A nutritionist’s guide to surviving a heartbreak

The high and the low

Some of us have had the luck of falling in love, experiencing that incredible high, the feeling of being about to burst with too much happiness. Walking around town with a constant smile on your face whilst listening to a special song on repeat, going over every detail of the last time you saw each other and counting the minutes till you’ll get to spend time together again.

Having said that, some of us have unfortunately followed that rollercoaster high with a pretty steep fall. The fall that maybe you did not see coming, or maybe you did but you still hung on for dear life, hoping it would keep you from getting hurt.

Lockdown season unfortunately marked the end of numerous relationships (yours truly included), so a few of us found themselves suddenly alone in the house with only memories of what once was, and literally nowhere to go.

Now don’t get me wrong, going through a heartbreak is always hard no matter where you are and whoever you live with. But going through it alone and during a lockdown, it’s a whole new ball game.

Because yes you can video call family and friends and you should be grateful if you have had the chance to do that, but not being able to have a comforting hug or touch when you feel like the ground beneath your feet is falling, well it can make things really challenging.

So, to anyone who has done that and is still standing, I applaud you.

Road to Recovery

This article was born to use this intense situation I am still working daily to move on from, to help anyone else who may be in the same boat right now, or who may find themselves in it in the future.

Here are my simple nutrition and lifestyle tips that I hope help you, at least in part, to support both your physical and mental health as you navigate your way out of this emotional storm.

It is important to try and get some nutrients in you

Quick meals to keep you going

Soon after a breakup, you may not feel very hungry (I certainly wasn’t), but it’s still important to try and get some nutrients in you. The last thing you want is to be heartbroken and sick, when no one is going to bring you chicken soup in bed. So, time to buckle up and have your own back.

Soups

Soups are the easiest choice, quick to make, few ingredients needed and easier to digest (especially if blended). I lived for a few days off lentil soup with some carrots and celery thrown in. Carrot, red lentil and ginger is another good one, red lentils and chestnut is great for the cold season too. Always add a swirl of olive oil before eating, so you can throw some healthy fats in there too.

Smoothies

Smoothies can also work well. Again, you just need to throw a bunch of stuff in a blender and you’re done. Make sure to pack protein, healthy fats and fibre into your smoothie – you can search for options for each of these on the Superfied platform.

For example, you could include avocado or a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds or some nut butter for top-up on protein and healthy fat, and maybe a handful of oats for B vitamins (think energy) and extra fibre too.

Feed your adrenal glands

Emotional and physical stress in the form of sadness, anxiety and oh so many tears, can deplete your adrenal glands (the two little pyramids on top of your kidneys that push cortisol, your stress hormone, into your bloodstream to deal with emergencies) of the nutrients they feed on.

Make sure to use foods that can provide you with minerals and vitamins to support them, namely: B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, Vitamin C:

B Vitamins

Include food rich in B vitamins including B12, B1 (thiamine), B5 (pantothenic acid), B3 (niacin): think whole grains (e.g. oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa), beans, dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus), fish and shellfish, eggs, liver, poultry and red meat, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified nutritional yeast…

Selenium

Top-up on selenium-rich foods such as brazil nuts, tuna, halibut, sardines, shrimp, turkey and chicken

Magnesium

Add foods like pumpkin, chia seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, black beans and edamame

Vitamin C

Think about foods like red pepper, orange, kiwi, green pepper, broccoli, strawberries, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower

If the above is confusing you, just focus on mixing different coloured vegetables, plant or animal protein of your choice and some wholegrains in the same plate. Dress with healthy fats (eg olive oil) or have some avocado or olives, a handful of seeds or nuts with it and you are good to go.

Give your gut a hug

Stress can have an adverse effect on the balance in your gut bacteria, promoting the growth of opportunistic over beneficial ones. This can lead to bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhoea and more. Trust me, it’s better to cry on a comfortable bed or couch, rather than bent over in pain on the toilet.

To try and avoid all these symptoms, you could think about adding some pro and prebiotic foods to your meals or snack (whatever you feel like eating).

If you’re wondering about prebiotics, they feed your beneficial bacteria and can be found in foods such as asparagus, green bananas, garlic, onions, apples, Jerusalem artichokes to name a few. Probiotic foods contain live bacteria, think yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha. You can find a full list at Superfied.

One suggestion: if you are not used to eating prebiotic foods, start low and go slow, letting your body adjust. This should avoid potential bloating and gas.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

When we are stressed or anxious, we can lose water from our bodies. How?

