I had a healthier lifestyle than all of my friends, yet I was constantly sick, tired and depressed...
I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong: I ate well and I worked out almost daily, but I was lacking energy most of the day, got sick easily and felt depressed a lot of the time. I was like I was only surviving and far from thriving. I studied and worked hard, I was very disciplined with myself, but it was like I had to work a lot harder than necessary. You might be able to relate.
One morning I woke up early from a strange shaking in my body. My teeth were literally smacking together. I felt super weird - I was cold and sweating at the same time. I couldn’t stop shaking and I was so scared. What the heck was going on with me?
I went to see a doctor the same morning. It turned out that I had a full-on bladder infection and I hadn’t even noticed! The doctor explained that my body was trying to create a fever through the shaking in order to fight the infection. Of course I was prescribed antibiotics, so I took the pills and the infection went away. However only 6 weeks later I had the next bladder infection! It didn’t stop there. These infections kept on happening every couple of months and my doctor had no ‘solution’ for me other than prescribing the pills. That’s when I reached a real low point. I felt helpless and desperate and I didn’t want my life to continue like this. I was still so young, what would it be like once I’m old!
At the time when I completed my Masters in Germany, I realized that I had to change something. I sensed there was something not quite right with me; I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but I downplayed it as that ‘it’s just in my head and that I’m not trying hard enough’. I put in an effort to eat healthy, to the best I knew, way healthier than others around me. I worked out every day and I thought for all the effort I put in: Why would I not feel more energetic and more alive? What was I doing wrong? Have you ever felt like you’re trying really hard to get healthy and you're still not getting the results you're longing for?
I knew I had to look outside the box to find what would help me. That's when I started to educate myself on natural health and nutrition. What I found out simply astonished me. All of the sudden everything I was going through made so much sense! It wasn’t just in my head. There was actually a real reason for my suffering.
I found out that while I was eating alright, I was missing crucial nutrient dense foods. I was lacking the nutrients that my body needed to function optimally. It just made sense that my cells were deprived and tired. It became clear to me why I didn’t feel well in my body and my mind: I found out that there is a huge connection between our gut health and our mental health! My microflora was completely out of balance. I'd never paid any attention to that.
When I improved my diet and started adding concentrated whole foods nutrition and living probiotics daily, I began to feel a huge difference: I noticed right away how my energy came back and I began to feel nourished from the inside out. Over time I could even handle stressful situations better, I started feeling stronger and more resilient - and I never had a bladder infection ever since! And the best part was, that I could finally help myself.
After having implemented principles of holistic nutrition into my day-to-day, I remember the incredible moment where I noticed that I was craving kale salad and seaweed snacks! Me!? The same Christiane who had to gag from vegetables as a child... the same girl that was known for her sweet tooth? LOL That absolutely blew my mind! I mean, I’ve heard that your cravings would shift after incorporating a healthier diet, but that this experience actually happened to me made me a true believer :-)
After this epiphany I had, I wanted to learn more and I wanted to help others that were going through similar painful experiences. I wanted to be the coach I wished I would have had! So I started studying to become a board certified holistic nutritional consultant and life coach. I founded Heart-Food Holistic Nutrition. And I've been loving to share with others what I've learned and help them on their journey ever since. This has been most inspiring and joyful for me every time.
The strange thing was, while I could take care of nourishing my baby 24/7, I had no ability to cook food for myself or drive somewhere. I couldn’t even think! I never could have imagined how much postpartum would affect me… Now here I was, this nutritional consultant who knew what she needed to eat in order to feel better, but she couldn’t manage getting it into her body without help! Thank goodness for my husband and friends feeding me during that difficult time. Things got better as I learned about postpartum health, however ambitious as I was, I was going back to my business after just 3 months...
I used to be a complete perfectionist and that reflected in my eating style as well. I tried to follow a 'perfect' diet. You might already see where this was going... I was constantly chasing the 'holy grail' of nutrition. I experimented on myself with the newest diets and theories I've learned, while every time I was disappointed and upset with myself that it didn't work for me. I couldn't keep up with it and I also didn't feel the way I wanted to feel. Again, I thought there was something wrong with my body. As these theories seemed to make so much sense, I couldn't understand why my body didn't respond how it 'should have'. After every diet or cleanse I couldn't stand the pressure anymore and always needed a big relief after the restrictions. So my pattern was going from extreme restrictive diets and cleanses to extreme bingeing and letting myself go for a while... till I picked up the next new 'strategy' where I thought: "This is it!". Others wouldn't really see my struggles and not take them seriously either. On the outside I maintained the nice image. While I was desperately trying to hide what was under the facade, I only longed to be seen. I was working so hard on being a 'good girl' and forgot completely to be a loving parent towards myself.
