WE ARE NATURE. Like all living organisms, we have a self-regulating blueprint for managing energy. Our biological processes respond not only to our mood, movement, and sense of space but what we eat. Somatic practices help connect us to body sensations in a healthy way. Cultivating our sense of awareness and shifting the relationship we have with ourselves. Noticing our patterns from our true nature. How our mood affects our cravings. How food affects our mood. How what we eat can give us energy or deplete us.
Like most of us, I have habitual patterns with food that go back to my childhood.
My relationship with food has changed over the years, especially once I discovered somatic awareness and noticed how the body and mind are connected. How mood, emotions and food are linked. Becoming mindful of the how my body craves comfort food when my nervous system is in dysregulation. During menopause, in particular, I noticed food cravings that went back to my early childhood. Menopause is a time when our hormones are changing and this shift in addition to the stress and trauma we have been coping throughout our lives comes to the surface. In the form of fatigue and inflammation. Placing an energy demand on our body that takes us by surprise.
SomaSensing and being trauma-informed really helped me lean into the nature of Menopause. It's confusing to be in a body that is changing but a mind that is still functioning from a learned way of being. Coming to acceptance, recognising that Menopause is a natural process that requires nurturing and recovery and listening to the body is the somatic way. The somatic way is not a "quick fix" but a process of awareness that helps us self-regulate when life throws us off center.
So when I relocated 2 years ago, I found myself holding space for my family with less capacity and energy than I had before Menopause and felt the fatigue of being overwhelmed. My self-regulatory practices during moments like this are often Movement and sensing in nature. Practices that bring me joy and restore my energy. I have less capacity to nourish myself with energy-boosting foods because it feels effortful.
I knew that I had to find a way to nourish myself in a way that didn't feel effortful. I had always started my day with a juice or smoothie for over 15 years so that felt easy but it was not enough.
In August 2023, I began a 30-day somatic ritual of nourishing my body with energy-replenishing, natural foods within my capacity and this is what happened.
I researched simple approaches to natural foods that were based on science. I discovered Jessie Inchauspé, a biochemist and author of the Glucose Goddess Method. An approach to reducing glucose spikes and sustaining energy levels throughout our day by adding fiber and protein. I integrated her approach with enriching my diet with plants, high in fiber to nourish my gut microbiome.
The most important part was to ELIMINATE ULTRA-PROCESSED foods made in a lab using chemical additives. Ultra-processed foods are convenient, tasty, and satiating but not good for our biology.
After just 1 week, I noticed an increase in my energy levels. I was not as tired in the afternoon. By the end of week 2, I felt vibrant. I don't have the same level of energy that I had in my 20s or 30s and know that's down to my hormones but I have the level of energy that I'm meant to have at age 60. Here are my top tips.
Manage Glucose Spikes - 5 simple hacks to include foods that boost energy
This is from the Glucose Goddess Method. The main takeaway is that eating plants in their natural form increases fiber and reduces glucose spikes. Which curbs cravings. It really works!
Tip 1: Have a Savory Breakfast A savory breakfast, rich in protein and free of sweet components (except whole fruit), forms the foundation of this method. This choice offers stable glucose levels throughout the day, reduces cravings, and prevents overeating.
I eat when I have the urge and don't eat after 6p.m. So breakfast is not at a regular time each day. Instead of just having a juice or smoothie I have a salad or vegetables for my first meal. With some protein. Either egg or beans. I'm not into cereals anyway so this was easy.
Tip 2: Add any Vinegar (except balsamic, which contains sugar). Having vinegar has been shown to reduce glucose spikes by up to 30%. I love apple cider vinegar and can gulp a tablespoon down with no problem. Although I'm absolutely fine with eating vegetables to reduce blood sugar which is the next hack.
Tip 3: Add a Veggie Starter if you're having carbs for your main meal. This creates a protective mesh in your digestive tract, limiting glucose absorption during the meal. The fiber in veggies reduces blood glucose by 70%. I often cut up a cucumber and some carrots to snack on. Keeping the prep simple.
I love sourdough bread. It gives me comfort. I've replaced it with wholegrain rye sourdough and occasionally have rice. Chickpeas, lentils, or beans, are great for fiber and I love them all which makes my meal prep easy. I often make a bowl of beans or lentils, add loads of coriander at the end, and have a simple salad with it.
Tip 4: Get Moving to combat post-meal fatigue. If you find that you have a post-meal slump, move for about ten minutes after your meal.
I may tidy up the kitchen, or take a SomaSensing walk outdoors. I also have my main meal at around 5pm.
Tip 5: Drink Coffee After Food to avoid caffeine-induced glucose spikes.
I like good organic coffee but my favourite is a masala chai after a meal. With fresh ginger and mint. In the evenings I have herbal teas, either nettle, chamomile, or something with fennel.
Nourish your fascia and your gut microbiome
Apparently, we have trillions of microbes living in our gut and on our skin that rely on us for a healthy ecology. Good gut bacteria help release our feel-good hormones and help calm inflammation.
