It’s no secret that we’ve found ourselves in some pretty unprecedented times. Feelings of fear and doubt, the concept of control, health and wellness, among other things have made their way to the forefront of our days. There is so much that’s out of our control yet if we take a step back we recognize, there is still so much that we can control. And that’s where the power lies. What are you letting control you versus what are you controlling? Where are you placing your energy? One huge energy source you might not be consciously thinking about: digestion. Your gut.
Did you know your gut is literally your second brain? Stress and anxiety can directly affect your gut. Your mindset can directly affect your gut. Think of it as a two-way street, as a cause and effect relationship. Right now, this exact time, is the perfect time to focus on gut health from every angle.
As if our day-to-days didn’t already present enough stressors, our new “normal” has no doubt added some unforeseen challenges. Things like working from home, being a full-time parent and a teacher, learning to navigate being home with your family…24/7, limited access to things you enjoy like you’re favorite restaurant or fitness class, and what will become everyone’s least favorite phrase of 2020, “social distancing” or, a lack of human connection. All of these mental stressors place physical stress on your body and you guessed it, your gut. But how do you know if your gut needs some love? Here are 5 quick tips:
- Bloat, gas, cramping
- Fearing food and what it might do to you (we see you, stink eye)
- Brain fog, exhaustion, headaches
- Noticing improvement from adding celery juice (yes, it’s truly just a flag!)
- Thinking “digestion” is complicated (This is important! We need to STOP complicating things)
Thinking about gut health and immunity, we want to make it simple. What we don’t want? Your thoughts surrounding your gut, immunity and mental state to be a cause of stress when thinking of how to make them “healthy.” So, let’s do a quick dive into how you can support your gut, mind, body and soul as we continue to navigate through this pandemic…together.
Your tribe, your team, your strength squad. Even though we have to physically distance ourselves right now, does not mean you can’t connect and lean on your community, your people. Allow yourself the time to have that “Wine Down Wednesday” Zoom call with your girls or FaceTime family game night. Those texts and phone calls, that connection, it’s everything right now. You know that sigh of relief or feeling a little bit lighter after a phone call with your best friend? Seek more of that.
This is a big one and goes back to what we touched on earlier. Where your mindset goes, your energy flows. What thoughts are you allowing in? What percentage of your energy is going towards your goals and values? Are you finding alignment? The world is going to tell you to put your energy into certain areas but if you really listen in, certain areas might not be best aligned with your goals. You do not have to put all of your energy into all of the things, all of the time.
Another aspect of mindfulness…taking action. How much stress and uncertainty has been caused by fear and a lack of taking action. You know, those times when you just sat with the “what ifs” and the unknowns until you literally felt nausea…that’s no bueno. When taking action, assess what best serves you and why. And when you’re focusing on what to add to your life, don’t forget to get rid of shit you don’t need (to name a few: limiting beliefs, the word “should”, old habits/patterns, busy vs. productive).
There’s no way that we’re going to walk through life without stress but it’s a matter of being mindful about stress, of using it as feedback. Take it in, find alignment and take action.
Healthy Habits & Gut-Friendly Foods
CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT FOOD
It is so important to understand why you are eating. Is it for energy? Fuel? For pleasure?
All of these are perfectly acceptable answers, but eating mindlessly, get rid of that. It isn’t doing you any good. Understanding the “why” will allow for you to choose foods to meet your needs.
Food combining matters. It’s Science.Every food possesses a different structure of value and nutrients. This means that they are all broken down differently. So, it’s important to know which foods digest well together. Here are a few things to consider when combining foods:
- Eat fruit alone, except in a smoothie
- Pair protein with non-starchy veggies
- Pair starchy veggies with healthy fats and non-starchy veggies
- Non-starchy and leafy greens pair with anything (always include them!)
- Spices, herbs and citrus are neutral
- Minimalist meals digest best (your meals don’t have to be Instagram worthy all the time!)
- 5 foods salad “rule”
Are you actually hydrating correctly? Simple of thumb: drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day, as your base.
CHEW. YOUR. FOOD
Digestion begins in your mouth. Eating isn’t a race. Slow down and chew. And don’t mix your meals with water.
Improving your gut health can be one small step at a time. You do not have to do all of the things right out of the gate. Do what works for you. Make the approach doable for YOU. Start small…drink more water and chew your food. Focus on your mindset to keep your stress levels low and your gut happy. YOU are in control and you have the ability to create change. No matter how busy or tired you are, you can do it. And remember…you’re never in this alone. Tap into your community. Tap into your resources (starting with MOVE.s (free!) gut health ebook). And just maybe, the MOVE. community is just what you’re looking for. A team, a community, a MOVEment, focused on empowering women to get fit, gain clarity and fix their gut health.
Want to learn more? Find out what MOVE. with Mooch & Mel is all about here.