Some people can have more bowel movements than usual, especially if they suffer from IBS where stress can easily be a trigger for flair ups. More bowel movements or looser bowel movements = water loss

When we are anxious, we can sweat more = water loss

Unfortunately, whilst we are too busy crying, staring at the walls, punching pillows or just trying to distract ourselves watching Netflix, we can forget to do the basic stuff: drink some water.

So set a reminder if you need to, make the water bottle or water filter your shadow and keep it next to you for a visual reminder but try to drink at least 4 pints in a day. Herbal teas count too.

Easier said than done, but try to decrease foods that can make your blood sugar spike and crash, creating endogenous stress (inside your body), or that could worsen any inflammation that stress may already have triggered: alcohol, coffee, sugary foods like ice cream, pastries and cookies.

Having said that, if one day you really cannot stay away from that pint of ice cream, just do it. You are human after all and this is pretty crap time so give yourself a break.

You may not feel fabulous after that much sugar anyway, so just choose healthier options the following day to get your body back to balance again.

 

Connect with nature and breathe it in

Take a walk on the wild side

Or at least at the local park! Since my break up in March, I have walked the perimeter of the park near my house religiously at least twice a day (once when we only had one hour of air in lockdown). Every single time I came back feeling better, sometimes a little better, sometimes much more.

I felt like I could breathe again and felt lighter, and watching lots and lots of dogs playing around really helped to switch my thoughts from crappy to happy at least for a short time.

This is my own experience, but it’s also backed up by science, in fact, a 2018 study showed that “locations with highest levels of nature had the greatest effect on reducing levels of stress” and 2019 research in the publication Nature, suggested that 120 or more minutes of contact with nature per week, was associated with good health or high wellbeing consistently across different groups including older adults and those with long term health issues.

Move your body, let the energy out

Something else that really helped me, especially at the beginning, was trying to be disciplined and moving my body each single day.

Sometimes I had lots of sadness or angry energy to let out, so resistance work really helped or kickboxing workouts (my sessions varied from 20 to 40 minutes, based on how much sleep I got the night before, hence how much energy I had left). If the previous night had been a really rough one, then just a simple stretching session would do the trick.

I know, when you are heartbroken the last think you want to do is put your leggings on and work out, but I never regretted it. Sometimes I cried all the way through, which would have been fantastic in a comedy, other times I really enjoyed letting all those heavy feelings out through movement and weight lifting.

Weight, cardio or stretching, I moved my body each day and never regretted it. I needed the endorphins; I needed the good stuff. So, choose whatever exercise you may feel like doing, be it running, yoga, Pilates, dancing or just stretching. It does not matter as long as you move.

I enjoyed letting all those heavy feelings out through movement 

Take time to focus on your breath

As time went on, I managed to cry less and attempted some short breathing/guided meditations sessions.

The ones I found most useful were on a free app called FitOn (which I still use for both workouts and meditations), or if I needed something deeper and a little more intense, I would try some breathwork sessions on an app called Flourish. Just Breathe is another great and simple app that I like with sessions as short as two minutes.

Biohack your stress response

If you are someone interested in biohacking, you can also have a look at Sensate. It’s a small gadget that looks like a river stone that you place on your chest and connects to an app that plays music.

Based on the rhythm of the music, the stone vibrates and stimulates your vagus nerve (connecting your gut to your brain and branching to many other organs in your body), stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system (the one that calms you down), and supporting better sleep too. It’s not free but it can be a useful investment to try if you run out of options.

 

Simply petting a dog can lower cortisol levels 

Borrow my doggy

I am sharing the one thing that probably helped me the most, especially whilst I still had two months of lockdown to go.

Being a dog lover since I was a child, I joined an app called BorrowMyDoggy, which lets you borrow other people’s dogs so they can learn to socialise and you can get the happy factor without the commitment of having your own dog (or maybe just because your landlord does not allow you to have one in the house).

Research has actually shown that simply petting a dog can lower cortisol levels and the interaction between you and the dog can increase the hormone oxytocin (the so-called ‘love hormone’).

Thanks to BorrowMyDoggy I met Lucy, and she has been my fluffy guardian angel ever since. We meet once to twice a week for a few hours, chill on the couch or play at the park and every time I see her or simply pet her, I feel instantly calm and so much happier.

So if you are a dog lover, this can be another option for you.

