Boost that Brain-Body Connection
Five Ways to Feed Everything Inside & Outside Our Skin
If you’re like me, you grew up eating Kraft Mac & Cheese, DunkAroos, Push Pops, Toaster Strudels and Lucky Charms. If this is the case, I suspect you spent your teens drinking Slim Fast and your college years pulling all-nighters thanks to Adderall. The aftermath of these choices not only made me physically unhealthy, they effected the quality of my life down the road.
Cutting the Skin
I moved to New York following college graduation for an entry-level fashion job that required a minimum of 60 hours/week. After a few months, I began to notice both my mind and my body feel foggy. Still eager for every opportunity that came my way, I kept up with the grind. I eventually found myself ten pounds over my average weight despite training for the 2013 New York City Marathon. Getting out of bed sometimes felt like I was climbing the last few hills of Central Park. I was desperate to feel human again to protect the livelihood of my future, and I was confident the state of my physical body and mental health had to be directly aligned. It was not until early this year in Nutrition School, I determined this was true!
Getting to the Core
Our brain is considered the hardware of the soul. It is involved in everything we do, but we can’t see it like we can see weight on our body. Our brain also consumes over 20% of the calories we consume making it the most energy-hungry organ we have. Daniel Amen, an MD who specializes in brain disorder says “The brain is the most expensive part of your body.” Dan has proved that the over-consumption of processed foods, poor sleep, toxic relationships and bad decisions are not only making many American’s fat, but also making our brain smaller. This for obvious reasons is limiting our quality of life, but also making it very difficult to change our habits. That’s the bad news. The good news, we’re human - we have will power and the inner workings to rebuild our brain, and consequently - our bodies.
At the time I hit exhaustion, my decisions and nutrition were the only thing I knew I could afford to control. I chose to become vegan in hope the density of nutrients from plants would provide the energy I was starving for. I found yoga, and I took the opportunity to make myself the number one priority. Over the course of a few months, extra pounds started to fall off, and I had a focus no amphetamine could ever trump.
Today, my definition of health is different than it was almost a decade ago. I have increased my animal fat & protein consumption, but becoming vegan taught me how to be creative in the kitchen, and how to order off of any menu. Overcoming prescribed medication allowed my mind to understand my body will find homeostasis if I give my mind the lifestyle it needs to let the right natural hormones flow appropriately. Prioritizing my own needs proved that watching my own personal goals play out was far more rewarding than waking up on Monday morning still hungover from Saturday night. This was validated when Daniel Amen taught me that we have the ability to de-age our brain, and boost any capacity that we have lost.
I share these anecdotes and facts for you to know, you do not need to become vegan, lose your social life or pay $160/month to belong to a new yoga studio to the improve the health of your mind and body. You most certainly do not have to go off of prescribed medication. There are an infinite amount of ways you can gain control of your health by making small, simple changes.
Here are five simple suggestions that could play an integral role in improving your mind and body connection.
One: Return to your REM
Lack of sleep causes lack of blood flow to the brain, forcing your brain to work harder than it needs to. Overtime this can cause your brain to shrink, forgetfulness and chronic fatigue. I recommend at least seven hours, but I more strongly advocate quality over quantity. Consider prioritizing your routine one step at a time by putting your phone in another room so your focus is on sleep, not work or IG and stick to a strict bedtime four nights per week.
Excuse exit: If your phone is your alarm, purchase one for $10.00 on amazon.
Two: Tidy up your Space
There is a reason your mom taught you to make your bed every morning. Physical surroundings have the ability to motivate or physically exhaust you. Exhaustion can make us store glucose and hold onto thoughts we don’t need. Your space should bring you joy, and allow you to be at peace, but you don’t need to Marie Kondo your entire home. Begin by throwing away one thing every time you bring something new inside. This quick trick will become automatic, and you’ll naturally feel like you actually have more!
Three: Go with Your Gut
If eating pizza every night makes you sleep like a baby, and feel like Superman, I would love to hire you as my health coach. As mentioned previously, your body is constantly working to find homeostasis, and you know what foods allow you to have energy and regular, healthy movements. Foods like avocado, salmon, leafy greens and nuts have a high nutrient density that feeds your brain and muscles while also satiating you. If you make healthy choices 50% of the time, contemplate adding a small handful of spinach to your smoothie in the morning or cutting out dairy three days, substituting avocado. One of my favorite suggestions is asking clients to tally how many servings of animal protein they consume per week. This activity alone typically convinces them to instinctively find plant based substitutes that our good gut bacteria love! Getting this right is critical to ensure other systems, including the brain are performing as they should.
Four: Rosé Season is Over
Seeing rosé season leave us for another year is bittersweet, but we all know it is for the best. Alcohol is a liver loader and our body cannot excrete alcohol itself, causing our body to transform it into a different element. It is great our bodies can do this, but this eliminates the liver's ability to take a stance against other toxins that deteriorate our brain. Spend the next couple months keeping alcohol in moderation, and you will increase your chances of even winning an award at the company holiday party due to your increased performance at work!
Five: Positive Pals
You may be surprised how often spouses or friends do not support their partner or bff’s choice to become healthier without even realizing it. They subconsciously worry how this decision will effect their relationship, and their dependability. You may experience a range of emotions when you decide to reposition your lifestyle, and having confidence in your squad to support your goals when you’re about to ditch the gym for happy hour can be a day, month or year changer. Specifically ask those closest you to be by your side throughout this process. This way, they can help motivate, but also hold themselves accountable to be someone you can trust.
Want more tips on nutrient density or how to feed our hungry brain? Please reach out to me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Doctors, RD’s and nutritionists serve an irreplaceable purpose with the ability to prescribe medications to fit the specific needs of their clients. This newsletter is in no way intended to serve as a prescription, or a diagnosis. If you are considering tapering off any medication, please consult with your physician.