Updated: Mar 4, 2020
By; Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach
Everybody makes daily choices about the food we eat, and most People make these choices actively each and every day. Given this fact of daily life, we made nutritional health a Core component of the Balanced Man Plan holistic healing system.
Most People have heard phrases like, “Food is medicine,” and , “You are what you eat,” through the years, but current studies coming from nutritional sciences around “gut health” and the “gut-brain axis” is showing a whole new realm of possibilities for natural health solutions.
Modern Society and progress in medicine has brought some welcome advancements to daily life for many Americans, however access to those healthcare advancements is a BIG problem. When it comes to the level of general health & well-being for the everyday American, our community members have some of the lowest levels of access to needed healthcare and not surprisingly, some of the highest death rates at the lowest ages for developed countries.
How can this be?!? Well, it has a lot to do with America’s long-standing relationship to corporations and Big Business. Have you heard the recent reports of super powerful billionaires like Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) paying ZERO dollars in federal income taxes? This corrupt love affair was also evident in the recent exposure of corporate-funded research in the 1950s by the snack industry to create false reports and cover up the dangers of sugar and cheap grains. This paved the way for the old powerhouses of the American snack industry to dominate sales for decades while Americans struggle with their weight.
Recent developments in nutritional sciences and especially from “functional medicine” is showing over and over again that the food we eat is more connected to our overall health and well-being than Western Medicine could have ever imagined. Whether you are interested in losing weight, improving physical range of motion, or reducing chronic pain in the Body AND Mind (yes, Anxiety & Depression symptoms included), then you are reading the right article.
Standardized diets can help People lose weight, but it is hard to sustain this type of diet long-term. Unless you are able to sustain long-term commitment to a diet like “Keto” or “intermittent fasting”, the weight will just come right back on. The Balanced Man Plan is designed to help you discover optimal Physical Health with your own natural diet - based on the nutritional needs of your unique Body. Do you think the models and actors who get SUPER shredded are all eating the same foods? NOPE -
Here are the 4 Ways Nutrition Impacts Health of Body & Mind. We stand behind the use of food as medicine because this allows us to take back control of everyday choices to give us the most practical influence in our Health & Wellness goals. For this reason, Nutrition plays a central role in a Core Area of Balance - Physical Health.
4 Ways Food Impacts Health of Body & Mind
#1 Impact of Food on Health of Body & Mind - The Gut-Brain Axis
While most fossil research shows original Human Beings coming from Africa, this was a LONG time ago and different groups of People evolved over time in different parts of The World for hundreds of thousands of years since then. Over this period of time, Humans have lived in very different ecosystems that are home to different plants and animals. Human Beings are adaptive creatures and we have learned how to create access to food for Self & Loved Ones - whether this involved fishing, hunting large game, as well as different types of plants that could be found, or grown domestically ("Farming") to harvest to eat.
Since communities in different parts of The World have had access to such different plants and animals over such a long period of time, each of our Body’s have evolved to digest specific foods - well, differently.
Depending on our unique collection of DNA based on ancestors’ access to specific landscapes and resulting food sources over time, People in communities evolved specific bacteria (also called “gut biome”) in their digestive systems to break down those specific nutrients that are most readily available in that specific environment.
When People eat food that is not easily broken down by our gut biome, our stomach lining responds with our Body’s standard response to an outside invader → INFLAMMATION.
Common signs of short-term inflammation are heartburn, loose stools, bloating or gas, but long-term exposure can create problems far worse than a bit of temporary discomfort.
This inflammation starts in the stomach lining is our Body looking out for us by trying to “have our back with a foreign invader” and releases chemicals that are directly connected to our experience of stress. Since these chemicals are released in our blood, the blood quickly reaches our Brain and “in a nutshell”, stimulates our Central Nervous System to GET STRESSED OUT!
Our “fight or flight” system responds by releasing the stress hormone “cortisol”, which worsens Anxiety & Depression symptoms. This inflammation also reaches joints and cartilage, so if you have an old injury or have developed carpal tunnel or arthritis over time, this inflammation that starts in your gut lining will directly impact the physical discomfort associated with those ailments - on a clear, evidence-based level. And ALL as a direct result of the food we make choices about every day!
If you want to learn more about how that happens with a short video, feel free to watch the video below
#2 Impact of Food on Health of Body & Mind - You Are What You Eat
Now that there is a base understanding of how this process of inflammation impacts the Body on a physical level, we can take it a bit further to help you understand another way it messes with the Mind. When we eat a lot of refined sugar - a very common ingredient in the most accessible food of Modern Society - our Body becomes an ideal environment to grow YEAST. Yeast naturally occurs in our Body to some degree and when we FEED it with SUGAR (it’s most favorite nutrient in The World), it grows stronger and more stable in a “yeast colony” - WOW!
