How to eat for better sleep

Are you having trouble sleeping? Maybe you’ve tried melatonin, sleep medication, other supplementation, or all of the sleep hygiene tips without success. Have you tried optimizing your nutrition for sleep? Here’s what to eat for better sleep.

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The role of nutrition for better sleep

Nutrition is one of the most overlooked aspects of sleep hygiene. We might follow all the sleep hygiene tips—going to bed early at the same time, trying to get morning sunlight, and trying to downregulate before sleep—but so often, no one focuses on nutrition for sleep, and that is what this blog is about today. 

We need nutrients for every biochemical reaction in the body. For us to truly thrive, feel energized and motivated, feel great about life, and have a great mood, we need proper nutrition to fuel our brains and our bodies. 

As it relates to neurotransmitter production, we need tyrosine, an amino acid that we get from protein sources, to make dopamine. We need glutamine, another amino acid,  to make GABA, which helps to decrease feelings of fear and anxiety. And we need tryptophan to make serotonin. So, we’re going to dive into that pathway specifically because serotonin is a  precursor for melatonin that is necessary for sleep.

What nutrients do you need for better sleep?

Tryptophan

The nutrients you need for sleep to ultimately produce the appropriate amount of melatonin are going to start with tryptophan. We can get tryptophan through protein sources such as fish and poultry. In order for tryptophan to convert to 5-HTP, we need calcium foods. This could be something like dairy, or if you’re dairy-free, it could be something like flax milk. 

B3 (Niacin)

We also need B3, which is niacin. This could be beef, chicken, poultry, or fish. 

B9

We need B9, folate, which comes from dark leafy vegetables, citrus foods, and even eggs. 

Copper

We also need copper, which includes oysters, and if that’s not feasible, then something like shellfish, beans, or nuts. 

Vitamin C

Once tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP, which is 5-hydroxytryptophan, we need to convert it to serotonin. Foods high in vitamin C, such as bell peppers, strawberries, or potatoes, will provide the nutrients needed for that. 

Magnesium

We also need magnesium, such as pumpkin seeds. 

Zinc

We need zinc, such as oysters or pumpkin seeds. 

Once 5-HTP is converted to serotonin, then we need to convert serotonin to N-acetyl serotonin. That’s going to require magnesium again. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of this. Zinc, which could be oysters and pumpkin seeds as well. 

Vitamin B12

Once it is converted to N-acetyl serotonin, we need to convert it to melatonin. In order to do that, we need Vitamin B12, which could be organ meats, fish, eggs, and beef. B9 is our folate, which can be dark leafy vegetables, citrus foods, and eggs. And there we have melatonin. 

Key Takeaway

So, as you can see, it is a complex biochemical process that requires nutrients each and every step of the way. That process starts with protein, which plays a huge role in neurotransmitter production. One of the best things you can do if you’re not already doing it and you’re not sleeping well is to begin to eat more protein throughout the day. But also, let’s factor in all of those key vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins, because all of those are going to influence each and every step in that biochemical process. So, before just grabbing your melatonin supplement, think about what you can do to produce your own melatonin in addition to darkness, of course.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

You can always join us in our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have lots of challenges every other month—everything from movement to the nervous system, nutrition, and so on. And we have a great community of people. 

You can also reach out to us for an individual appointment as it relates to the physical pain that you might be having and any emotional issues that you’re dealing with, such as anxiety or depression. If you really want to get to the root cause, please reach out to us.

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How to Nourish Your Body From Trauma

Have you experienced trauma? Whether it was a specific childhood event, a recent experience, or an ongoing situation, you might be in therapy and practicing somatic techniques. You’re doing everything you can, but progress feels difficult. Dissociation, feeling stuck, or numbness might be present. You might even procrastinate because it all just feels so hard. You know what you should do, but taking action is incredibly challenging.

Today, we’ll discuss how to nourish your body after experiencing trauma. This topic is particularly important to me for several reasons. In my practice, I see many clients struggling with frustration. They know the right steps to take, but following through feels impossible. Despite therapy and professional support, they find it difficult to maintain progress.

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Understanding Trauma

Trauma can affect us both physically and emotionally. It can leave us feeling stuck, numb, and overwhelmed. This is because trauma can deplete our resources, leaving us with nothing left to give. 

This is where I find it to be really important to look at it through this functional medicine lens, but quite frankly, even on a more basic level, is looking at it from a physical perspective.

4 Ways to Nourish Your Body From Trauma

What do we need to do to nourish our body physically so that we can address the emotional component? 

Water Intake

Often, when someone has experienced significant trauma and struggles with anxiety and depression, I begin by focusing on something simple: water intake. If they’re not drinking enough fluids throughout the day, getting them to drink adequately becomes our first step.