As the research began to emerge a few years ago, I began to experiment with different foods to improve my gut health. I tried Kombucha, Kimchi, and Kefir. Supplemented with Pro, and prebiotics. Forgetting that nothing works in isolation, that we are part of nature, our food source works best when we get it from nature.
Plants are the best source of nutrients for my gut as well as my body's fascia. Bone broth is always referenced as best for collagen but I'm not a fan.
Tip: I increased the amount and variety of plants. Aiming for 7 to 10 different types a day. Mostly vegetables, with some fruit, nuts, seeds, spices, pulses, beans and herbs. Having a healthy bowel movement every day is a sign of a healthy gut and eating plants was my way to a healthy gut. The Easiest way to get my daily dose was through smoothies, salads, and soups.
My tummy feels a lot lighter. I had a little tummy bulge that I thought was just part of Menopause. I realised that it was bloating. Low-grade inflammation is often present but goes unnoticed in most of us.
Tip: My go-to foods for collagen are, Citrus, kiwi, avocados, garlic, sprouts, leafy greens, nuts (especially cashews), eggs and fish.
Tip: Drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Start with a few glasses when you wake up.
Cutting Out Ultra-Processed Foods
I would place this as the #1 priority
I didn't think I was having ultra-processed foods, but when you start reading labels, you realise how many ultra-processed foods say"free from" "vegan" or "plant-based". Ultra-processed foods are made to last long or taste good by adding artificial flavors. We become addicted to the taste and eat more.
Tip: Read food labels. If it has stabilisers, emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners, fillers or looks like it was reconstituted. Best to leave it out.
Everyday foods that are ultra-processed include breakfast cereals, supermarket bread, flavored yogurts, processed meat, packaged biscuits and cakes, sauces, icecream, carbonated drinks, crisps and snacks, instant soups, and noodles. Artificially sweetened and low-fat foods, foods
Increase EZ water
Gerald Pollack is a professor of bioengineering and a leading authority on electrically charged water or what he calls EZ water. Water that has an additional hydrogen atom H3O. Our body is 70% water. Held in our fascia. The charge of our water matters. The more EZ the more energy we have. It's how we hydrate our body's fascia. Making us feel, vibrant, and juicy.
Plants contain EZ from the sunlight they absorb.
Tip: You can increase EZ water by eating plants. Pollack suggests juicing but eating the whole fruit or vegetable adds fiber. High water-content foods that I love and include are grapefruit, cucumber, celery and watermelon. The vibrancy of plants increases our vibrancy.
Oh! Another way Pollack suggests increasing EZ is through the infra-red light at sunrise. More on that later.
The Somatic Pause for Self-regulation
Interoception are sensations that arise from within our body to help us self-regulate. Hunger, thirst, and cravings are examples.
SomaSensing is a way of listening to interoception and nurturing the nervous system. Becoming aware of levels of energy and cravings. Learning how to curb cravings or simply noticing without self-judgment or guilt.
Tip: The somatic mindfulness practice of taking a moment to pause, tune in, and simply notice, allows us to interrupt a craving or habitual food choice. Allowing us the space to choose differently. Whether it's drinking a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, cutting a cucumber or carrot to snack on, or reaching for a handful of nuts instead of comfort food.
Sensing in Nature for Self-regulation
A huge part of our food choices comes from nervous system dysregulation. Reconnecting to nature, through sensing is a pleasant and gentle way to self-regulation. It requires pausing to pay attention. To connect to the moment. Especially when we find ourselves on autopilot, lost in thought or preoccupied.
We are born to connect with the rhythm of nature to help us regulate. Waking up with the first light of sunrise and winding down when it gets dark. Letting the natural light into our eyes at sunrise instead of the artificial light of our screens sets our circadian rhythm and promotes a good night's sleep. Essential for restoring our energy and vitality.
Tip: Interoception in nature. Learning how to sense and notice shapes, colours, patterns, and sounds helps tone the vagus nerve and recharge our body's fascia. When you are out in nature, begin with a somatic pause. Bring your body to quiet, and sense from within as you let your gaze wander.
We have the capacity to make better food choices when we feel rested and restored.
A Renewed Sense of Vitality
The 30-day ritual left me with a renewed sense of awareness of my body as a living system. I have a deeper connection to wholeness and the importance of nourishing my body with foods that promote vitality. Accepting that I will never have the kind of energy I had before Menopause but I no longer experience the level of fatigue that I had before.
If you're looking to revitalize your energy and well-being, begin with wholeness. Start with nervous system regulation. Meet your body where it's at and nurture yourself to capacity with simple steps. Managing your glucose spikes is a simple step. Without having to completely cut out carbs or go on an extreme diet.
When you nurture your whole self, your relationship with food changes. It requires moment-to-moment awareness, acceptance, and adjustment. Finding what feels manageable within your capacity.
Join one of our courses or work with us to cultivate your sensory awareness.