If you’ve been my client, you know that I include a recommendation for a simple meditation/stillness practice on every protocol. It’s not nutrition, so why is it so important?
We live in a modern environment that is typically busy, full, and at least partially chaotic (if you don’t, congratulations!). Our bodies are not necessarily adapted to these modern ways. As I love to mention, EVERY STRESS RESPONSE IS A CORTISOL RESPONSE. That means every time your brain perceives a stress response it signals the adrenals to produce cortisol, which signals the liver to put some glucose in your blood. It will do this with stored glycogen or, if it doesn’t have that, will get some muscle protein and turn that into glucose via gluconeogenesis. This whole process is designed to give you energy to run away from that tiger…the issue is when it’s not the occasional tiger, its email, deadlines, traffic, getting the kids to school, etc., over and over all day long.
One way we have to manage stress is a simple meditation practice. It is really not that hard to find 10 minutes: just set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and find a comfortable place to sit. Use a timer on your phone, or one of many meditation apps like https://insighttimer.com/
You don’t need to know anything to meditate, just focus on your breath. There are many resources out there if you do want to learn more, but even a very simple practice will be incredibly beneficial in establishing a foundation of calm to your day, and creating a mental space that is easy to pop back into during the day. The more you do a simple morning practice the more it permeates the rest of your day.
Back to the nutrition aspect- meditation is one way to access the parasympathetic, or ‘rest and digest’ nervous system mode. We need to be in parasympathetic mode for a variety of functions to occur: digestion, cell regeneration, detoxification, peristalsis (the movement of the intestines, among other things.) Now you can see the important connection to nutrition and physiological wellness. There are many other benefits to meditation, but that is the direct line to this work and why I consider it a very important piece of a protocol.
Mark Sisson has a great take on all of this, and a fantastic list of alternatives if you are thinking, “there is just no way I am ever going to do that!” His view is that we are not spending as much time in nature as we have in the past, and this is why we so deeply need to proactively pursue some type of mindfulness practice. He has compiled a fantastic list of ideas, resources and links to help you get something going to encourage your parasympathetic mode even if you can’t seem to start a sitting practice:
And if you’d like some resources on how to start a sitting meditation practice, check out these links: