Tag Archives: instinct

6 Lessons I’ve Learned in Healing My Gut

This article has been featured on Elephant Journal.

Heartburn, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and headaches. Looking back on it now, it’s hard for me to imagine that that’s what my life was like just 2 years ago. Having low energy and having trouble sleeping each night because either the heartburn or indigestion I was having was so uncomfortable.

While I don’t think we ever get to a point where we are completely “healed” in that we’re able to go back to the old lifestyle that we had before we started our healing journey, I have managed to reach a very stable place.

In order to reach this stable place in my gut health, I had a lot of different lessons to learn — and not only from health professionals that supported me in this journey but also in learning to tune in to my own body to recognize what it wants and needs.

Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned in my journey of healing my gut:

#1 – Cutting out dairy and gluten alone may not to do magic, but it’s still worth doing

When my gut problems first started getting unmanageable, I had several people in my life come chiming in with how they started cutting out gluten and dairy from their diets and they were able to get rid of their heartburn, stop having acne breakouts, started feeling more energized, and so on.

So I started cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet for a few weeks — and eventually even a few months — and I didn’t notice any results at the time. I found myself frustrated and as if all my efforts to cut out these foods was a waste of time.

I didn’t realize it then, but I know now that while cutting out dairy and gluten is beneficial, it may not be the only thing that our bodies need to heal. Maybe you’d also need to cut out sugar or soy and eat more vegetables and less meat. It varies a lot depending on the individual.

#2 – Gluten is in a lot of processed foods

In the first week or two that I started cutting out gluten, I remember telling a friend who had suggested I eliminate gluten from my diet, “I’ve been doing it for two weeks and I’ve noticed no changes!”

He sat there and looked at me with a straight face and asked, “Have you been eating soy sauce?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“Have you been eating salad dressings?”

“Yes.”

“What about sauces?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Then you haven’t been cutting out gluten.”

It took me some time to do the research online and read all the labels at the grocery store, but eventually I figured out what to look for on the labels and get a sense for what products are typically going to have gluten in it and which isn’t.

Fortunately for me, I’m not celiac so I don’t have to be extra cautious about contamination or anything like that. However, if you’re doing an elimination diet to see what foods work for you and which don’t, you have to know if you’re consuming bits of gluten or not.

#3 – Ditch the gluten-free products

In my experience of trial and error, I’ve realized that consuming gluten free products are just has bad as consuming gluttonous products. Why? Because they’re still processed.

When I started eating mostly whole, natural foods by buying most all my food from the perimeter of the grocery store, that’s when I started to really notice shifts in my gut and overall health.

#4 – We need to rotate our probiotics and enzymes

After about 9 months of working with my acupuncturist, I noticed my digestion was feeling a bit sluggish. When I informed my acupuncturist of this, she immediately asked me, “How long have you been using your current probiotic?”

“Probably 6 months” I said.

“You should probably change it” she responded.

Currently I rotate between three different brands of probiotics and rotate different kinds of enzymes. Sometimes our bodies get used to the same formula and all it needs is something different to give it a little boost.

#5 – We need to be open to changing our diets as needed

When I was first introduced to the paleo diet through my boyfriend and his sister, I first thought it was the magical life-changing diet that I had been looking for all along. Whenever I ate paleo I felt amazing, had more energy, and my gut was in the greatest shape ever.

So last spring I went on the paleo diet and I stuck with it all through the summer. Then, November hit and the paleo diet was no longer working for me. I felt tired, started having bouts of constipation and diarrhea again, and having occasional indigestion.

I experimented with different things in my diet for about a month or so and eventually I realized that my body wanted less meat, more veggies, and grains, like rice and quinoa, again. So through the winter months I stuck with a gluten-free “flexitarian” diet, where I only had meat once a week and it was exactly what my body needed.