But there’s more to it than just water. True hydration involves electrolytes as well. Water carries nutrients to our brains, and if we’re constantly foggy or overwhelmed, it might be because we’re not getting enough water or proper hydration to our brains. Electrolytes help water reach the brain and deliver those essential nutrients. Without them, we become depleted.

Adding Protein

Protein plays a critical role in forming neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. These neurotransmitters help reduce feelings of fear and anxiety. Protein also supports hormone health and production.  Therefore, getting enough protein and other nutrients in your diet is crucial for proper neurotransmitter and hormone production/conversion.

Inconsistent protein intake not only impacts brain function (feeding the brain), but can also decrease cravings for sugary carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can further disrupt your blood sugar levels. So, protein helps you feel fuller and maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day. 

Meal Timing

Meal timing can vary depending on the individual, but for those recovering from trauma, I generally recommend eating every 3-4 hours. This helps to avoid blood sugar crashes, which can further stress an already overwhelmed system.

People who have experienced trauma often struggle to manage additional stress because their nervous system is compromised. We want to promote a state of resilience, where the nervous system can handle some fluctuations without becoming overly stressed. However, when dealing with the aftermath of trauma, even minor stressors like hunger or dehydration can be tipping points. Therefore, consistent meal timing (every 3-4 hours) and balanced meals are crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Nutrients

Once our basic needs are met, I like to take a holistic approach to nutrients. This allows for a deeper dive into what will make you truly thrive. The food we eat impacts every aspect of our biochemistry and how we function. It’s not just about survival; it’s about thriving.

By understanding how food affects everything from mood and energy to performance and beyond, you can appreciate the power of food to rebuild your body and support its natural healing ability. When you feed your body what it needs, you can see a real difference.

Key Takeaway

Once these basic needs are addressed and we take a systematic, step-by-step approach, your body will gradually start to feel better. This improvement translates to better input for your brain, as so much of how we function relies on sensory information. With better sensory information from your organs, you’ll experience improved interoception or a heightened awareness of yourself.

This improved state can make it much easier to connect with your therapist and discuss your challenges. You’ll be in a better position to utilize the strategies you’ve tried before, and hopefully, they’ll have a more significant impact now.

While we can eventually delve deeper into topics like inflammation, it’s crucial to start with the fundamentals. This is what I’ve repeatedly seen as most effective in my practice, and it’s why I wanted to emphasize it today.

Hopefully, you’ll have the opportunity to look at many of the vagus nerves and some somatic exercises that are on our website and YouTube channel. You can see how much of an impact they have on giving us a more regulated nervous system state. 

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

You can always join us in our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have lots of challenges every other month—everything from movement to the nervous system, nutrition, and so on. And we have a great community of people. 

You can also reach out to us for an individual appointment as it relates to the physical pain that you might be having and any emotional issues that you’re dealing with, such as anxiety or depression. If you really want to get to the root cause, please reach out to us.

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How to assess and treat your scars

Have you had an injury or even surgery that left a scar? Have you ever worked on your scar? And do you know why it is so important in your healing? 

Today, we will discuss scars, how to assess them, how to treat them, and why it is so important that we do both.

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Understanding Scars

Let’s first talk a little bit about what scars are. If you look at a tensegrity model, you want to think about our fascial tissue as our three-dimensional network, our glue that holds us all together, our force transmission system. 

What’s fascinating about the fascia, among many things, is that we are able to create tension and elasticity. This is what happens in dynamic movement, whether that is walking, running, stairs, breathing, or whether that’s the motility and mobility of our viscera and our organs.

When we have scars, we form cross-links, which is what makes the tissue strong. That’s exactly what we want from a scar. But it is not elastic. We need this elasticity of the tissue to move freely and generate and transmit force through our body.

Scar Releases

Now, let’s dive into what we do when we’re doing scar releases. First, a lot of times, we think that we’re breaking up scar tissue. Well, we are not breaking anything up because fascial tissue requires thousands and thousands of pounds of force to break. We would have to actually go in with a cadaver and cut the tissue. So, we’re not breaking it up. However, we are influencing it from the sensory aspect because there are tons of sensory nerves in the fascia, and we are helping to improve the elasticity of the tissue by helping to realign the collagen fibers and create elasticity in the tissue. That’s the main goal.

Who Should Undergo Scar Work

Scar assessment and scar work do not need to be aggressive, but they should be very intentional. Who should do this? Anyone that has a scar. It doesn’t matter how small or old the scar is or why you have it. All of these can influence the surrounding tissues.

For example, if you have a C-section, there is the obvious superficial scar, but then there are effects of cutting through seven layers of tissue. In that particular area where the actual scar is on the outside, it can affect all of your abdominal muscles and your viscera, too. That’s one of the underlying potential root causes of something like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or any gut dysregulation. 

