I begin with a salute to all the moms (both our moms and moms of our kids too!). Handling the kids, the household and handling work front…just three simple tasks, what is the hue and cry all about?
I used to think the same way…what is the big deal! Until my personal experience shook me out of my wits (quite literally).
I could walk into a room filled with 100 strangers, get introduced and remember their names, profession, company perhaps even the names of their spouse. I could effortlessly do three jobs and complete my masters in medical and engineering. The names of all those bones, joints, tendons, muscles, chemical combinations, botanical names all in Latin and Greek was beautifully networked in my memory. I would have the enthusiasm to even squeeze in learning a new language or a new dance style. Working 12 – 16 hours a day has been my normal ever since. My day used to begin at 5.30am and I would hit the bed by 11.30pm. A fantastic globe-trotting corporate experience of dining each meal in a different time zone became a routine for me. Multitasking was as effortless as gliding across a mousse cake. Fifteen years later, running two business ventures successfully, starting a new venture when my new born was just three months old, juggling work, baby and home was eustress for me.
Things were great until slowly I began to struggle to get out of bed even at 9.30am. I would wake up constantly feeling groggy, exhausted, with very little enthusiasm to look forward to the day ahead. I would walk into a room and wonder why I was there. As I dashed out of the house I wouldn’t remember where I left the car keys or my phone. I have spent half a day hunting for my phone having left it on silent mode inside my wardrobe. I have left my car keys quite often in the car itself. I have even forgotten my car at my work place. My friends would laugh and sometimes get annoyed when I just couldn’t recognise people I was recently introduced to or register facts they had recently discussed. I struggled to keep up timelines or rock up for anything on time. Sometimes I would even forget to rock up for events that I had promised to attend.
Most multitasking Super Moms experience brain fog, memory loss, anxiety, ADD, depression, irritability, extreme fatigue…just taking another step becomes a task. This isn’t just post-delivery, even years after the child has begun schooling. Exhausted and bone weary, they lie down in bed for hours but sleep eludes them. Dejected about living a half-life and worrying how they are going to wake up in the morning to get the kids to school. They feel disconnected and disengaged and their capacity of pleasure and joy begins to fade. Digestive issues of bloating, loosies, constipation and acidity are among the most common issues they pop pills for every day. Many shut themselves up and cry out loud or even scream to just let the steam off so they can handle just another day…or even just another hour of the day.
Soon the Super Mom begins to feel like a gummed carburetor…either you struggle to start or if you crank up and start, you run lean…What makes it worse? No one is willing to acknowledge it!
Here’s a holistic guide to all those moms who have sought help and not found it. As a Functional Medicine advocate, piece by piece, cell by cell, body system by body system, I discovered the source that was clogging up the fantastic supercharged engine of mine….and it wasn’t just one thing. It was everything piled up over the years until my body and brains could take it no longer.
First on the list: It’s not all in your head. It is in fact a lot to do with your body too!
The Gut-Brain Connection:
Moms are super good at this…the Gut Feeling. They almost always know everything that has happened behind their back or what is just about to happen if they took their eagle eyes off their precious little ones…A mother’s intuition is real…as if it’s a special power. But sometimes the Gut feeling that a mother feels, is really her anxiety in disguise. This happens when the mother’s gut bacteria are out of balance. A mother who is constipated or has digestive disorders quite often leads to unwarranted instincts of fear and anxiety. To charge up your intuitive 6th sense you need to have a gut that is calm. Detox your gut and top up on your probiotic and prebiotic intake. Next time you warn your child of an impending doom ahead, let it be a real intuition rather than just a judgement clouded instinct.
Your brain loves sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to Alzheimer’s. If that isn’t scary enough…loss of sleep actually makes you fat by increasing the production of a hormone called Grehlin, which makes you hungry and also suppresses the production of appetite suppressing hormone – PYY. Every day you lose even 30mins of sleep, your body compensates it by making you eat, specifically pushing you to choose the sugars and carbohydrates and you spend a lifetime trying to play catch-up. I realized all those years of playing macho about being able to function on 5 hours of sleep and coffee-sugar to keep me awake destroyed my body rhythms. Lack of sleep also increases the production of stress hormones – Cortisol, which kills your brain cells in-charge of memory and mood. Basically, when you don’t sleep you are not exactly a pleasure to be around. Most moms get into bed planning for the next day. Body needs to understand a wind down time…the next day will happen organically. By evening turn down the lights at home. Use warm yellow lights to gently signal your brain to transit to rest. Just before falling asleep, play some soft sleep-inducing music, make sure the room is absolutely dark and gradually slide into sleep mode.
Food for Thought:
Food is not just an energy source. If you brain has a software that controls everything in your body then consider food as the keystrokes that send messages to the brain to guide the body into health or illness. Every time you indulge your pallet in refined oil soaked highly processed food and aerated drink think of the message you are sending your brain. Imagine the kind of messages your brain will receive when you generously consume unprocessed brown rice, fresh fish, fresh vegetables and nuts. If you want to be a high energy super mom…then super foods are absolutely essential. Food is the fastest-acting and most powerful medicine you can take to change your life.
