Fit, Fab and Inflamed, Part 4

There we are at the end of this series. I will admit, when I started with the first blog I had no idea that it would create so much interest. I am glad that many of you are taking this opportunity to learn more about your health. Sharing my knowledge with you brings me so much joy, so thank you. I am very grateful to have you following along.


For our last installment in this series we are going to cover NUTRITION and MOVEMENT. Last week I tasked you with finding ways to destress and HYDRATE. How did you do? Did you skip part 3? I really hope not, as that is the building block for today's post. I suggest that if you are just jumping into this series here, you scroll back and read or listen to the previous posts.


Are we ready? Let's dive in! First we are going to talk about the importance of nutrition. Now when I talk nutrition I am not talking fad diets, calorie counting, starving yourself, or using "fat burners", caffeine supplements or anything like that. I am talking about the foods and supplementation we can use to fuel and create a HEALTHY, VIBRANT, body with a reduced amount of systemic inflammation. When we talk about foods and nutrition it is important to remember that was serves my body, may not serve yours. The tips I am sharing with you are based on the trials and many many many errors of working with (and sometimes against) my body and my families bodies to discover what works. This information is also based in the scientific findings of what certain plants, supplements and minerals do to the body, and how they can help you during your "systemic inflammation detox" ~ if you will.


NOURISH

We really tend to underestimate the POWER of clean whole foods, proper supplements and power house herbs and plant medicines. What we ingest directly affects the way our bodies work. Take for example the effects of a slice of sugar filled cake on the brain. Eating sugary foods gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot. Because whole foods like fruits and veggies don’t cause the brain to release as much dopamine, your brain starts to need more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure. This causes those “gotta-have-it” feelings for your after-dinner 'treat" that are so hard to tame. On Top of the "sugar high' we see signs of inflammation like joint pain. Here’s more reason to lay off the sugar - eating lots of sweets has been shown to worsen joint pain because of the inflammation that these foods cause in the body. Plus, studies show that sugar consumption can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Excess sugar attaches to proteins in your bloodstream and creates harmful molecules called “AGEs,” or advanced glycation end products. These molecules do exactly what they sound like they do: age your skin. They have been shown to damage collagen and elastin in your skin -- protein fibers that keep your skin firm and youthful. The result? Wrinkles and saggy skin. YEP, you read that right. a high sugar intake can age you faster! The chemical preservatives, colourants and stabilizers found in the food byproducts on the shelves create almost the same response within our bodies. After chronic use of sugar and chemicals our bodies ability to absorb the good, healthy nom noms starts to decrease as well. Often we will see inflamed intestinal tract and even type 2 diabetes.


Great, so what can we do? Step one is to get honest with yourself. How many of these inflammatory factors are you REALLY eating each day? Does the bread you make your sandwich with contain stabilizers, do you add sugars to your tea or coffee. Do you drink pop instead of water? Getting real with yourself is very important, afterall you can't affect change in an area of your life that you refuse to admit may be a root cause of how you are feeling. Once you have narrowed down the nutritional culprits you can create a more balanced meal plan and lifestyle to help you heal your gut and decrease the inflammation. Making sure your body is getting the proper ratio of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids is also important. When our bodies are low on vitamins, minerals and what I like to call "support systems" we can still feel like we are battling for energy and stamina. Supplementing with a bioavailable complex like the ones found in The Healthy Habits Kit will help you make sure you aren't just peeing your money down the drain. I also like to take a daily complex of plants and herbs that supports my bodies natural detox functions, called Zendocrine. I take this because I am human and I know I don't always eat right. "Zendocrine is a proprietary blend of whole-food extracts formulated to support the healthy cleansing and filtering functions of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, and skin.* Each whole-food botanical extract was selected specifically to support organ capacity to both provide protective cleansing and filtering functions for the body and to support the organ’s own capacity to rid itself of stored toxic waste products.* Zendocrine also uses an enzyme support system to help with whole-food extract absorption and is packaged in SLS-free vegetable capsule." The key is that you are supporting your bodies NATURAL functions, not forcing them into a deprived DETOXING state. Trust me, I have tried MANY MANY MANY of those..... they don't work. Although you may feel better after them, if the detox you are doing doesn't gently help support your amazing bodies, amazing abilities NATURALLY, don't do it!

{If this is something you would like to dig deeper on, stay tuned to the blog / podcast. I will be talking in depth on body system supports in the coming months.}


The most important takeaway from this is to DECREASE or completely eliminate the sugars, chemicals and non food products you are adding into your nutrition, and replace them with whole foods. There are a couple examples of easy to follow meal plans on my website. I highly recommend grabbing one if you are new to whole, unprocessed foods and meal ideas. Try the recipes, document how you feel after eating them, stick to it for at least 3 weeks, then document how you feel again. I know you will see a HUGE shift.


Last but certainly not least..... Let's talk

MOVEMENT

This entire section can be summed up into this simple statement; Does the movement make you feel good? Yes? Then do that!

Moving your body in a way that makes you feel good is very important. If you are already stressed out and in a prolonged state of stress response adding high intensity workouts may not be in your best interest. Think about it this way. Your body isn't able to tell the difference between you needing to run super fast to escape a tiger, or to win a marathon, it just knows there is a stressor that you are literally trying to outrun. So when you are in chronic stress, finding movement that relaxes your body is a better option. Maybe try a walk, gentle workout, or yoga. Allow yourself to decrease the inflammation / stress response in your body, then work back up to the high intensity workouts. Now this doesn't me that if you are in the middle of training for a marathon, and your life suddenly goes to crap, and you are stressed to max that you have to stop the marathon training. What it does mean is that you need to find a balance and a way to decrease your stress hormones. Adding a couple extra yoga and meditation days, taking an extra walk with the dog, some gentle movements that allow you to unwind. Making sure that you are decreasing the stress hormones and giving the body the rest it may need while life is in the crapper for a moment will have a positive effect on systemic inflammation.


If you are noticing that you are feeling drained and lethargic after your current workouts, adrenal fatigue and chronic stress factors are important things to examine. Also, for women certain stages of our cycle require different types of physical movement. Working out too hard in the wrong phase of our cycle can cause a lot of extra stress on your body as well. We will talk about this in our deeper dive into the body systems so stay tuned.