The Emotional Body For this final week of the detox series, we're focusing on the emotional body. Elizabeth Harvey, psychotherapist and yoga teacher, will explore our emotional body and fascial tissue and how emotions can create holding patterns that can harden in the physical body, creating tension and pain.
Nutrition and Emotions
Nutritional imbalances can affect our emotions, mood and motivation. The biochemistry of the brain affects our psychological health and the biochemistry of the brain is built on good nutrition. Protein is composed of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of the brain. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted to serotonin, a neurotransmitter which influences your mood. Tyrosine, another amino acid, converts to noradrenalin and adrenalin, neurotransmitters that affect our motivation and alertness. Your brain is primarily made of fat and it requires a diet rich in healthy fats in order to stay mentally fit. A diet deficient in healthy fats has been linked to depression, fatigue, memory problems, schizophrenia, ADD and dyslexia. The vast majority of the vitamins and minerals have been shown to have an effect on mental health. The B vitamins are associated with mental clarity, energy, memory and the ability to handle stressors. Vitamin C is helpful for alleviating depression and schizophrenia. A deficiency is calcium or magnesium leads to irritability, nervousness and aggression. A deficiency in manganese has been linked to schizophrenia and psychosis.
How can we eat to feed healthy emotions and mood?
Each of us is biochemically unique. Isn't that a wonderful thing? We're all snowflakes- complex patterns, unlike anybody else. That being said, no one diet is right for everyone. If you are feeling unbalanced, I'd highly recommend seeing a nutritional practitioner to find out what will work for the unique and complex patterns that make up you. A good practitioner will examine your diet, heavy metal exposure, exposure to toxins, symptomatology and stress levels and design a nutritional protocol specific to you. However, some general guidelines to eating to feed healthy emotions and moods are:
-Healthy fats to build your brain: roughly 20% of the diet with a breakdown of 1/3 saturated, 1/3 monounsaturated and 1/3 polyunsaturated with a balance of omega 3s and 6s. Great sources are fish, fish oils, nuts and seeds and their oils. -Phospholipids are essential for memory and brain balance. Great sources are soy lecithin and eggs. -Low glycemic carbohydrates to give your brain the glucose fuel it runs on: Whole vegetables and fruits are wonderful sources, as are lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. -Proteins to build neurotransmitters: High quality sources include quinoa, beans, peas, lentils and fish. -Vitamins and minerals to support the chemical reactions that build our brain and keep us in balance. Have a minimum of 5 servings of veggies, 2 servings of fruit and a handful of nuts or seeds every day.
Lifestyle Recommendations for Emotional Detox -Practice yoga, deep breathing and meditation. These activities help to lower stress, increase energy, improve our ability to regulate our emotions and increase feelings of well-being and life satisfaction. -Keep a journal. Many people find that writing a journal helps them get in touch with their deeper feelings and to feel a sense of emotional release. -Get adequate rest. Sleep is critical to good mental balance and emotional health as is rest. Allow yourself the time and space to do nothing everyday. Laze on the couch, stare out the window, take a quiet walk through the park. Create opportunities for stillness. -Cultivate healthy relationships. Social support is crucial for emotional health and well-being. In sanskrit, "satsang" is translated as true company or wise association and can be described as the beneficial effect experienced by being with others who lift us up energetically and spiritually. -Eat mindfully. Emotional eating, poor body image, negative emotions attached to food and eating, eating when stressed, eating on the go . . . it is so prevalent to find some kind of negativity around food. On July 11th, I'll be talking about emotional eating and cultivating positive emotions and behaviours around eating for the workshop series Yoga and Our Passions. Please come if this resonates for you.
Magnificent Minerals Tea Recipe -adapted from Nourishing Meals by Segersten and Malterre, check out their website.
1/2 cup dried nettles 2 Tbsp dried horsetail 1/2 cup dried red clover 1/2 cup dried alfalfa leaf 1/2 cup dried raspberry leaf 1/2 cup dried oatstraw 1/4 cup dried peppermint
Mix herbs together and store in a container in a cool, dry place to make individual cups or pots of tea. Use roughly 1 tsp of dried material for a small cup of tea.
The vast majority of us are mineral deficient. Contributors include soil depletion, low intake of vegetables, diets high in mineral depleting foods like sugar and caffeine, as well as stress. Symptoms of low minerals include muscular tension, fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety, lack of clarity, PMS, hypertension, abnormal cravings and inability to heal.
Interactions with medications: Horsetail may interact with diuretics, spironolactone and triamterene. Nettle with diclofenac. Raspberry with atropine, cardec DM, codeine, ephedrine, lomotil and theophylline. Red clover with estrogens, heparin, warfarin and ticlopidine. Alfalfa, oats and peppermint have no known interactions.
Sources: A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions by Alan Gaby New Optimal Nutrition for the Mind by Patrick Holford