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Ground Yourself Through Food and Nature

by Stephanie Phelan
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women harvesting apples

The daily impact of all things involved with what it means to be human in the 21st century often leaves us feeling stressed, concerned, fatigued – and searching for answers.  Why can’t I focus? Why are there not enough hours in the day? Am I…happy?

These simple questions we ask ourselves may be just a brief thought. Or they may spiral into a deep, inward reflection of everything that makes us who we are. And we begin to ponder the idea of our higher self, and how we can get there. So, what does that mean, to become your “higher self”? 

Your higher self is not reaching an entity separate from you, it is very much a part of you and who you’ve always been. When people speak about their higher selves they are referring to the knowing or awakened aspects of themselves. This part of you has not been wounded by judgements or prejudices. Nor your upbringing or experiences. It does not view life through murky-colored filters tainted by past emotions (pain, rejection, abandonment, etc.). The greatest gift of the highest self is that it can assist you by clearing a pathway so you can attain your dreams faster and more easily. 

man sitting on cliffBy learning about our higher self, and identifying areas of improvement, many will find some key influences to why they are feeling a certain way. Or why they feel they are not living life to their fullest potential. It even stems down to ancestral knowledge and past generations in some cases. 

Nature and Nutrient Deficiencies

Many of us are aware of the various nutrient deficiencies that affect the way we feel and perform tasks. Lack of Vitamin D can cause muscle weakness and bone pain, and be influenced by how much time we spend in the sun. B-12 Deficiency can lead to us to feel fatigued and feel “pins and needles” or nerve damage. By making a simple change to our diet and surroundings, many of us are able to combat these nutrient deficiencies, and monitor our vitamin levels through routine blood work. 

The term Nature-Deficit Disorder® was introduced in 2005 in the publication of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” Richard Louv coined the phrase to “serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from nature and it is not meant to be a medical diagnosis” (although perhaps it should be). He wanted to introduce a way to talk about an urgent problem that many of us knew was growing, but had no language to describe it. 

Originally intended to describe a problem among children, this New Nature Movement has broadened to include adults and whole communities. In a world of technology and rapid development, families are starting to value the importance of being outdoors now, more than ever before. 

child playing outsideEpigenetics

This emerging area of scientific research shows that environmental influences can actually affect whether, and how, genes are expressed. In fact, scientists have discovered that early experiences can determine how genes are turned “on” and “off” and even whether some are expressed at all. The study of Epigenetics proves that the old ideas of genes being “set in stone”, or that they alone determine development is actually invalid. In other words…Nature vs. Nurture is no longer a debate—it’s nearly always both!

During development, the DNA that makes up our genes accumulates chemical marks that determine how much or little of the gene is expressed. This collection of chemical marks is known as the “epigenome.” The different experiences children have rearrange those chemical marks. This explains why genetically identical twins can exhibit different behaviors, skills, health, and achievement.

So next time you feel the sense of deja vu, consider epigenetics. The warmth and comfort of a certain song or setting, the sense of happiness brought on by a specific scent or taste. This is all based on your genes and chemical marks, your past experiences that have made an impact. 

By considering epigenetics, we begin to understand how we’ve lost touch over time. And what we can do to gain back our connection with the first things we experienced as infants – nurture and nature. 

father and sonPowerful Documentaries and Resources

One must always educate themselves before invoking on a new journey. And if you yearn for more information on self-development – there are so many resources available, it can almost become overwhelming. Many gurus claim to help you “tap into the potential you always knew you had”. But here’s some resources I’ve found that give a complete guide to the world of Self-Mastery:

  • Deepak Chopra – through his website and his YouTube channel “The Chopra Well”. He is a legend in the mindfulness and meditation community!
  • Leo Gura – founder of Actualized.org. There are over 300 videos on the site currently, with so many different concepts covered. It helps to have an outline of the nuts and bolts of self-actualization – which can be found here. His style of personal development emphasizes: integrating hundreds of diverse perspectives, very big picture understanding, existential investigation, and pragmatism. Leo Gura aims to understand life at the deepest levels possible.
  • Eckhart Tolle – widely recognized as one of the most inspiring and visionary spiritual teachers in the world today. With his international bestsellers, The Power of Now and A New Earth—translated into 52 languages—he has introduced millions to the joy and freedom of living life in the present moment.
  • Personally, I also love Tiny Buddha and similar accounts to follow on social media. When we do log on, or scroll through our phones – it’s great to see simple reminders that make you wonder about more complex thoughts. 

In the technological and vulnerable era we live in, people are skeptical about certain ideologies and leaders or philosophers. If we feel they are trying to gain power or other life pleasures, through the resources of others. It’s important to mention all of the resources I’ve included here are free. A true mentor will always share their insight this way, and provide for the needs of others. It’s important to take in all new information with an open perspective, and ask your loved ones or people you look up to what has helped them through their self journey!

Documentaries About Food

woman in garden“Food is Medicine” 

Directed by Lenore Eklund and Starring Terry Wahls MD, Sarah Ballantyne PhD, Mickey Trescott NTP. 

