About 6 months ago I found myself struggling through my everyday more than ever before... and no, not just because it was winter. I was exhausted, stressed out, the very definition of low libido, dealing with mood swings, low appetite, and this thick mental fog. I assumed it was hormonal imbalances, so I started looking into how to support hormonal balances naturally. You see, I had tried a few things in the past and noticed small improvements but they didn't seem to last, so I needed to get to the root of the problem. After starting to dive into food related research, I began to wonder if my diet was the root cause of all these issues I keep finding myself having. Now, in hindsight, I know that a whole life lived off of peanut butter and sweet snacks can add up to some serious undernourishment and adrenal fatigue.
Yes- apparently what you nourish (or don't nourish) your body with affects A LOT of things. I realized after reading many articles, books, and listening to many podcasts that my diet was just about as inflammatory and hard to digest as you could get- and I was eating pretty "healthy"! I tried to focus my diet to be mostly plant based, I was avoiding dairy when possible (except for the occasional latte or cheesy delicious dinner) and I was opting for lots and lots of nut products as my main protein source. I thought my biggest problems with my diet is my incessant sweet tooth that demanded a cookie daily, but I was so so wrong. I was viewing food as a means to fighting hunger, not as a means to nourish, energize and strengthen my body.
I was viewing food as a means to fighting hunger, not as a means to nourish, energize and strengthen my body.
Who remembers learning about ATPs (Adenosine triphosphate molecules) in high school biology? To really really simplify it, ATP is a molecule that basically is "energy currency" within the body of every living thing. ATP converts into ADP and boom- energy is released so that cellular activity can take place in our bodies. All cell activity within us is made possible by ATP. But how does our body generate ATP? Oh yea! THAT'S why we need to eat; to provide our body with sufficient nutrients so that it can be metabolized at the nuclear level and produce ATP which provides our cells with energy and ability to function- I must have forgotten.
All passive aggression toward the culture I was raised in aside- what we eat is really really vital because it makes or breaks the ways our bodies function. The three main energy producing nutrients that our bodies need are carbohydrates, protein, and fats. An article I read recently sums it up super well, "Optimal energy metabolism requires getting sufficient nutrients from our foods, otherwise our energy metabolism underperforms and we feel tired and sluggish." Tired and sluggish was my norm, and now I understand why! I thought restricting carbs, proteins and fats was the key to health. After all, aren't we supposed to pound down plant based products to be healthy?
So I realized, I am NOT supporting healthy metabolic function in my body and have been basically operating off of stress hormones! No wonder I am tired all the time, stressed out, and craving a big glass of milk and a cookie. But also I understood that I, as a young mama and a business owner, don't frankly have the time or energy to make diet specific, elaborate meals that nourish my body. So how was I supposed to move forward?
Cue the next round of research, pro metabolic eating. Basically it's not a diet, nor is it really an eating guideline full of complicated unattainable recipes, it simply is a movement of people realizing the same thing I have... is that we are way way off when it comes to nourishment.
Nourishment isn't about following a 30 day diet to reset then binging once it's over, or starving yourself in timed intervals for the sake of losing weight, or about following strict rules to keep your body in a state of deprivation so that your body adapts a different way of functioning that drops the weight off fast. None of those sound nourishing or even fun, yet we do them all in the sake of health.
Pro metabolic eating is really just what it sounds like, eating foods that support your metabolism and nourish your body to promote healthy body function. This isn't even as complicated as it sounds either, there is no list of dos and don'ts, theres no list of good food and bad food, it's all about eating REAL food and recognizing & honoring our bodies cravings. (Unfortunately milano cookies and peanut butter pretzel bites aren't real food that nourishes my body, my previous go to lunch is out the window now.)
No but seriously, our bodies are way better off if we eat high quality meat and dairy products, easy to digest fruits and root veggies, and homemade grains that aren't packed full of manmade oils and stabilizers. Also we don't give enough credit to our cravings, and the power of foods. Real foods all have a purpose, they all have something they contribute to our health.
Like I mentioned above, I frequently struggle with mental fog, low libido, anxiety and the like. Many of these issues are accredited to simply not feeding my body. Our bodies needs real food to produce ATP and neurotransmitters that are the key molecules in human functioning and flourishing.
So I did some research into which foods help my body produce the appropriate vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to encourage healthy neurotransmitter function. Neurotransmitters are the molecules that tell our body how to feel, what to do, what to remember etc. If these aren't functioning properly, our mind is all out of whack.. again putting it simply, feel free to do more research, as it's really fascinating! Or, put more eloquently,
Deficiencies or dietary inadequacies can contribute to imbalances that manifest in ways that significantly impact quality of life and psychological well being. Quote from page 12 of Happy Healthy Brain by Michelle Babb
The specific foods that a person needs to sustain their lifestyle really varies from person to person, but what we all have in common is we all need real foods, and we need them often.
This is where I am on this healing journey, making those swaps in my diet from highly processed to REAL foods and when I feel something out of whack in my body adjusting my diet to support that need. I am beginning to honor my cravings, instead of looking at hunger and desire as the enemy. I am eating more- a lot more, and I am feeling so much better. About 2 months ago we switched to grass fed meats and dairy products, started eliminating polyunsaturated fats, started eating more homemade grains and eating tons of fruit. Since then I have found my mojo coming back, my husband hasn't been struggling with his digestive problems anymore, our daughter has been happier; and honestly I have been too- I think we were all hangry at the very least.
So why is this blog post on the blog of a coffee cart business? Well put simply, as a business we don't want to further the cycle of consuming highly processed, cheap food products for the sake of saving a buck or two. We use organic grass fed dairy, ethically sourced coffee, homemade lavender syrup with raw honey, organic small batch syrups made with pure cane sugar, and real ingredients for our other special drinks. We know these are small small changes in the scheme of a large large coffee industry... but we know lots of small changes, amount to big change. We also know that we are serving products we feel good about and that aren't harmful to our customers or the environment.
Now, let's keep asking questions about what we are consuming, keep making small changes, keep supporting local farmers and businesses, and most importantly... let's nourish the bodies we have been given so we can continue to do the things we love.
A COUPLE OF HELPFUL RESOURCES:
The Freely Rooted Podcast
Kori Meloy and Fallon Dae on Instagram
SHE by Jordan Lee Dooley Podcast
Your local co-op or farmers market