It's time for another "episode" of The Care, your biweekly (every other week) dose of health and wellness information and commentary by yours truly. This week I am all fired up about the direction that my wellness coaching is taking me. I feel like I've found something that puts together all the pieces of healthcare that can guide us toward optimal fitness on many levels. The research is fascinating and I love how it can create a true partnership between us and our providers. Instead of giving all our power to doctors and being at their mercy, we can take an active role in being well and getting better.
I'm starting a course of study toward certification in functional medicine. What the heck is that, you ask? The Institute of Functional Medicine (www.ifm.org) describes it as a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. It's individualized (I love this since we're all different and one size does not fit all!), patient- centered, and science-based.
The gut microbiome (which I've mentioned before) is one area that is looked at carefully. There's around 1,000 species of bacteria in our gut -- many are extremely important to our good health and some could cause disease if we get out of balance. What we eat can have a profound effect on that equilibrium. Unfortunately, it's hard to know which foods actually "feed" us since we've been fed (pun intended) false information about what is actually, truly edible and nourishing. We've been led down a path full of processed, sugar-laden items that not only do not support the beneficial microbes, but can kill them off while supporting the "bad" microorganisms. The question to ask is,
"Does the food you love, love you back?"
Some signs to look out for include the need to take antacids on a daily basis, often feeling bloated, diarrhea or constipation, decreased energy, lowered immunity, and the development of allergies. Some foods might be beneficial across the board like a wide variety of whole plant foods, fermented foods like sauerkraut, and prebiotic foods like onions and garlic. At the same time, it's important to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners as well as synthesized or processed foods. However, since everyone is different and unique, in order to get a clearer picture, based on the individual, a functional medicine practitioner might run certain tests like, hormone level assessment, adrenal stress index, digestive function, and heavy metal evaluation.
Cravings are a sign and symptom of eating foods that don't really support our nourishment. Our body's not getting what it needs, so the brain tells us we might have to have more. A more accurate message would be to find something wholesome to satisfy our body's requirements.
It could be fun to explore the idea of food in a new way and as always, be care-full.
If you're tired of FLC (Feeling Like Crap), but it feels too confusing with all the information out there, a short conversation with me will give you 3 things you can start doing now. Contact me!
Happy Healthy Habit Hump Day!