It’s good to talk

If you can, talk to someone. Don’t keep all these emotions and thoughts inside. Friends, family, or if that’s not a possibility even calling support phone lines such as The Samaritans can really help. They are happy to listen and talk to you 24/7.

Sending you my love

I hope you found these suggestions useful and no matter what you think, please know the journey out of your heartbreak won’t be linear but it will slowly get better.

Sometimes you will feel like you are taking two steps back and that’s ok, you will take one more forward tomorrow. And remember, considering what you are going through, you are doing a great job.

References:

Nutrients and Botanicals for Treatment of Stress: Adrenal Fatigue, Neurotransmitter Imbalance, Anxiety, and Restless Sleep (2009). Kathleen A. Head, ND, and Gregory S. Kelly, ND https://altmedrev.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/v14-2-114.pdf

Levels of Nature and Stress Response (2018). Alan Ewert and Yun Chang https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5981243/

Spending at least 120minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing (2019). Mathew P.White, IanAlcock, JamesGrellier, BenedictW.Wheeler, Terry Hartig, Sara L.Warber, Angie Bone, Michael H. Depledge & Lora E. Fleming. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3.pdf

The efficacy of aerobic exercise and resistance training as transdiagnostic interventions for anxiety-related disorders and constructs: A randomized controlled trial (2017). Daniel M LeBouthillier, Gordon J G Asmundson. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29049901/

Moving to Beat Anxiety: Epidemiology and Therapeutic Issues with Physical Activity for Anxiety (2018). Aaron Kandola, Davy Vancampfort, Matthew Herring, Amanda Rebar, Mats Hallgren, Joseph Firth and Brendon Stubbs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6061211/

Meditation for posttraumatic stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis (2018). Lara Hilton,  Alicia Ruelaz Maher, Benjamin Colaiaco, Eric Apaydin, Melony E Sorbero, Marika Booth, Roberta M Shanman, Susanne Hempel. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27537781/

A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation (2013). Melissa A.Rosenkranz, Richard J.Davidson, Donal G.MacCoon, John F.Sheridan, Ned H.Kalin, Antoine Lutza. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159112004758

This self-care health hack is from Superfied nutritional therapy expert, Valentina Cartago

Find your foods with Superfied

Laura’s gut journey

My problematic gut

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who woke up one day, thinking their deepest desire was to talk about digestion. I certainly didn’t.

My name’s Laura Hanke and my journey into gut health began with the challenges I experienced as a child – some of which continued into adulthood.

For a long time, gut problems were the ‘story of my life’ – from being hospitalised with bad constipation as a child, to struggling with IBS, eczema, acne and infected skin as an adult. Not only did these ups and downs affect how I felt physically, they also really affected my confidence and my happiness.

I’ve grown up in the entertainment industry; as a singer, I’ve spent a lot of time in front of cameras, and I was always told that looks were important. I constantly thought about my appearance – “will I look bloated in this outfit?”, “will they be able to tell that my skin is bumpy?”, “when and where can I go to the bathroom?”, “is water available in case I’m constipated?”. Ironically, worrying about the problem, made the problem worse.

Travelling all roads to find comfort

After a LOT of trial and error, including trips to the GP, diets, prescriptions, no prescriptions, moisturisers, no moisturisers, standing on my head upside down praying to the Universe (a joke, but I felt like I had tried EVERYTHING),

I am pleased to say that I feel good in my gut, my skin and my health. Yes, I get the odd flare-up now and then, but it certainly doesn’t affect my confidence, my happiness, or my wellbeing.

When I got diagnosed with IBS, I just felt a bit ‘blah’. Great, I thought, now I can put a label on my gut problem – but how do I fix it?

I think general medicine is very useful, and many people find it helpful in dealing with digestion issues; however, my GP didn’t give me the tools I needed to solve my gut issues, nor the information to help me get to the root of the problem.

I hear this a lot with my clients as well – that they get their diagnosis but are unsure on how to deal with it on a daily basis.

I tried a gluten free diet, low FODMAP, dairy-free, low fat, low carb, paleo, juice cleanses – you name it.

There is no diet that’s ‘best’ for everyone – we’re all different

Finally, a happy gut

In the end, what helped me the most was switching to a plant-based diet (to reiterate: plant- based, not a processed vegan diet). However, there is no diet that’s ‘best’ for everyone – we’re all different and have different needs when it comes to our food. Besides, you can have the ‘best’ diet and still experience gut problems.

If your trigger is something else – like stress, anxiety, pollution, medication, toxins, etc. – the problem won’t go away if you only change your diet.

