Your Gut and Your Mind Work Together

An important part of my approach in working with my clients to help them to reduce their stress levels is teaching them about their mind-body connection.  When you think about something stressful you get that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, or when you have to make a decision you are often asked “What is your gut feeling about it?”

Your gut and your mind are connected so they affect each other.  Did you know that your gut is known as the second brain?  This is because your gastro-intestinal tract makes over 90% of your body’s serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and more).  We are 99% bacteria, so maintaining the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria forms the foundation for good health—physical, mental and emotional.  If your microbiome – made up of a hundred trillion bacteria – is out of balance, you are likely to end up anxious and/or depressed, suffering from fatigue, poor memory and brain fog.

Your beneficial gut bacteria are easily disturbed and affected by stress.  Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), contraceptive pills, toxins and chemicals taken in through our food, drink, and other environmental influences all damage the composition of our gut flora.  The proliferation of good bacteria in our microbiome helps us to restore good gut health and heal symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, headaches, acne, eczema, colds, infections, joint and muscle pain.  If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health by making your own probiotic-rich fermented veggies (kimchi) and microbial-rich cultured milk (kefir) and incorporate them into your daily diet.  Below is some more information on how you can easily do this.

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Kimchi (cultured vegetables)

In Korea kimchi is the national dish.  These cultured vegetables are loaded with beneficial bacteria that clean up your intestines, aid digestion, eliminate toxins, control sugar cravings and restore and maintain a healthy inner ecosystem.

It’s easy and cheap to make your own probiotic-rich fermented veggies at home in just three simple steps: chop, salt, and wait.

Ingredients

800 grams of Organic cabbage and carrots shredded

12 grams Himalayan pink salt and some chilli or mustard seeds (optional)

 

Preparation

  • In a large bowl combine the salt, shredded cabbage and carrot.  Mix well with your hands.
  • Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until you begin to notice the salt drawing the liquid out of the veggies. Once you notice a layer of water in the bottom of the bowl, you can spoon this mixture into a jar. Use an airtight container that seals with a rubber or plastic ring and a clamp-down lid.
  • Tightly pack the mixture into the jar, push it down with your fist or the back of a wooden spoon, so that it is just covered with its own brine and leave a 2 inch gap at the top of the jar. Top up with water if necessary.
  • Seal the jar and allow it to ferment for 2 weeks. In the summer the veggies may culture faster so you can begin tasting after 4-6 days – it is done when it tastes sour like sauerkraut, rather than salty.
  • Then refrigerate and it will last in the fridge for months.

 

Just a spoonful a day is more powerful than a whole bottle of probiotic supplements!

 

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Kefir in Turkish means to “feel good”

Kefir is cultured milk that is a microbial-rich food that helps to restore your body’s inner ecology.  It can be made from any type of fresh milk and once cultured, it has a more tart taste and the finished product is thicker like drinking yoghurt.

Kefir is an excellent source of vitamin B-12 and tryptophan (an essential amino acid) which combined with the calcium and magnesium calms your nervous system.  The body converts tryptophan into serotonin (the brain chemical linked to mood) and balanced serotonin levels can induce sleep, prevent waking during the night, cure constipation and depression.  Kefir is also rich in vitamin B-1 (thiamine) which is known as the “morale vitamin” because of its beneficial effects on the nervous system and on mental attitude.

To Make Kefir

  • Buy the freeze dried starter cultures made from kefir grains from your local wholefoods or health shop. Each sachet makes 1 litre of kefir.
  • You can use any choice of fresh milk – cows, goats, lacto-free or soya. You can also make fizzy kefir with coconut water or grape juice.
  • Slowly add the milk to the sachet to form a smooth paste and gradually add the rest of the milk stirring very well for a few minutes (I prefer to use my electric mixer).
  • Pour this mixture back into the milk bottle or any other 1 litre container.
  • Let it sit at room temperature for around 12 hours or more until the mixture thickens like yoghurt. You’ll know the kefir is set when you can stand a toothpick up in it.
  • Refrigerate for around 6 hours and drink chilled. Once you’ve poured yourself a glass stir it gently to give a smoother consistency.
  • Consume within 4 days. Make a fresh batch every few days.

You can also buy kefir from your local health shop or order it from Abel and Cole in the UK.

