Are there times when you don't feel quite right? Nothing has changed significantly in your life, but you notice little shifts. Things such as not sleeping as well as you used to, feeling bloated after meals, lacking stamina, struggling to stay focused throughout the day, and maybe even your moods are swinging like Tarzan through the jungle! There is a strong possibility how you have been nourishing yourself is to blame.
Your food choices and diet imbalances can impact nutrient absorption, affecting your mood, energy levels, and motivation. If you are feeling tired, bloated, and not experiencing rested sleep, these could all be signs that it is time to make some changes. Don't wait for a health scare to be the catalyst. Let's explore some ways to reset your nutrition strategy to ensure your body is receiving all it needs for you to show up as your best self!
First, let's clarify what a Nutrition Reset is and is not.
A nutrition reset is not a 'detox' or 'cleanse'. While I understand the premise of a 'detox', you don't need a juice fast, detox tea, or any other gimmicky program to improve your health. You are miraculous. Your body has incredible and has pathways to deal with problematic substances. Your body, when nurtured, will naturally remove (detox) problematic substances through organs such as the liver, kidneys and lungs. We have brilliant detoxification and elimination pathways that are detailed and intricate. When we nourish ourselves regularly with whole real foods, manage our stress, move, sleep well, and enjoy time with loved ones, it works wonderfully. However, we live in a world where that doesn't always happen, and for some people, it doesn't often happen. This puts pressure on our liver, and problematic substances can be recycled and stored in our cells instead of eliminated. Think of it like this: if you never take out the trash, it accumulates around your home to the point where you cannot easily move around. In such an environment, you would feel uncomfortable, uninspired and unwell. This happens to your body when it can't eliminate substances, you lack energy, don't sleep well, and eventually, disease manifests, and you lose quality of life.
“Detoxification is a transformation process where a substance gets altered into something else so that the new structure is taken into your urine or fecal matter and eliminated from your body. Your liver and kidneys complete this process. However, if you are not eating enough whole real foods such as vegetables and fruits, and your regular diet consists of highly processed foods loaded with sugar, fat and salt, these pathways may not work as effectively.”
Some of the reasons your body accumulates problematic substances are:
- You consume more than your body can eliminate. Either with highly palatable processed foods or lifestyle choices
- You live in a constant stressed state, and your body produces high levels of stress hormones
- Your lymphatic system isn't stimulated because you don't move enough
A Nutrition Reset is not about deprivation. The key is to explore how you nourish your body and what works for you and what doesn't. It is about acknowledging your food and lifestyle choices are not working for you at this time and developing a strategy to improve those choices to reduce and often eliminate fatigue, bloating, brain fog and disrupted sleep.
For our cells to function at their optimum, they need the following:
- Beautiful deep breaths of air (oxygen)
- Fresh, clean water
- A rainbow diet of whole real seasonal foods (nutrition)
- The ability to eliminate waste and problematic substances daily
How do you know if you need a Nutrition Reset? With all the conflicting nutrition information available, it can be challenging to sort out what nutrients and how much you need. What should you add more of, and what should you take out? Your body is the best indicator of this. It doesn't have a voice to tell you. But you know through the emotional and physical signs. The issue is observing and acknowledging those signs and not dismissing them.
Here are three signs that your body is 'screaming' at you to take some time and discover how it needs to be nourished for you to function optimally:
- You constantly feel tired. Do you feel tired, even after sleeping a whole night? Raise your hand … bingo? This can be a sign your nutrition is lacking. Your metabolic pathways convert food into energy for your bodily functions and for us to do our daily tasks. Your body naturally produces and stores some nutrients, but many are required daily. For example, some minerals and vitamins must be obtained from our food because our bodies cannot synthesise them. Not having enough of these nutrients can directly impact your overall energy levels.
Low energy levels may be a clue for you to recognise that you aren't getting enough iron nourishment. Many women of reproductive age are deficient in iron. There are two types of iron: heme from lean meat and seafood and non-heme from nuts, beans, vegetables and fortified grain products. I encourage you to obtain your iron from both sources. It can be tricky because spinach is high in iron, but the bioavailability (the ability of your body to absorb nutrients) is low due to the polyphenols (found in fruits and vegetables. The most well-known resveratrol found in red wine). However, if you prefer a plant-based diet, your vitamin C levels must be adequate to ensure the non-heme iron can be absorbed. Pop over to the blog here for the series on how to increase your iron levels naturally. A bonus for sweet tooths (hand up here!), around 85 grams of dark chocolate 45%-69% cacao solids will afford you 39% of your daily intake! Oh, that is not permission for you to eat a block of dark chocolate! But an opportunity to occasionally add a square or two to your breakfast oats or smoothie.