If you would like to read more about how Human gut biome uses yeast to make energy from sugar and the implications for your Physical Health, read more here. Regardless of where the research continues to lead , we do know that these yeast colonies “set up shop” in our stomach among the rest of our gut biome and wait for sugar to come - either directly or as the result of starches breaking down - and have a little “yeast party”. This can make cleaning up our diet really hard because when we weed out refined sugars and starches to improve gut health and “reset” our stomach lining, those yeast colonies freak out because they are getting starved.
We experience this in the moment as CRAVINGS for sugar! Wrap your Mind around that for a moment because when my functional medicine doctor explained it to me, this helped me “take ownership” of the process even more.
When we are doing the hard work of creating new habits and rewarding Self with healthier alternatives for overall health with a cleaner diet, the yeast colonies in our gut biome - LITERALLY invaders that might as well be “in cahoots” with the snack industry executives - are brainwashing our Mind into believing that we need sugar!
When I was able to frame all of this up in my Mind, it was so much easier to ignore those sugar cravings and over time, they went away as the yeast colonies in my gut biome died out. Now, I don’t crave sugar and when I do choose to indulge, I notice the bloating immediately and think, “Oh yeah, that’s why I limit this crap…”
#3 Impact of Food on Health of Body & Mind - Goal Confidence, or “behavioral momentum”
The Balanced Man Plan de-bunks a lot of myths about Health & Wellness and a BIG part of this is by unlocking potential through the natural connections between Body & Mind. The 3rd way that food choices impact overall health of both Body & Mind is by using the power of “behavioral momentum”. Behavioral momentum is when we believe we are “on a roll”, so are much less prone to being limited by the common barriers involved in good old-fashioned “over-thinking”. Ya know, "over-analysis paralysis?"
Behavioral momentum occurs when an athlete gets "on a hot streak” and they put up performance numbers that are WAY ABOVE their average level of functioning (baseline). In the same way, we can control this ourselves by making small decisions to achieve greater success in making healthy choices daily, then eventually weekly, then build up to monthly.
Over time we can even create a new normal - a NEW baseline - to decrease the likelihood of “slipping back to old ways”. And eventually we look back to see mountains and think, “How was I even living like that?”
A realistic example of how I use this to my personal advantage is by planning my workouts to be first thing in the morning. Not only do I know that my unique circadian rhythm is OPTIMIZED for energy in the early morning, but I can also rely on my recent memory of a challenging workout to help me practice impulse control with food choices through the rest of my day. “Am I really going to put myself through that morning workout to pour crappy nutrients over those torn muscle fibers when they are trying to recover? What’s would be the point?”
Most times, this gives me the space to reconsider food choices by introducing a pause to think about the Big Picture past the pull of immediate temptation.
Unless we learn to use this behavioral momentum to our advantage, those yeast colonies and HUGE snack corporations have different ideas. People frequently set themselves up for failure by trying to take shortcuts like going too fast and/or calorie restriction that is just TOO MUCH and TOO SOON. This results in a "rebound effect" where People BINGE, then lose Faith in their own ability to follow the plan they had in Mind - 99% of the time People in this position just QUIT. It doesn’t have to be like that and we want to help you get the results you have been looking for in a way that creates whole body Health & Wellness through Balance.
#4 Impact of Food on Health of Body & Mind - Sleep Quality
I had no idea this was a benefit of dialing in Balanced Physical Health through nutrition until I put it into practice myself. Before too long, I noticed my sleep was WAY better - there were fewer interruptions, I fell asleep faster, and I woke up feeling more refreshed - while the amount of time I spent in bed was the SAME.
Once I noticed these benefits myself, I did more research and found that other People eating an anti-inflammatory diet also experienced better quality sleep. The research studies show this is a direct result of the inflammatory response of the Body described in item #1 where a self-inflicted general inflammatory response is created through the whole Body and pours the stress hormone cortisol into our bloodstream. This makes it more difficult for the Body to fall asleep and stay asleep because the Body & Mind are literally “on edge” with Anxiety symptoms. NO WONDER! (and no sleep for that matter!)
If you want to learn even more about sleep and how to make sure you are doing EVERYTHING you can, check out our collection of research from sleep studies through the years in our article on Sleep Hygiene here.
As you can see, there are MANY reasons for food choices to make their way into the Balanced Man Plan. We hope you find the answers you are looking for and if you choose, we would be honored to be a small part of your Journey towards Health & Happiness with Self & Loved Ones through Balance. A great place to begin would be our Self-Guided Coaching Plan for Physical Health. Physical Health is at the CORE of our Balance - after all, we have nothing if we don’t have our Health. Are you ready to get your Body & Mind going in the right direction?
My name is Logan Cohen and I am a Professional Therapist & Life Coach with over 10 years in the field of Counseling Psychology. I am a Clinical Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, as well as the founder of New Leaf Counseling Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. After spending tens of thousands of clinical hours with my own clients, starting a successful group practice, as well as a beautiful Family, I “picked my head up from the grindstone” to check in on childhood Friends & Loved Ones.
I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.
The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!