BodiesChange

Click to Tweet: Just as the seasons change, so do our bodies. We need to be open and receptive to what our bodies are asking from us. via @jenilyn8705

Just as the seasons change, so do our bodies. So we need to be open and receptive to what our bodies are asking from us. Which leads me to what was, perhaps, my biggest lesson of all:

#6 – Our minds and emotions impact our gut health

The more we are stuck in our own heads, then the more our gut is likely going to suffer — and not merely due to neglect, but due to the fact that we are not tracking our own internal experience.

It’s important to be mindful and to check in with how we are feeling in our bodies throughout the day. Doing so helps us to get out of our “monkey mind”, as the Buddhists call it, and back into our present moment experience.

When I started really tuning into my body, I started to notice some interesting things. I noticed that whenever someone would cut me off while driving on the freeway, I would get a fluttery feeling in my stomach. I would notice what situations would raise my heart rate and which would cause neck tension.

By tuning into my body periodically throughout the day, I was then able to take care of myself in those moments. I then knew that I was holding my breath and that I needed to exhale. I knew that I needed to take a few conscious breaths to get re-balanced and centered.

In implementing a mindfulness practice, that’s when I learned the most valuable lesson of them all: How to care for myself.

What lessons has your body taught you?  Share it in the comments below!

How to Know If Your Intuition is Telling You “Yes” or “No”

Intuition.  It’s that subtle vibe, that gut feeling, that little voice that helps to guide us through life so that we, hopefully, find ourselves in the place where we can function at our highest good.  It can help us to avoid jobs that we hate, stressful relationships, car accidents, unhelpful doctors, and to even avoid buying things that we simply don’t need.

For some of us, trusting our intuition is relatively easy while for others it is much more difficult.  Yet, regardless of where we are on the spectrum, we have all struggled in trusting our intuition at some point or another.

And it always seems harder to know what our intuition is telling us when a very crucial decision needs to be made — that life-changing job offer, the big move across the country or to another country, or to take that next step in your relationship.

The reason why it is so difficult to know what our intuition is telling us when we have such critical decisions is because there’s a lot more fear involved.  We have more anxiety about making the wrong decision — and our minds can tend to go on overdrive to the point that we overanalyze and can become paralyzed in making the decision.

But, regardless of how crucial the the decision is — regardless of how much fear and worry you have in the decision — your intuition is still there giving you subtle signs over what you should do.

So how can you know?  Here’s some tips:

 

Now, in case you can’t or didn’t watch the video here’s a recap:

The key in really know what your intuition is telling you is to tone down your thinking mind.  Slow down, draw you attention from your mind and draw your attention more into the body.

So now when you think of one the options that you have, notice how you feel in your body when you think about it.  Do you feel constricted?  Suffocated?  Limited?  Frustrated?  Irritated?  Closed-off?  If so, then you’re intuition is telling you a big NO.

Now, if you think of one of your options and you feel expanded, excited, opened, limitless, joyful, and happy — then your intuition is telling you a big YES.

These differences can be very subtle so if we continue to second guess ourselves then it’s likely that it will be harder and harder to know what our intuition is telling us.

So I’m going to tell you one of the things that many of my teachers growing up always told me whenever it was time to take a multiple choice test:  Never erase the first guess to your answer unless you are absolutely sure that it is wrong.  Because the majority of the time, our first guess is going to be the right one.

Here’s the reason I’m telling you this: Because from what I’ve learned in my own personal experience, 9 times out of 10 my very initial split second thought, feeling, or reaction is my intuition shining through.  Intuition hardly ever (actually, probably closer to never) emerges after analyzing it for 3 days.

Intuition emerges in that split second — and it can pass so fast that sometimes it’s hard to catch it.  It shines through in a moment where there is no fearful thought there to block it.

Share your own personal story about following your intuition!

And so, in the comments below I want you to share a time where you followed your intuition?  What was the outcome?  How was your experience?  Did you trust it right away or did you debate it for a while?

OR you can share a time when you didn’t follow your intuition?  What was the outcome?  What was more challenging about it?  How did you feel?