By Dietitian Jill Place AKA The Good Gut Queen
Healing can be as simple or complicated as you make it. It’s also an “inside job” … which means that it has to come from inside YOU … no matter how many coaches or experts you hire.
YOU have to want it … sometimes … more than anything else. At the very least, you have to make it a priority. So you might want to ask yourself …
What are the most important things in my life? Grab your journal or a ream of paper. Write them quickly … DON’T THINK! A favorite pen (mine are these colored fountain pens I get on Amazon) wouldn’t hurt either …
Once you’re finished with your list, read it over. If “health” or “my well-being” or something similar to that isn’t in the top three … FORGET ABOUT IT! You’re not ready to walk that path.
And that’s OK. If you weren’t today you might be tomorrow. Or an overwhelming urge may rise in your chest … aching to be acknowledged.
If healing is your passion (and pleasure) … realize that it’s not only an inside job. But it’s also a total body, mind, AND spirit makeover. They’re indelibly intertwined.
For example, you can’t heal your gut without healing your stress. As stress causes as much leaky gut as poor diet.
And you can’t heal your stress without practicing some sort of breathing, meditation, or mindfulness. Which reconnects you with both your body and your spirituality.
So how do we do all this? Slowly. And what are some beginning steps toward total healing? Well …
Step ONE: Start the Day with Lemon Water
I do it every day … and trumpet its benefits in my Good Gut Group (I’d encourage you to join by clicking the name if you’re on a health-finding journey. Because, as Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine said, “Disease Begins in the Gut”)
Because drinking lemon water has so many benefits … and here are some of them. See if any of them strikes your fancy (because then you might want to incorporate lemon water as a ritual into your healing path).
First, lemon water balances your pH. Healthy bodies are internally alkaline … and drinking water with a hunk of squeezed lemon in the morning can raise (alkalinize) the pH of your body, promoting healthy cell function and structure and creating a less hospitable environment for bacteria and viruses (which is what leaks your gut).
Also, it aids in digestion, liver, brain, and immune health, and weight loss among many other things. I also stopped drinking coffee when I started the day with lemon water. Good things, huh?
Step TWO: BREATHE!
I now work part-time in a psych hospital. And it pains me to see 8-year-olds with histories of suicide attempts. But they show up more and more there.
The other day, I talked to an obese teen with an overeating disorder. She talked about being so anxious that she not only ate everything in sight. But it made her “mad”. I find that these teens have a very difficult time differentiating emotions.
As an actress, I found that I had many emotions at the same time … and that it was normal. Read Feelin’ Groovy … and Apprehensive … and Annoyed … if you don’t believe me. Whatever she was feeling, it needed calming.
So I ran her through a simple mindfulness breathing exercise. And she said she hadn’t felt that good in years … all from just breathing for five minutes! Breathing instantly changes you from a sympathetic … “fight or flight” response to a parasympathetic … “rest and digest” one.
Yes … rest and DIGEST. If you’re stressed these days (and who isn’t with our whizzy-busy lifestyles), you’re almost always in “fight or flight”. Which means that the body draws energy away from the gut to the muscles for an easy get-away.
That’s one of the reasons why most of us are maldigesting. If you’re eating on-the-fly, stressed out, or upset when you eat … forget about doing well with your digestion.
Breathing can change all that. So when you get your food, take a few moments to notice your breathing … then slow it down. I’ve done a whole series called Micro-Mindfuls … sequential snippets of mindfulness that can train you to “rest and digest”. Click here for the whole series.
Step THREE: Eat REAL Food
If you downloaded The Heal Your Gut Diet and can’t figure out how to do it … or have tried it and it’s just too much, make this adjustment instead. Don’t buy anything else with a label or ingredients you can’t pronounce. And switch to plain old good food.
Eating food-like highly processed stuff can make you sick … I guarantee it! And the switch to the following can not only heal you from the inside … it can heal your insides.
Get good organic cuts of meat, poultry, and fish. And lots of organic fruits and veggies. Guess what … none of those have labels.
I wrote a whole series of articles on health self-experiments. But you don’t even have to go there. Just pick a certain amount of days, plan your meals, buy the food, and GO FOR IT!
But if a sudden-switch still seems too hard to handle, just make a few small changes … like eating one of these … organic meats, alternative milks and other dairy products, or nothing with added sugar. Or make a change sometimes … you can make that your experiment too.
Whatever you do, get on the path to real food. After all, we’ve been eating it for tens of thousands of years.
And it’s only in the last 50 or so that food got so manipulated and adulterated. If you think your body likes that kind of stuff, you’re sadly mistaken.
Step FOUR: Take Time to Plan Your Day in Your Head
OK … I admit it … I LOVED the films (and books) “The Secret” and “What the Bleep Do We Know”. A few of their practices have resonated with me … and I’ve made them part of my daily routine.
One is to plan my day BEFORE I get out of bed. My guided imagery (yes … close your eyes and get comfortable … knowing the bed is supporting you and your vision) goes something like this …
I’m taking some time to plan my day. Let me visualize it in my head. .And then set an intention/vision for it. What do I want to do and feel by the end of the day. WOW … I feel the feeling now.
Hmm … as I go about my day, I see it as a blessing … I am so grateful for being alive and every moment of what I do and who I interact with is in agreement with my vision.
And know that I’m powerfully creating my day and intentionally creating the way I want it to go. Rather than getting out of bed and letting the day take control of me.
I now ask the Universe to send me a sign… a sign that it approves and encourages my vision …
I spend a few minutes doing this. But be advised that the visualizing and stirred-up feelings are different each day, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t see or feel stuff. Even me … with thirty years of acting training and coaching behind me … can’t every time.
Then I take advice from spiritual guru James Ray and get out of bed this way. When my first foot hits the floor, I say “Thank” and the second … “You”. This little practice sets you up to feel feelings of gratitude the entire day.
Step FIVE: Stick TO IT!
If you want to attract healing into your life, make sure that your actions aren’t in conflict with your vision. One of the things I hear the most often from people in conflict with food is, “I have a problem with (name of food or something to do with eating)”.
Hey … I know that it’s tough to change what you do with food … let alone other beliefs and daily rituals. But, as Rhonda Byrne said in “The Secret”, “Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity’s ills …”.
So choose something to do TODAY to make healing an inside. job. It could be something as small as have a salad meal three days this week.
Or just breathing and looking at your food for a moment before you eat it. If you do this every meal I guarantee it that you’ll lose weight. The side benefit … you’ll like your food a whole lot more.
Perhaps sticking to something for even a short time will break the chains of doubt and failure you’ve had with change before. Won’t you just try it? It could change your life.