If you’ve had a tummy tuck, breast implants, or a scar from an injury, all of these things can affect the surrounding tissues as well as distant tissues. Our fascial lines connect us from the bottom of our feet to the top of our toes. Something to consider before you even assess your scar is recognizing the emotional component and potential trauma of scars. 

Depending on why you have the scar, significant emotional responses can occur when addressing it. Make sure that you either work with a professional to do this or do this in a safe place and honor any emotions that may come up because, ultimately, every scar has a story. This is a really important part of scar work.

Scar Assessment Techniques

Imagine you have a scar on your hand. It could be from a recent injury or a past surgery. The first step is to examine the scar closely. Using your fingers, gently pull in different directions around the scar. Notice how the tissue responds. Is there any resistance? Does one side feel tighter than the other? You can pull in different directions, and essentially, you’re looking at the elasticity of this tissue because we want our tissue to move freely.

Now, sensitivity is another important factor to consider. So, does it feel very hypersensitive? As I mentioned, we have a lot of sensory nerves on our fascia. So, it could feel almost burning or super hypersensitive, and in this case, we would do some scar desensitization before performing the actual scar massage. 

Next, if the scar is sensitive, you can use a washcloth and gently massage it over the scar. This will help desensitize the scar. Typically, you only need to do this for a few days—maybe not even—but it could be very, very helpful. It can also be an opportunity to connect with the scar and help with nervous system regulation as it relates to the scar and the injury or surgery that you might have had.

Scar Treatment Techniques

General Technique

To begin, we’ll start with a more general technique. Instead of directly massaging over the scar, we’ll focus on moving the skin over the tissue surrounding it. This allows us to gauge how the scar tissue moves in various directions. As you perform this technique, pay attention to any areas where you feel tightness or restriction. It’s normal for certain areas to feel tender or uncomfortable.

Smudging Technique

Once you’ve identified areas of tightness, you can transition to the smudging technique. This involves applying pressure to the skin and moving it up and down or side to side over the scar. By doing so, you’re promoting better tissue mobility. This technique can be applied to the entire scar area for maximum effectiveness.

Specific Technique

The most targeted approach involves focusing on particularly tight or restricted scar tissue areas. If you notice a specific area that feels especially constricted, gently apply pressure and hold it there. As you maintain this pressure, you may feel the tissue gradually soften and release. This indicates a successful fascial release, allowing for improved movement and reduced discomfort.

Key Takeaway

These are some basic techniques for assessing and treating scars. It doesn’t matter how old your scar is. It is important to honor any emotions that may come up with compassion. Scar massage is an extremely important part of your emotional and physical healing.

For example, if you’ve had shoulder surgery and experience shoulder pain, neglecting scar treatment can impede muscle function, particularly stabilizing muscles, due to potential neurological effects on the scar. Similarly, addressing a C-section scar can be vital for addressing gut issues, and knee scars from falls may relate to hip or knee pain. So, the impact of scars isn’t limited to their immediate location; it can affect distant areas, too. It’s essential to recognize the importance of scar treatment, including tattoos, which are essentially scars, as part of maintaining healthy movement and organ function.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

If you need more individual help, please reach out for a discovery session. We would love the opportunity to help you in any of these areas. In addition, you can feel free to join our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have monthly challenges, live Q&As, and an amazing community, all geared toward whole-body health. So, we hope to see you there!

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Why a Stool Test Can Change Your Life

Do you want to finally understand the root cause of your digestive issues? Perhaps chronic inflammation or autoimmune disease, maybe even anxiety or depression? If so, please join me in diving into why a stool test can be so valuable in helping you understand why you’re not feeling so well.

In this blog, we’ll explore the incredible insights stool analysis can offer, how it can help uncover hidden factors contributing to your health issues, and why it’s an essential tool in my practice. Join me on this journey to better understand your body and reclaim your health.

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The Importance of Stool Analysis

You might be thinking, ‘Why on Earth would I do a stool test?’ Well, if you are like most of my patients, you are experiencing some kind of chronic health condition. That could be as simple as dry, itchy skin, or swelling in your hands, or arthritis. It may also be chronic digestive issues— your bowels are very irregular—or you have an autoimmune disease, or you have anxiety or depression.

The stool test is a great avenue to understand in depth what is happening in your microbiome, which is directly connected to your brain through the gut-brain axis—our bidirectional two-way communication. So, when we can begin to look at exactly what’s happening, which I will get into detail about, we can have a very systematic approach to addressing the root causes of why some things might be happening to you.

What to Look For in a Stool Test

So, what are we looking for in a stool test? The first thing that’s really important is that we always want to pair any testing, any special testing or labs, with your clinical presentation. So, it really is important to understand what you’re experiencing day to day, moment to moment, and how these things correlate with your stool test. As I said, we want to do that with every clinical lab value.

