Key Components of a Healthy Body & Mind
I absolutely believe in the power of educating ourselves and being proactive in terms of our health. Our body is highly intelligent and capable. If we tap into supplying it with what it needs to function optimally (BIOHACKING), we will thrive.
Obviously I won’t be able to cover e v e r y t h i n g in this article and I want to keep it short for you, but I would like to mention a few KEY COMPONENTS to keep our body healthy or to help us to recover quickly.
1. BALANCED MICROFLORA
You’ve probably heard me talking about this many times before… And I won’t shut up about it :) It’s simply too important: Most of us are not getting enough quality probiotics (PRO-LIFE) to the right location. Okay, what are probiotics again and what is the ‘right location’? Probiotics means FOR LIFE such as antibiotics mean AGAINST LIFE (pretty self explaining, hey?). Probiotics are our good buddies, our allies, that fight for us against the ‘bad guys’ opportunistic bacteria. Some of those bad fellows are okay to host, but they really have to be held at bay by a good surplus of the good guys. Our microflora needs to be in healthy balance; that means we need way more of our good friends than of the opportunistic bacteria that take advantage of us, like steal our nutrients, produce toxic byproducts, and use our body as their hotel.
So, how do we get those good guys? We get them from RAW FERMENTED foods and those are completely missing in the standard American diet. Yes yes, you are guessing it right: I’m talking about sauerkraut, kimchi, raw pickles, kefir, apple cider vinegar, etc. And raw fermented means: UNPASTEURIZED. This is crucial, cuz when those foods are heated, the probiotics get destroyed. It is also important to make sure the fermented foods don’t contain any added sugar, white vinegar, or table salt, as those are counterproductive when we are trying to establish a healthy gut.
Since most people don’t eat enough of that good stuff, I recommend supplementing additionally with a good quality probiotic. And yes, it matters what kind you’re taking. If we compare probiotics with dogs, then would you rather be protected by a chihuahua or by a wolf dog? And unfortunately many products are a waste of money as the probiotics are not viable any more or the good bacteria are not reaching the LARGE INTESTINE - and that is where they should be! That means our little friends have to make it successfully through the stomach acid as well as through the small intestine where a way to large number of probiotics often gets dumped (SIBO). So, they need to be obviously well protected, therefore I recommend using probiotics that are embedded in a protective system.
Also, we cannot just “throw a whole bunch of yuppies into bad neighbourhood and expect they are not getting beaten up” LOL (quoting herbalist Yarrow Willard). So, we need to clean up the environment and equip the probiotics well. If we feed them properly they will become stronger and do well. Sugar is what feeds the bad guys (that’s why we are craving sugar when our microflora is out of balance) and veggies is what feeds the good guys and makes them thrive (that’s why our taste buds change the healthier our digestive system becomes). That's why the probiotics I recommend contain a 'lunch box' for our dear allies: so called PRE-biotics (galacto-oligosaccharides).
Please take care of your gut health... there are more and more studies coming out about what kind of conditions are linked to a sick microflora, from obesity to immune disorders and autism.
Benefits of probiotics include:
Help digestion and absorption
Improve immune function
Are beneficial for our skin
Support gut-brain health
May aid in weight loss
Have a positive effect on diabetes
2. OXIDATIVE STRESS DEFENSES
Another term that you might have heard me talking about a lot... it’s absolutely crucial to the health of all our cells and therefore to our whole body: reducing oxidative stress. So, what is that exactly? When you cut an apple and leave it for a few minutes, you notice a brown discolouration. That is oxidization, a reaction with oxygen. Oxygen is a life giving as much as a life destructive element. A certain amount of oxidization is normal and it’s part of regular aging. The problem is when there is too much too quickly and our body’s defence mechanisms get overwhelmed. It’s like when our car starts to rust: once it starts, it can’t be stopped, it’s like a disease. And that’s when it’s called 'oxidative stress'. Oxidative stress in linked to over 200 diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
So we obviously want to stop the problem right where it starts before it goes into the typical snowball effect which is: A free radical comes and steals an electron from a perfectly healthy molecule of a cell (and that could be any cell: gut, blood vessels, skin, eyes, liver etc.) to balance itself out. But guess what happens to the formerly intact molecule that has been robbed of an electron? Since it has an electron missing and is unstable, it becomes a free radical itself and will do the same thing to the next molecule of some healthy tissue. This goes on and on - snowball effect.
Nature has already found a solution to the problem: molecules that can donate an electron to another molecule without becoming a free radical themselves - ANTIOXIDANTS. So they help stop the oxidization!
