Gut Health = Mental Health

I’ve been quiet, I’ll grant you.

I haven’t had much to say about anything on my Facebook page, hence the radio silence.

I’ve pretty much just put the head down, continued seeing clients and working away – all my work is online anyway, so this second lockdown hasn’t made any difference to how I do my job.

But it’s effects are insidious; waking up in the morning and thinking “what a gorgeous, shiny day! Maybe we’ll go for a walk in our favourite forest park…..oh, no, we can’t, it’s outside our 5km limit”. That has been hard and continues to be an enormous personal challenge for me.

We live on a farm, with plenty of places that I can roam if and when I wish. It’s not the same as having my freedom but it’s outdoors, in nature, which is my solace. Many people aren’t that lucky.

I read a post by Jeff Brown on Facebook today and it really resonated with me. He speaks of ‘unfreezing’ feelings which I completely get both personally and from my day to day practice.

But in addition to addressing those feelings, if we have them, there are proactive things that we can do during these difficult times- for depression that is more lowness of spirits and a feeling of not being able to manage, of feeling ‘out of control’.

It may sound simplistic, but we can eat well (yes, I too remember last June and eating my body weight in Pringles, sitting on the patio in the sun with my g&t🤫).

This is important because our microbiome has a massive connection to how we feel.

I began to actively steward my own little internal bacterial farm and that of my family, over 6 years ago, when I began my journey with fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, Jun, sauerkraut and homemade yoghurt.

One of the huge differences I noticed first the following Summer, was, that I was no longer a ‘midge magnet’ and secondly, when I was bitten (ie have horses, have horseflies) I no longer developed an enormous red, raised, madly itchy weal that lasted for 10 days!

Now horseflies, for the uninitiated, have such a painful bite that you very often feel the blighters actually taking a chomp on you – in Ireland at least, they are the Boeing 747 of the biting insect world. Some people call them ‘clags’ and last year I heard them, most amusingly referred to as ‘blind doctors’ lol. So their bites are a big deal.

But now, I found that yes, I still got a mark – you can’t have a horsefly bite you, inject you with an anticoagulant that she had in her little horsefly handbag lol and *not* have a ‘bite site’ BUT the difference was that now it was an eighth of the size, was so un-itchy (did I just invent a word?) that I’d *see* it rather than feel it and it was gone without a trace within a couple of days. Wowsers!

The change, when I did some serious thinking about it, wasn’t some strange difference in the horseflies, but in my own body’s reaction to the bites. A change in my body’s production of histamine which is released by your body when the body’s immune system is triggered.

To fight the invasion of germs or in this case whatever the ‘blind doctor’ has injected under your skin, your body’s immune system releases histamine, a compound that helps white blood cells get to the affected area. Histamine is what causes inflammation, itching and swelling. It’s also behind the misery of our seasonal allergies – the sneezing, streaming eyes and nose – having shares in the Kleenex tissues company.

What I found, is that my body’s previously slightly hysterical production of histamine had been modulated. Who knew? And the only thing I had changed was my microbiome – I had attended to my gut health and it was paying me back in spades!

These days, we are also becoming aware of the connection between gut health and mood as scientists have discovered that something like 90% of Serotonin, our ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter, which controls our mood and also most importantly, things like our anxiety level is made, not in our brain as was long believed but, you guessed it, in our gut.

At the time, I discovered this, I was facing great personal challenges with the ongoing illness of my elderly mum. It was a great solace to think that my gut was healthy and doing what it could to help me through that enormously difficult and challenging time – helping me to stay more balanced and less reactive and anxious – better able to process the journey.

Which brings me to NOW – our now, which is massively challenging. There are many things we can’t do (grrrrr!) but there are others we can – and one of them is looking to your microbiome. Is it healthy? Are you supporting it to enable it in return to support you?

If you don’t fancy the faff of ferments, you can buy a good probiotic, you can reduce the amount of sugar you eat (it’s hidden in pretty much every processed food in surprisingly large amounts), you can eat more prebiotics (ie fruit and veg) which help support the good guys and gals already in there, working away. You can help your microbiome to help you – your mood, your level of happiness, your reactivity, your anxiety levels.

Homeopathy – which is my passion and my joy, in addition to being able to rebalance issues such as candida overgrowth, IBS and leaky gut syndrome also has an amazing track record in supporting emotional issues- both current and those which may be deeply buried in the past.

Homeopathy can support you in most aspects of your life’s journey – safely, gently and effectively.

Life even in these incredibly trying times can still be a joy. Reach out. Homeopathy can help. I can help.

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