We are aware that high stress can cause us to make poor nutritional choices, but there is an element to the opposite being true as well. Poor nutritional choices cause our body to be in a subconscious, low level of chronic whole body stress.
Stress is especially increased in a busy lifestyle.
This world IS a busy lifestyle. It is in a constant go-go-go state. Standing still leaves you behind. Relaxation is fleeting and often non-existent. Often an attempt at relaxation is even misinterpreted, for example watching a movie or TV does not relax the mind. Often it can make it even more stressed, from the images portrayed and the shock and violence on many popular shows.
By being in the continual state of busy-ness, what is happening is our body is in a constant fight or flight mode. This is a part of the nervous system in the body named the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)- specifically the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). The complimentary side is the system that allows for rest and digest. This is the ParaSympathetic Nervous System (PSNS).
ANS- Muscles, heart, sweat glands. Fight or Flight.
PSNS- Salivation, tears, bowel, digestion, sleep, fertility organs. Rest and Digest.
So you might be wondering, how is nutrition related to this chronic body stress? It may be easier to understand how outside influences can cause our body to be in a constant stress state (think ambulances screaming by your house frequently if you live near the hospital), but how is this related to food and nutrition?
There are two ways that this occurs, these being: LACK & TOXINS
You body wants to repair and recover. Each cell in your body has literally millions of reactions going on each and every day. These reactions are required to function. If your cells are not properly nourished daily, they will be in a state of lack. Think of how you feel when you might be in a financial state of lack- a need, a worry, a stress- so what do you do? Sell things from your house. Ask a friend for money. Go bankrupt maybe. Your cells are just like you. If you do not provide them with what they need, they stress out and steal from other sources (for example this occurs in your bones which causes osteoporosis). Your cells may go bankrupt and eventually they die. The more that this happens the more problems you will have with your entire body. Every cell matters. Every cell is a small part of a greater being. Essentially your body and your health is one and the same with each and every cell in your body.
When you take in toxins, and if you take in plenty of inflammatory foods, again your body is in a stress mode. The liver as a whole and each individual cell in the body is constantly going through a detoxification phase which doesn't allow it to fight anything else. These chronic toxins cause body inflammation. This inflammation is a perfect environment to harbour and grow disease.
Ok so it's bad right? But I won't leave you with only bad news, here are some suggestions on how to fix the lack state and reduce and eliminate toxins:
1) Eat nutrient dense foods. Choose foods based on how nutritious they are. Ask yourself the question- What nutrients am I taking in with this food I am about to eat? This is vitally important when making food for children. They truly need nutrients to build new and stronger cells. Foods that are nearly entirely carbohydrates (which are just sugar) will not provide nutrition. Think about the rest of the story, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and hormones.
2) Avoid toxins. Easy enough right?! This is a real challenge. I recommend the book The Healthy Home to learn some fantastic ways to reduce toxins all throughout your home. You can also use natural cleaning products, or my favourite- Norwex which is literally cleaning with water! When it comes to skin and hair care, choose items that are as close to natural as possible. The Sense Beautiful Science line really fits that category, and I love Miessence also! Anything you can do to avoid the unnatural is a step in the right direction.
3) Take a good quality multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement, omega 3s and probiotics. I've mentioned this in the past, but you really get what you pay for in vitamins. Be sure you choose premium quality. Taking a multivitamin/multimineral will help keep your body out of that lack state. Combine this with nutrient dense foods and you are really moving toward optimal cellular health. The omega 3s are great to help reduce that body inflammation that occurs, just be sure it is pure and comes from small fish to avoid the mercury toxicity concern. Probiotics help your digestive system and immune system. By doing what you can to maintain those healthy gut bacteria, your body can produce certain nutrients, it can detoxify, and help prevent illness. You can take a health assessment here to see what is recommended for your specific concerns: The True Health Assessment.
4) Sleep more. Only you know how much sleep you really need, but sleep is a time when plenty of repair and restoration occurs in the body. If you are stressed, it may be difficult to sleep initially, but look into improving your sleep patterns and really make sleep a priority. This is especially important for babies and if you are having trouble getting baby to sleep you may find some help here: Sleep Wise
5) Meditate. I highly recommend Gabby Bernstein to get started, and then move on from there to whatever feels right. Meditation is not about "not thinking" so much as it is about calming the mind to allow greater things to flow in. This may be the most important step in changing your stress levels. Once you are not constantly buzzing in your head, other things are easier to change and improve. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!
6) Spend time outside. Nature is healing. Spend time in the grass, or under a tree. Swim in the water, play in the snow. Truly the energy of the environment is something we have greatly disconnected from. I personally have challenged myself to a 30 minute walk each day just to be outside and feel the day.
