After having my own experience with depression just under a year ago, it’s exactly this connection that I began to explore further. As a nutritionist, we are taught what foods are supportive to health, and which supplements to use for which imbalance. But, what if we can look at things from a different perspective? What if we look at the emotions which are creating the poor digestion, the cravings for sugar, coffee, chocolate or fast food? If we can eliminate the negative emotions and thought patters, we can create a clean slate for feeling like we deserve to eat healthy and that we love and appreciate ourselves enough to take the steps towards achieving optimal health.
The idea of letting go is something I often think about as we transition into a new season. This case, we have transitioned from a dry, hot summer to a chilly, damp fall. On an individual level, we don’t always acknowledge how we change and shift on a daily basis. It’s not until we observe what has come into our lives, or what we’ve had to let go of that we can get a clearer picture of how much has shifted or transformed. This isn’t about digging up the past, but when we observe without judgement, it’s easier to get a clear picture of how we are truly feeling. We can see how well we have been nourishing ourselves, both nutritionally and emotionally. When we observe and let go, it gives us the chance to recreate our lives.
My biggest thanks to everyone who came out to Rawstock Niagara this past weekend – it was such a great turn out! Niagara is often seen as a sleepy little community, but yesterday the community was rocking! It was amazing to see such a diverse community of raw-foodies, yogi’s, eco-kiddies and those just full of curiosity. Lots of locals came by in support of the festival, but many also trekked down from Toronto and from across the border. Having just launched Barefoot Nutrition this spring/summer, this was my first show and it was an honour to be a part of it all and meet so many fantastic people.
I had no idea at the time that this moment would in fact, act as a catalyst in me taking charge of my life. I transitioned out of the corporate world, searching for a life that was authentic. I wanted a life which I felt I could lead by example, and perhaps tread a little more lightly on Mother Nature. It took several years of transition, giving up a stable career to travel, immerse myself in yoga training, then nutrition training. Sometimes we just have to let life move us, teach us and ultimately transform. For years those wooden and amethyst beads encircled my wrist, serving as a constant reminder to let go of fears and worries. At times it served as a companion for morning mantras.
So far this has been a great summer of outdoor patio yoga, vegetable growing, smoothie formulating, and mala-making. One thing that I’ve always been inspired to do, but have never gotten my hands dirty beyond my tiny outdoor vegetable garden, is organic farming. I know a lot about the properties of foods, but like most people, am disconnected from the process of planting and harvesting. I decided to contact some local organic farms in the Niagara region and see if anyone could use an (inexperienced) hand. Luckily, I got a response from Zeta Farms, a small family run Organic Farm. I met with Rosemarie Meier one afternoon as she was speedily sorting organic eggs (and amazingly chatting with me at the same time). She gave me a tour of the vegetable garden and introduced me to the quirky chickens, goats and sheep. I decided right there I was on board.
So what else does out environment provide for us? It provides vitamin-G. Vitamin-G is a coined term for ‘grounding’ or what is currently referred to as ‘Earthing’. It is the process of connecting to the earth by walking barefoot outside, or sitting, working and sleeping while being connected to the earth as humans had done previously in history. The indigenous tribes of the world still follow these principles. It is those of us who have chosen to follow the trends of the modern world that have disconnected from this simple, healthy phenomenon.
Stress and adrenal fatigue is a plague in our modern world. I wrote about the connection between stress and depression/anxiety, but it goes so much further than that. The stress response at one point gave our ancestors the energy and endurance they required to escape life-threatening dangers. Stress in our society doesn’t always let up – our jobs, relationships, environmental stress and the stress of world events are always staring us in the face. Research reported by the National Institutes of Health, links long term activation of stress to having a hazardous effect on our bodies, increasing risk of obesity, heart disease, depression, anorexia, and lowering our immune system.
Years ago, when I was still a student of interior design, I wrote my design thesis on healing environments. I was fascinated with the fact that gardens and plants used in offices and healthcare settings could have a dramatic healing effect. I now have a lot of knowledge of how consuming plants has an effect on our health, but were you aware that they can influence our psychology and rate of healing by just being in their presence?
How do you deal when life isn’t going your way, or plants an unexpected obstacle in your path? No matter how positive we may be, and how much kale we eat, sometimes life can be a little rough. Life wouldn’t be called a journey if it was a walk in the park, right?
For those of you who have been following my recent blog posts and wonder why I feel so strongly about the subject of mental health, I was not exaggerating when I stated that I had battled depression and have since overcome it. I wrote this blog post approximately 6 months ago when I first intended to launch my business, but realized I was not yet in a place where I was emotionally strong enough to be vulnerable or share my experience with anyone else. I understand now, that the experience in some ways was a gift, having greater compassion and understanding for those struggling with anxiety or depression.
One of the links that I believe is largely ignored or not considered in instances of low moods, anxiety and depression is FOOD ALLERGIES. Most of us think of food allergies as someone erupting in hives, or experiencing anaphylactic shock. That is not always the case and almost any symptom can be linked to food allergies, making it a little more complex, but not impossible to decipher.