%The first thing in my coaching programs is to establish a recipe for gut health. If you've taken a class or a program with me, you have definitely heard me rave about the importance of fermented foods, unprocessed whole foods, probiotics, beginning a relaxation practice and getting regular massage as a foundation for healing various conditions.
The health of our gut is shaping our overall wellness. From autoimmune disease, anxiety & depression, brain fog, negative thoughts to our level of energy, the state of our gut is determining how well these and many other areas are functioning.
Our gut contains trillions of bacteria that are fed on the foods and bacteria we ingest. The use of medications, the foods we eat and the level of stress in our lives helps determine how well balanced our gut flora is.
The ingredients needed to help balance our flora are pretty simple and it starts with changing your diet and lifestyle to include more naturally fermented foods that are rich in probiotics, whole foods that contain plenty of fiber, high quality proteins and fats and complex carbohydrates that provide fuel for the good bacteria. There are also many food based remedies to help heal the gut as well. A simple visit for a free Integrative Nutrition consultation can help you determine a course of action!
Healing modalities like massage therapy can offer benefits to the gut as well. Stress is a major factor in how well our intestines are functioning and including massage in your regular routine can have a strong and positive impact on your overall health. Massage has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and improve digestion as well as increase the production of serotonin and dopamine as well as reduce cortisol. When we get into that relaxed state that massage encourages, our digestion improves. Too often, our modern lives are keeping us in a near constant state of fight or flight, and our system is reacting to this by poor digestion, lack of good quality sleep, overwhelm, dread, moodiness, lack of energy, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, inflammatory conditions and many more. Many of these conditions are the physical manifestation of both real and perceived stresses. Click here to read more about the positive effects of massage on biochemistry.
In my practice, I often look at my offerings and what I think is how many ways can I help my clients? Over the years, I have added many modalities, studied the healing benefits of touch, diet, lifestyle, positive psychology, time management skills, meditation, movement, spirituality, healing plants and so much more as a way to help my clients feel their best. It is my goal in my work to be an important part of your well care and to educate each client on the benefits of making these simple changes. That old saying...an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is so very true!
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the things we feel we may need to do, but one thing that is quite simple, is the importance of STARTING. I work with my clients as your support system to make one or two small changes at a time and to integrate new and positive habits into your life. Sometimes, we simply need to be heard and encouraged, and this is just what a health coach does. We are professional encouragers!
Regarding massage, it is my job to help you let go, relax and take a much needed time out. Science cannot always back up what we feel and experience when we receive a massage or energy work like reiki, when we practice meditation or yoga, the changes that happen when we experience a deep connection or make some small changes to our diet and lifestyle, but we know how these things impact us by how we feel, and I am a firm believer of doing more of what makes you feel great!
A few things to consider when addressing gut health:
1. Include more whole, unprocessed foods in your daily diet. In my coaching practice, I help my clients discover ways to add beneficial healthy foods without restriction. We work on increasing the positive while decreasing the negative in not only our foods, but many areas of life. Setting the stage for success requires some foundational adjustments in lifestyle so you may be excited about making these changes, and making them last.
2. Build your awareness of quality. The quality of the foods we consume has an impact on our overall health. By learning to choose foods that are seasonally available, grown locally, minimally processed and weather or not to choose organic over conventional are all important topics when discussing the healing power of whole foods. I help you to determine what works for you and what doesn't, and encourage creative ways of applying this knowledge to your every day life.
3. Consider your triggers. If stress has an impact on gut health, it is important to understand the circumstances in which stress is being perpetuated. Other triggers include chemical exposure, food intolerance, nutrient absorption and many others. We work together to identify these triggers and create an effective strategy to remove or reduce them so you may gain your health back.
4. Address the gut microbiome. The microbiome is our community of microorganisms that inhabit our environment. The balance of gut bacteria is a critical component to the strength of our immune system, digestive health, mental health and much more. I help teach my clients how we can encourage a healthy microbiome through the foods we eat and the lifestyle we live.
5. The importance of intentional and intuitive eating. How do you view mealtimes? Are you eating on the run? Are you aware of the foods you are eating? Are you eating to fill a void or are you eating for health? Are you chewing your food? These are all important questions to answer when you are increasing your awareness of the food/mood/feeling connection.
6. Bioindividuality. This is an important concept when working with my clients. What works for one, may not work for another. Some people thrive on a plant based, vegan approach, others find that the best option for them is a higher protein option. I do not push my clients into following a "diet". I help you discover what makes you feel your best while exploring what a nutrient dense approach can do for you.
7. Adding in relaxation. This sounds like a no brainer, as we all know relaxation and getting out of fight or flight mode can benefit us. Intentionally building a relaxation practice by adding things like massage, yoga, meditation or time outside in nature can have a powerful, positive impact on your gut health and mental health.
I encourage you to book your free Integrative Nutrition consultation or massage visit and see how I may be of help. As my toolbox fills up, I am eager to share what I've gathered along the way and help create positive changes in your life!!