What I’ve learned

One very important thing that I have learned through my journey (and lots of research), is that our bodies and mind are connected – especially when it comes to the gut.

Have you ever experienced getting ‘butterflies in your stomach’, or blushed because you got embarrassed or shy? These are physical manifestations of emotions. I find it fascinating how our bodies and minds are so interlinked.

I believe the gut is connected to many more diseases than we think. The issue might not manifest in the gut, and the symptoms might not seem gut-related: auto-immune diseases, allergies, anxiety, depression, cancer, asthma, obesity, heart diseases – these can all be improved, if not cured, by looking at the gut.

When I researched more on the gut, it dawned on me how little, as a population, we know about how our daily choices affect our long-term health.

When I started looking at my own habits, I realised that I was constantly in ‘reactive’ mode – I watched Netflix before bed, looked at my phone first thing in the morning, and ate my lunch on the go, often rushing off to somewhere.

In other words, I spent my days in a more-or-less constant state of ‘fight or flight’ – as you can imagine, this isn’t a healthy response for your body to be in long-term.

Here’s something I talk a lot about now when I coach others: it’s not about surviving your day; it is about living your day. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to change your habits, but it’s about thinking about the bigger picture of your health.

I spent my days in a more- or-less constant state of ‘fight or flight’ 

Habits to treat a grumpy gut

It’s important we find a solution that we continue with for the rest of our life – rather than just fix the problem quickly only for it to reappear. Habits that serve our life and make us feel good, and they allow us to get on with our day and let our gut do its job without having to worry about it.

Things to ask yourself if you have a grumpy gut:
  • Do you start your day by looking at your phone?
  • Do you eat your lunch whilst sitting at your desk?
  • When was the last time you took a deep breath and actually felt your body?
  • When was the last time you took a break from your screen?
  • When you’re doing your weekly shop, do you pick the vegetables that come pre-packaged in plastic, or the ones with dirt on?
  • Do you use antibacterial cleaning products and soaps?
And things I wish I had known whilst going through my challenges:
  • Having support on your gut journey is massively important
  • You can’t just outsource the solution to your gut problem – finding what works for you specifically is key
  • One-off sessions with experts are of limited use
  • It can take a minimum of three months to find a solution based on your diagnosis, symptoms and wishes.

If I could give one tip to those who are reading this blog and want to improve their gut health – don’t look for a quick fix.

I’m sorry if that wasn’t the answer you were looking for, but the reality is that no fad diet or trick helped me or any of my clients.

Three tips for your gut journey
  1. Don’t compare yourself to ‘the average person’ or someone else with similar issues – you are a unique human, both in the literal and metaphorical sense
  2. Be curious about what works for YOU, and your life
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – there are so many resources and information out there

These days, we don’t suffer from a lack of information on gut health; that isn’t an issue – I believe the real challenge is knowing which information to take on onboard; when to implement what, why, and in what capacity.

And remember, you don’t need a diagnosis to want to better your gut health. We can all improve our gut. Unfortunately, it’s often only once we experience issues with something that we actually consider making a change. I hope that will change.

From my gut journey to yours

My journey has been a long one – but yours doesn’t have to be. I’ve researched, experimented and have taken qualifications on the subject. I’m now a gut coach – which is not something I would have thought was possible when I was starting my gut journey!

I am not a medical professional, and I never claim to cure anyone, but I am proud to say that every single person I’ve worked with has significantly improved their overall health – and some cured their gut problems by working with me for only a few months.

If you have any questions about your gut, or if you want to hear more about my coaching, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

This self-care experience has been shared by Laura Hanke, a gut coach and founder of It Starts From Within

Healing with homeopathy

What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a mode of complementary medicine that draws on nature to heal a person, tackling the root cause of a health issue. It does this by using highly diluted natural substances to support the body in heal itself.

How popular is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the second largest therapeutic system in use in the world.

Over thirty million people in Europe use homeopathic remedies and millions of others around the world. It is especially popular in India and South America.

Is Homeopathy safe?

Yes, homeopathy is gentle, safe and effective, there are very few, or no, side effects. Because the remedy and dose is tailored to you and because of the highly diluted pharmacy process of the prescriptions.

Did you know homeopathy has been in worldwide use for over 200 years?

The pioneer of modern homeopathy, a German doctor called Samuel Hahnemann, insisted that testing should be at the core of medical remedies. He was the pioneer of ‘double-blind’ trials used by conventional medicine today.

