A Q&A with Kathie Madonna Swift Kathie Madonna Swift, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist working in the field of integrative and holistic nutrition. A Healthy Living faculty member at Kripalu and a pioneer in the Food As Medicine culinary nutrition movement, she is author of The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, […]
Did you know that your brain is a reflection of the nutrients it receives from the biochemical information (food) you feed it? Your brain needs nourishment and whether you are upbeat or feeling blue is strongly influenced by how your “second brain” (your digestive tract) digests and absorbs the “information” you are eating. Thus, your mood is a mirror not only of what you eat but also how you digest!
Here are five quick nutrition tips to boost your mood and lift your spirit:
1. Nourish your “mood-cell membranes” with healthy fats such as avocado, wild fatty fish (sardines, wild salmon, or black cod), nuts, seeds, olives, coconut, and smart oils like extra-virgin olive oil.
2. “B-happy” by including whole foods such as beans, dark, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains rich in B-vitamins in your diet.
What You Believe and How You Digest May Go Hand in Hand
In this excerpt from their book, The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health, Kripalu Nutritionist Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN, and coauthor Gerard E. Mullin share insights on how cultivating a spiritual practice can help you reduce stress, recover from illness, and lead a life of wellness.
Many studies have demonstrated a connection between spirituality and lower rates of stress and even depression. Maintaining a spiritual practice can help people cope better with stressful situations, thus reducing their anxiety levels and lessening the impact of chronic stress. Numerous researchers have documented a link between spirituality and depression: Spiritually healthy practices like finding meaning and purpose in life, having an intrinsic value system, and belonging to a supportive community with shared values may reduce depressive symptoms. Since stress and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression have such a profound impact on gut health, it stands to reason that engaging in a spiritual practice could have a positive impact on stress-related digestive disorders, too.
Harvard cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson was one of the first to study the relationship between spirituality and health. He revolutionized the field by showing that meditating in a trancelike state reduces stress and improves health while simultaneously raising consciousness and spiritual awareness. Though his finding is still considered groundbreaking by many in the West, ancient cultures have integrated spirituality into healing for millennia. Shamanic priests were regarded as “healers” long before the development of pharmaceuticals, and meditation and prayer have been at the very center of healing practices since the dawn of time.
“In matters of taste, consider nutrition. In matters of nutrition, consider taste.” Julia Child surely must have been referring to “eating locally grown” when she coined this famous phrase. More recently, Michel Nischan, chef and author of Sustainably Delicious, considers eating locally grown a healthy act of heroism. Not only is eating local good for our planet because it reduces our carbon footprint and supports a sustainable food system, but, undeniably, eating what’s close at hand simply tastes luscious!
Summer is the ideal time to discover the many available edible delights bursting with nutritional goodness. To help you in your quest for local fare, there are a number of resources available on Local Harvest and Farm Fresh that can lead you in the right direction.
Including some raw-plant foods in your daily diet gives you a naturally nutrient-rich boost to better health. Here are five swift tips to increase your intake of raw foods:
1. Get ready for raw by investing in a few sharp knives, wooden cutting board, blender, and dehydrator.
2. Wake up to a raw, morning smoothie by tossing some apple, pear, spinach, berries, avocado, and raw almond butter in a blender with water. Yum!
3. Invite some nutrient-rich greens to your lunch by enjoying a salad made with watercress, arugula, endive, and cilantro; sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and walnuts, and dress with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and chopped basil.
4. Munch on a piece of fresh, seasonal fruit for an afternoon sweet treat.
5. Dive into a nori roll loaded with grated carrots, radishes, cucumber, green onion, avocado, and ginger slices.
Kripalu Nutritionist Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN shares her wisdom on all things food-related in this series focusing on nutrition and healthy digestion. FODMAPs sounds like it might be the latest automobile GPS navigation system or weather radar detection unit. Instead, FODMAPS is a therapeutic eating plan that has been gaining ground as an effective protocol to help people who are suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).