Pathogens and Infections

Now, when we’re looking at this, we are first looking at pathogens. So, we might have something like C. difficile or E. coli or a parasite like Giardia. All of these things could pop up. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you had E. coli yesterday, but if the numbers are elevated and they’re out of range, that could mean you have a chronic colonization for it. So, if you were exposed to it, you could actually get it very easily. If there was something like Giardia, which is a parasite that can destroy the microvilli of the intestine like Celiac can, that is really high priority. That’s something that would need to be treated.

H. pylori and Commensal Bacteria

Next, we look at H. pylori. So, H. pylori is an infection that occurs in the stomach. It is a bacterial infection. It is a gram-negative bacteria, and this is present in 50% of the population. So, literally, one in two stool tests I see, someone has H. pylori. Normally, if they have it, then their significant others should also be tested and/or treated for it because it is highly transmissible.

Opportunistic Bacteria and Dysbiosis

Then, we look at your commensal bacteria. We often hear about this as your beneficial bacteria. So, in this case, we can get a really nice profile of what is happening. Now, we often think, ‘Well, we want a lot of really beneficial good bacteria,’ but actually, we want it in a healthy range. We don’t want them too low. We don’t want them too high. This is because either one of those extremes can cause issues. 

Then, we look at the opportunistic bacteria. So, this is a bacteria that can be problematic, and it can cause or be linked to inflammation and autoimmune disease. It can also be linked to things like histamine intolerance.

Small Intestinal Health and Yeast Overgrowth

We can also see small intestine patterns. So, we’re referring to the stool test; we’re looking at the large intestine, but we can see patterns that may present as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which can warrant further testing or monitoring of diet. We can also see if there’s a yeast overgrowth. 

Some signs of that may be things like chronic fungus in your toenail that’s not dissolving. Maybe you have a history of vaginal yeast infections. Maybe you have thrush in your mouth.

Assessing Overall Intestinal Health

The last segment of the stool test is where we can really look at your overall intestinal health. This is really, really valuable because we can look to see how you’re digesting food. So, your steatocrit is a measure of fat. Is the fat in the stool high, which means that you’re having a malabsorption of fat?

Addressing Issues

So, how do you go about addressing all of that? I see really complicated cases and very complicated stool tests. 

What I love about the stool test is that you can prioritize and make a systematic approach to it. What I found works well for my patients because a lot of times they’re coming from other providers where they’re taking tons of supplements and they’re overwhelmed by everything, or they don’t want to take that much, or they’re just overwhelmed in general with the process.

So, what I really like to do is look at the stool test, prioritize what is a pathogen, what is an infection, what needs to be treated right away, and break it up into phases for each patient. 

For one patient, it might be one, I’d call it gut healing phase one or phase two; for another patient, it might be four; for another patient, it might be three. So, it could just really depend on how complicated your case is, how many supplements you’re able to take or not able to take.

I really try to do one to two at a time that might be related to a specific treatment, and that really works well emotionally, mentally, and physically for most patients. 

Key Takeaways

So, the great thing about it is that it’s objective data, and you can really organize it in a fashion to improve your symptoms slowly over time.

I could give you countless stories of how that has happened with patients, and it is one of the most profound tests you can do to optimize your health. Personally, I love doing it as a preventative measure. So, coming from gut issues after cancer, I really began to dive into stool testing regularly to keep making sure that I’m addressing things if they come up. So, that’s what happens with our world and our environment.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, give it a share, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

If you need help more individually, please reach out for a discovery session. We would love the opportunity to help you in any of these areas. And in addition to that, you can feel free to join our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have monthly challenges, live Q&As, and an amazing community, all geared toward whole-body health. So hope to see you there!

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Sternal Release

Are you experiencing any kind of blood pressure dysregulation, heart palpitations, bradycardia, slow heartbeat tachycardia, or faster heart rate that may be associated with your autonomic nervous system? 

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Sternal Release Exercise Precaution

Before we jump into the anatomy, I want to make sure that if you have any concerns about this particular exercise, please check with your doctor or health practitioner to see if it is appropriate for you.

Vagus Nerve Anatomy

With that said, let’s start with the anatomy of the vagus nerve, recognizing that this aspect of the vagus nerve is how we are going to influence it via the vagus nerve exercise. 

The vagus nerve exits the brainstem and we have branches into the ear, throat, and then the area that we’re focusing on today is the influence of how the vagus nerve innervates the SA node of the heart. It passes through the lung tissue, and the diaphragm although not innervating it, and then it moves into the entire GI tract. We can influence the vagus nerve it through the SA node of the heart, as well as a pressure change. We can target the baroreceptors that are lying within the carotid artery and the aorta. Because of this pressure change, we can influence the vagus nerve response and create the relaxation response.

