Body and Mind: a discussion on healthy food, healthy support and a healthy life.

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“There is no separation between body and mind,” explained Carol Grieve. “Both have to be in balance for either to function at its best.” Carol — founder of Food Integrity Now, life coach and holistic nutritionist — helps people gather the information they need to make wise food choices. And, perhaps more importantly, she helps people understand how their individual bodies react and process nutrients if they’re anxious, stressed or just disconnected. 

What inspired you to start Food Integrity Now? 

Two friends and I got together when we realized that the level of awareness around what’s happening in our food supply was very low. So we decided to do a radio show about food. We got really great guests - experts about our food supply - and set out not to tell people what to think or do, but instead to empower people to do their own research and make healthier, smarter decisions tailored to their own bodies and lives. To date we’ve done over 160 shows and have published numerous articles helping people make healthy decisions informed by their personal needs and desires.

What diet recommendations do you make in general?

It’s such an individual thing, but there are a couple things that I always recommend — eating organic or biodynamic and to avoid GMOs at all costs.

And what’s the deal with GMO’s?

GMOs are simply a delivery system for chemicals. They help plants withstand high doses of round-up, which, once it enters human bodies, acts as a carcinogen and tumor promoter . So GMOs help round-up get into these plants and subsequently into our bodies, and then into the soil, which poisons future generations of plants. This is part of the reason we are dealing with epidemics of cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, which are directly linked to the chemicals in the food we are eating.

The good news is the human body is generally reparable, so once you start modifying and eliminating foods with toxins, your body starts to heal itself.

You also seem interested in how our emotional wellbeing affects our eating habits and body. Can you expand on that connection?

When we eat food, we are oftentimes feeding our emotions. When we feel a void in our support network, for example, our first instinct may be to fill it with food. "I’m feeling isolated, lonely or empty (i.e., I am not filled with enough genuine human connection or support) — so I’m gonna fill that empty space with cigarette smoke or unhealthy food. 

I also think it's important to be thoughtful about how someone eats, not just what they eat. If you’re not feeling good about yourself, the decisions you make about food are compromised. It's hard to see the point valuing your food if you don’t value yourself. And vice versa — if you’re eating a lot of sugar, for example, it literally affects your brain and often makes you see the world in a negative way. So in some cases, addressing your nutrition may be an important step in improving your attitude and your relationships.

When we spoke to you earlier you mentioned that isolation or lack of emotional support can affect your nutrient absorption.

When you look at the physiology of the body, it’s pretty interesting. When you eat fast and you’re not paying attention, you don't chew well, and chewing is the predigestion process that helps our food be digested properly. When we are stressed or angry, our body releases chemicals that interfere with our digestion process and keep our bodies from absorbing all the nutrients in the food. 

I always say, if you can, sit with someone and share a meal — take a moment to slow down, to connect. We never really think about how much we can affect another human being. A simple smile or a few kind words can literally affect your whole body. And sitting down with someone, giving them a sense that they matter, that what they have to say is important, is a huge gift.

We love the idea of sharing a meal as a way to get a little more connection in your life!

Yeah, I love the idea of bringing people back to the table, coming together for a meal, sharing your day with someone else. Everything is happening so quickly nowadays, we are constantly busy, constantly distracted by social media, and we rarely give ourselves opportunities to stop. You could call it an epidemic. 

So we have a situation where, across our country, neighbors are sitting alone at their tables and couches at night, wanting to connect with others and unsure how to do it. What can do about this? Why not send your neighbors a text - or better yet, call them or knock on their front doors - and organize a weekly potluck? We’ve lost that sense of community and have a false sense of connection (through social media) that leaves many of us feeling exhausted, disconnected and uncared about. 

Weekly potlucks with your neighbors might feel strange, but it's the fact that that feels strange, and not the concept of gathering regularly with the people around you, that's actually strange. 

Find out more about Carol and Food Integrity Now here, and listen to her podcast here. 

 

Pam Soffer