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5 Powerful Insights Into Understanding Personal Nutrition

Written by: Ciara Jean Roberts, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Ciara Jean Roberts

Food is information for our cells. Cells are always talking. What we eat is reflected in the body. Skin, eyes, muscle tone, hair, and nails. Mucous membranes, e.g., mouth – have we got a bad dose of halitosis!

woman cooking at the kitchen holding pot's lid

Food affects the cascade of hormone signalling, enzyme release, cognitive function along with sleep and circadian rhythm. Everything is influenced by what we consume. Ionic exchanges, electrical impulses, chain reactions.

What enters our mouths, becomes part of the dynamic, intricate, ever changing inner dialogue,

Many different clocks are working in the body. Different cells dance to different times in the day and in the night. Our cerebro-spinal fluid seeks to cleanse and purify the brain as we sleep.

It is fascinating.

It’s formidable to really deepen our understanding of the sacred mirrors the body offers. The stories it tells. How we then tell the story, everyday, in how we eat.

Relationship with food runs deep.

Let yourself immerse in these insights as reflective prompts. See what ignites in you.

1. Understanding cellular context: We have approximately 37 trillion cells in the human body (can we ever really quantity this on an individual basis?). Food is nutritional and energetic communication for these cells, and importantly, their interactions. Therefore what we eat swiftly influences the inner chatter. Food is a powerful way to influence (or destroy) the health of cellular conversations. It comes out in how we experience digestion, respiration, in how we move, in how we talk e.g eat a red hot chilli you’ll soon be gasping and flustered.

2. The difference between a poison and a medicine is dosage. Macro and micro nutrients: Big and small! This might seem so obvious, it’s useful to be reminded. Macro – big picture – bigger doses e.g protein, fats and carbohydrates. Micro – little doses. Little doesn’t mean the effect is less. It’s just less is needed in comparison to the big doses of macro. e.g magnesium, calcium, boron, sodium, phosphate, all the vitamins. The livers of polar bears, for example, have very high levels of vitamin A that would be toxic to a human to eat. Consider context.

3. Nature is both precise and deeply co-operative. This speaks to understanding nutritional symbiosis. When supplementing for example, to have awareness around why, how much and for how long. That’s an aside. I’m always far more interested in food first. Foods naturally contain symbiotic nutrients. Then how we combine them amplifies that. Eat a rainbow of colour on your plate goes a long way to helping – all the colours in plants are there for a reason. We are nature and therefore thrive when we eat nature. Think a wholesome plate of scrambled eggs on proper fermented bread (e.g sourdough), topped with chopped fresh aromatic flat leaf parsley rather than some hideous marketed ‘breakfast shake’ after a morning workout. Eat food.

4. Consider beliefs around certain foods. Of course beliefs have profound influence on our patterns of behaviours, very much including food choice. Personally I do not enjoy aligning with any programmed format of eating. How we label and judge our food dynamics is interesting. The most important gauge is how we feel after certain foods. Foods are there to provide energy and sustenance. And social connection, belonging, care, enjoyment. How is our body communicating this. We pay attention. Our food is then more a holistic choice based on much wider principles of health e.g where was the food grown, what love has gone into its preparation, is there a true connection with honouring each ingredient. Think the ‘pizza paradox’ which is – we go to Naples, reportedly the home of the best Italian pizza and end up going to a pizza chain…this speaks to the commerciality of major food chain brands and their dominion. Honestly, go to the kebab shop rather than McDonalds. At least you can talk to the chef. Connecting with who has grown and made, cooked, prepared, our food is a gift. And we all yearn for connection.

5. Antioxidants is about calming oxidation Throughout populist marketing in the wellness industry, from cosmetics to ginger shots, antioxidant is a term we see everywhere. Knowing what is actually means can be helpful. Oxidation also known as oxidative stress, is when free radicals or oxidants scavenge from another molecule. Over time, this can create cellular damage, impairment and systemic dysregulation e.g. wrinkles, joint pain, blood sugar imbalance, hormonal issues, higher inflammatory factors in the blood like C-Reactive Protein, homocysteine, high ferritin – the latter being an effective marker for serious inflammation – ask an emergency medic working in the ER/ICU departments during COVID – ferritin levels were coming in off the charts - so it is not always simply a data piece about iron stores. The balance here is to decrease modifiable factors that increase oxidation and increase antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals are essentially antioxidants. Smoking vegetable oils are likely to create oxidation as is high barbecue food consumption. Smoke itself too. Smoking is a prime example of signifiant increase in oxidative stress. Eat foods like avocado, seasonal greens, berries, carrots. Basically get your fruit and veggies in. And go organic. As much as you can. It matters. Pesticides and hormones used in mass production do add to oxidative stress. Let’s imagine maize farmers in Northern Thailand. Glyphosate exposure had significant effects on oxidative stress and lung function.

The simple things really are the incredible things.

May these insights spark a flame of curiosity in you. That sparks in turn beneficial action. We can theorise all we like and get really clever about nutritional science – the alchemy happens in the action. In the kitchen, in the ‘grab a lunch’ decision, in the ‘where shall we go for dinner’.

No need for perfection. Follow the arc of progress. Small changes accumulate.

Most importantly, learn to listen ever more deeply, to the wisdom within – your own body, your own vast cellular communication network.

And enjoy the great pleasure of food and the great blessing to have food upon our plates.

Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter and visit my website for more info!

Ciara Jean Roberts Brainz Magazine

Ciara Jean Roberts, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ciara Roberts is a writer, yoga facilitator and nutritional therapist, with a pioneering spirit to create true and lasting change across the landscapes of holistic healthcare and medicine. Founder of Wholly Aligned, an innovator, quester and cross-pollinator, borne from the lessons and adventures with her kidneys, which failed at age 14. Charting several years at a young age on dialysis, two kidney transplants and a treasure chest of tools, she is uniquely placed as an insider/outsider to effect change in the current embedded systems. Stepping away from banking in 2012, she has dedicated her life to helping others awaken their inner physician and reclaim their innate sense of wholeness.



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