Can what I eat be making me more sad and depressed? Can food help me get through the widower’s journey better and help in my healing process? Can the right nutrition help me to not just heal, but to grow and improve?
In this episode we engage Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert, chef, and the Founder / President of FitLiving Eats Winter Park, a concierge private chef company, asking these questions to provide you with guidance on food as a healing medicine.
She is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Simply Swapped Everyday, and leverages her nutritional and cooking expertise to discuss the importance of food and diet in the healing process with us in this growth podcast.
Carly 2:50 – I found that for me, when I started to shift my diet, it really increased mindfulness around other areas of my life as well. Food is the one thing that we’re always thinking about, we can control what we’re putting into our body, and it feels kind of safe, meaning we’re comfortable around the topic of food and eating throughout our day. So it’s just kind of natural, for creating more mindfulness and awareness around what you’re putting in your body. As it relates to healing and anxiety and reducing stress, food really does have the power to heal. And I don’t know if I recognized that until I really started looking at food in a different way and reframing the way that I perceived food and paid attention to how it made my body feel.
Tom 5:31 – The food that we eat is fueling our system. And it really is medicine for the body. And I think that there’s a lot of doctors now that are really waking up to this. Unfortunately, out of the 1000s of hours of training that doctors receive, I think the traditional track that many of the experienced doctors have gone through is maybe four hours of nutrition. But when you think about it, food has such an amazing influence on our health, like consuming sugar, where you get these spikes and crashes, like you said. If you’re already in a stressed or depressed mood, the sugar can give you a temporary boost, put put you into that depressive state soon after.
Carly 10:15 I think that when we are going through a really tough time in our lives, we can rely too much on our own willpower to keep us straight. And when we are in a vulnerable state, like going through grief, or going through an intense battle with anxiety, trying to rely on just ourselves is going to set us up for failure. Not just physically and how our bodies look and feel, but emotionally as well, because it just reinforces that idea that we’re not doing enough for ourselves, or we can’t do enough for ourselves. Relying on other people in your life, to hold you accountable, become that accountability system for you. I think it is really key in making those changes. And just speaking to them about your desires and your goals so that they can check in on you and see how you’re doing. Not from a place of “you’re not meeting your goals, then you’re failing”, but just someone who really cares and can go through that process with you.
Tom 11:42 – I also think that giving yourself some grace is so important. You’re already beating yourself up. A lot of t regrets with things that you wish you would have done differently through the process as just one example. So, give yourself some grace on the food, give yourself some grace on the drinking. But do think consciously about making some of these recommended shifts, because it’s really hard to heal if you’re binging on the wrong foods. They’re just not making your body feel well. And we’ll talk about the gut biome in a second and some of the direct impacts it can have on your mind and on your moods.
Carly 15:45 – So the gut biome really is what we’re now calling our second brain. An amazing 80% of our immune system lies in our gut, which is pretty crazy when you think about it. And it is the regulator for so many important physiological functions.
Tom 17:13 – Indeed, eating poorly and fueling the bad bacteria can put you in a sad mood and can even put you into depression. It affects your sleeping and so much more. Because that gut is tied through the venal vagus nerve back to your reptilian and middle brain, and your middle brain is where many of your hormones are produced and controlled. There are some that are definitely produced in the gut and other parts of the of the body. But it is really that central system that controls that trigger, that then causes the production, the feeling. The term “gut feeling” comes from that right, you have a feeling about a person or situation. It’s actually your gut, responding through your venal vagus nerve up to your hormonal system and the middle brain, the limbic system, and it’s driving key hormone production, whether that be your amygdala, your fight or flight system, your serotonin, and melatonin production and your pituitary gland, all of those things are related. So it is a governor in your system. And if you put bad fuel into that system, it’s going to cause the bad bacteria to be sparked up, and it’s going to cause you discomfort, it’s going to cause you mood changes, and it’s going to just put you deeper into that sadness and that depression.
Carly 23:08 – I think it can be really easy to get stuck in a rut with what we’re eating at home. Especially if it’s just you at home. Maybe you’re an empty nester, or maybe it was your loved one that passed away, your partner in life that used to do the cooking. Maybe your kids are out of the house, or you never had kids. So it’s just you at home. That’s how it is for me right now. And it’s really easy to get stuck in the same pattern of eating the same thing over and over.
Carly 29:15 – So I talked earlier about how changing my diet really shifted mindfulness and other areas of my life. I’ll never forget, I read an article probably five years ago that talked about the practice of cooking as being an active form of meditation.
Carly 48:32 – If our goal is perfection, it is unachievable, and we’re going to be disappointing ourselves, and setting ourselves up for failure. So I think allowing yourself those moments of indulgence, and those moments of enjoyment around food is really important. Just for our overall mental state as well. And kind of shifting away from thinking of food as being good or bad. But what food is going to help me feel my best What food is going to nourish me,
Carly 50:50 – So I always like to remind people and kind of keep this quote in mind for myself, too, of “doing one thing for yourself today, that’s better than yesterday, that’s going to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow”. Just one thing, one thing that’s a little bit better than yesterday, that’s going to get you a little bit closer to where you want to be tomorrow and set yourself up for success moving into that new day.
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