Do you find yourself struggling to build muscle, an inability to control your mood, suffering digestive issues and not particularly interested in sex?
It could actually be related to your contraceptive pill…
I love looking at what types of food our ancestors ate. Why? Because humans have long evolved and adapted on a variety of different diets and I for one, personally believe there is no one diet that we should all follow.
By and large, humans - especially in the west - have narrowed the range of foods that they willingly consume, compared to what they 'could' consume. Ever seen insects or grubs on the menu in your favourite restaurant? The chances are slim to none. Why? With the advancement of transportation and communication, food cultures have merged and cross-pollinated.
As eaters today, we have the freedom to eat and explore culinary delights quite literally to our hearts content, fuelled by personal preference rather than a need for survival. Simply put, we eat more for pleasure. Of course that doesn't take into account, allergies or intolerances. Which is where the cult of 'healthy eating' as we know it has sprung up. The problem with healthy eating diets is that they are still exactly that; a diet - and any diet sets about convincing its followers, that this is the one and only way for a healthy and prosperous life. Advocating only one way of eating is dangerous as it reinforces rules and creates disordered eating.
If you look at Tudor food, culinary delights would have been considered broth of grasshoppers lung, braised wasp, fly head pie, jellied bat's foot and stewed spleen. Sounds delicious right? 😰
And what we might consider as pesky Seagulls were actually one of the more expensive delicacies in Tudor England so consider that next time you're queuing for your fish and chips on Brighton beach! 🍟🐟
Health is multifaceted and it exists in the irreducible complexity of our lives and identities.
When I feel disconnected from my mind and body, I don’t take care of it. When I embrace and encourage my mind and body, when I take a moment to appreciate all that it does for me, I do.
Learning not to hate our bodies is a matter of our physical health and emotional survival.
At its core, weight loss is aesthetic. My weight doesn’t tell you what I eat, how much I exercise, how strong I am. It doesn’t tell you where my DNA comes from, my bone density or how healthy I feel. It doesn’t tell you if I’m thinner than I was before, or fatter. It doesn’t tell you how I feel about myself, what I’ve learnt or how I’ve changed.
It doesn't show you my wellbeing blueprint.
When we judge someone by the size of their body or appearance, it takes away from and flattens what is a rich, beautiful tapestry woven together by a complex mind, body and soul of an unknown, extraordinary person.
So I’m making a stand to challenge the one size fits all approach when it comes to wellbeing and fitness by helping others to find their own way. A way that doesn't involve passive aggressive memes of abs being made in the kitchen or a #belfie generation. If this approach worked for long term and sustainable wellbeing, it would have worked already. It's time for a new outlook towards looking after yourself - mind, body & soul.
So, are you in?
That user manual you mentioned...
Just imagine, how much easier our lives would be if we were born with a 'user manual' or 'owner's guide' where we could unlock the key that tells each of us what we need to eat and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
But you see, each person has their own unique story with food which makes there billions of different complexities that can factor into how we choose to eat and live our lives that go way beyond calories.
So where do we start?
Nowadays we live in an information rich society whist whilst for the most part is something that we are incredibly lucky to have and to be given such an array or opportunities to chose from, but when it comes to the mind field that is the 'diet' or 'nutrition' fuelling our bodies can sometimes be a tad overwhelming and even downright stressful. Generally, we tend to eat out of habit, whether that has been passed down to us or from our own patterns that we've formed over time.
What do we do about it?
Well, firstly we need to listen to our bodies, they are much smarter than us! Secondly, we need to learn how to step out of the rigid and restrictive paradigm which is backed and rallied by the glossies and social media archives of passive aggressive quotes screaming 'abs are made in the kitchen' and where picture after picture of the unattainable perfect body is laid out before our impressionable little eyes. We need to retrain our thoughts to prevent the hammering of mental and physical torture that we put ourselves through and simply, learn how to play again.
To explore our bodies and how good they are capable of feeling. We are designed to move, to flow and to feel free - free of fear whether that be from mind or body. How do we eliminate a fear that is so ingrained and instilled in our society? The most important ingredient of playing is fun. Besides feeling good, you're actually learning when you're having fun so if educate ourselves in order to make conscious food choices and adopt a suitable exercise regime that suits our individual needs and goals then we can explore ways to have fun within these realms.