Okay, how can we get those antioxidants? We can eat them. Plants and their fruits and vegetables all have antioxidants, such as berries, green tea, kale, Swiss chard, cilantro, broccoli, pomegranate, cacao to name a few that are particularly high in the total antioxidant capacity (ORAC value). That’s one of the reasons why I recommend a PLANT BASED diet (what doesn’t mean vegetarian btw). On the bottom of the food pyramid we should have clean water, but right after that I recommend having vegetables as a base. Fill your plate up with vegetables! 7 -10 servings a day is a good amount to aim for. I know, that seems a lot and it can be quite the task to get there. Unfortunately our vegetables are not as nutrient rich as they once were unless you grow them yourself. Actually most people are deficient in crucial polyphenols (plant nutrients) such as antioxidants and also in minerals. That is a problem because of the previously mentioned snow ball effect and its inflammatory consequences. Furthermore especially minerals have many important functions in our body from cell communication, to bone density, to muscle function etc.
If you're finding it difficult to get the needed amount of nutrition into your day because life is busy, don't worry, there are solutions. I hear from people daily that they are feeling so overwhelmed and so tired - too tired to focus on wholesome shopping and food making. They want to change their lifestyle and get healthier, but they need energy first so that they can make a change... It's a vicious cycle!
Therefore I have been researching wholesome, efficient and quick solutions to give you a boost to get started. I have only selected specific supplements that I'm working with, that have immaculate integrity and real noticeable success with my clients. Why miss out on crucial nutrients, antioxidants, probiotics, enzymes, fibre, etc. and struggle on a daily basis, if you can get a jump-start into your lifestyle change and feel better immediately? Here is what's working for countless happy breakthroughs: Full-Spectrum Nutrition.
3. HEALTHY MITOCHONDRIA
This is a topic you might have not heard as much about; however, it’s just as important as the previous two. Why am I talking about mitochondria and what are they anyways? They are the powerhouses of our cells. They produce ATP (ENERGY) for our body functions. Did you know that a 10% of our weight comes from mitochondria??? And the majority of mitochondria sits in the brain. So, they are quite important :) In fact, all major conditions are linked to a deficiency of well functioning mitochondria. Mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to be one of the primary causes of age-related decline, playing a significant role in neurological, muscular, cardiac and metabolic disorders. As we age, we lose more and more mitochondria - BUT there is no reason to despair: our super intelligent body can produce new ones! For that we need the right conditions though, right environment, right nutrients. A few tips on how to feed our mitochondria right:
a) Increase your healthy fat intake. High quality fat is premium fuel for our body, gives us plenty of energy, keeps our blood sugar stable, and will bring us to our ideal weight. To mention a few amazing sources: coconut oil, avocados, olives, grass fed ghee, grass fed beef tallow, wild salmon, sardines, bone broth, chia, hemp, almonds, walnuts. Leave out ‘dirty’ fats such as canola oil, soy bean oil, hydrogenated fats as they inflame and stiffen our cell membranes, make us achy, tired, and dysfunctional.
b) Avoid sugar! If we’re eating too much sugar, our mitochondria can’t burn it fast enough for energy, so it winds up getting stored as fat and creating damaging free radicals. Sugar is a quick energy fix, but it’s a low quality fuel that doesn’t last long and actually robs us energy and nutrients. Ongoing spikes and drops in blood sugar are extremely unhealthy and don’t feel good. You probably know this energetic and emotional rollercoaster when you start the day with the wrong breakfast and this sets the rest of your day…
c) Detox, boost cellular energy and lose weight with concentrated quality superfoods.
d) Yep, exercise again. When you exercise you actually make mitochondria and therefore you will gain more energy and many other health benefits!
4. The last point that I want to address here: SUBCONSCIOUS BELIEFS.
Why is this important and what does this have to do with health? We could eat all the right foods, best supplements, and exercise daily and still not thrive. We all have underlying beliefs about ourselves and the world and we might not even be aware of them. It’s important that we implement dietary and other lifestyle changes out of a kindness for our body and ourselves - and not as a ‘punishment’ for having gone over the top. While in many cases it’s a matter of not having the knowledge of how to eat healthier, I find that very often people more or less know what they could do better, but they just can’t do it. So why is that? What’s holding us back? Aside from a lack of time or energy, there can be even bigger obstacles. They are deeply rooted in form of patterns that are held together by subconscious beliefs. Coming at those patterns with hardness and ‘discipline’ usually just backfires. I believe that by gently inquiring with curiosity about why we’re holding these addictive patterns, and discovering their surprising function, we can soften their grip. This is what I call 'Heart-Food'. The best medicine ever.
Learn more about a psychosomatic approach by Dr. Gabor Maté that I'm using to guide my clients through a process of deep inner listening, to uncover self-sabotaging patterns and find kindness and non-judgment with themselves.