7) Spend time with family and friends. Connections with others is really all that matters. I tend to look at it this way, when you are very old and in your final days, will you wish you had more things? Will you wish you travelled more? Will you wish you accomplished more awards and achievements? Or will you wish you had spent more time with your parents, your children, your husband or wife, your best friend, and your pet? The connections we feel with others are what is most important. All the rest is amazing and wonderful but making time with loved ones a priority is essential. And yes that includes our pets, of course! (meow)
8) Focus on loving your life and the rest will follow- "When you change the way you look at things, the way you look at things change" Wayne Dyer.
I know these aren't all easy. Take one step at a time. I admit I am not there either! But it is a process and if we encourage each other and believe in each other, we can truly change the energy of the world.
January 1st, my new years "resolution" was to become a "Vegan", which means no longer eating animal based products.
Those of you who know me, know I have been vegetarian for some time. I would say 12 years or longer. So you can imagine that becoming vegan hasn't been nearly the challenge it would be for someone who has not restricted their intake of animal products before!
The truth is, it is difficult to answer the question of "Why have you done this." For me, anyhow. Maybe other vegetarians and vegans out there can advise me on tactics. But the reason for this difficulty is because I have to ...almost... speak poorly of animal based products to those who are eating them gladly and happily. I have many inspirations for choosing to do this, some of them being: Forks Over Knives, The Kind Diet, Food Inc., Eating Animals, The China Study, and The End of the Line. (To name a few). And my easiest response is "Read/Watch (one of the above) and you will understand". And although it is tough for me to explain it to others, I wanted to share with you here some of my health changes, challenges, and things I am thankful for.
Some of the changes I have seen in my health.
Pre-christmas (all of December) I allowed myself to eat anything and everything I wanted. No meat- but anything else really (lots of sugar and dairy). I made a little notebook and listed how I felt. Here are just a few of the things that I wrote:
- Stuffy nose
- "Brain fog"
- Ringing in my ears
- Gained weight
I was also neglecting my nutritional supplements with the idea that if I'm not being healthy, I shouldn't waste them on me right now (bad idea..).
So, today has been one month, 31 days of being vegan. I have not had meat, fish, or dairy (except maybe some hidden ingredients!), and have also greatly reduced my refined sugar and flour intake. I have been to 2 raw vegan potlucks (Conscious Eating Niagara! You should go), and have incorporated some of the amazing Superfoods that I learned about in the Food Matters Mastery videos. These are some of the words to describe how I feel now:
- No more brain fog
- Sleeping well
- Breathing well
- Feeling good!
Each day I take my Health Pak multi-vitamin (which includes calcium), 2000 I.U of vitamin D, a probiotic every other day, and B12 every few days. I also add Optomega Omega Oils to my salads, oatmeal, or shakes every day. My favourite superfoods so far are Cacao powder, Cacao nibs, Goji berries, Chlorella, Chia Seeds, and Hemp Hearts.
Some of the Challenges.
My toughest challenge is when asked "why are you doing this." Again, any advice would be appreciated! But another difficult situation is when gifted food- especially home made food- that has dairy and refined sugar and flour in it. If I accept then they never know that I am now choosing this lifestyle, but if I don't accept I feel rude and have to explain the whole "why" story (which almost feels like I am insulting their cooking/baking). Another challenge is finding surprise sources of dairy products. Some of my most favourite bars and easy on-the-go foods contain milk ingredients. And I have even found eating out to be a bit of a challenge at times. On 2 occasions now I have been out to eat and found literally no options available to me. Of course if you just ask they will make you something (and I have found saying "I have a dairy allergy and I don't eat meat or fish" to work well). Definitely dodging the questions of "where do you get your protein/calcium" has been easy enough since I have been vegetarian for so long, but a good book that walks you through the science of it all is one called "Becoming Vegan".
I am Thankful For...
My loving hubby who supports me and will eat plant-based with me at any time (but still enjoys a Steak when he gets ahold of one!).
Twitter! Some of my best recipes have come from there- this image here is from The First Mess- Carrot Cake Pancakes with Lime Cashew Cream- delicious! There are some amazing, strong and beautiful people there who advocate a plant based lifestyle and they are very motivating that this is possible and fun.
I am grateful for easy access to Health Food Stores and Veggie Friendly Restaurants. Some of those being The Peanut Mill, Mahtay Cafe, Rise Above, and even the organics section of Zehrs!
My family and friends. It is much easier with those around you supporting this lifestyle. Some of my best friends don't even get it (I think they think I'm crazy) But they will eat vegan with me, go with me to Raw Vegan Potlucks, and buy me vegan cupcakes ;) <3
You Can Do It Too.
If you are considering the idea, give it a try. Even one day a week will allow you to feel better and help make a difference to the world.
And please feel free to post any questions, comments or suggestions here! :)
Thanks for listening!
I love to share health information, wealth building tips, entrepreneurial ideas, and travel experiences! Talk about a range! But doing what I love has truly paid off and I hope to help inspire you to do the same!