I recently met a lovely young woman who shared with me how she reclaimed her physical health and mental health naturally, primarily by changing her diet and choosing natural alternatives to medication, in addition to becoming more physically active. This is her story:
In December of 2019, my life was in shambles. I found myself at my heaviest weight ever, grappling with the aftermath of a broken relationship, and made the difficult decision to move back home due to my struggling mental health.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was left with no choice but to turn inward. Confronting my inner demons became imperative, and through this process, I not only acknowledged them but also began to understand and accept them. I made a profound realization: I was on the autism spectrum. This newfound understanding prompted me to openly discuss my experiences and confront the hidden challenges I had been harboring.
While seeking assistance and awaiting a professional diagnosis, I started researching natural health remedies and adaptogenic herbs for stress management and to promote mental clarity. During this period, I also started working at a health store which was pivotal in my wellness journey.
I dove head-first into herbal medicine after I saw the tremendous impact it made on my mental and physical health. I then decided to take that further, and in January 2021 I enrolled in a herbalism course where I learned not only about different herbs and their effects on the body, but also how to listen to my body when it spoke to me. Also during that time, I started going to the gym and just getting my body moving seemed to bring mental clarity, and ultimately resulted in me being more mindful about what I put into my body.
I learned to discern which foods brought me feelings of wellness and which induced discomfort. I managed to identify the trigger foods that transformed me into someone unrecognizable (a person I didn’t want to be). My approach to eating shifted, transitioning from haphazard consumption to a structured routine that encompassed fasting periods and exercise, ensuring my body's optimal functioning.
This heightened awareness of my body's signals led to an elimination of foods that caused issues like bloating and mental unease. Beyond the remarkable weight loss of 70 pounds that accompanied my newfound approach to health, I witnessed remarkable improvements in my mental well-being. The positive changes in my physical and mental state were undeniable.
However, my journey wasn't confined to dietary choices. exercise, and herbal medicine alone. Amidst a society dominated by fast-paced living, I began to embrace a slower pace, tuning into my body's subtle cues. A stillness within me enabled me to hear the quiet voice that resided within my being, a voice that offered guidance, love, and gratitude as I navigated life's intricacies.
There is an unparalleled sense of empowerment that arises from reclaiming control over one's health journey. This empowerment manifests in the conscious preparation of meals and beverages that transcend mere sustenance, embracing a philosophy that nourishes the entire being – mind, body, and soul.
Tiana made the connection between her state of mental health and the food she was addicted to. I have written in previous articles about the relationship between gut health and mental health and this story is a testimony to the incredible connection between the two.
Tiana's journey serves as a motivating testament to the fact that it's never too late to improve our health, even when we feel adrift and don’t know where to start. We can always begin with small changes like avoiding foods that harm us (finding alternative healthier foods that still feed our cravings) and starting a regular physical activity regime.
These two changes can have profound impacts.
I have written on food addiction and I regularly speak on this topic at wellness expos. My speech notes are available to anyone who requests them, free of charge. The connection between our diet, physical activity and overall health is vast, emphasizing the importance of self-education and conscious decision-making in our pursuit of well-being.
Claire Nielsen is a health coach, author, public speaker and founder of www.elixirforlife.ca. The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health and medical advice. Please consult a doctor, healthcare provider or mental health practitioner if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses and/or treatment