I am crazy passionate about tapping into the rhythms and pace of the natural world. Not just because it feels good, although it does, but because we have evolved for thousands of years to function at the pace of nature and our body has aligned with, adapted to, and depends on this for so many systems to function properly. When we move away from this, slowly, our system responds.
I am obsessed with learning how our body’s interact with our environment (food, lifestyle, the world around us) and researching ways to support people to feel their best in their body and optimize their health and resilience.
The more science I dig into, the more studies and research I lose myself in, the more I return to the fact that we are meant to be in sync with the pace of the wild and the natural world. It is hard to study scientifically because it is slow to change, it is not a shiny magic bullet, there is no medicine for it, it is not an A + B = C. It is slow, it is quiet, it is cumulative, interconnected to so much, and we are just starting to see and appreciate how important it is.
Our hormone balance depends fiercely on natural cycles of the day/month/year/phase of life. Our stress hormones are tied to the day and we depend on a spike in the morning and decline as the day goes on. Our thyroid hormone changes with the season, insulin sensitivity changes with the day and our sex hormones align with the month. Our sleep hormones depend on cycles of light and dark. Our hormones involved with metabolism interact with our environment around us and respond each day accordingly. Working for us or against us depending. All of these hormones talk to one another and rely on rhythms and pace of the natural world.
Our immune system has adapted over thousands of years to examine our environment and world around us and then to identify friend verse foe and mount an appropriate attack.
Our nervous system desperately needs the quiet and calm of nature to restore and balance.
Our gut and our microbiome are impacted by our environment and exposure to natural microbes, night/day rhythms, and seasonal changes in food and timed eating.
We are systems based creatures that are impacted by the world around us.
Everything is interrelated. We have tried to break things up and separate things- physically, medically, emotionally, socially, environmentally- but the truth is all these systems are interrelated. When you dig into it, you cannot separate the gut from the brain, or our health from the food we eat, or the food we eat from the quality of the dirt it grows in, and so on. Maybe for a while, but not over time.
That which drives symptoms and chronic disease inside our body- gut health, inflammation, and our stress response– these are all impacted by the world around us.
The new science emerging is mind blowing and confirms that our microbiome alone plays an important role in hormone balance, neurotransmitter balance, it’s important for brain health, immune function, detoxification, digestion, inflammation levels, and so much more than we ever knew. Our microbiome is an ecosystem that communicates to every part of our body. We need a healthy population of microbes, we need to feed them appropriately, and we rely on their metabolites (post-biotics) for our physical and mental health. This system relies on us regularly eating a diverse range of plants and fermented foods, being exposed to a variety of microbes, as well as avoiding unnecessary meds, chronic stress, highly processed foods, and toxins.
I will be posting more studies, research and interviews on my website around this, this summer, but for now, just try tapping into the rhythms and pace of the natural world, eating close to the earth, and see how you feel.
Of course sometimes we need to dig a bit deeper and heal a bigger imbalance but don’t miss this important and often overlooked foundation. It is subtle but I believe it has a big impact on our body, mind, soul and health of each over time.
So what might that look like to tap into the natural world? Here are some ideas-
- Get sunshine during the day,
- Keep the lights dim after sunset,
- Eat whole/real/colorful/diverse foods especially plants,
- Limit exposure to toxins/fertilizers/chemicals,
- Drink clean water,
- Breath clean air
- Move your body everyday outside,
- Play in the dirt,
- Eat naturally fermented foods,
- Sleep well and go to bed when you are tired,
- Rest when you need it,
- Eat only when you are relaxed,
- Light candles,
- Drink herbal teas,
- Say no to being needlessly busy,
- Listen to the birds and the wind in the trees,
- Jump in the lake,
- Walk in the woods,
- Take time to mindfully breath,
- Sleep under the stars,
- Give birth vaginally when possible and breastfeed your babies,
- Put down your phone,
- Turn off the TV,
- Get bored,
- Howl at the moon,
- Notice what is happening with the trees and plants each season,
- Eat seasonally,
- Hum a tune,
- Rise before the sun and set out for a sunrise adventure,
- Paddle down a river canyon,
- Reduce the stressors coming into your life, where you can.
I believe these small changes over time will bring a robust richness to your life and change how you feel and function profoundly.
The pace of nature is slow, unlike the pace of our modern world. Give it time.
Pick one each week or month and try to incorporate it into your life.
We aren’t going for perfect or fad diets or a fast fix because they don’t work long term. We are going for small changes that support the interconnectedness of your body and the earth.
Give it a try this summer. See how you feel. I dare you. Jump in!
Cover photo credit- Ashly Wiley
“Then a great peace came over me…….and I seemed to hear the pines and the wind and the rocky shores say to me “you …. lover of the wild, are part of us…..” Sigurd F. Olson
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
Take the pace of nature, her secret is patience
This is a crazy phenomenal discussion by two physicians about the science of how the microbiome impacts every system in the body. Have a listen!
Janel can usually be found either playing out in the wild, getting lost in a book, or preparing food in the kitchen. Janel is a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner, is a board certified holistic nutritionist and has her doctorate in natural medicine. She obsesses over understanding how lifestyle choices and food choices impact peoples unique body and health. Learn more about Janel here
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