Taking the time to commit to creating good health for yourself by rebuilding your gut health is a vital part of your self-care.  The more you take care of yourself, the more you come back into balance.

Take good care

Caroline x

 

 

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10 Questions You Need To Ask

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If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

Here are 10 thought provoking questions you can ask yourself as you approach the end of the year.

  1. What one thing have I not done that I really want to do and what’s holding me back?
  2. At what time in my recent past have I felt most passionate and alive?
  3. Where have I been forcing myself to heal faster than what feels right?
  4. What would I do differently if I knew nobody would judge me?
  5. What have I learnt from my mistakes?
  6. What signs have I been misinterpreting or ignoring?
  7. How have I been cheating on my future by thinking thoughts of my past?
  8. Where have I been focusing too much on the outcome?
  9. How is life asking me to grow right now and what am I committed to changing?
  10. What can I do with my current limitations?

 

Sometimes just asking the right question is the answer.

I wish you a very peaceful and restful festive season.

Caroline x

 

Posted in Meditation, Mind, Mind, Body & Soul, Positive Thinking, Self-Care, Self-Esteem, Stress Relief, Wellbeing | Leave a comment

How to Find More Time for Yourself

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How much time do you spend doing what you feel you have to do, and not enough time doing what you want to do?

The feeling of not having enough quality time to pursue activities that you enjoy can leave you feeling stressed and unhappy.

The ability to find enough time for leisure activities, time alone, and simple do-nothing time is vital for resting, restoring and maintaining wellbeing. In fact the more stressed you are, the more you need that down time.

Women in particular wear many hats in one day and most of us who are still sane have realized that we can’t do it all, however that doesn’t mean that it all can’t get done!

If you would like to feel more balanced and increase your level of happiness here are a few steps you can take to make the necessary changes to find more time for a life that reflects what you’d really like to be doing.

Delegate …

As a recovering perfectionist this doesn’t always come easily, especially if you like things done a certain way or decide that instead of nagging, it may just be easier to do it yourself. In order to allow others to help, you may have to relax your standards of perfection a little when it comes to their performance.  Make a list of responsibilities that you have at home or at work that could be delegated to assistants, family members, or others.  Who could you hire to help with tasks that really drain you, so that you have enough extra time and energy for doing the things you really enjoy?

Simplify …

Choose to take shortcuts if the end result is still adequate. For example, using pre-cut vegetables to make dinner, or buying shop-bought cupcakes for the school or office party? Decide to live by the 80-20 rule where you identify the 20% of work that yields 80% of the results.  This will give you more time to focus on what’s important to you. Making small changes like setting up automatic payments for bills or doing on-line grocery shopping can simplify your life and save time in your daily routine.

Decide …

Due to the limited number of hours in a day, each activity that you choose to do will eliminate another activity along the way. In other words when you say ‘yes’ to something, what you are actually saying is ‘no’ to something else.  To help you to decide what is more important, before you say ‘yes’ to something ask yourself if there is something else that you would rather be doing that would benefit your general wellbeing. Would you get more out of attending an exercise class than watching television? Would you rather spend quality time with your family than doing a favour for an acquaintance? How much time do you spend on social media out of habit and what would you rather do?

Before you take on any new responsibilities, think carefully about how these activities will impact your life, both in a positive and negative way. Also think about your motivations for saying ‘yes’. Understand that you do not have limitless time in your schedule for everyone else and that you and your self-care are important too.

Learning to say ‘no’ becomes much easier with practice, and when you know how to say no gracefully it becomes even easier.

Awareness and a change in habits can produce some extra time that can be used in more helpful ways. Answering these key questions is a powerful way to cultivate more self-awareness and happiness.

What new patterns and habits can I invite into my life?

What commitments to myself can I honour?

Where can I ask for help?

What can I remove from my life?

Where in my life do I feel forced to take action?

In what ways can I be kinder to myself?

What does my ideal life look and feel like?

What have I denied myself that I really want?

What have I stopped doing that I want to start again?

I can help you with stress management as well as time management, goal setting and other key areas of change to help you to lead a more balanced life that reflects your personal values and priorities. For a free 15 minute consultation please call me Tel: 07796-378430.

Caroline x

Posted in Mind, Body & Soul, Positive Thinking, Self-Care, Self-Esteem, Stress Relief, Wellbeing | Leave a comment