Nourishing Our Minds

With the recent wildfires occurring literally right out our doorstep in Southern California, it would be easy to slip into old patterns of a ‘what if’ mentality.

One of the most important reasons I opted to learn to meditate a few years ago was to manage anxiety.

I’m far from being an expert in this space, but just having begun a regular practice and seeing how many times, and in how many different types of situations it’s proven time and time again to be invaluable, it’s something I cannot recommend highly enough.

Case in point: not falling into a frenetic frenzy when fires were burning in the very trails we hike on every week and having to evacuate at 5am with some basics.

As recently as five years ago, staying calm in this setting would not have happened.

Creating calm isn’t only something we might opt to do in order to enable ourselves to be ready for a real emergency, but to keep our minds at ease so our bodies don’t react to non emergencies by diving right into a fight or flight mentality.

We can train our brains to do anything – be it falling into a space of anxiety when it’s really not serving us or, on the flip side, training them to remain at peace even when the world around may be burning.

So how does this translate to nutrition coaching?

Easy:  my work with client is far from being what one might expect when working with a by the book nutritionist, and certainly delves into a much deeper level than an education on what foods are paleo, or keto or what creates optimal gut health.

As part of my high performance living (HPL) practice, one of the four pillars I work on with coaching clients is rest and recovery.

Without this component as part of a solid foundation, even the most pristine eating plan might fall by the wayside;   not being connected with sound mind and body actually prevents us from properly being able to digest our food, breakdown our macronutrients and assimilate our micronutrients.

It also keeps us from sleeping properly and as a result, from performing optimally on a day to day basis, be it as an executive, a mom or an athlete.

It used to be the case that I’d never want to share my own story about how anxious I truly used to get.    As if somehow by doing so, I’d be less of a role model to my clients or by showing my spots I’d seem less professional.

I now see that being transparent, honest and, in keeping with Brene Brown’s work, showing vulnerability, is actually the very thing that would likely make any coach appeal to others who are on a similar path… and there are so many of us!

If we don’t start talking about things that are uncomfortable, we’ll never move past them and grow.

It’s not that different from how vocal I’ve become about other topics, from encouraging moms to be to learn about the health of their pelvic floor, to speaking openly with clients about bathroom habits; these are but two examples of subjects we’re shy to broach, are far from being too much information and are actually quite important to discuss.

Given the fact that close to 90% of Americans are now facing some degree of leaky gut and / or inflammatory related conditions, it behooves us to address all of the factors that contribute to its development.

And it’s not just eating inflammatory foods; it’s living in a high stress / fight or flight environment.

Feeling like meditation is something that’s ‘not for you’ or that you just don’t have the time?

I did, too.

I must have tried to meditate on and off for a good two decades before I actually created a practice. 

What finally worked for me was to first integrate a five minute breath work then a guided imagery practice, then finally, TM (Transcendental Meditation).

I don’t always do it twice per day and now, as a mom of an infant, sometimes I don’t even get in more than a single 10 minute session.

And I don’t beat myself up about it.

Whether you choose TM or breath work, Vedic meditation or one of the many other options you have at your disposal, the single most important thing is to do something, regardless of how short it may be, to allow yourself to get into that Alpha brain wave state of relaxation and rejuvenation for your mind.

Take it from someone who thought for years that just going for a run would do the trick; running is meditative, indeed, but meditative and meditation are two very different things.

I am grateful beyond words that I learned this years before becoming a mom, and there’s no better compliment than when a client in my HPL practice or a customer at the farmer’s market compliments my son on how calm he is.

When we consider that by meditating, we can create so much healing and health on a very fundamental level, there’s no reason not to give it a try.

Perhaps you’re already there and have been doing it for years.

Or maybe you’re like me- a late learned who needed some coaching along the way.

It doesn’t matter; what we have is now and there’s no need to consider should have / would have / could have.

Now’s the time… and now is perfect.