How to Do Sternal Release + Reminders

Before performing any vagus nerve exercise, you always want to make sure that you are in a safe environment. Again, you should consult with a healthcare provider if this is necessary and appropriate for you. For example, if you’re experiencing extreme blood pressure dysregulation, this may not be suitable for you at this time. However, you do want to ensure that you’re safe, you feel confident in the exercise, and you approach it with gentle curiosity rather than aggression. If you’re starting this particular exercise for the first time, ensure that you begin with just a little bit and gradually increase your duration over time.

To perform this exercise, grab a medium-sized soft ball and lie over the ball, with the ball directly underneath your sternum. Allow yourself to settle in, taking some nice slow diaphragmatic breaths. Then, when you’re ready, take a breath in through your nose, pretend to cough, but don’t actually cough. Do this as if you’re holding your breath. Then exhale slowly, and repeat this exercise for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. However, we recommend starting with a very small volume of it might be very beneficial for you.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, give it a share, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

If you need help more individually, please reach out for a discovery session. We would love the opportunity to help you in any of these areas. And in addition to that, you can feel free to join our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have monthly challenges, live Q&As, and an amazing community, all geared toward whole-body health. So hope to see you there!

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How to Improve Your Knee Pain | Knee Rotation

Are you experiencing chronic knee pain? Maybe you have had multiple issues with your foot, your knee, your hip, or our low back, and you haven’t been able to resolve it. In this blog, we’re going to dive into the rotational component of the knee that is often neglected in most rehab and movement programs. 

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How to Know If Your Knee Lacks Rotation of the Lower Leg Inward

If you notice that when standing, your feet are abducted and turned outward, it could indicate a deficiency in internal tibial rotation, where the lower leg fails to rotate inward.

Another sign can be observed during a squat: if your feet tend to turn out as you descend, this too may signal insufficient rotation in the lower leg. This lack of rotation could also stem from limited ankle dorsiflexion—the bending mobility of the ankle. While issues with the hip and foot may also contribute, for the purpose of this blog, we’re focusing on the inward rotation of the lower leg.

Self-Assessment

To assess this yourself, begin from a seated position. Place your arm under your upper thigh and concentrate on the rotation of your entire lower leg. It’s important to isolate this movement from the foot, as simply turning the foot in and out can be misleading. By stabilizing the upper leg with your arm, you can assist in and out movements, but the emphasis should be on inward rotation. This rotational ability tends to diminish with injuries such as meniscus injuries and other knee-related issues.

What You Can Do About It

If inward rotation feels challenging, start by assisting passively with your hand. Once you’re more comfortable, introduce a slight resistance. You can use a band wrapped around the foot in a figure-eight fashion to provide resistance while moving into internal rotation. Adding resistance helps reinforce this movement neurologically when loaded.

Advanced Progression

For a more advanced progression, try placing a block or a rolled-up towel between your knees. Then, using a smooth surface or a bolster, slowly extend your knees while keeping your toes and tibia rotated inward. Aim for complete extension, then reverse the movement by turning your feet and lower leg outward as you return to the starting position. This exercise requires careful control and deliberate movement to maintain good fascial tension throughout.

Key Takeaway

If you’ve encountered issues like patellofemoral pain or meniscus injuries, it’s often associated with inadequate rotation in the tibia or lower leg. I hope you find these assessments and exercises helpful in your journey. Remember, never work through pain, and approach assessments with gentle curiosity to truly understand the mechanics and choose appropriate exercises.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, give it a share, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

If you need help more individually, please reach out for a discovery session. We would love the opportunity to help you in any of these areas. And in addition to that, you can feel free to join our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have monthly challenges, live Q&As, and an amazing community, all geared toward whole-body health. So hope to see you there!

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All About H Pylori

Are you experiencing burping throughout the day? Perhaps you feel nauseous in the morning when you first wake up, or you feel unsure if you’re full or hungry. You might even have some upper GI symptoms. Today, we will discuss H. pylori, which is common in 50% of the population.

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What do you need to know about H. pylori?

H. pylori is a bacterial infection that presents itself in the stomach. It can happen for several reasons. 

One, it is highly transmissible. Sharing drinks with family or friends is a common way to transmit H. pylori. Additionally, factors such as poor digestion and protective mechanisms can contribute to its spread.

Decreased stomach acid or pancreatic elastase may lead to reduced digestive capability, particularly in the stomach, thereby increasing the risk of H. pylori infection. Interestingly, even if two individuals share a drink with an infected person, one may contract the infection while the other remains unaffected, akin to other infectious diseases.

How H. pylori can be associated with peptic ulcer

H. pylori is also one of the main reasons why we get peptic ulcers.

In the past, we would always say that an ulcer was due to stress. While there is some truth to that based on stress-driven inflammation, gastric changes, and a decrease in stomach acid, the primary reason that we get that is because of H. pylori specifically. 

