Mental, Emotional, and Environmental Stressors

Holistic Health Bites podcast with Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson featuring Rachel Headings discussing underlying stressors
Rachel detailed her struggles with numerous health issues from a young age, leading her on a path to functional medicine. She overcame challenges by addressing root causes through diet and lifestyle changes. She explained how chronic stress keeps the body in a constant "fear" state, impacting cells and health over time. Mental, emotional and environmental stressors all contribute to dysregulation of the HPA axis and stress response. 

Rachel recommended starting each day with solo time to self-regulate the nervous system and reduce stress-driven behaviors. Other tips included identifying stress signs, using supplements to calm the stress response, and prioritizing rest. For those experiencing burnout, she stressed the need to completely stop all activities and prioritize self-care and rest through nutrition, movement, social support and relaxing activities to allow the body to heal from chronic stress. 

Rachel suggested small, sustainable lifestyle shifts like improving morning routines, food choices, movement habits and mindset to take control of health, focusing first on nervous system support before addressing other issues. By gaining self-awareness and writing personalized wellness goals, one can gain freedom from past limitations. Journaling, expressing emotions and self-love help reprogram thoughts for ongoing mental and physical optimization.

The Importance of Breath in Ideal Health

Holistic Health Bites podcast with Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson, featuring Sachin Patel discussing the power of breathing on ideal health
Sachin Patel is a functional medicine practitioner and breathwork expert. He got into this field after realizing conventional doctors had no answers for chronic illness patients. Breathwork became his passion for integrating simplicity and sophistication in health.  In this episode, Sachin explained the health consequences of mouth breathing, including poor sleep, inflammation, and hormonal imbalance. Nasal breathing optimizes air through humidification, warming, and filtration before it reaches the lungs.

Sachin outlined various breathing patterns like coherence breathing and bellows breathing that can induce different physiological states. The "right" way to breathe depends on one's needs in the moment and goals.  He recommended finding prompts like checking emails or driving to associate with breath awareness. This helps establish breathwork as a habit. Wearables can also gamify the process and show physiological impacts.

Sachin detailed how mouth taping at night trains nasal breathing, improving sleep, hormones, temperature regulation and more. It strengthens respiratory muscles weakened by devices like CPAPs.  

HRV measures nervous system resilience through heart rate fluctuations with breathing. Higher HRV means better stress handling. Breathwork and lifestyle changes can optimize this important biomarker.

Sachin explained how breathwork impacts cell signaling, energy production and the body's intricate systems through oxygenation, CO2 balance and nervous system regulation. Proper breathing is the body's "steering wheel."

DIET for Wellness: How Thoughts Shape Your Health

Holistic Health Bites podcast by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson with guest Thais Harris, Holistic Nutritionist, speaking about self love on the journey to ideal health

In this episode of the Holistic Health Bites podcast, holistic nutritionist Thais Harris shares insights on integrating self-love into the journey toward ideal health. Thais emphasizes the critical role of self-love, distinguishing it as a practice that nurtures self-esteem and acceptance through mindfulness and present-moment awareness. Her approach underscores the importance of valuing oneself without conditions, a principle that has guided her both personally and professionally.

Through her work with women and cancer patients, Thais discovered how a deepened sense of self-love, extending beyond mere mindfulness, can significantly enhance health outcomes. She shares intimate details of her own battle with skin cancer, revealing how self-love practices such as mirror work, positive affirmations, and gratitude light-beam visualization played crucial roles in her healing process. Despite undergoing surgery, Thais credits these self-love practices with facilitating recovery and managing recurrences, highlighting their power in fostering resilience and acceptance.

Expanding on the concept of "DIET" as the daily intake of all influences—including thoughts, media, movement, and environment—Thais and her husband have observed how small, love-guided choices can profoundly impact one's health. This holistic perspective encourages listeners to reconsider their approach to health and well-being, emphasizing the transformative potential of self-love in achieving optimal health.

Reflecting on 2023 for Success in 2024

Reflecting on 2023 for Success in 2024 by Functional Nutritionist Andrea NicholsonHow well did you accomplish your goals in 2023?  Do you have new goals for 2024?  Today I want you to take a few minutes to reflect on the last year, so we can make a strategic plan in 2024.  Grab your pen and paper and let's dive in!  Be as detailed as possible in writing out your answers for the best results.

Building Healthy Habits with Nate Sleger

Building Healthy Habits with Nate Sleger
In this interview with functional nutritionist Andrea Nicholson, former personal trainer Nate explores the shift from focusing on weight to prioritizing healthy habits. They discuss recommended books and resources on habit formation, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and staying open to new ideas. They highlight the significance of creating a positive environment, taking small steps, and celebrating milestones on the journey to better health. They also suggest seeking guidance from a coach or building a support system, and recommend exploring Nate's podcast and ebook for further assistance in building and maintaining healthy habits. To connect with Nate, visit his website and check out his ebook and podcast.
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