Homeopathy pioneered ‘double-blind’ trials used in medicine today

Homeopathy is a highly regulated practice, with practitioners having to train for 4 years and is available on the NHS.

Over the years it has grown in popularity in the UK and, like many things today, there are strongly divided opinions around its efficacy with plenty of negative press. It is hard to understand why, when it has such a wonderful track record; people go to homeopaths because of referrals, not because of big advertising and marketing campaigns.

Just because we do not fully understand something, we should not be so quick to judge it. It was not so long ago we all believed the world was flat. Is it that hard to believe in this day and age that there is more to life than just the Newtonian model of molecules and physical matter?

Quantum physics, for example has, and continues to, challenge and change conventional thinking about how we think of our world and energy behaviour. Energy drives everything in nature – molecules are held together by it; the universe is full of it; homeopathy works with it.

Mani Norland, Principal, School of Homeopathy

How does Homeopathy work?

Homeopathy is based on three fundamental principles:

1. Like cures like

The first principle of ‘like cures like’ dates back to Hippocrates and can be looked at in several ways.

One way is to assume that the body knows what it is doing, nature knows how to survive and will do its best to ensure the survival of the organism.

Symptoms are the body’s way of taking action to overcome illness. Some ‘thing’ has disturbed the body, it could be a virus, or continued stress levels at work, or being caught out in cold rain.

The body produces symptoms; this is its defence against illness; nature’s way of shaking the illness off. This healing response is automatic in living organisms; we term it the vital response. The similar medicine acts as a stimulus to the natural vital response, giving it the information, it needs to complete its healing work – ‘like cures like’.

A crude example may help to explain this. If your hand is cold and you want to warm it up, you can either plunge it in hot water (opposite) or into icy water (similar). By making the hand colder you stimulate the internal vital response to naturally heat the hand.

The principle of ‘like cures like’ works in small does; in large doses, ‘like increases like’. Homeopathy always operates at the micro level, using highly diluted remedies.

2. Single remedy

No matter how many symptoms are experienced, only one remedy is taken, and that remedy is aimed at all of the symptoms. For example, there is no such thing as a standard homeopathic flu remedy.

The remedy you take has to match your particular flu – where it occurs, what brings it on, what type of pain it is, what aggravates it, what makes it feel better, your state of mind and other symptoms you experience.

Everyone is unique; everyone experiences disease differently. Homeopathy asks ‘why do you have the flu?’; ‘how is it individualised in you?’; and ‘what is it an expression of?’ and then looks to treat this.

Just stopping flu symptoms with orthodox medicine is like putting tape over a warning light without getting to the source of the problem.

3. The minimum dose

Only enough is administered to initiate the healing process, which then carries on, driven by its own internal healing mission. Homeopathic medicines given in minimum doses stimulate the body’s vital response and do not produce the gross side effects that are so often the pitfall of conventional treatment.

Homeopathy works on all levels – physical, mental and emotional. It treats all the issues as one, it addresses the cause, not the symptoms. Homeopathy does not have treatments for diseases, it has remedies for people with diseases. It takes into account the whole person and their situation.

Prescribing the right homeopathic remedy takes a little more time and patience than conventional medicine. It often is a highly rewarding process – healing in itself. Just taking the time to talk about what is troubling you, and to hear yourself say it, shifts things and being truly listened to is often a rare occurrence in our busy lives.

Why is homeopathy so popular?

Homeopathy is a system of natural health care that there are number of reasons behind homeopathy’s remedies:

  • Homeopathic treatment works with your body’s own healing powers to bring about health and well being.
  • You are treated as an individual, not as a collection of disease labels.
  • Homeopathy treats all your symptoms at all levels of your being – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical and finds the ‘like cures like’ match for them.
  • Homoeopathically prepared remedies, providing the minimum dose, are gentle, subtle and powerful. They are non-addictive, and not tested on animals.

Most people come across homeopathy through a personal recommendation of someone who has experienced a positive outcome. If you have an ailment that is not responding to treatments, you can try a homeopathic approach and judge for yourself.

This guest article is written by Mani Norland

For more information on homeopathy, contact the School of Homeopathy

About Mani Norland, BA (Hons), DSH, PCH, RSHom
Mani is Principal of the School of Homeopathy and the School of Health. He has over 20 years of experience and has studied with many leading homeopaths including Jan Scholten, Dr Massimo Mangialavori, Dr Shachindra Joshi and Dr Rajan Sankaran. Mani is a founding member and vice chair of the 4Homeopathy, stands on the Events Panel for the Society of Homeopaths and is on the organising committee for Homeopathic Research Institute. He has lectured on homeopathy across the world, including the UK, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Israel, Serbia, Australia, America, Canada, Greece and South Africa.

