Life is packed with two young kids, a farm stand, a wonderful community that I’m able to offer a weekly box of vegetables to and an expanding health coaching business. Modern conveniences have made my life comfortable and easier to flow. But modern convenience food seems to be breaking us down. Does it have to come at such a cost to our overall health? I’ve found there to be something meditative about preparing your own food. A ritual of sorts getting all your produce home and prepped for the week ahead. A sense of gratitude when you and your loved ones eat nourishing food and how this perpetuates health and wellness into all aspects of your life with more energy and vitality. I’d like to connect eating healthier to deeper meaning.
Does all disease begin in the gut? Research from the last few decades suggests it’s very plausible. Even before the Greek physician Hippocrates was thought to have said that all diseases begin in the gut, traditional Chinese and Indian medicine has supported this belief. Western medicine has separated the human body into different organs and systems for specialists like cardiologists, gastroenterologists, gynecologists etc. We’re not recognizing the body as a whole anymore and trying to treat each system in isolation. Our gut is connected to our brain via the gut brain axis and it can get thrown off with things like inflammation in our body. Our gut flora contains over 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms. Our flora is heavily involved in the digestion process and nutrition. Gut microbiota help break down our food into smaller molecules and in response create different nutrients that we need to survive. It appears that we’re not actually feeding our body, but all these bacteria that inhabit us and in return send signals to our body to help perform different functions.
So how can we use this information to improve our health? Regular exercise, managing stress and good sleep also improve the gut flora. You wouldn’t believe the impact stress has on the gut-brain axis and your overall health. Eating a varied diet of nutrient rich food is also a huge key factor. Taking time each week to prep my farm produce makes it easily accessible when I want to make a meal. Preparing meals that include leftovers helps me cook once and eat twice. Picking out a few seasonal recipes that get me excited to work with local seasonal produce keeps me interested in continuing these habits. Shop at your local farmers markets or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to maximize your money with freshly picked, seasonal produce.