-biotics to help create a healthy colon
- the health of the pancreas, liver and gallbladder in helping to regulate and digest nutrients
- the role of the large intestine to absorb water and nutrients as well as to excrete waste and toxins
- the degree of acidity which influences the cellular level utilization of nutrients and can contribute to inflammation, decreased oxygen availability, toxicity, osteoporosis, and many other imbalances in the body which can cause many diseases
- the types of foods we eat and foods cravings which signal imbalances in the body
- the quality and quantity of the foods you eat specific to your needs and genetic makeup
- recognizing foods that are not good for us and instead choosing healing foods
- the amount of tiredness or energy we experience after eating
- our emotional responses to food and eating and the impact of environment upon our behaviors.
Few people understand all the effects of foods upon our bodies and thus it is an ever growing wisdom we seek to nurture ourselves in healthy ways. Even as a baby, we inherit specific food allergies, sensitivities and imbalances which can impact the assimilation of nutrients and long term health. We hear of the impact of gluten, corn and dairy upon our body which can cause connective tissue inflammation (fibromyalgia), arthritis as well as diseases like irritable bowel. The use of toxic foods over a period of time causes a cumulative effect in our bodies and as we age, the symptoms become more pronounced. A simple symptom like a runny nose after we eat can signal allergy to specific foods. In children, the production of mucous can be so prevalent that it is sometimes misinterpreted as an upper respiratory infection which is treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics throw off the balance of the colon and produce an overgrowth of candida which then makes us crave carbohydrates and over a period of time can contribute to diabetes as well as other imbalances.
Childhood obesity is reflective of all of the above, particularly the degree of acidity in the body which closes down the cell and causes cellular level starvation, sending out a signal that we are always hungry. Obesity in adults has similar roots of food cravings as well as underlying imbalance such as the inability to metabolize fat or low thyroid. Our heredity has a role as we look at the disease that our parents and grandparent had which signal imbalances.
The delicate balance of the brain, mind and gut connection ( See Dr. Salt’s book) demonstrates how the gut is reactive to environmental stressors, emotional factors as well as to food sensitivities. Those who suffer with Chron’s and irritable bowel have to pay extra special attention to their foods and how they are prepared and often have refrigerators full of special foods which do not contain gluten, corn, dairy or soy. Hormones such as excess adrenal stress can contribute to irritable bowel as well as our emotional response to life.
In my practice, we have a good conversation regarding your life, its demands, amount of stress, your ability to eat healthy as well as food preferences, cravings and related physical and emotional symptoms. As a clinical nurse specialist, we assess the systems of your body for imbalances which often includes the use of the meridian stress assessment (MSA) to help screen your whole body for deficiencies, needs, excesses, symptoms and the impact food has upon your body. Food imbalances can effect every system of your body: your skin, joints, gut, reproductive cycle and fertility, connective tissue, circulation, hair, teeth, heart and can yield diseases such as heart disease, cancer, lupus, arthritis and diabetes. Recommendations are made for healing foods, taking a step by step process in gently eliminating those foods which are toxic for you as well as helping you to identify those you can substitute. We discuss building up the intestines and the body even at the cellular level as well as methods for cleansing and detoxing the body. We explore the use of supplements, vitamins, digestive enzymes, probiotics and stress management which can help bring balance. In addition, I make disease specific recommendations to curtail symptoms as well as suggestions for high performance for athletes to optimize performance.
We are meant to be energized by what we eat. It is important to pay attention, as with everything, to what gives us energy and what takes it away. With a few simple changes, energy can return, pain can be decreased, cravings can be modified, toxicity eliminated and vibrancy restored, depending on your commitment to your health and increasing awareness to how life, emotions, and food choices effect your well-being.