 

What are Blue, Red and Green energies?

We are all energy

According to physics, our universe and everything in it boils down to energy. We are all products of energy – and that energy is dynamic. Before the period table, the ancient medical systems rationalised life into a set of energies that exist in everything – including us.

Ayurveda shares the same source and philosophy as yoga and both acknowledge three fundamental energies working together to operate all biological functions of your body. The same energies exist in everyone and everything.

This might sound alien but it’s actually a simple way of looking at what’s happening in your body (and around you) to keep yourself well.

We’ve called these three energies ‘Blue’, ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ to make them easier to understand. They work together to operate all of your – and nature’s – processes. Knowing the basic properties of these three energies is really helpful for your self-care:

  • Blue energy moves things (kinetic / vata energy)
  • Red energy converts things (thermal / pitta energy)
  • Green energy builds and stores things (potential / kapha energy)

Blue energy enables things like nerve signals to move through your body and food through your gut. Too much Blue energy can make you agitated or cause bloating.

Red energy is responsible for your body’s metabolism; as an example, too much can give you the sweats or the runs.

Green energy builds and holds things in place like cells, tissues and bones. Too much Green energy leads weight gain.

Each energy has a particular effect on both your body and mind. These three (biological) energies add up to 100% so, as one energy drops, the others increase. All three work together to keep you ticking over.

When they’re working as they should, you will be in a perfect state of harmony (balance) resulting in a smooth flow of the energy that’s referred to as ‘qi’, ‘prana’, ‘life-force’ etc – it’s the key to wellbeing. This results in all your physical and mental biological functions operating like clockwork.

But any disruption to the natural order of things results in a state of mental and/or physical imbalance. It’s the same for us and our planet – breaking nature’s flow leads to trouble!

We are all different

Now here’s what makes us all different. We’re all born with different amounts of each energy; just like we are born with a blood group that’s specific to us.

One or two of these energies is likely to be naturally dominant and our mix of the three constitute our ‘body type’ (Red, Blue and Green body types are dominant in Red, Blue and Green energies respectively).

It means your natural state of wellbeing relies on a different percentage of each energy than someone else’s. For example, your proportion of the three energies determines if your body is bigger, thinner or more muscular than someone else’s;  each body type has its own specific characteristics.

So, the goal is not to have an equal amount of each energy; just to maintain the specific proportions you were born with. This is your natural balance (best mental and physical state) and it’s different for each of us.

Remember, when these energies are disrupted, they impact your natural state of balance, leading to illness (dis-ease).

So, if one or more energies become too high or low, you can tackle that by eating a specific food that’s either low or high in that energy. By doing so you can restore your balance.

Superfied makes wellbeing easier

Superfied has done the hard work for you – it finds out what your natural level of each energy is (that determines your body type) and recommends the foods that will help to stay well.

And it works out which energies might be too high or low on a given day and takes that into account too.

Each time, Superfied flags foods that will support your wellbeing with green thumbs and those that won’t with red thumbs. As things change with you, so do your food recommendations.

The natural foods recommended for you are all in your Superfied food list. You can also search for energy-balancing foods using the search bar.

Learn more about the Blue, Red and Green energies in the ‘Know your Body Type’ guide

So, use these energies to health yourself – it’s your secret weapon to being Superfied!

What is Ayurveda?

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the original self-care system designed to maximise quality and longevity of life by managing mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Food is the central pillar of Ayurveda, supported by exercise and mindfulness.

It’s thousands of years old (possibly well over 5000 years), originated in India and comes from the same source of knowledge as yoga. It shares the same foundations and you can think of it as yoga with food.

The translation of Ayurveda is ‘knowledge of life’ (‘ayur’ means ‘life’ or ‘vital power’ and ‘ved’ means ‘knowledge’). Well before the periodic table, the brain and human DNA were mapped, Ayurveda had established the key biological relationships that we use for healthcare today.

Ayurveda is about maximising quality and longevity of life

Ayurveda works on the idea that, with a basic knowledge of the fundamentals, you can look after yourself and prevent serious illness from arising. Animals naturally self-care but we’ve lost the knack and since we are a more complicated beast a textbook is useful!