Playfulness is in our nature, in our roots. Like animals, we're born with an instinct to play. It's the state of mind that defines play, not the activity itself. Even hippopotami do handstands underwater so when did we get so serious and place those shackles around our own wrists, heads and hearts?
"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" Plato (427-347 B.C)
By today's standards play is viewed as immature, nonproductive and worse, a waste of time but with the ever increasing pace and stresses of modern life, where we can't be sure of anything anymore, a job or a relationship could be gone tomorrow, it's most important than ever to bring back playful pursuits. We need to help each other. Human beings have always thrived within a community so why not build a community steeped in fundamental knowledge which is explored through playfulness and love in which we can share, collaborate and learn from one another?
I have something wrong with my inner tube.
The inner tube of life that is the digestive system. A gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, autoimmune and the added paperwork of a cheeky parasite which I've gone on to name Pete the parasite. (I figured as he's been sticking around for some time, the least I could do is give him a name).
My first protocol diet and medication cycle failed and I'm now onto my second whilst waiting for a date for blasto infusion. Right now, Pete the para and his pesky mates are lying on lilos and drinking pina coladas, whilst singing 'what else have you got for me?'
They have to go.
The familiar words of 'medication protocol' ring in my head every moment. Every time the protocol fails it means more meds, more time, energy and more money. I'm not sharing this with you to invoke sympathy but merely to highlight the reality of the situation. Often on social media, it can be all too easy to sugarcoat what is actually going on day to day in our lives and for us to not succumb to the pressure of being an all singing, all dancing, ever positive character of life. Even though we know for the most part, those glossy images tell but a fraction of the story, it can be incredibly hard to dissociate ourselves with that fact and even harder to not feel that you're not good enough / thin enough / pretty enough.
This is why I choose to post the less than perfect images, the iPhone shots where your dinner looks less than chef quality, the pictures with wrinkles and dodgy hair because whilst I love an arty filter as much as everyone else and posting lovely curated images, I also believe it is also important for us to remember that real life still goes on behind the shutter. Often that real life is bleak, ugly and down right less than sexy. So there you have it, my non sexy medication with an arty filter to make it feel a little less beige!
Did you know that there are more than 200 over the counter remedies for digestive disorders, many of which can actually create additional digestive problems? Or that visits for intestinal disorders are among the most common to primary care physicians? I can't tell you the amount of GPs or specialists I've seen, telling me that it's all in my head and here 'have some anti-depressants' handing them out as if they were sweeties. No my friend, the only thing in my head when you offer me a snap shot solution to a larger problem is the thought of just how absurd it is that you cannot acknowledge bacterias, yeasts and parasitic fungus in the body as a major cause of inflammation, damage and disease in the body.
Having a healthy gut means more than just being inconvenienced by a little bloating or heartburn. It is central to your entire health. It is connected to everything that happens in your body. Somedays, it's the difference between being able to get out of bed or not.
Why is having a healthy gut so damn important? Well, there are five hundred species and three pounds of bacteria in your gut which essentially make your gut a HUGE chemical factory or powerhouse that helps you digest your food, produces vitamins, helps regulate hormones, excrete toxins and produce healing compounds that keep your gut healthy. So no biggie then?
Your entire immune system is protected from the toxic environment in your the gut by a one cell thick layer (just one cell) and if that gets damaged it creates an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body. This is what we know to be leaky gut.
And then we all know that quote about our guts being our second brains, right? In fact, your gut nervous system actually contains more neurotransmitters than your brain. If those messages between brain to gut or gut to brain get messed up or altered in anyway then you're pretty much at central station waiting for them to announce your train platform, they might put a few different gates up but ultimately your train is cancelled and you're never leaving that terminal. It's seriously going to affect your health.
Then, of course, your gut has to get rid of all the toxins produced as a byproduct of your metabolism that your liver dumps in, and if things get backed up, the chances of you becoming toxic are extremely high.
Not only that, but whilst all this is going on quietly in the background, your gut then has to try and breakdown all the things you shove down your gullet. From refined sugars, processed fructose to the genetically engineered foods and pesticides. Your poor gut is literally screaming, 'what the hell is all this crap? Don't make me try and break this down!'
All this work just to keep you healthy. It's no wonder our guts are having enough and letting chaps like Pete the parasite wade on in and set up camp.
If you're keen to find out more on how to heal your gut or maintain gut health, I'll be posting how my progress goes over the coming weeks and months.
Pete the parasite, your eviction notice has been served.
Francesca Elizabeth xo