After my divorce, I found solace in trying to become a healthier person. At my worst time, I weighed slightly more than 130 some-odd pounds on my 5 foot 10 inch frame, which was not a stellar look for me. I remember the day when I said, “Enough is enough” and joined a health club and began “eating healthy”. That was 6 years ago, and since that time, I have realized that being fit is more than being physically fit. It is about being emotionally and mentally, but more specifically I believe it's being the fittest you can be digestively...
It seems so simple, but if you take care of your gut, it will generally take care of emotional, mental, and physical health in turn.
As I have aged, (for the record, I’m 45), I have noticed that every year or so, there is a new pain on my body brought on by living a physically “healthy lifestyle” over the last several years. From the normal active times of my life to the more extreme times I will militant about my daily routine leading up to my bodybuilding competitions.
Now these pains, are not really the “I need to see a doctor pain,” but irritating things: a stubbed toe, a sore muscle, or a cramped up body part on a cold day. But having worked out several days a week for the past 5 years, I have come to realize that pain is a part of having the dedication to physical exercise. Aching joints, a tweaked back, a strained muscle are all part of the territory for many who exercise.
But what I'm noticing is that I'm not having a whole lot of pain associated with my gut and digestion. Now, I'm not saying I never have an occasional stomach ache, but those normally occur after having tried something new or something where I am not really sure of the ingredients. Stomch issues have virtually been eliminated for me. I've also noticed that those physical pains heal quite quickly. It seems to be there one morning, then I forget I had it by the evening.
I've been focusing on healing my gut for a long time. It actually seems that I spend more time healing my gut than I do most things. But healing to me simply means consistently being aware of how my whole body responds. Constant irritation is damaging, and by putting foods in our bodies that do exactly that, is a sure-fire way to increase those small, but irrating pains like a chronic joint and muscle issues. You know those are associated with digestion too, right?
(Note: if you want to learn how I healed my body through eating certain types of foods, I've included a link at the bottom).
You and I have lived a long time, and I can say with certainty that we all have abused our gut in some way; it takes a lot of abuse. We all have eaten junk food, fried foods, and the like, and know the consequences would be that no one really feels great after eating it. But I've found that after eating horrible foods or after putting unnecessary things in my body, the first place I notice a change is in my mental state and not necessarily in my digestion. For most people, it is the other way around. I've often wondered why this is, and I think I've come up with a good explanation (at least in my mind).
When we have something in pain, we do many things to ease or relieve the uncomfortable feelings: maybe a cold compress or heat pad, stretch or work the muscles a little more, or take supplements to provide healing nutrients. If our stomach is in pain or we have compromised digestion, we reach for things to relieve the pain...tums, rolaids, aloe vera juice, or ginger for example.
But no matter what we do, the body will do what the body will do. It simply needs time to repair itself. And come back much stronger than before. I've focused on healing and repairing my digestion, and it has come back much more resilient and able to ward off potential other issues that many other people experience as they age, a achy back, creaky bones, and nutritional deficiencies.
Many times we take that healing process for granted. I know on many occasions, I have attempted to lift through pain, or play basketball when I wasn't even 50%. I failed to understand that this is certainly the wrong way to become healthier, playing through the pain. But this same philosophy could be applied even more so to situations outside the gym and in real life. Healing has a purpose to repair what is broken, but it also can make us stronger.
Conventional wisdom often says that things that are broken never heal properly, or become as strong as they were before. A strained calf muscle, a torn ligament, a leaky gut, or the emotions of a broken heart after a divorce, those couldn’t be stronger after they have healed, could they?
I believe they can. I believe if we allow those aches (including your belly) to really heal, in time, eventually they will become stronger, and you can become stronger than before. Your digestion is the key. A properly functioning gut will allow you to be better fit physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Pain is an inevitable part of living life and being active, and divorce is certainly a part of being emotionally active. When those things happen in conjunction with a happy belly, you may notice those pains become less and less and you age. It's just sometimes we need to focus on allowing our “inner-body” to heal in time.
Bonus: Part of the body's ability to heal is to actually have the nutrition that comes from foods that support cells' regeneration. If you want to spend less time in the kitchen working for foods and more time out of it letting foods work for you, I've put together some ideas. (Click here for my recipe time saver).
Who Is Jared?
I am just someone who likes to talk about probiotics, kombucha, and is obsessively passionate about gut health and digestion, My personal mission is to try to ferment just about anything food related. This blog is a continuous flow of those thoughts on that journey.