Introducing Our Second Brain

Peanut butter slathered on white toast for breakfast, replacing water for cow’s milk, subway for lunch, lollies in lectures and chocolate bars for afternoon tea, mee goreng (in a packet) or steak each night for dinner, two facials a week and next to no exercise was my life a few years ago. I constantly felt unmotivated, lethargic, bloated, moody and my skin was back and face was ridden with acne. I ‘thought’ I had tried everything, I had taken numerous medications, dependant on ProActive skin care, and plastered my face with MAC make up to ‘hide’ the real picture. It wasn’t until I started seeing a beauty therapist who undertook a holistic approach to my health, asking me about my diet, lifestyle and mental state that I then could see that I was the problem.

I then went to see my good friend’s mother who is a Naturopath, where she asked the same sorts of questions and connected the same dots to my beauty therapist. This was the first time I was personally introduced to the world of natural medicine, quick fixes only temporarily masked signs my body was screaming out for me to hear, rather than addressing the underlying problem. Clearly my body is sensitive to dairy, wheat, caffeine and refined sugar. I can consume it and still be okay at the other end, however the trauma my body endures in the process mentally and physically is not worth even the first bite.

Food sensitivity is not understood by the masses, however food intolerance is more so. If you are a coeliac or lactose intolerant you will know first-hand your body simply CAN NOT process gluten or dairy correctly. Food sensitivity is DIFFERENT to food intolerance and that is where a one size fits all for nutrition DOES NOT WORK. I like to relate our personal nutrition to our personalities. We are all different, we have all been introduced to different foods at different times of our life, some of us gain energy and vitality from certain foods others don’t, some of us have fast metabolisms, some of us have slower ones, some work out six days a week and some might be lucky to get to walk the dog once a week. Keeping this in mind, our diet should support our own lifestyle, eating foods our body responds well to, not promoting bloating, acne, low energy and poor motivation. Food should give us fuel to live a life we LOVE, instead of sitting in front of the TV scoffing our faces with potato chips.

Why do cases of mental health diseases seem to be ever rising? It’s time for that gut brain connection (GBC) talk again, however, if this is your first introduction to the GBC, research undertaken by M.D Jay Pasricha, director of John Hopkins Medicine has discovered enough evidence to understand the connection between the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) and the Central Nervous System (CNS) stating that “our two brains talk”, referring to the gut as our second brain. What does this mean? Our gut hears everything our mind says.

Last year I was unaware of the amount of stress I was constantly placing on my body, overtraining, under eating, striving for perfectionism from my marks at uni, to my form lifting weights, to every outfit I wore. For what? That’s the question I had to ask myself. I have now reached a point where I have learnt to listen to my body, eating foods that both of my brains react positively to and surprise surprise, those negative internal voices have faded, my energy has lifted, my bloating has decreased and I am more motivated than ever. What’s my secret I hear you asking? GO BACK TO BASICS. Eat for good health, to nourish both of your brains, and allow your body to live in harmony.

Below are my tips to help you embark your own journey to a more fulfilling life.

  1. Eat WHOLEFOODS- Wholefood is food that does not need a list of ‘ingredients’ to define what it is, eat more fruit, vegetables, brown rice, rolled oats, nuts, seeds
  1. ADD LEMON & CELTIC SEA SALT to your H2O – This clever combo provides your body with electrolytes (from the salt) and the lemon balances out the pH and fluid levels in your body.
  1. Introduce BONE BROTH – Bone broth support your gut, increase bone strength, promotes inflammatory and antiaging responses as well as, boosting your immune system. Keep an eye out on our social media pages for tips on how to make your own bone broth and easy ways to add it to your diet.
  1. BE MINDFUL – Mindful when you eat, when you talk to someone, when you walk your dog, when you brush your teeth. Try to stop for 5-10 minutes a day to be in the moment, clear your mind and focus on your breath, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and then gently breathe out for 8 seconds.
  1. SWEAT while you SOCIALISE – Swap your café coffee catch up for a coffee on the run, walk while you chat the morning away
  1. SWAP STEAK FOR SALMON – Reducing your red meat intake and swapping it for fish will provide your digestive system with a much earned rest and increase your intake of fat soluble vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acid DHA which assists improving your brain function and supporting a healthy nervous system.
  1. DITCH GLUTEN – Don’t panic, ditching gluten this doesn’t mean you can’t eat anything anymore, focus on your attention on eating everything you CAN EAT. Trust me by taking this step your mind and body will thank you in more ways than you expect. Gluten is classified as an inflammatory food, meaning it can provoke and inflammatory immune response in your gut through its stimulation of the immune cells. How do I go GF? Eat more plants, increase your intake of lean protein (fish, eggs, beans, chicken, tofu, tempeh).
  1. DRINK YOUR GREENS – I have been coming to The Produce Bulk Foods since it opened its doors just over a year ago now to get my daily green juice fix. Try the Clean Green Detox next time your in, to decrease fluid retention, increase your energy, provide your body with an abundance of antioxidants and tick off your 3 servings of veggies for the day all in one drink!

For more information about the ‘gut brain connection’ check out this video by Dr Kelly Brogan

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Name: Laura Saunders

Profession: Director

Company: NOURISHED. Nutrition. Fitness. Wellness

Facebook: nourishednfw

Instagram: nourished_n.f.w

Laura began NOURISHED. N.F.W to love life; Continue a process of self-discovery; and unite like-minded women to live by the maxim: “a community of women who acknowledge another woman’s beauty, without questioning their own”.

Laura’s own health journey has been long and tortuous, she is able help and assist no matter what health, fitness or wellness goals you may have. Laura says: “After experiencing my own battles with health along the way, I can honestly say I have tried EVERYTHING from low carb high fat to vegetarian diet, CrossFit to Bikram Yoga, and finally Acupuncture to Hard Core Spartan Training

As a direct result, Laura knows know first- hand how it feels to be constantly tired, having poor self- esteem in regards to body image and an extremely negative outlook on life.