When I see adults that go through their timeline and understand that, as a kid, they were having all of these GI issues and were typically treated with a proton pump inhibitor, I always question, “Did they have H. pylori at that time and it wasn’t diagnosed or treated appropriately?” 

If left untreated, it can lead to gastritis and eventually peptic ulcers. It can also cause a variety of other symptoms.

Symptoms of H. pylori

Burping is a common symptom of H. pylori. If someone burps frequently throughout the day or pays special attention to it, it may indicate this condition. 

Other symptoms may include waking up feeling nauseous, being unsure if they’re hungry or full throughout the day, bloating, and classic reflux-type symptoms. Constipation, diarrhea, or bowel changes can also occur. Keep in mind that all symptoms can overlap with any gastrointestinal issue.

Diagnosis and treatment

The most conventional test is actually a breath test. However, a really great way to test for H. pylori is a stool test. You can test specifically for H. pylori as well as do it as part of a comprehensive stool analysis. 

Regardless of the diagnostic method, prompt treatment is crucial if H. pylori is detected due to its potential downstream effects. Even if other issues, such as dysbiosis or high inflammatory markers, are present, prioritizing H. pylori treatment is essential. Fortunately, treatment is relatively straightforward, with successful outcomes achievable.

What treatment is available?

Traditionally, H. pylori is used to be treated solely with antibiotics. Still, in those cases, it only works in 50% of the cases, and in addition to that, as you can imagine, with antibiotics, it’s causing a whole host of other issues. 

H. pylori can actually be treated with mastic gum, which is from the unique resin of a Mediterranean tree. This can be used up to 1,000 mg twice a day for 2 to 3 months and is highly effective in remedying H. pylori. 

Although someone might be experiencing low stomach acid in addition to having H. pylori, it’s recommended not to necessarily use hydrochloric acid or stomach acid as a supplement while treating H. pylori.

This can be reassessed after you finish the treatment successfully, but a lot of times, when someone might be having some of these upper GI issues, it is because of H. pylori. Once again, you can treat the subsequent low stomach acid as needed. There are different schools of thought on this, but clinically speaking, what I found to be very helpful is treating it and then addressing the low stomach acid. And last but not least, do not share your drinks and food with others, even if you love them.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, give it a share, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

If you need help more individually, please reach out for a discovery session. We would love the opportunity to help you in any of these areas. And in addition to that, you can feel free to join our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have monthly challenges, live Q&As, and an amazing community, all geared toward whole-body health. So hope to see you there!

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2 Somatic Practices for Overwhelm

Life can get overwhelming, leaving us feeling lost and stressed. If you’re caught up in despair, hopelessness, or panic, you’re not alone. Today, let’s take a breather and do a few easy exercises together. These steps can help you break free from the chaos and shift to a place of mindfulness, joy, and grounding. Join me on this journey to rediscover serenity and embrace a more balanced and peaceful life.

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Why Consider Somatic Practices

When you find yourself in a lower or even a higher energy state, overwhelmed and a bit disconnected from yourself or the world, this simple exercise is designed to help you explore and reconnect with the beauty of your body.

2 Somatic Practices You Can Do to Avoid Overwhelm

1. Body Tapping

The first technique is called body tapping. You can literally tap all aspects of your body, moving through and bringing your awareness to each part. Notice how you feel. What’s happening? Can you feel the vibration throughout your body? Can you feel the fascia, the network of sensory nerves in your body? By bringing awareness and noticing what’s happening, you can do this at your own pace—fast or slow. This technique is excellent for fostering flexibility in both your mind and body.

2. Butterfly

The second technique is called the butterfly. For this, cross your arms, feel that connection, and then open up wide. I recommend pairing this with your breath—inhale as you close and exhale as you open. Feel the connection, perhaps rounding a bit to release any tension you might be holding, and then open up.

Key Takeaway

With both of these exercises, there’s no specific time limit. Instead, focus on what you’re feeling. Consider your physical sensations—do you notice pain, discomfort, or tension? Pay attention to the emotions or thoughts that arise. This reflection is a great way to connect with your experience and be present. When thoughts take you down a rabbit hole, shift your attention to your body. Ground yourself in the present moment by getting into your body.

I hope these exercises were helpful. If they were, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. For more content, check out our app with various programs and exercises. 

We also offer one-on-one services and group programs. Feel free to reach out, and we hope to assist you on your journey. Meanwhile, explore our other content, including vagus nerve exercises, somatic practices, nutrition, gut health, and movement to support your health journey.

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4 Considerations for Your Best Nutrition Plan

Are you constantly searching for the next best diet? Maybe you’ve tried keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, or you’re looking for the right fit this time. If that’s you, read on for four things to consider when planning your personalized nutrition.

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Why nutrition plan should be personalized

I truly believe that nutrition should be personalized for you. We can’t just look at what our friends or relatives are doing because there are many things to consider. Today, we’re going to discuss four key categories.

