PT 360 June 2018

Getting you back to the life you want to live.

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J une 2018

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A B alanced G ut I s a H ealthy G ut T he I mportance of P robiotics and P rebiotics

B eyond the P ain

Shelly Coffman

Part of what interested me in becoming a PT was my fascination with the brain. That’s actually my primary interest. The body attached to the brain still follows the “boss” that’s on top of your shoulders. Combine that with some hardcore nerdiness, and I am drawn to continued reading/learning about the brain. Many years ago, I read a story about an ultramarathoner, Diane Van Deren. She suffered from debilitating and life-threatening seizures and finally made the hard choice to have that part of her brain removed, which stopped the seizures. An interesting side effect — the part that has stuck with me in the years since reading this article — was the loss of perception of the passage of time. This already very gifted and talented athlete actually improved in her sport after brain surgery. The attributed reason? She doesn’t have a sense of how long she has been exercising. After six hours of grueling ascent in the mountains, she might think only 30 minutes have passed. I think of that piece often. This morning, in an exercise class, my instructor said, “Your brain will stop you before your body ever will.” (This as my legs were shaking from being in a squat for what felt like 10 minutes.) It brought me right back to Diane’s story, and I reflected on how very true that statement was (while still having to maintain said squat). Suffering and pain may be related to physical injury, emotional

distress, or mental overload, but the piece that makes it feel unbearable lives in a small part of our brain in the right hemisphere. Quieting that voice enables us to achieve great things for ourselves. My daughter is currently obsessed with Jessie Graff, winner of American Ninja Warrior. If you are not familiar with Jessie, she’s a badass. I am delighted my daughter is obsessed with her. As a result, I am exposed to lots of YouTube videos with Jessie. In an interview, I heard Jessie say she loves it when she’s working out and her muscles are screaming and aching and shaking. That’s the time when her abilities are growing and she’s achieving even more. She even claims she loves failure because it gives her the feedback and opportunity to figure things out to succeed. That “edge” where our muscles shake, or we feel scared to pursue our dreams, or the little voice is telling us we can’t or we’re not (smart/strong/savvy/ ____) enough, honestly, we are. One little step in front of the other, quietly and steadily moving toward your goal, and you’re there. Beyond the pain, past that edge is a whole new you. Tell that loud voice to zip it. It might be holding you back from something amazing. –-Shelly Coffman

In recent years, science has gained a better understanding of the critical role that gut health plays in overall health, and society is starting to pay attention. Most people know that probiotics aid in digestion, but few people understand how. While probiotics are gaining popularity, prebiotics have flown largely under the radar. According to health experts, most Americans don’t consume enough prebiotics every day, which can result in indigestion, higher levels of inflammation, increased likelihood of weight gain, and increased risk for various chronic diseases. Although research is fairly new in this area of nutrition, here is what’s known for sure. P robiotics Probiotics are good bacteria (live cultures) naturally found in your gut. It is believed that probiotics boost immunity and promote gastrointestinal and overall health. Besides aiding regular bowel movement, probiotics have also been used to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). To add more probiotics into your diet, eat fermented dairy foods like Greek yogurt, kefir products, and aged cheeses. All of these foods contain a significant number of live cultures. If you are dairy-intolerant, try eating kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and cultured nondairy yogurts. P rebiotics Prebiotics are natural, nondigestible fiber compounds that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut.

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