It's the stress, not the food

Erica stands with a backpack on in front of a mountain in the distance
Reduce your stress, reduce the bloating!

Episode 28: When's the last time you thought, "what did I eat that's causing my brain fog...and I'm so bloated...if I could just get my digestion under control!"

Or maybe you swing between constipation and diarrhea as your brain spirals into...maybe it's the gluten...maybe it's the dairy...maybe it's the sugar...maybe it's the fat...maybe it's too many carbs...spiraling down the diet-wellness rabbit hole deeper and deeper.

I've been there - in fact, somedays I'm still there! GI upset is no joke. Having smooth sailing digestion can literally make or break your day, not to mention how you feel about your body.

In the past, I did all the food sensitivity tests with varying results (which lead me to question if the test was legit or not). I did elimination diets, food and symptom trackers, drank digestive teas, anything to feel better. But all I got was a dysfunctional relationship with food to go along with my dysfunctional gut issues.

Fast forward years into my Intuitive Eating practice, with many hours spent on learning to understand how my body responds to strong emotions like stress, overwhelm, anxiety, grief, perimenopause-rage, and I'll be the first to tell wasn't the food.

In fact, taking so many foods out of my diet made my symptoms worse or the same at best, which felt so frustrating and definitely lead me to think, "what's wrong with me? What's wrong with my body?"

It wasn't until the last few years after doing more research and training on how the body responds to stress, anxiety, and burnout, that all the pieces started to come together. And more importantly how I could take care of myself when those difficult emotions come up.

That's what this week's Savor Food and Body Podcast episode is about and I'm hoping it will offer you comfort in knowing that you're body isn't broken, there's nothing wrong with you, and you can have a healthy relationship with food while having smooth sailing digestion.

My guest this week is Erica Van Mieghem RDN CD LD a fellow anti-diet dietitian who specializes in helping people understand the impact that their nervous system has on their digestion - specifically the vagus nerve.

Listen to learn:

  • How stress impacts your digestive system

  • Why digestive distress is not as much about what you eat as you've been told**

  • How the vagus nerve and your nervous system run the digestive show, whether you liked it or not

  • What foods you can eat to enhance the function of the vagus nerve and have a happier GI tract

  • What lifestyle behaviors you can practice in addition to eating regularly to support your vagus nerve

Erica grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado surrounded by family, outdoor adventures, and cooking experiments. She moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend college, graduate school and eventually started her nutrition counseling practice in Bellingham, Washington.

In her clinical practice, Erica focuses on individualized nutrition plans to help clients make optimal food choices based on where they are in life. She enjoys helping clients navigate functional and non-functional GI tract disorders. She loves helping clients get in touch with their nervous system regulation by exercising the vagus nerve. She's also passionate about the microbiome and what a huge role gut bacteria play in the communication of the vagus nerve to the rest of the body.

When she's not working with clients, you can find her playing outside with her 2 kids and husband and making some delicious meals with fermented foods as an accessory.

You can learn more about Erica's work on her website.

Additional resources mentioned in the show include the book Activate Your Vagus Nerve by Dr. Navaz Habib

Don't forget to subscribe to the show and leave a rating and review - especially on Apple Podcast. Doing so helps other people find the show - and get in touch with their vagus nerve for better digestion and life. Isn't that a fabulous way to help someone? They thank you in advance!

**Unless you have a diagnosed food allergy or intolerance such as celiac disease or food allergies resulting in anaphylaxis