Key categories of a nutrition plan

1. Current health status and clinical symptoms

For example, are you experiencing cardiometabolic issues like hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol? Are you dealing with inflammatory bowel disease or IBS symptoms? Do you have an autoimmune condition? 

First, look closely at your current health conditions because you may need a specific therapeutic plan for you. Additionally, examine clinical symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, mood issues like anxiety or depression, and inflammatory issues in your immune system. With various symptoms in play, all these factors must be considered to determine the best plan for you at this time.

2. Lab work

We aim for objectivity here. It’s not about labeling the carnivore diet as bad or the vegan diet as good; it’s about understanding how your chosen diet affects your body. Consider your gut health and microbiome and check for low vitamin levels like D, B12, and iron. A nutrient panel can reveal what your diet provides or lacks, eliminating the need for guesswork. Making this process more objective is crucial. 

If you’re feeling great, with good energy and no health issues, and your labs show positive results, your diet is likely working well for you. Conversely, if subjective feelings conflict with objective information, it’s essential to be open-minded and delve deeper into what’s happening.

3. Environmental factors

Now, let’s consider environmental factors. What are your food preferences, likes, and dislikes? Any food aversions? Explore your genetic predispositions, such as the MTHFR gene, impacting B vitamin metabolism and detoxification, and genetic deficiencies, like the DAO (diamine oxidase) enzyme, which may necessitate a tailored approach. Addressing mold exposure, candida, and other specific issues becomes crucial when considering clinical symptoms and health status. 

Environmental exposure is vital to factor in; for instance, if someone is exposed to mold. We also need to consider if there’s a genetic deficiency in breaking down histamines. In such cases, a low histamine diet might be necessary, distinguishing it from perceived sensitivity. 

Proactively addressing exposure through nutrition is vital. Consider incorporating more phytonutrients and antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress if your body is under environmental strain. By understanding and addressing these environmental factors, we can proactively mitigate their effects through dietary choices.

4. Adverse food reactions

Lastly, we have adverse food reactions, which fall into three categories. First, there’s food sensitivity—an IgG and IgA-mediated reaction—which can be delayed. This means a reaction might occur on day two, three, or even four after consuming a potentially sensitive food. 

On the other hand, a food allergy, an IgE-mediated reaction, results in an immediate response, varying from mild to severe—ranging from itching in the mouth to an anaphylactic reaction. 

Additionally, there’s food intolerance, where the body lacks enzymes to break down specific food components.

To create a personalized diet plan, we must consider these reactions. For instance, one person might avoid a certain food due to sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy. However, it doesn’t mean you should avoid it too. Testing methods, elimination diets, and allergy tests can provide objective insights. It’s crucial not to eliminate foods solely based on assumptions, making the process more objective and informed.

Key takeaway

We consider all these categories, acknowledging numerous other variables. My biggest takeaway for you is to avoid blindly following a specific diet merely because it’s popular among influencers, friends, or family. 

Evaluate your individual needs: your activity levels, interest in food, cooking preferences, and the feasibility of meal prep based on your schedule. All these factors are crucial in designing a healthy and sustainable meal plan tailored to you. It’s not about pursuing perfection but finding what works for you and allowing it to evolve over time. You may not start with a perfect diet, but gradually develop habits and broaden your perspective on food – not just as fuel but as information, medicine, a means to connect, and a way to heal your body. Nutrition is powerful and influences every reaction in your body. To function optimally, we must eat optimally.

If you found this helpful, please give it a like, share it, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Feel free to reach out if you’re seeking an individualized approach to your nutrition plan – we’d love to hear from you and schedule a discovery session. Also, check out our fantastic community on The Movement Paradigm app, which is available on Apple or Google. Join us for various programs and abundant information. It’s a great community to support you on your journey. Hope to see you soon!

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6 Ways to Overcome Burnout

Are you feeling completely emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted? You feel like you can’t keep going? Today, we are going to talk about burnout, which is actually an ICD-10 code, i.e., a medical diagnosis.

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What you need to know

You’re exhausted in all aspects, and you feel like there is nothing in you to do what you need to do. You might have a lack of energy, daytime sleepiness, and overall lethargy. You might feel like you perform poorly at work, at home, or even in other aspects of your life.

Stages of stress 

When considering the nervous system or stages of stress, we have our state of social engagement where we’re connected, mindful, grounded, curious, and safe. When in fight or flight, we’re in survival mode. Our body and nervous system do everything to protect us.  We’re either fighting: angry, frustrated, worried, anxious, or even in a panic state, or in a freeze state, where you can feel shut down, overwhelmed, disconnected, and maybe even suicidal. In this freeze state, there’s blood sugar dysregulation, significant sleep disturbances, feelings of exhaustion, fatigue, and procrastination, where you just feel like you cannot do what you need to do despite knowing what you should do. 