It was a process to finally come into more of a balance to accept myself and relate with compassion to myself, to find ease and flow instead of struggling and pushing, to trust into my body's wisdom, to connect with a deeper me that is shining through, and to learn to relax into what we really are in our essence.
All those years of going through my own personal process and working with my clients' process, shaped me and naturally created my approach that I'm calling Heart-Food.
I don't believe that there is one true diet that is right for everyone at anytime. I don't believe that we should force ourselves into cookie-cutter shapes. It's an unkind violence. Therefore, I work with each client very individually, rather than offering a one and for all pre-made diet that is applied to all. I don't believe in calorie counting and dieting. I do believe in the innate wisdom of the body that can guide us if we're ready to listen. Band-aids last only so long and can do only so much. If we are longing for true healing, we need to be ready to face what's underneath that is creating the issue in the first place and take real care. "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." (Joseph Campbell)
The Heart-Food Way is authentic, flexible, kind, compassionate, intuitive, inclusive, wholesome and it works naturally. If reading this brings forth an inner response in you and you feel drawn to connect, please follow your pull:
Being with yourself like with a loved child
One of the most valuable things I leaned is that what's even more important than the foods we eat is our relationship with food, and, in fact, our relationship with everything. The energy of endless doing can inadvertently move us further away from our being, our own true nature. I believe that we are all made out of that flow of intimacy which is already so perfectly balanced.
Would you agree that being a mom is the best thing ever? And would you also agree that it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?!?
After the birth of my first child, I hit a new wall of difficulty and I realized very quickly that I needed more than just the knowledge about which healthy foods to eat. While I love being a mom through and through, the sleep deprivation from taking care of baby was really damaging to my ability to cope with challenges of life and marriage.
I remember the time, a few weeks after birth when I was standing in my kitchen, exhausted, all zoned out and starving from the constant breastfeeding. All I could manage in terms of healthy food making was taking a carrot and dipping it into almond butter so that I wouldn’t faint.
If you are like me and so many other women and you are juggling a million things in your day, while you think you have to be superwoman, the last thing you need is a complicated diet that makes your life even more stressful.
... although you know that it’s crucial for you and your family that you come back to balance in your body and take care of your health. If you are feeling as tired and overwhelmed as I felt, you are longing for something that will help you feel better immediately and that is manageable to incorporate into your busy day. There are simple solutions. I believe that it's best to start by adding crucial foods to the diet instead of removing all our favourite foods first and being left without alternatives. Please don't do what I've done for years and what so many other women are doing: trying to fit yourself into the newest nutrition trend that you think you should follow, trying hard to be someone that you're not, and having incredibly high expectations on yourself.
So I went on a journey of deep inquiry. I wanted to find out about connections and underlying factors of emotional eating and addictive behaviour. While others made fun of me, wondering what problems I would even have, since I looked slim, I knew that I had to take care of what was actually going on. Amongst many amazing teachings, inner works and body works that I learned from, my path lead me to Dr. Gabor Maté's work. I studied with him what he calls 'Compassionate Inquiry'. This approach is a tool to reconnect ourselves to our authentic voice that we've stopped listening to. Through the guidance of the body we can let our outer shell of protection melt and find our real inner core. And the point isn't to 'achieve' anything here. The reality is that we will fall again and again... I'm falling very often. The point is not to have any illusions about 'Now I got it!' and then being even more disappointed when falling down again. It's about getting back up and getting up faster every time by relating to what we really are in our true core and nurturing that.
The journey isn't easy.... but it's simple
The moment we align, we are able see that we don't need to try so hard. We are made for this. Difficulty is just an opportunity for us to grow and evolve. It's easy to stick to old habits and comforts, but it isn't really satisfying and fulfilling. A few new simple steps can bring a whole new momentum. I can't tell you the joys I've had in growing my first microgreens, making my own ferments, creating my own healthy chocolate and trying out new crazy recipes on myself and my family. Yes, when you jump into a lake the water is first cold and uncomfortable, but soon you fall in love with the invigorating sense of aliveness that refreshes and rejuvenates you as you swim.
It is crucial to learn to listen to our bodies again, reconnect with our natural rhythm, our inherent balance - as we once did when we were children. I'd be honoured to walk by your side and support you on your journey to finding real nurture, flow and connection - and birth that butterfly that you've always been.
And why would you decide to go on this journey?
'The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.' - Joseph Campbell