Smart nutrition tips, without going hungry
If there’s one thing we can blame on the lockdown, it’s the fact that most of us are spending more time on the couch than before.
All this time at home, the cooking, and the lack of exercise have made some of us feel less comfortable in our bodies. Now that we are starting to leave the house more and more, you may feel the need to get your body back into shape and get rid of everything that doesn’t belong there.
Don’t worry – in the following article we won’t be pushing you to go on a typical crash diet that will make you lose five kilos in just one week. After all, we know that this is neither healthy nor enjoyable (hello yo-yo effect!).
We would much rather support you in understanding your body better and in becoming more knowledgeable about nutrition. Although there are numerous scientific studies on the function of the gut, this great organ is often left out of the equation when it comes to physical and mental health. Yet it is the miracle works of the gut that connect mind and body.
In this article, we’ll tell you what your digestion can do and why it’s worth getting to know it. We will also give you tips on how you can get your body back into shape in a sustainable way without starving yourself and detoxify your whole system at the same time. Curious? Let’s go!
Our diet: The gateway to our mind!
We humans are complex ecosystems and so it happens that there are billions of different bacteria in our gut. Billions! Can you imagine that?
They are responsible for building our immune system and help us fight a wide variety of diseases. In the process, your gut spans up to eight metres through your body (yep, eight!!).
It has been known for some time now that our gut takes care of much more than just our digestion. For example, it communicates with our brain and thus influences our mind. This means that it can also serve as a barometer for how we are feeling – it is not for nothing that it swells up, spasms, or blocks up when we are not feeling well.
There has been quite a lot of research into involving the gut in the treatment of depression, dementia, addiction, autism, ADHD, and many other conditions.
Matthias Laudes from the University Chair of Internal Medicine in Kiel breaks down three ways in which our gut communicates with our brain:
- Everything we eat comes into contact with our gut and can transmit electrical signals via the nerves to the brain.
- Depending on our diet, different hormones are produced, which in turn trigger different reactions in our brain.
- We can naturally control our intestinal bacteria with the help of our diet. The composition of these varies from person to person and influences, among other things, how we feel.
Did you know that 95% of our happiness hormone serotonin is produced in our gut? It has been proven that certain intestinal bacteria are simply not present in people who go through depressive phases.
Relaxation goes through the stomach: The vagus nerve and nutrition
Our friend, the vagus nerve, which we already got to know in the first and second articles of this series, acts as a messenger between our gut and brain.
When our body is stressed after a year of uncertainty, fear, and isolation, it becomes difficult for us to get into a parasympathetic state where our body can rest and relax – we compensate with food.
Don’t loose heart! Because each breakfast, lunch, or dinner is a new chance to address your gut health and thus bring your body and mind back into balance. Numerous neuroimmunology studies have confirmed this.
Tips for more physical well-being
1. Intermittent fasting is easy to incorporate into everyday life
You’ve probably heard of “interval fasting” or “intermittent fasting”. You eat according to a set cycle, so that there are small “fasting units” between your meals.
The easiest way for beginners is to schedule this fasting break between dinner and lunch. For example, you can finish with dinner at 20:00 at the latest and then have lunch again the next day at 12:00 at the earliest – so you only have to skip breakfast.
During this 16-hour fasting period, you should not drink caloric beverages or caffeine – preferably only water or herbal teas. This can be quite difficult at first and can lead to food cravings, but it will eventually become easier.
Intermittent fasting has the following advantages:
- Improves the skin overall through reduced blood sugar and insulin levels (high blood sugar levels can lead to acne, cancer, hormone imbalances, depression, chronic inflammation, and more).
- Lowers high blood pressure.
- Regulates cholesterol level.
- Helps you lose dangerous belly fat.
- Helps you sleep better because your body is not as busy digesting.
- Protects against disorders of the nervous system.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s worth getting professional tips from fasting experts in advance or even getting support from a fasting partner in crime.
2. A colon cleansing to clear up your digestive tract
As we have already learned in this article, a balanced gut flora is important because the gut is in constant communication with all our organs – especially our brain and nervous system.
People who regularly carry out colon cleansing or colon rehabilitation rave about how liberated, attractive, and energized they feel afterwards.
The purpose of colon cleansing can be, for example:
- Rebuild the intestinal lining.
- Heal or prevent inflammatory processes.
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Take some strain off the liver and kidneys.
- Get rid of undesirable intestinal bacteria such as mould, candida, etc.
A nice side effect of colon cleansing is the fact that you also lose weight in the process. The primary goal, however, should be to improve your intestinal balance in order to de-stress the whole body and take your health to the next level.
A colon cleanse usually consists of the following:
- Psyllium husks (can now be bought at the chemists or pharmacies) to loosen deposits in the digestive tract and get rid of toxins.
- Bentonite and zeolite (mineral clay), which bind the deposits and toxins detached from the psyllium husks so that they can be excreted more easily.
- A probiotic (beneficial intestinal bacteria) in the form of capsules, for example, to rebuild gut flora.
A colon cleanse can take anywhere from 10 days to 3 months – depending on how long you want or need to do it. If you have never done it before, we would advise you to be accompanied by a competent therapist and to read up on it beforehand.
Since this topic is so vast and we don’t want to go beyond the scope of this article, you can read everything about gut rehabilitation and colon cleansing here.
3. Juices supply your body with important nutrients
For all those who do not want to fast or cleanse the intestines straight away, juicing would be a pleasant method that can be easily incorporated into everyday life.
For example, a 7-day juice detox can supply your body with a wide range of vital substances, antioxidants, and enzymes – all with the help of fresh fruit and vegetables.
This can help you to eliminate accumulated toxins and support you in weight loss.
There is already a celery juice hype worldwide, led by Anthony Williams among others. The so-called “medical medium” recommends drinking 470 millilitres (i.e. almost half a litre) of freshly squeezed celery juice daily on an empty stomach 15 to 30 minutes before breakfast.
It’s supposed to be great especially because celery juice (when used in the right way) can strengthen digestion: Stomach acid is built up more quickly and bile is more effective. The juice is supposed to have a fat-reducing effect, kill germs and thus detoxify the whole body.
In Williams’ experience, just drinking celery juice in the morning has helped many people heal conditions such as eczema, blood sugar problems, acne, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, and autoimmune diseases. Sounds convincing, doesn’t it? So much so that even stars like Pharrell Williams swear by it.
But other juices also have positive effects on the body. You can try out nature’s colourful selection and find your very own blend. The result: Your organism can renew and regenerate itself.
So, how are you going to eat this summer?
We hope this article has inspired you to dig a bit deeper and make some beneficial changes to your diet.
We at Humanoo are happy to support you in this process, and you can find numerous courses and programmes on the topic of nutrition in our app, for example “The basics of a healthy diet”, “You can’t do without iron!”, “Fluid balance”, “Tips for weight stabilisation”, and “Food & Soul”. We promise it’s worth a look!
The most important thing remains: If you are just starting to learn about nutrition, be kind to yourself. So if you do find yourself in the sweets aisle, give yourself permission to indulge once in a while and return to your plan the next day. Because one thing is for sure: Kindness is a much better motivator than punishment could ever be.
We’d really appreciate if you shared your experiences with us through our Instagram page.
Your Humanoo team