Understanding your emotions and what they mean for your health
A gut feeling is an instinctive, intuitive feeling, without any logical rationale. It’s very common to hear people using the saying gut feeling, but on what level do we really understand the connection between the gut and our emotions? How often are you treating your heart’s longings for an issue you may be experiencing in your digestion? With the ongoing amount of research and development on the inner workings of the microbiome, there are hundreds of ways to help to create a healthy gut. Especially when we turn to Ayurveda. Ayurveda is all about healing the digestive system and the practices, dietary guidelines and herbal remedies have been meticulously put together for thousands and thousands of years to do just that, so why doesn’t it always work?
The digestive system has its own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system. It has over 100 million nerve endings and in many ways, it can control digestion independently without your conscious awareness. The enteric nervous system has been nicknamed our "second brain.” This gut-brain is intimately connected to our "big brain" via a network of nerve pathways and the two nervous systems share many of the same neurotransmitters to facilitate communication. In fact, 95 percent of serotonin is found in the gut! This bidirectional pathway is referred to as the brain-gut axis and involves moment-to-moment communication to control digestion. Loyolamedicine
The gut-brain communication is so closely linked that when we experience a state of dis-ease, stress, heart ache or any other negative emotion that feeling gets signaled through bidirectional nerve pathways to the gut that then causes an upset or imbalance. In return, if such emotions aren’t addressed the gut can then take on the problem and send its own signal to the brain causing a vicious cycle of imbalance and possibly some unwanted digestive issues.
So, how do we become more connected to the instinctual and intuitive gut feeling when it comes to the matters of the heart? It starts with getting to your Self and falling in love with your Self. Katie talks a lot about self love (especially in Ayurveda School) and has defined it by how capacious we are at actually liking our funny, quirky, silly little inner child. Self-love happens when we know who she is, how she’s been hurt, and when we are gentle with her through the steps towards healing.
Self love is also about taking the time to listen and the space to feel. When we don’t give ourselves enough space, solitude, and quiet it’s more difficult to tap into our inner wise woman-- this is the woman who has a healthy gut! Have you ever noticed that when you are relaxed and in a place that makes you happy surrounded by people you feel at ease with (often happens on long vacations) magically your gut issues seem to improve? We are unable to tap into the depths of our wisdom and the place of true self love when we are in a constant state of fight or flight.
Seek out ways to ground yourself. Do the practices that help you feel the most relaxed. Breathe in self love with every breath. Practice daily meditations, affirmations, or prayer. Be in the arms of nature. Do not give up on yourself and stay diligent with monitoring how you speak to your Self. And, consider joining us in Ayurveda School 2022 where we will discuss ALL about the gut, brain, and heart connection and so much more.
Greens for the Gut & Potatoes for the Heart
For the Greens
1 large bunch of dandelion (finely chopped)
1 cup of finely chopped kale (or any other green of your choice)
1 tbsp fresh ginger (diced)
1 tbsp of olive oil or ghee
Salt & pepper to taste
In a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and spices, and let simmer for a few minutes. Next, add the greens and cover with a lid. Let the greens cook for about 15 minutes while periodically stirring and covering with the lid. If the greens are sticking you can add a little water (this will also help to steam the greens).
For the Potatoes
1 cup of fingerling potatoes (halved)
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until the potatoes are completely covered with the oil and spices. Next, transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. (Option to do in a saute pan: follow the same directions as for the greens)
The greens and potatoes are great on their own, but feel free to top with your favorite protein source to make this a complete meal.