intestinal fortitude … you are what you eat … she’s got guts … gut instinct … he couldn’t stomach it … it’s gut-check time …
Our language is filled with phrases and idioms that reference our digestive tract and there’s a good reason for that: it is a huge part of our daily lives.
We don’t like to talk about it that much. Everyone is quick to talk about what’s going on in their head or their heart or how their muscles are sore but we tend to shy away from anything gastrointestinal as just a little icky.
But we should talk about it. Especially as Entrepreneurs living with the stresses of performing acrobatics without a safety net.
Our relationship with nutrition and hydration is incredibly complex and incredibly simple. At one level, we eat food and drink liquids and we excrete waste and we stay alive.
At a different level we have crazy psychological interactions with food we see, taste, smell: if I say ‘McDonald’s French Fries’ you have a specific reaction. Don’t lie … I know you do.
At yet another level we have physiological interactions with the nutrition and hydration we put into our bodies that modern science is just beginning to understand. Do some research on ‘Gut Brain’ or take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Gut Flora – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gut_flora.
As entrepreneurs we often work long, sedentary hours, missing our walk or run, making poor food choices just to take on some calories from whatever is handy and taking in too much caffeine.
As entrepreneurs we often add ongoing Stress to this equation, releasing a variety of fight or flight response chemicals that affect our body chemistry including that of the gut.
And then we ignore the loose stool on a couple of mornings in a row. We take a little antacid to mask the symptoms of upset stomach. Then it’s time for something stronger to help with the reflux symptoms. And we can’t figure out the moodiness, lack of energy, and so on.
As an amateur triathlete I know I can’t ignore these signs. I ended up in an ER because of improper nutrition and hydration: I know I can’t ignore these signs. As an entrepreneur I know the danger signs, but I still haven’t got it right.
As an entrepreneur there are times when I go out and have to deliver my rockstar best: live speaking, hosting events, making the sale.
It’s time to take some of my own advice and I’m hoping you’ll join me.
Here is my advice to myself
Ayurveda. Find out your Ayurvedic body type. This is a simple test you can take online – search for ‘ayurveda test’. My wife introduced this to me when we first met. It’s a 5000+ year old teaching from India with more depth that I want to go into here. The key for this discussion is that it helps you discover your body type and the types of foods that agree or disagree with your constitution. Quite often people find that eating according to their Ayurvedic type helps them prevent upset and generally spiral their wellness upwards.
Sugar. Drastically cut refined sugars and simple carbohydrates. They have almost no nutritional value. These are inflammation machines and perhaps more important they severely impact our insulin levels. Plainly, they are addictive for me and make me crashy, ravenously hungry, and moody.
Stimulants. Get a handle on your daily caffeine and alcohol intake. Different people handle those things with varying levels of success, but any stimulants impact the gut.
Water. First thing when you get up, glasses all day long.
More Greens. Roughage is good for the gut plus lots of yummy nutrients.
More Good Fats. These agree with me: they are sating and full of energy.
Anti-inflammatory diet. Do some research on ‘GERD diet’. I’ve done one before and it was a very effective tool against acid reflux. There are many things we ingest that increase inflammation in our bodies: remove them and the body has a chance to cure itself!
Occasional Fasts. I’ve wanted to add this to my lifestyle for a long time and maybe it’s time. There are good reasons that society’s oldest teachings include a fasting component: not only does it remind us of scarcity, but it gives the gut a chance to HEAL.
This isn’t medical advice … you should get that from your doctor or nutritionist. That said I hope these tips make you think about what you can do to improve your gut health. It’s another huge component of wellness and being your Best Self so you can make more Profit in your business 🙂
This is Part 2 in a 4 part series. Part 1 is on Sleep. Part 3 is coming soon.