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Nourish Your Mind

Do you ever think about the influence your daily meals wield over your mood and mental health? It’s fascinating to realize that one of the most powerful tools for well-being can be found right on our plates. 

Daily sustenance isn't merely fuel for the body; it's a gateway to a mental vitality. 

At the same time I was training to become a life coach, I decided to enroll in a Holistic Nutritionist course. Because, why not? It wasn't that I was interested in pursuing a career as a health coach or practitioner. Rather, I was driven by pure curiosity, intuition, and a genuine desire to equip myself with a comprehensive holistic perspective—one that aligned with my own lifestyle choices and aimed to address root causes through a wide range of approaches and experiences. What I didn’t anticipate were the changes to my personal habits, an improvement in quality decision making, and a strengthened mind-body connection.



To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. - Buddha


Holistic Nutrition & Mental Well-Being


The idea that maintaining a healthy body is a duty, as it paves the way for a strong and clear mind, carries a message of timeless wisdom; nurturing your body for the sake of our mind. The interplay between body and mental strength can be fortified through developing regular practices and habits, like self-care, nutrition, movement, and mindfulness, bringing us back into balance. Building on the foundation of nurturing our bodies for mental clarity, holistic nutrition encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of health. At its core, it’s about the mind-body connection, the complex link between mental and emotional states and physical health. 


I grew up watching 90s infomercials, which ingrained in me the notion that the word ‘diet’ immediately conjures thoughts of food restriction, calorie counting, and all the bizarre fads of our millennial generation. However, exploring holistic nutrition has totally reshaped my understanding. It now involves foods abundant in essential nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. As well as an awareness of concepts like mindful eating and making choices that reflect the seasons and local environment. This balanced approach not only bolsters our immune system but also fosters mental clarity and emotional resilience. 



You are what you eat. When it comes to your mental health, that saying might be truer than you think. Our brains are impressive organs that require the right fuel. What we eat directly affects brain function and mental health. For example, omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds are brain-boosting powerhouses. They support cognitive function, memory, and mood regulation. While antioxidants, found in colorful fruits and vegetables, protect our brain cells from oxidative stress, a.k.a. damage caused by harmful molecules in our bodies. What we eat can either boost our mental functions or leave our brains running on empty. 


Your Second Brain

The gut, often referred to as the 'second brain,' plays a huge role in regulating mood, emotions, and decision-making. It has its own network of nerves, called the enteric nervous system, which talks back and forth with the main nervous system in your body. Chemicals called neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, made in the gut, affect how you feel and think. Picture your gut microbiome as a lively community of tiny microorganisms living in your digestive tract, whose health is linked to your mood and emotions. It's no wonder that what you eat deeply influences this small yet powerful world. The rise of gut health supplements reflects a huge wellness trend in recent years – who hasn't sampled kombucha at least once, right? And let's not forget the eye-catching packaging! Probiotics, too, have gained immense popularity, thanks to influencer endorsements and sponsored ads popping up the moment we utter the word 'probiotic' near our phones.


And you know what? It's fantastic. Taking a step back, from a completely esoteric perspective, Human Design suggests that about 34% of the population possess a 'sacral authority,' meaning decisions are guided by gut responses. But what happens when your gut is so out of balance that you’re disconnected from its messaging? While supplements can be incredible sources of nutrients, an even simpler and perhaps more affordable approach could involve adding a variety of fiber-rich foods, diverse plant-based options, and those infused with probiotics. All of which contribute to the cultivation of a healthy gut microbiome, ultimately reconnecting you to its vital messaging and supporting mental resilience.


Food, Mood, and Harmony 

In the grand scheme of things, it's not just about specific nutrients or gut health alone. It's about balance. Think about it: after a hearty, well-balanced meal, you might feel content and emotionally stable. On the flip side, a sugar-loaded snack can send your mood on a turbulent rollercoaster ride. A well-balanced diet is like an emotional stabilizer. It prevents mood swings, supports emotional resilience, and keeps your mind in a state of equilibrium. What you put on your plate isn't just about satisfying your taste buds; it's about nourishing your brain, balancing your mood, and promoting a healthier emotional landscape. 


Let’s look at the transformative potential of a diet that nurtures both brain health and emotional well-being: 


  • Nutrient-Rich Foods: Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like: fatty fish, nuts, and seeds) and antioxidants (found in colorful fruits and vegetables) to support brain function and protect against oxidative stress.

  • Gut Health Matters: Recognize the gut as the 'second brain,' with its own network of nerves and neurotransmitters that influence mood and decision-making. Nourish your gut microbiome with fiber-rich foods, plant-based options, and probiotics for mental resilience.

  • Holistic Self-Care: Embrace holistic practices beyond nutrition, including mindfulness, movement, and meaningful connections, for overall well-being and emotional balance.


 

Practical tips to help you take baby steps towards a more nourished mind and body:

Mindful Eating

On with your next meal, focus on savoring each bite, paying attention to the taste, texture, and scent of your food. Chew slowly and pause between bites to check in with your hunger and fullness cues. Maybe your mind wanders to thoughts of where your food was made, the work that went into it, gratitude. Can you do this once a day? 

Nutrient-Rich Foods

Gut Health

Self-Care

Balanced Diet

Small Steps


It’s also important to note: 


  • Self-care is not a luxury but a loving investment in our mental and emotional health.

  • Prioritize your well-being by making mindful choices and including self-care rituals into your daily life.

  • Your experience of holistic well-being is unique—experiment and uncover what works best for you and take each step with intention and reverence.


In the end, self-care isn't just about pampering your body; it's about nurturing your mind and soul, too. By making thoughtful, nutrition-driven choices and combining them with mindfulness practices, you're creating holistic self-care habits that ensure you're nourishing your entire being—body, mind, and soul. Prioritizing mental health alongside physical well-being is essential to overall wellness. Let’s reframe self-care to include feeding not only your body but also supporting your mental and emotional strength. 


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