Tryptophan: This is what you need to make Serotonin…this amazing chemical that makes you relax as you dose off into wonderland. If you are unable to do that…then you are most likely deficient in Vit B6 which is most essential in converting Tryptophan to Serotonin. Deficiencies of Vit B12 and Vit B6 cause depression and mood swings. Check the levels of Vit B and Vit D during your next round of blood test and top up if necessary. You will feel more energised, sleep better and look forward to the next day almost as if a fairy just waved her wand at you.
Omega -3 Fats:
Extremely essential for brain function. Your brain is mostly fat, and 60% of your brain is made up of a specific type of Omega-3 fat called DHA. Isn’t it evident that if you don’t have enough of it, your brain simply won’t work? Tiny bumps on the back of your arms and near your elbows, eczema and repeated bouts of infections, indicates a deficiency of Omega-3 Fats and Vit A. We have become quite deficient in Omega-3 Fats ever since refined oil (Omega – 6 Fats) has begun dominating our diet. Women with high levels of Omega-3 have lower rates of Post-Partum Depression. An interesting study conducted as recent as 2002 showed lowered rates of violent behavior among prisoners supplemented with Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 Fat supplementation, at the very least, will reduce domestic squabbles.
The relaxation mineral! Magnesium deficiency causes headaches, anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms, aches and pains and irritability towards noises. Anything that is tight or stiff body part or mood…it is a magnesium deficiency. A typical reaction of losing your calm and screaming out loud, when your kids are trying to talk to you at the same time, the mobile rings, the dog barks and the door bell rings.
Vitamins & Minerals:
A lot of friends and clients ridicule supplementation of vitamins & minerals as just a source of expensive urine. I personally believe vitamins are a waste of money, if people eat fresh, whole, organic non-GMO food grown in mineral and nutrient rich soil, breath fresh toxin free unpolluted air, drink mineral rich pure water and are absolutely 100% free from stress…If you are one of them…then of course you don’t need vitamins.
Trace Minerals: Zinc & Selenium:
If both your brain and your digestive system is off…then Zinc Deficiency it is…Zinc is also important to make the happy hormone…so if you are depressed and blue for no reason…then Zinc Deficiency it is.
Selenium is what ignites the fuel to rev up your thyroid gland and detox the body. If you are feeling sluggish and just can’t handle it when the AC temperature is turned down…well Selenium deficiency could be your culprit.
Digestive Disorders & Food Allergies:
Most popular on the list: Gluten allergy, Dairy Allergy, Nut Allergy, Yeast Allergy and recently quite a few of my clients present themselves for consultation with citrus allergy. Classic indication of ‘Leaky Gut’ and an out of balance Gut Flora. If you are wondering why you yelled at your kid when you could’ve handled the situation with much more sophistication…blame you gut. Detox you gut and replenish the good bacteria.
Skin problems, Thyroid disorders, Digestive Disorders, Mood Disorders these are signs that your Gut and your Liver are crying out loud from toxic overload because of years of sleep deprivation, insulting your organs with abusive food and toxic thought patterns. They tried working overtime and now they are broken…and now your brains are broken too! Detox, Detox, Detox!
These are more evident. Most of my clients are aware of their hormonal imbalances either symptomatically or from their annual blood test reports. Thyroid is the king of all your hormones. If this is out of balance, the rest is just a domino effect. Medically managing the hormonally imbalances is only going to hold you half way up. The real deal is when you are able to get your body to function the way it is supposed to, in the absence of medication. Find a functional medicine expert who understands your body as an entire system and can get your body do the trick.
Organ Damage & Inflammation:
If you are battling a lifestyle disease such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, PCOD etc. then be assured that the organ in charge is inflamed. If you are experiencing brain fog or memory issues…then it most certainly means your brain is inflamed.
The best of organic food and nutritional supplementation is just flushed down the toilet if your dried and dehydrated gut has lost the ability to extract vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients from the food you consume. A Colon hydrotherapy is the most effect approach to detox and rehydrate your gut.
To get back on the Super Mom Gear:
1. Get rid of the bad stuff: DETOX! YOUR BODY & YOUR MIND
2. Fix Hormonal Imbalances
3. Ensure Nutritional sufficiency
4. Calm Your Mind: Life has a pause button and the world will not end if you clicked it. Find your own favorite pause button. Yoga, Massage, Meditation, Dance, Art, Music…celebrate yourself.
Dear Super Moms, just like, in case of an emergency, you need to place the oxygen mask first on yourself in order to efficiently help your child next to you in an aircraft. Take care of yourself first. Self-preservation is vital. Your body is programmed for that.
– By Dr. Ashmita Boopathy Moturi