The holidays can be a time when we indulge in more than we normally would. More food, most likely more alcohol, more activities, and less sleep. All of these can contribute to feeling behind the curve as we enter the new year. Do you know what’s at the root of this feeling? It’s your gut. Your gut is essential for your health.
There are many things that influence your gut health. These are primarily related to what you put in your mouth – whether solid or liquid – as Dana learned recently when she reached out for my help.
Dana, a young wife and mother to a 4-year-old daughter, realized she was spiraling downward and knew she needed help. She reported that she wasn’t doing well even before the holidays, but since Thanksgiving had been feeling like it was all getting worse.
Her gut was not happy – indigestion was a common experience – so she often avoided food. She also wasn’t sleeping well, which made her groggy throughout the day. All the added Christmas festivities were making things worse, so she picked up her phone to send an SOS to me.
When I begin with a client, I always talk about what they are eating, and how they are eating it.
Eating a variety of healthy foods helps our digestive system work effectively. Yet, the Standard American Diet (the norm for Dana and so many others) is not diverse, except in its manmade flavors.
It is full of poor fats, sugar, and very little fiber. In nutrition circles, we use the acronym SAD for the Standard American Diet. Seems appropriate, don’t you think?
I’m curious, what do you think are the healthiest foods you could consume? I’ll give you a hint – they are not commonly eaten in the Standard American Diet. The short answer … eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruit. I talked about these with Dana.
Benefits Of Vegetables And Fruit
As we discussed Dana’s normal food choices, I asked whether her mom had encouraged her to eat veggies. She had, and Dana had eaten some as a child but had slipped out of the habit.
I shared with her, that her mom was right for more reasons than she may have realized. The benefits of vegetables and some fruits include:
- Vegetables are nutrient-dense. They are packed with a lot of nutrition and mostly low calories. The different colors are evidence of the nutrients.
- You can fill up for less. Vegetables have fiber that helps you feel full without consuming as many calories.
- Vegetables and fruit provide complex carbohydrates. Vegetables and low-sugar fruits are digested slower and don’t raise your blood sugar as quickly.
- The fiber in vegetables and fruit also feeds the microbiome in your gut. The bacteria in your microbiome secrete elements that benefit your body. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
- That fiber is also beneficial as a binder for toxins to be eliminated.
The Process Of Eating
After sharing the importance of vegetables and fruit, I asked Dana about the way she ate meals. This is often a telling question when I hear that clients don’t give themselves much time to eat.
They often eat on their way from one activity to another, or while they are working on a project. Young mothers often snack their way through the day as they are caring for their children.
All of these approaches are generally perceived by the body as a “fight or flight” scenario, and digestion is essentially paused. I shared with Dana some simple steps to shift her body into “rest and digest” mode. These include pausing, sitting down, taking some deep breaths, and giving herself the time and focus to chew each bite well.
It’s amazing to me how this initial discussion with a new client can produce some significant benefits. I can’t count how many have marveled at how something as simple as chewing could make such a difference. How much do you chew each bite in a meal? It could make a difference for you, too.
How To Bridge The Gap
The next stage for Dana was to incorporate more vegetables and fruit in her diet, to get a broader range of nutrients. We talked about what she had eaten as a child, what she ate currently, and how we could begin to add more. She recognized that she ate red produce – tomatoes and apples mostly – and we talked about ways to add green produce.
Dana recognized that she wasn’t going to be comfortable with jumping into a drastic change in her diet. Yet, she wanted to begin to see improvement in her body sooner. So I recommended that she consider adding Juice Plus+ to bridge the gap as we worked on sustainable changes.
Juice Plus+ is a simple solution that has been around for 30 years. It is available in capsule or chewable form and carries a nutrition label rather than an ingredient label because it is food.
Thirty vegetables, fruits, and berries are harvested when fully ripened, juiced, dehydrated, and put into capsules or chews. No fillers, nothing but food. You get the benefits of eating the colors of the rainbow without eating plates of produce.
And, the added benefit for Dana – and you – is that an adult ordering Juice Plus+ can sponsor a child to receive theirs at no cost other than shipping. It was a no-brainer for Dana to support her daughter as she worked with me to pursue wellness.
Perhaps you could also use someone to come alongside you to help you make sustainable changes to improve your health. Or you may simply want to start by bridging the gap in the nutrients you are consuming. Either way, I can help.