Have you ever let down a good friend? This weekend, I did. And I felt rotten.
She had called me, left messages, and emailed me twice but I did not “see” any of them.
Of course, you know what happened. I did “see” them, but they didn’t register. Why not?
Weeeellll... I'm laying blame on a return intruder - a bully - in my life. He's sneaky and good at distraction.
Maybe you know him too. Meet, “DO MORE”
DO MORE is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He makes me think that I have to do more and push harder to be of service to family, friends, and community - or to better myself. Early in the morning, he whispers new to-do items to put on my list or sometimes slaps me upside the head with the next best GREAT IDEA!
DO MORE is great at whipping me up into a frenzy, pushing me to expend more energy than I can replace. My energy is depleted because he also convinces me that it is more important to keep working than to go out for lunch with a friend, go for a hike, or call my mother.
DO MORE also keeps me distracted by keeping my head in the future. When I am not present, it is all too easy to miss the (sometimes subtle) needs of our body, family, friends, projects, or the Earth! That is why I can brush away any other demand for my time or attention that is not linked to the task at hand!
Are you nodding your head? We all do battle with DO MORE at some point. Sometimes its out of necessity, and sometimes because we don't realize DO MORE is running the show.
If I let DO MORE reign for too long, I get sick: stomach aches, acne, poor sleep, fatigue, irritability. And man, that does NOT help me be a very good friend, wife, mom, etc.
And that's not all DO MORE does...
The critical piece is that DO MORE stresses us out! And stress profoundly affects our gut in 3 ways:
#1 Stress incites our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), driving our resources to our brain and heart. Simply stated, this means digestion is turned off. So, if you are always stressed, it won’t matter how healthy your food is – you are neither digesting nor detoxing effectively! You get sick more often.
#2 Stress stimulates the secretion of cortisol and messes with our hormones. Cortisol raises blood sugar levels (which then drop and we "need" carbs), heightens awareness (feels like you can’t “turn off”) and affects levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone (mental acuity, memory, sleep, physique, digestion, etc). Long term secretion of cortisol also compromises the integrity of the gut lining and contributes to leaky gut. You eat too much, react to foods, feel brain dead, and can't sleep or perform well.
#3 Though we do not understand the mechanisms yet, there is much clinical evidence to support that stress diminishes populations of good bacteria in our gut. That puts more pressure on our liver to detoxify our blood, and break down/build nutrients. You bloat up, have bad skin, hard poop, headaches.
This may explain why we can go on vacation, relax, eat what we please and not have digestive issues – as well as why we can’t heal our gut even though we are eliminating foods and/or eating very healthy.
Yes, eliminating foods and eating healthy are important, but we also have to help ourselves deal with DO MORE. We have to support our body to cope with stress.
What to do?
Fermented foods provide fodder to nourish our gut's good microbes while supplying us with additional friendly bacteria and vitamins, so eating more foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and sourdough can really help us out. Come to the Fermented Foodies "Culture Club" social this Friday to try some out.
Adaptogen foods like schizandra berries and maca root are also good for nourishing our adrenals.
And, of course, meditation and meditative activities are helpful for reducing stress.
In this weekend's Discovery Workshop, I talk more about how stress affects our organs, hormones, and thus our health. I provide practical recommendations and options for foods, supplements, habits, and tools to help you bring balance and health back to your busy life. You can go here to learn more: http://www.katherinebelisle.com/discovery-workshop.html
So don’t let DO MORE rule your life. Take some time to relax, listen to your body, and learn how to best support it during stressful times. I promise that you will leave better equipped to make healthy choices for your gut and your life!
With love for your gut (and not for DO MORE)!
It Takes Guts Nutrition
Katanne Belisle RHN
Gut Health Specialist
Whitehorse, YT, CAN
What Clients Are Saying
"I was plagued by a myriad of digestive and inflammatory issues and after months of discomfort I was fortunate enough to meet Katanne. Her insight, intuition, knowledge and caring attention has made it possible for me to heal and thrive with a new understanding of the food I eat. I am now healthier, happier and have more energy than I have had in quite some time. " ~ Steve T.
"Katanne gives well balanced information versed in first hand experience and research. After seeing various health professionals over the years, doing my own research, trials and tribulations, I can (say) that this is the real deal, and that what she provides people is a holistic, realistic approach to healing oneself through food" ~ Elizabeth G.