The film follows four patients who are trying to improve their chronic conditions with more holistic approaches. The film does not advocate one particular angle or diet (paleo, vegan, keto, etc.). However, the patients do follow these various approaches, depending on what works for them individually. The real take-away is to eliminate all processed foods, and lower sugar intake. Unfortunately, this is the majority of foods that we’ve become dependent upon and addicted to as Americans. 

The experts in this film include doctors and nutritionists; one important person to mention is Mickey Trescott, author of the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. Mickey and Angie suffer from 5 autoimmune diseases between the two of them. They found their path to better health with the Autoimmune Protocol. Now it’s their mission to share that approach with nourishing recipes, practical resources, and community connections.You can check out the Autoimmune Wellness community here

“Unwell” 

Starring Jennifer Julian. This docu-series takes a deep dive into the lucrative wellness industry, which touts health and healing. The “darker sides” to these wellness industries are unveiled. For instance, the multi-level marketing used with companies selling “impure” essential oils claiming to be 100% natural. These industries explored in the series include:

  • Essential Oils
  • Fasting
  • Ayahuasca
  • Alternative Therapies
  • & more!

Again, taking everything with a grain of salt – it’s important to be aware of wellness products or industries that are trying to make a quick profit. The same rules apply to greenwashing in the sustainability industry. Companies are realizing that consumerism has shifted towards wellness and eco-friendly products, so do your research when choosing what works best for you. And be weary of ‘green’ labelling without transparency!

delicious meat and veggies“Fat Fiction” 

Directed by Jennifer Isenhart and starring Dr. Mark Hyman, Nina Teicholz, and Gary Taubes. Fat has still not been proven to cause heart disease. Sugar is actually the main cause of inflammation, which is what causes the majority of today’s illnesses. 50% of our diet was fat in the 1950s. Until fat and cholesterol was claimed to cause heart attacks in the 1960s. Reversing Type II Diabetes Starts with Ignoring the Guidelines is a TED talk by Sarah Hallberg, with over 7 million views. She led the most beneficial Diabetes II Trial – where 60% of patients diabetes were reversed, and nearly all had significantly lower sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association reports less than 1% at reversing by following their own guidelines. Here’s another great article from our Texas Mom Blog about diabetes in children: Our Kids Are Falling Prey to A Pandemic, and it’s not COVID-19. 

Ex-Fighter Pilot, Brian Gaudette, healed his brain by making soup from bone broth, vegetables, and meat. He is now on a mission to help others heal and thrive through Captain Soup. Both Mary Ruddick, the Director of Nutrition, and Brian overcame their own health crucibles with ancestral eating and now they are on a mission to make ditching the Standard American Diet (SAD) delicious, convenient, and easy for everyone. 

The diets mentioned in these films prove to have a significant impact on each person’s overall health. It depends on you and your body, what diet works well and brings you optimal health. If you’re like me, you will explore all options when it comes to new territory. Explore and research but not necessary implement – yet. So if you’re skeptical at first about trying a new diet – try a few new recipes, transition into plant based meals maybe once or twice a week, etc. And see how your body feels! After all, part of being in tune with your “highest self” means listening to what YOUR body says, and giving it what it needs.

Documentaries About Nature

“Intelligent Trees” 

Directed by Julia Dordel and Guido Tölke. Starring Peter Wohlleben and Dr. Suzanne Simard. This is one of the first documentaries I’ve watched that goes in depth about the language of trees. Trees talk, know family ties and care for their young? Is this too fantastic to be true? German forester Peter Wohlleben (‘The Hidden Life of Trees‘) and scientist Suzanne Simard (The University of British Columbia, Canada) have been observing and investigating the communication between trees over decades. And their findings are most astounding. 

ancient tree“Moving Art” 

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning producer, director and cinematographer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials. As the only filmmaker in the world who has been shooting time-lapse 24/7 continuously for well over three decades, Schwartzberg is an astonishing visual artist. He’s breaking barriers, connecting with audiences, and telling stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people and places. 

This is a great series to play in the background or focus on while relaxing. You begin to lose yourself in the stunning visuals of Earth’s most majestic locations:  including Tahiti, New Zealand and Machu Picchu.

Louie just posted on the Moving Art website an amazing article for National Health Day, about the healing powers of nature. He mentions the power of mushrooms, trees, flowers, and ocean water. You can read the article here:  World Health Day – Celebrating Nature’s Healing Powers – Moving Art.

Want to learn more? Check out these other TexasRealFood articles!

Now that you’ve gained some valuable resources and insight into the world of nature & food – it’s time to experience it! Get outside, prepare local food, and listen to your body. By doing this, you are able to reach your highest potential. There are many ways to find your way to your ‘higher self’ or to feel more grounded, however you see your connection with yourself and wellbeing. Take time to experience the nature around you and begin to understand our species’ connection to the natural world (after all, we’re not separate from the Earth and the species on it, although we do lose sight of that often). We encourage you to do your own research,  but also find your own way through the myriad of ‘wellness’ to something that works for you and has clear benefits. You may want to feel more connected to nature, or feel calmer. Or you may be in search of some deeper questions, about deeper health concerns. Whatever it may be – it’s important to get grounded first!

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