Have you ever paused in traffic, or on a busy sidewalk, or even in a huge line-up in the mall at Christmas and wondered, “What the heck are we all doing?” All bustling from place to place, everything so urgent, so important that we lack the courtesy to even be kind to one another anymore.
Being in the health and wellness field I’m in the wonderful position of being a listening ear, a trusted ally, a confidant. And in the 10 years that I have been that person professionally for others, there have been a few common threads – one in particular that I feel connects more than have admitted.
We’re too busy. We are trying to do too much, too fast, too often. We have too many balls in the air – it doesn’t even resemble juggling anymore – it’s more like dodging the balls that are being fired at us faster than we can think or react. How are we supposed to do all of this and be the very best and have the cleanest house and smartest kids and be fit and eat well and get that promotion and be that considerate partner to our spouse…walk the dog two times a day, keep up with laundry mountain, bake allergen free cupcakes for the kid’s fundraisers, keep up with social media, answer all those texts….oh and have time to compare ourselves to everyone else we see online who seems to have it all together and have great hair?
Even as I type this my mind keeps flitting to my to-do list, wondering if I actually even have time to be writing this right now. But I need to. So many of my lovely clients and dear friends have been coming to me lately, telling me of their feelings of being overwhelmed, of feeling lost, feeling inadequate, getting panic attacks in the middle of nowhere. Anxiety and depression are real but many of us don’t even have time to acknowledge that is what is going on or know where to start in getting better.
I wish we could all just stop. And breathe. And look around us and see there are really very few things that TRULY matter. Hold those things and people close to you and press pause on everything else.
There’s been a big movement to go through all of our physical possesions and purge what does not bring us joy. Well, maybe we should purge our lives of the things that steal our time and attention, our health and our joy – the things that don’t matter, that won’t mean anything in 5 minutes let alone 5 years. Let those things go. And breathe.
You’ve all heard the expression you are what you eat. But I like to say you are what you absorb. The vast majority of people have issues with their gut. Years of eating processed foods, foods exposed to toxins from pesticides and pollution, or eating allergen containing foods can all lead to problems with the gut making it difficult for your body to digest and breakdown foods and absorb the required nutrients.
What exactly is digestion and absorption? Digestion is the process in which your body breaks down the food you eat into smaller components that can be absorbed. Absorption is the transferring of the food components into the bloodstream to be circulated to all parts of the body.
Causes of Poor Absorption
- Low stomach acid – low stomach acid is caused by stress, diet that is high in meat and refined grains, chlorinated water, antacids, coffee and nicotine.
- Dysbiosis – an imbalance of the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut. Dysbiosis is caused by a high sugar diet, antibiotic usage, birth control pill, steroid medications.
- Dehydration – water is a necessary component of breaking down food particles.
What You Can Do
Luckily, the body wants to repair itself and we can help our bodies become better at digesting and absorbing foods again. Here’s what you do:
Foods to Eat:
-fresh squeezed lemon juice and water first thing in the morning
-whole foods as much as possible
-lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
-probiotic foods daily
-protein at all 3 meals
Foods to Avoid/Decrease:
-wheat and wheat containing products
-sugar and products containing sugar (high fructose corn syrup etc)
-additives, preservatives, dyes, artificial ingredients
Also, avoid eating when you are rushed, stressed or upset and try not to eat too close to bedtime. Taking these steps can ensure that you are making the most of the food that you put into your body and can set yourself up for optimal health.
What’s the Deal With Fat:
Low-fat, no fat, fat free…the supermarkets are flooded with products announcing one way or another that their product is fat free and therefore making shoppers think it’s healthy. Or is it? Why has fat gotten such a bad rap?
For years all fat was lumped into the same category and said to raise cholesterol, increase risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, high blood pressure and more!
While it’s true that not all fats are healthy, and in fact, some (like trans fats) should be avoided, fat is an essential macronutrient that our bodies depend on for many, many things. So how do you know which fats to eat and which you should ignore? And why do our bodies require fat anyways?
Why We Need Fat:
Most of the fat we need is made by our bodies, but there are some fats our bodies cannot make – we can only get these fats by eating them or through supplementation. These fats are called “essential” fats because it is essential that we get them from food. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) include Omega-3 fats (found in foods such as fish and flax seed) and Omega-6 fats (found in foods such as nuts and seeds). These are the parent oils these other fatty acids can be made from. EFAs are components of the cell membranes, hormones and the nervous system – they are crucial to the regulation of emotions and mood, brain function and nerve impulses.
What EFAs Do:
When Fats Become Bad:
fatty acids into trans fats. Trans fats increase blood cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the risk of atherosclerosis which is hardening of the arteries. Trans fats can displace essential fatty acids in our system, which can cause an alteration of cell membrane function. Trans fats in the heart and the smooth muscle might be a factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. Examples of trans fats are: deep fried foods, margarine, essentially any soft spreadable fats.
The Bottom Line:
Now that we know healthy fat is actually our friend, what should we be eating? Sources of healthy fat include fish, nuts, olive and coconut oils, avocados and avocado oil, nuts and seeds. Along with all the benefits listed above, healthy fats also provide our bodies with loads of energy and help us stay feeling full longer – even more reasons to make sure this powerful macronutrient is included in every meal.