Did you know that specific nutritional deficiency may actually cause mental illness or exacerbate existing symptoms? This is because humans require a variety and certain level of basic vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and amino acids for proper brain function and to manufacture the necessary neurotransmitter levels (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) to maintain mental health.1,2 Without certain nutrients, it can literally be impossible for us to feel good--both mentally and physically.
Even if you eat a healthy diet, your body may still be missing certain key nutrients. A lot of fruits and vegetables have less nutrition in them today compared to their counterparts grown decades ago. This is mainly due to soil depletion as modern agricultural methods continue to strip nutrients from the soil.3 Prescription medications such as antacids, antibiotics,...
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” -Michael Pollan
Nutrition can be quite confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. Focus on eating a wide variety of whole plant foods and don’t worry about being perfect. The latter advice is key, especially when transitioning from a processed food- or animal product-laden diet to a more health-promoting, plant-based diet--keep yourself successful by celebrating your journey and your progress rather than your perfection. Just as Dr. Henry Emmons recommends to acknowledge your moments of happiness amplify your joy, I can strongly attest to that same principle applying towards acknowledging your feelings of success and pride in your progress.
I believe knowledge is empowerment, and that is no less true for nutrition. Let’s briefly dive into the what and why behind eating plants and provide you with the best scientific resources to make you feel confident on your journey to eating...
The days are getting dark and cold. Warm hearty meals may be at the center of your cravings and, trust me, you are not alone. The following tips on how to eat more plant-based this fall will not only satisfy your comfort food craving but nourish your body by helping you succeed in eating more whole foods.
The term plant-based has been buzzing around the internet of late and hopefully, we will continue hearing more about it as time passes. A whole food plant-based diet means that the food you consume is centered around an abundant variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, nuts, and seeds. The aim is to eat food as close to its whole form as possible (e.g. brown rice vs. white rice), choose organic as much as you can, and avoid processed food.
Whole food plant-based diets have been studied and appear to be among the healthiest ways of eating. Let me put it this way, very few people argue against...
Food has an amazing ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and your ability to focus and to feel calm. If you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places you should start with is what you’re eating. Below are some general suggestions and specific foods that may help you improve your focus.
Eat Breakfast. Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Foods at the top of researchers' brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, protein, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.
Keep Regular Mealtimes. Your mid-day meal should be the largest if possible with a light meal at supper. Eat moderately, neither fasting nor indulging in large meals.
Relax. Take time to relax after eating. You'll digest better and feel more calm, satisfied, and ready to focus on your next task.
If you have gastrointestinal (GI) concerns, consider trying the SHARE Model (below) to ease discomfort and restore more resilient GI health. The Share Model is a modified version of the 5 Rs from The Institute for Functional Medicine.
If you're not sure about your symptoms, visit your doctor and then visit the Natural Digestion section for more information and support as you work to improve your GI health.
There are some basic GI health supplements from Resilient Remedies that can help you as you implement SHARE. See below for these supports.
Erin is a nurse practitioner dual certified in family practice and women’s health and currently sees patients at Minnesota Personalized Medicine. She is also Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Mom Enough®, an evidence-based parenting blog.
If you can relate, know that you're not alone. Also know that in spite of what might feel like a futile effort, the time spent on meals is well worth it.
Before I dive into the strategies of making family meals happen, I’d like to invite you to join my family for dinner. The five of us sit on little stools, squished around a too-small table in a too-small kitchen not made for “eating in.”
My oldest son stands over his food, adding...
Restoring and maintaining optimal mental health requires a multi-pronged approach that supports your mind, body, and heart. A key part of that holistic approach involves caring for your gut. So, what (or who?!) lives in your gut and how can you care for it?
Your gut (AKA gastrointestinal tract) primarily includes the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. A collection of micro-organisms call your gut home- a housing situation often called the "gut microbiome." I call these helpful micro-organisms "good bugs" and they include a zoo of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungi. Good bugs communicate with your brain constantly via chemical messengers and nerves. Some help manufacture neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA and also help make vitamins needed for optimal brain functioning. Good bugs also support your response to stress and contribute to healthy immune system activities. Given their big jobs, it's vital that...
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