Being under in your magnesium nourishment may also be impacting your energy levels. Nuts, dark leafy vegetables and whole grains are all sources to add to your daily nourishment. Remember that refined, processed grains have removed the nutrient-rich germ and bran, reducing the quantity of magnesium available to nourish you. I recommend organic whole foods as much as possible to support your magnesium intake. Around 30 grams of pumpkin seeds is 37% of the required daily value, and the same of chia seeds is 26%. Both are easy options that can be added to salads, oats or snacks to ramp up your magnesium intake.
- You look down, and your belly has expanded. Bloated again. Anyone who has struggled with bloating knows the discomfort associated with it. It can also impact your self-confidence, making you feel unattractive and self-conscious. To start addressing bloating, you may like to make notes in a journal or book. Begin to take notice of what you have eaten, how fast did you eat, how your sleep was, and the quality of your poo or are you not pooing? All these things can impact bloating. Your bloating could be solved by slowing down when you eat and chewing more. Or it could be you need a probiotic to support the growth of good bacteria and the production of less problematic substances moving through your digestive system. Bloating can occur when you are intolerant to a food substance, such as gluten or lactose. Have you increased your fibre intake but not your water intake? Increasing your fibre intake without increasing your hydration levels can lead to constipation and bloating. I encourage you to increase your fibre intake gradually. And until you master your hydration levels, try eating fibrous fruits and vegetables high in fluids, such as strawberries, oranges, cucumber, zucchini, and celery.
- Your sleep is not restful. You are sleeping the hours but still waking up tired, or you can't get to sleep and are tossing and turning. Sound familiar? While there can be many reasons for this, including stress, technology and sleep hygiene, looking at what you nourish yourself with during the day is also important. Are you propping up your energy with stimulants? Caffeine, tobacco, and sugar are some stimulants that can impact your sleep quality. These should be avoided as much as possible, but if you choose to include them in your day, leave several hours between consumption and bedtime.
Melatonin is your sleep hormone, increasing in the evening and decreasing as the morning draws closer. Your levels also decrease as you age. The higher your melatonin levels are, the longer and more sound your sleep is. While there is no recommended daily allowance, things like making your sleep area as dark as possible and reducing exposure to blue light as the sun goes down can help improve sleep quality. I encourage you to include foods with a high melatonin concentration in your nutrition reset strategy. These include tart cherries, goji berries, eggs, fish, pistachios, and almonds.
Let's also cover hydration, which can impact energy levels, bloating and sleep quality.
Your water intake can impact many things, from energy levels, your ability to concentrate, bloating and even, in some people, their blood pressure! Increasing your hydration levels is a simple way to feel better, but many clients tell me it's not so easy. Let me break it down for you. How much water do you need to drink? This really depends on many variables, but here is a simple equation to get you started … multiply your weight (in kg) by 0.033, and the answer is your suggested daily water consumption. For example, if you weigh 60 kilos, it's around 2 litres. If you forget to drink water, I recommend setting an alarm or setting a timer for 45-minute increments to remind you to drink some water. To keep tabs on how much you are drinking, have a water bottle or two with the amount required and fill your glass from them. If you need more flavour because you find water tasteless and boring, try my favourite infused water recipes that can be found here. Also, remember that you can add a soup or smoothie to help increase your water consumption. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need to consume a little more. If you want some tips and reasons to support you in creating a habit where water is your main drink, read the blog post, 7 Reasons to make water your main drink.
I hope this has given you some ideas on simple nutritional changes that you can make to improve your health and well-being. In the comments below, let me know what you will add to your nutrition reset strategy.
Also, if you would like some practical guidance to support you with your Nutrition Reset, find out more about the self-guided Seasonal Nutrition Reset programs here.
And as always, remember you are a unique miracle. You deserve to be your best self for you and those you love.
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Blog posts are not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of medical advice and treatment from your doctor. Readers are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Ocea Marie does not take any responsibility for possible health consequences for anyone reading or following the information available on the blog. All readers, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their doctor before beginning any nutrition or supplement program.
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