As awesome as the Alaskan cruise was, it has one lingering drawback. A solid eight days of eating food that your body is not acclimated to has certain…effects. Human stomachs are rather sensitive creatures, their flora and fauna well-aclimated to our usual diets. And when you take two people that generally eat healthy and at home and transfer us to a buffet for a week? Let’s just say that even the healthier choices still weren’t quite the same.
And as the environment changes, the gut flora change as well. I swear the little bacteria throw temper tantrums like two-year-olds when they are denied their favorite foods. At least that’s what it feels like.
It takes time to undo the damage. A steady diet of the usual foods supplemented with a truckload of probiotics (seriously, we are up to our eyeballs in pills, yogurt and kefir!) slowly restores normality again.
But here’s where it gets interesting. You see, nothing in our bodies occurs in isolation. Every system is connected to and influenced by every other system.
And that includes our thoughts.
Recent studies have shown a correlation between abnormal gut flora and poor mental health. We have evolved to play host to those helpful microbes and perhaps their absence impacts much more than digestion. Eating a healthy diet impacts more than just your physical health; it improves your psychological health as well. Hmmm…I wonder if I can blame part of my end-of-the-summer grumpiness on misbehaving gut flora? 🙂
It gets even stranger. It appears as though those little gut residents can even send out neurotransmitters.
Yes, that’s right. Our gut can actually “talk” to our brain.
Are you listening?
I know when I experience anxiety, it manifests as a collection of physical symptoms before it ever registers in the brain.
I used to ignore those feelings, dismiss them as primitive and erroneous.
Now I realize that I ignored the gut at my own peril. I may have been feeding it the right nourishment, but I downplayed its cries for help.
Now I listen to my gut and trust what it tells me.
Which right now is to enjoy another pumpkin brownie before I head to bed!
5 thoughts on “Gut Check”
I got really bad heartburn for years…until I left my ex. Aside from a bout when I was last pregnant, I’ve been heartburn free for six years now.
Interesting. The body knows so much more than we give it credit for. Glad you’re better…in all ways:)
This is fascinating. I had no idea there was a link between gut flora and emotions/mental health. Thx!
The research on gut flora is still in its infancy, but it is incredibly fascinating! Talk about a mind-body connection!