Do you experience too much stress? Do you feel like your hormones are out of whack or like your immune system might need a boost?
My guest, Paula Grainger, has just released her new book, Adaptogens, Harness the Power of Superherbs to Reduce Stress and Restore Calm.
Paula has been practicing herbal medicine since she obtained her degree in herbal medicine from the University of Westminster in London in 2004.
Following her graduation, she worked in several busy London clinics, and then opened her own herbal clinic and apothecary called Lemon Balm. She successfully ran and worked in her clinic until moving to Santa Cruz, California in 2010.
We all know that sugar isn't great for you, but do you know why?
Our cells use blood sugar or glucose as fuel to keep our cells alive and functioning. We need it to survive. So why then should eating sugar have a negative impact on our health?
How does your body use sugar to fuel it?
What would you rather do, experiment with something new or focus on cutting something you like out of your life?
I think that most people would say that they’d rather add something new to their lives. What we add into our lives can be just as important as what we take out.
Did you know that herbs and spices have benefits beyond enhancing the flavor of the foods we eat?
Herbs and spices are often used medicinally by herbalists in concentrated forms to treat acute issues. But, their general health benefits can be taken advantage of by cooking with them on a regular basis.
They can positively influence the health of the gut microbiome and the gut flora and the gut flora helps them release their antioxidants and other beneficial components.
I’ll focus on 12 herbs and spices that support gut health here!
IBS - It's not all in your head
Inflammatory bowel syndrome...what is it?
Anyone that's diagnosed with it, would say it's frustrating, because it isn't really a diagnosis.
Inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, is the diagnosis you're given when everything else has been ruled out. It's a collection of symptoms with an origin that can't be identified. 40% of people that visit the doctor report gastrointestinal problems. 60 million Americans suffer from IBS and those are only those that have received the "diagnosis."
Symptoms may include:
Symptoms may also include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and/or muscle pain.
To receive a diagnosis of IBS, the symptoms are chronic, occurring for at least three to six months.
What causes IBS?
Awareness is the first step to battling chronic stress. Have you been living your life at the same frantic pace for so long that it feels normal for you?
Are your struggling with chronic stress?
These are all symptoms of chronic stress.
Chronic Stress Part 2: Five approaches to eating to improve digestion and reduce stress.
I just spent an hour making dinner. It's one of my favorite new recipes, chipotle butternut squash and black bean tostadas. I've also made my favorite kale and strawberry salad. The meal checks all the boxes for me. It has plenty of vegetables, it's flavorful, and it's filling. Not only that, for my lunch the next day, I'll reheat a tostada and plop a fried egg on top. Delicious!
I set the table, since everyone's been in other parts of the house doing their thing. I'm fine with that, since I go into a meditative state when I cook, or sometimes I listen to podcasts or my music. I'll add one more thing: I'm sort of messy when I cook and my husband almost always cleans up after dinner. And we both want the kids to help more with the clen up. We agree on that point.
I call everyone to dinner and the first thing that happens is my husband states adamantly, "You kids are cleaning up tonight." Chaos ensues. My daughter has homework, my son already took out the garbage, plus he "always helps," and I get irritated because I just want everyone to enjoy the meal, especially me. Figure out the clean up later, after all, even if it's a mess, it doesn't take nearly as much time as making the meal.
And the worst part is that I know stress and conflict isn't good for digestion!
It makes intuitive sense that chronic stress would impact our health. Sometimes we can feel the physical manifestation of stress in our gut, that icky feeling in the pit of our stomach.
Yet many of us have become so accustomed to hectic lifestyles, that our baseline of stress is much too high and we may not even notice how stress is effecting us.
What Do You Consider Stress?
There are two forms of stress:
Stress can be from a real or perceived threat. Your nervous system is sounding an alarm and readying the body to respond quickly.
When I taught childbirth preparation classes, I talked about this quite a lot. When the body or mind senses a threat, non essential processes come to a halt. Back then I was talking about labor coming to a halt with stress, now I focus more on the effects of stress on digestion, which also can come to a halt with stress.
In both cases, what we think about, who is with us, and our psychological and physical histories play a part in how our systems function.
Stress is supposed to be a short term solution to increase our chances of survival, not a long term plan.
Ten Ways Stress Impacts Our Health
Four Steps to an Anti inflammatory Approach to Eating
Practicing the last three are the most important steps to eating for a healthy lifestyle. The first, removing foods you have a sensitivity to, is important if you you are having noticeable symptoms of chronic inflammation, which often means your gut health is not optimal.
What Should You Try First?
A few weeks ago, a member of my Facebook group asked what the most essential change she could make was. My quick answer was to give up gluten.
The more research I do and the more books I read, the more it all seems to come back to gluten.
I am also going to say again to please approach any eliminations or recommendations as a trial and error process. It doesn't hurt to try different approaches. If one thing doesn't work, try another. We all have different genetics and life histories, so what works for one person, may not work for another.
Also, because of our different genetic backgrounds, symptoms and disease from the same cause or causes can manifest in different ways.
Chronic inflammation may cause heart disease in one person, headaches, arthritis, or diabetes in another.
First lets go back to the gut.
“If your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, or you can’t pronounce what’s on the label, don’t eat it.”
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Hi, I’m Crystal!
If you'd like to access my Farmer's Market Friday posts from 2018, click here!