It’s important to recognize this because in looking at the stages of stress, stage 3 stress is where burnout exists. 

What can you do about it?

Let’s get into the important part: what can you do about it? 

1. Identify if there are any physical causes

The number one thing I want you to think of is being able to identify if there are any physical causes of your burnout. For example, do you have a medical condition like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s? Do you have a nutrient deficiency, such as vitamin D or iron, contributing to this depletion of energy that prevents you from doing the things you love and want to do?

This will require some investigation. I strongly encourage you to reach out to a functional medicine practitioner, a dietitian, or even your doctor to help identify the underlying root causes of why you might be feeling this way.

2. Focus on your sleep

Focus on your sleep, not just the quantity but also the quality. It’s not only about the number of hours you get each night but also about the conditions that promote restoration, repair, and healing for your body. This may vary for each person, but it’s one of the most crucial factors.

Consider wearing blue light blockers after 7:00 p.m. and establish a nightly ritual before bed. Use down-regulation techniques like breathing exercises, vagus nerve exercises, somatic practices, yoga, or hypnosis as part of your pre-sleep routine. Additionally, pay attention to the room temperature, ensuring it’s cool and dark, and optimize your natural circadian rhythm.

There are numerous ways to enhance sleep hygiene. I recommend starting with one approach, turning it into a habit, and staying consistent with your sleep pattern. This consistency will help optimize your natural sleep-wake cycle, contributing to the healing process for your body.

3. Sunlight

Ideally, aim for 20 minutes of direct sunlight within the first 20 minutes of waking. It’s essential to be outside, even on a cloudy day, as the sunlight’s photons influence cortisol levels. This natural exposure helps increase cortisol production in the morning, supporting melatonin production at night and optimizing hormones related to the sleep-wake cycle.

Sunlight during the day offers benefits beyond vitamin D; it positively affects mood and overall health when consistently integrated into your routine. This shift can help move you from stage three stress and burnout towards a state of social engagement and connection.

If getting outside, especially in the morning, is challenging, consider using a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light. Bright light therapy has proven helpful for the mentioned benefits. Set it up during breakfast or coffee time as an alternative when outdoor exposure isn’t feasible. While it may not match the Sun’s effectiveness, it serves as a valuable alternative.

4. Regulate your blood sugar

This might sound a little far-fetched, but it is the most important thing to regulate your stress, fatigue, and overall energy levels. The simplest way to achieve this is by eating every 3 to 4 hours. This means having something when you wake up, not necessarily attempting to fast during this time, but assessing your current state and striving for consistently balanced meals with a focus on protein.

Ensure each meal includes at least 30 to 40 grams of protein to stabilize blood sugar. If cortisol is dysregulated, leading to multiple awakenings during the night or early morning peaks, consider having a small snack before bedtime. Pumpkin seeds are a good option, providing zinc, magnesium, protein, fat, and fiber to stabilize blood sugar, along with magnesium promoting better sleep.

Alternatively, try a scoop of peanut butter. Peanut butter contains tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, which in turn is a precursor to melatonin. This can positively impact mood and sleep regulation and help balance blood sugar throughout the night.

5. Vagus nerve exercises, somatic practices, etc.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t talk about vagus nerve exercises, somatic practices, and meditation. These tools and strategies can be incredibly helpful in regulating your nervous system. In the burnout state, where thoughts of “should, should, should” lead to procrastination and overwhelming fatigue—emotionally, mentally, and physically—it’s crucial to shift focus to the body in a positive way.

Step out of your head and into your body, initiating movement and bringing awareness to your sensations and feelings. Consider vagus nerve exercises or explore somatic practices like body drumming, where you shake, tremble, and discharge excess energy that may not serve you well. There are numerous positive practices to integrate gently; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start with small steps to explore your emotions, feelings, and physical sensations at a deeper level.

6. Re-evaluation

Lastly, consider re-evaluation. This involves reassessing everything: your work, your life, your relationships. Can you learn to set boundaries and say no when you have nothing left to give? Recognize that the last bit of giving can be particularly depleting. Acknowledge this and say no, allowing yourself to say yes to your own needs.

Take a deep, inward look at everything in your life at the moment. Make adjustments to grant yourself the incredible opportunity to live life to the fullest. Embrace your authentic self, enjoy your work, your family, your relationships, and all that life has to offer. Providing yourself with this chance is crucial.

If you found this helpful, please give it a like, share it, and comment below. I’d love to hear where you are on your journey. If you need assistance, we’d be delighted to help. Reach out for a discovery session, or join us in the Movement Paradigm app, where we have an incredible community dedicated to whole-body health. That’s precisely what we’re offering, and we want to help you heal and address the root of your health issues. Remember, you can overcome burnout, and we are here for you. Have a great day!

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