Did you know that your gut plays a huge role in your emotional well-being?
In the Middle Ages, they blamed everything on gut imbalance and treated all sorts of ailments with remedies aimed at the stomach and gut.
We usually blame these symptoms on impending illness or something that we ate, but these may actually be end results rather than initial symptoms.
Our guts work hard on a daily basis dealing with everything that we put into our body, but other things that we do can affect its success as well.
Gut feelings? Totally founded. Your gut plays a powerful role in the hormonal-emotional connection!
THE SECOND BRAIN
That is what scientist have begun to call the gut after recent studies continue to show that the gut carries information north to the brain in addition to containing 30 neurotransmitters like the CNS.
How about 95% of your serotonin production being located in the gut as well?
Neurotransmitters. Serotonin. Messages sent north to the brain.
All from the gut!
Our emotional well-being may not be centered in the brain, but in the gut, making our treatment of this bodily system increasingly essential to our vitality and our survival.
We are unknowingly waging war against our gut health and our emotional well-being with choices that we make.
Time for some awareness…
When you are stressed, do you reach for the candy bars, the ice cream, a quick-fix snack to boost energy? How about coffee? Alcohol? Energy drinks?
Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.
Carbs. Carbs. Carbs.
When stress gets high, we switch to binge-mode to help ourselves cope and feel better. Why? Because our bodies have increased levels of cortisol and adrenalin telling us to EAAAAT!
Stress already causes our digestive systems to function at a minimum in favor of a fight-or-flight response, putting our gut in a state of constant crisis.
And just in case you missed my blog on what stress can do to your body and hormones, be sure to check out The Top 2 Essential Oils for Stress and Hormone Balance.
Our carb-binge causes an onslaught of serotonin in the gut, already at risk due to the effects of prolonged stress, and we are left with a litany of digestive issues.
And what do we do?
Throw meds at them. We start with quick-fix over-the-counter options and eventually become so overwhelmed that we seek professional help.
This constant barrage of damages over time has weakened our digestive system so that not only are we dealing with embarrassing symptoms on a daily basis, but we have made ourselves vulnerable to attack, easy invasion for viruses and bacteria.
Doctors are quick to prescribe antibiotics even though they often do more harm than good when quickly prescribed instead of sleuthing a bit for the root of the problem.
Individualized assessments, my friends. We have to insist that we are treated holistically as a person, rather than a list of symptoms.
Nutrition & Mood
Ever heard of someone being “hangry”? Hungry-angry?
Turns out, it is legit.
Those intense, aggressive emotional outbursts are tied to blood glucose levels in your body.
Mid-to-late morning or after work are when your body craves snacks, and the sudden availability of food enables us to binge, binge, binge.
Stress is making us angry, hungry, and nutritionally dangerous to our own bodies.
So, let’s look at some solutions…
TOP 5 GUT FIXES TO IMPROVE MOOD
#1 – CHEW YOUR FOOD.
Enjoy your food!
Savor each bite.
Realize that it is NOT scarce.
There is NO famine.
And it is deeeeeelicious!
By really chewing and breaking down the food, you will be aiding your digestive system to do its job.
I know, it sounds ridiculous. But try it and tell me you don’t notice a difference in your digestive issues and your overall outlook towards eating.
#2 – AVOID SIMPLE CARBS.
Skip the doughnuts, bagels, bars, and easy-to-snack-on items.
Choose fruit, antioxidant-rich berries, nuts, and green veggies.
Go for protein that will sustain you through the day.
Carbs = sugar.
Remember! They set you up for those mid-day crashes.
#3 – AVOID REFINED SUGARS & PROCESSED FOODS.
Skip the vending machine candy bar or the handful of chocolate candies.
Find yourself a real snack.
Screaming highs and bursts of energy are only momentary – be ready to crash low.
And don’t fall into the trap of sustaining the high with more sugar or added caffeine.
Whole foods. Plant-based options. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient list, don’t eat it.
#4 – TRACK YOUR FOODS.
I know it sounds crazy, but do you really know what you are eating?
I love the Lose It! App, which works even if you aren’t trying to shed pounds. It helps you to balance your macronutrients – proteins, healthy fats, and carbs.
Try it for a week and see if you can find a pattern between what you eat, when you eat it, and your emotional outlook throughout the day.
Then tweak it.
You won’t be sorry!
#5 – SUPPORT YOUR GUT WITH HEALING SUPPLEMENTS
Reducing inflammation, optimizing absorption, and keeping yourself “moving” (if you know what I mean) are all SO important, and supplements can be great tools to make it easy on yourself!
A quality probiotic and digestive enzyme can help restore your gut flora and make sure you can really break down the foods you’re eating.
I also have a custom-formulated Gut Restore supplement that I created just for this very thing!
It has key nutrients your gut needs to reduce inflammation, stop leaky gut, keep digestion moving, and make sure you’re really absorbing all you can get from your food and other supplements.
You may think it’s odd to take a gut supplement because you’re feeling stressed, but there is no better reason to! The stress and gut issues go hand-in-hand, and fixing one can solve the other.
BONUS! #6 – BRIDGE THE GAP WITH HIGH-QUALITY ESSENTIAL OILS.
Kill the stress by creating the calm.
Aromatherapy soothes the mind and body, but embarrassing digestive issues often need quick relief while we work to reset our systems.
Too much coming out…
Not enough coming out…
We’re getting real here now!
Relax your intestines and abdominal muscles with the power of essential oils.
Best Go-To Essential Oils for Digestive Demons
Peppermint – alleviates occasional stomach discomfort and soothes digestive muscles
Ginger – eases occasional nausea and digestive discomfort; reduces bloating, gas, & indigestion
Cardamom – provides relief from digestive upset; great for all ages
Clove – promotes healthy digestion
Fennel – supports healthy digestion and discomfort
All of these oils can be applied topically around the belly button, on the abdomen, or directly on the area of discomfort. Be sure to dilute with a carrier oil like coconut oil if the tingling, cooling, or warming effects from these oils cause you discomfort. If you are looking for some more details on these oils, check out my blog Top 5 Essential Oils for Gut Health.
BONUS – BELLY BLISS ROLLERBALL BLEND
One amazing way to nix the belly woes is to carry your own personal fix. This blend has saved me many a time, and will definitely help you out as well for occasional issues.
10 drops Ginger essential oil
10 drops Fennel essential oil
6 drops Peppermint or Spearmint essential oil
25 drops dōTERRA DigestZen° Digestive Blend
Carrier oil of choice
Add essential oils to 10 mL rollerball bottle and top off blend with a carrier oil of choice. Apply directly to the abdomen or area of concern.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Take a step back and really examine what is making up your overall health.
What is making your system out of whack?
Your gut will thank you in the end!