Ayurveda is a big part of the primary healthcare system in India and used by millions of people every day to stay well. Its status as a health care system is also recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). As with yoga until recently, Ayurveda is relatively unknown outside of south-east Asia and research into its benefits has been limited due to funding. This is now changing as the need for self-care (preventative health) becomes more important in modern societies.

Sound familiar?

Here are five things Ayurveda confirmed thousands of years ago:

1. Stress pushes our mind and body out of its natural balance (creating ‘dis-ease’)

2. All disease starts in the gut

3. Good digestion is critical to good health

4. Every food is a superfood and is medicinal

5. One size doesn’t fit all – we are all built differently (versions of core ‘body types’)

Find out about body types

Ayurveda and Superfied

Since Ayurveda is thousands of years old and very deep and philosophical, we aim to streamline the basics, make them accessible and integrate them with modern know-how. The best of old and new for simple, effective self-care that everyone can follow. No fads, no fuss, no straitjacket – just fun!

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What are body types?

Keep an open mind…

Ok, so you might be pretty sceptical about body types if you’ve not come across the idea before. Well, the principle is not any different to personality types or blood types. We’re all people but we’re all different – and there are some common building blocks that make us that way.

Body types are thought to be first used over 5000 years ago in the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India. Traditional medicine systems since then have all used body types in their application, including Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Persian-Arabic and Tibetan. 

Today’s doctors take the Hippocratic Oath but may not be aware that Hippocrates based his approach on ‘four humours’. Beyond his famous quote “let food be your medicine”, lies the principle that not any food can be used for any cure. One person’s cure may be another person’s cause!

One size doesn’t fit all

That’s one reason why we don’t all like the same foods or benefit from the same diet. We’re now in the age of the gut biome, epigenetics and heading towards personalised drugs. The ‘one-size fits all’ approach to wellbeing is starting to look out of date now.

‘Body typing’ is a simplistic tool in isolation but as a foundation for wellbeing (especially self-care) it’s a really useful start.

Superfied uses body types as a foundation for wellbeing and then adds other dimensions to this. We match you to one of 10 body types as a first step to personalised self-care. They are all based on three primary body type groups (the ‘Reds’, ‘Blues’ and ‘Greens’) which correlate with various holistic (whole-person) health approaches, both ancient and modern.

Body typing allows for personalised self-care to prevent illness. When illness has already appeared and detailed personal intervention is needed, progressive healthcare practitioners are a good go-to.

Superfied Body Types Translated
SuperfiedBlueRedGreen
Ayurvedic DoshaVataPittaKapha
SomatypeEctomorph                 Mesomorph          Endomorph                          
Kretschmer Const.AsthenicAthleticEndomorph                          
Greek ConstitutionHypersthenicSthenicHypoasthenic / Asthenic
Body Types and Elements

Ancient medical systems all work on the principle that basic elements combine to create energy. Whilst different systems have different names and interpretations of biological energy, they all draw on the same handful of elements that are the building blocks for everything. 

Our modern periodic table currently consists of 118 elements (five blocks). In the old days, they were rationalised into five elements. If you’re going to look after yourself, it’s easier to get your head around five than 118.

Putting some energy into the equation

All the original medical systems work on the basis that disruptions in ‘biological energy’ cause illness (dis-ease). It feels modern medicine is starting to head that way too – it could be back to the future in terms of energy harmonisation to stay well.

To modern ears it might sounds like nonsense but martial arts work on the principle of energy manipulation and modern physics also suggests that everything in the universe is energy. The biological impact of these energies in modern parlance can help connect old and new.

Blue Energy >> Kinetic energy (e.g. in biological operations like the movement of electrical signals in nerve impulses)
Red Energy >> Thermal energy (e.g. in metabolic processes like the action of enzymes in breaking down food)
Green Energy >> Potential energy (e.g. in maintaining muscle, fat and tissues)

Body types are just a way of expressing when a particular combination of elements (and the resulting energy) is more dominant in our physical and mental makeup (our genotype and phenotype respectively).

Different systems have different ways of approaching this and different labels for each. In Superfied, the Blue, Red and Green body type groups directly correspond with the respective Blue, Red and Green energies.

Superfied Energies Translated
SuperfiedBlueRedGreen
Ayurvedic DoshaVataPittaKapha
UnaniHawaKhunBalgam
Homeopathic MiasmsSycosisSyphilisPsora
Sound ok for self-care?

Well, hopefully that helps you get a bit more familiar with body types, where they come from and how they can be used to health yourself. 

