The vital part nutrition plays between mental health and physical wellness
By Elenia Kolokotronis
What is the vital missing link between our mental health and our physical wellness? I believe that our nutrition and nutritional thought patter is the answer.
Just recently I asked 120 women why they eat. The answers varied from boredom, duty, tact, emotions, time of month, exercise regimes and diets to watching television advertisements or seeing magazine or pamphlet articles showcasing a new juicy burger or sizzling steak with fries and onion rings on the side. From all the responses only 27 ladies responded they only ate when they were hungry.
What did I derive from this? It was simple. I found that we humans are excessive creatures that are easily influenced by the incessant and gross bombardment of daily messages regarding food. Drink this soft drink with that food. Bring your kids to this fast food chain and a percentage will be donated to a charity. Eat at this restaurant on a certain day of the week and get a burger free. Added to this enticing invitation the imagery is so delicious, so photo shopped, so out of this world and unnaturally appealing (digital imagery is truly amazing) that it is specifically aimed to work on our psychology to make us think we are hungry when we are not and only the product we are seeing will do the trick. Never mind that we might have just eaten and still feel full. We will make ourselves think and feel we are hungry when we know we are not.
Added to this fake forced belief we override listening to our bodies and add stress to the mix. Financial, emotional, environmental, political, social – any and all means of stress add to our override to overly consume what we know we are not hungry for and what is bad for us. Why? Because these food are laden with sugars, carbs, salts, fats and everything else that makes bad food taste good. We also tend to treat ourselves to what is bad for us. As a prize as such. A glass of wine after a long day’s work. A slice of cake after a week of dieting. A burger and shake to celebrate an event. This in turn becomes very hard to rationalise when needed to cut out of our lives because we tell ourselves they are only consumed in limited measures now and then and only as a treat. That is a problem. Because as I mentioned earlier we are excessive beings and like to treat ourselves often. For any accomplishment big or small. It is very similar to how we praise second, third, fourth place. There is nothing wrong with praising effort and sportsmanship but being made to believe you too are a winner for finishing a race for example is perhaps not the best notion to teach should effort and good sportsmanship be a mandatory human characteristic in anyway. Eating and why we are eating and for what purpose is quite similar. For example we no longer eat when we are hungry, to nourish and sustain ourselves or to live day by day. We eat to be social, combat boredom, we eat to manmade set times and reasons. And not only are we doing this we are eating the wrong foods to add insult to injury.
Man cannot create “food” to heal, nourish or sustain man. Man has tried continually to do this and has got it right but this disastrous after effects. GMO’s, chemicals, additives, colorants, flavourings, fake foods to name a few not only destroy our bodies long term but also have that negative knock on effect of systematically over time destroying our minds.
Fibromyalgia, some cancers, ADD/ADHD, digestive tract conditions, skin conditions, infertility are only some of the kinds of physical reactions that arise from bad eating of bad foods in a negative mind set. But mental depression and illness is also a direct derivative of the toxins in these foods. It is one negative cycle after the other. Then, when we truly are beginning to feel ill from years of this kind of mental and physical abuse from the foods we eat we commence chemical medication which only throws us deeper into illness, mental and physical. Added once again to this degenerative cycle we become inactive, sedentary, further depressed. More weight is piled on from bloat and visceral and subcutaneous fat as we have weakened our bodies further. I call depression the millennium illness. Granted that there are properly diagnosed and relevant medical reasons why some suffer depression due mainly to damage to the brain or ill chemical signals. But more often than not a depressed person put on anti-depressants do not have these. They have suffered a life event that has set them back and more often than not their body, hormones and mind cannot cope so chemical intervention is the only way they feel they can function. Side effects from these anti-depressants vary from instant weight gain to sleepiness, excessive cortisol secretion, social awkwardness, lethargy to name a few. A huge contributing factor in the side effect of weight gain is the desire for sugar. Like addicts sugar gives a false sense of satiation. So the depressant craves sugar to feel better but only gains more and more weight and that in itself throws them deeper and deeper into depression as their confidence and sense of self dissipates. See how the vicious circles is ongoing never ending?
Yes we know the body and mind need to mirror each other but we seem to take a step back and leave the two to it. We need to understand that we, ourselves need to make small, concretive efforts and changes in order to assist the process of healing and re-connection between the body and mind. We tend to listen to our minds more often than our bodies and why is that? Our minds are, at times weaker. They are easily influenced by imagery, thoughts, sights, make us desire and want without actual need. Yet our bodies never lie. Should we have an ache, pain, fever, rash there is always a reason for it. Overeating is purely a mental desire that we override what our already eaten and full bodies are telling us.
Can natural nutrition ease the gap and aid, heal and repair the mental and physical crevice? I believe so. I have seen it a number of times with the wonderful people I have had the honour to work with. I have experienced it myself first hand. I along with other great nutritionist have researched and studied the vast wonders of what food actually can do besides give us our daily vitamin and mineral content. We have been spoon fed to think our bodies are not the Godly machines that they are. The biotech and pharmaceutical giants do not want us to know just how profound our bodies truly are. But, as I have said time and again logic should always come first in our nutritional lifestyle eating regimes. And personally I trust the wonders of Mother Nature far more than anything man made.