Hopefully you can also see that old thinking and new thinking is actually more aligned than you may have expected. After all, modern medicine and healthcare is a series of progressive steps from way back and we haven’t evolved that much since then! Both have their place in today’s world. 

The advantage of knowing your body type it that it can help you get a bit more personal with your self-care. Being self-sufficient and staying well is in your hands!

Read more about body types in this Superfied guide

Find out your body type with the Superfied assessment

 

Can eating be treating?

If you buy into the idea that food is a foundation for good health, then it’s probably not a stretch to think of food as medicine – your first line of defence against ‘disease’.

So, do all foods have medicinal benefits or just the ‘superfoods’? Well, every food is a superfood. Every tree, every leaf, every flower has a medicinal benefit. It’s a case of knowing what that benefit is and matching it to your needs. That’s a science that the ancients mastered and we’ve lost touch with a lot of it – but not all of it.

We can eat our way back to better health

The ground-up root that is turmeric, for example, is a staple of Asian cooking and has been used for thousands of years in the East as both a medicine and ingredient, verified by modern medicine. It’s not just turmeric; the same is true for foods like garlic, onions, beetroot, honey…the list goes on; foods we all know and have been eaten for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years and are embedded in cultures across the world. Today they’ve become ingredients in familiar tasting meals but to our ancestors, they were more likely to be medicines in a bowl.

EVERY FOOD IS A SUPERFOOD. EVERY TREE, EVERY LEAF, EVERY FLOWER HAS A MEDICINAL BENEFIT

The medical benefits of most staple foods are known and accessible so there’s no reason why we can’t start eating our way to perfect health. “Well I eat lots of healthy food and I’m not in perfect health so what’s that’s about?” Well, not all foods are good for all folk. That’s because we’re all different so we need the right foods, not just any foods – eating whole foods is great but doesn’t mean you’ll be perfectly balanced because of that.

Food medicine

Getting balanced depends on your specific biological makeup and needs. One person’s (food) medicine is another person’s poison. That’s why eating a salad doesn’t work for everyone or, for example, why some people love raw onions and others can’t stand them. It’s also why some people have allergic reactions to certain foods; your body doesn’t want a particular food because it doesn’t need it or can’t cope with it and it tells you pretty quickly.

As time goes by, your body’s needs change and so should your diet. That’s not only true month-to-month throughout the year but year-on-year through your life. Get it right, and your body will continue to pass its MOT, otherwise, you’ll be spending more time in the garage!

To find out more, read our ‘Rethink your wellbeing’ guide

Banking on miracle pills?

We’ve become a pill popping culture. Headache? Pop a pill. Backache? Pop a pill. Got a cold? Pop a pill… in many cases it’s the same one! In the UK alone, in 2017, the NHS reported that it handed out more than 1.1 billion prescriptions (yes, that’s right, a billion) for a population of just over 60 million!! That’s up 37% in ten years. The US spends more money on healthcare (twice the spend on drugs per person) than any other developed nation in the world and yet has the lowest life expectancy among any of them. And despite all the medical advances, the World Health Organisation has warned that chronic illnesses are actually on the rise. Ok, it’s not as simple as that but you get picture. Food for thought.

We live in a pill-popping culture

Let’s be honest, there’s a certain ease about popping a pill. “My doc said it was ok; my chemist said it was ok; hell, the manufacturer said it was ok – and they were on telly so they must know what they’re on about. Anyway, it worked so shove off, leave me alone and go tell someone who gives a cares..blah, blah, blah”.

THE US SPENDS MORE MONEY ON HEALTHCARE PER HEAD THAN ANY DEVELOPED NATION AND YET HAS THE LOWEST LIFE EXPECTANCY

Well think about this. It costs over $1.5 billion and takes up to 12 years4 for big pharma to bring a new drug to market – and it’s almost impossible to know every side effect of a new drug since there are millions of permutations (which is why it takes so long and cost so much). The body is a complex beast when you’re trying to orchestrate things at a cellular level. The famous blue pill that’s given many men a new lease of life was actually a side effect in the treatment of hypertension! So, do the maths – unless you’re a charity, you’d want to make that money back, right? A win-win??

Knock-on effects

Do you know anyone who’s had major health scare and come out of hospital – well check their prescriptions list – so many pills! A couple of drugs for the problem, another two or three to counter their side effects, then another couple for the knock-on effects. Yep, they’re alive but a change in attitude now could be a good insurance policy against that kind of routine for the rest of your life.

To find out more, read our ‘Rethink your wellbeing’ guide

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