As we start the Chemical Quadrant, we will focus on the four components of chemistry: what we eat, what we drink, our genetics, and tuning in to our wellbeing.
I like to use the analogy of a tree when describing our body systems and how they relate with the Quadrants of Wellbeing. In the Mechanical Quadrant, I talked about messages being relayed through the tree, and explained that is similar to how messages move from our brain through our nervous system, which is housed in the spine. The same analogy can also be applied to the Chemical Quadrant.
Our body works because of the nervous system, and the nervous system is like a large tree. You have the roots, the trunk, the branches, then the leaves. The only way for that tree to have a full, flourishing life is to have the right chemistry in the roots. For the tree, that chemistry might come through the water, the soil, or the oxygen. For example, at certain times of year when it’s hotter outside, the tree needs more water than other times of year.
The body is no different than that tree. Our body needs different chemistry based on the things we are requiring it to do, based on our own genetics, our own upbringing, and the way we live our life.
What we eat is important
The first thing that our body requires is good food. Just like the tree, we might need more food or less food because of our environment and what we are asking our bodies to do. We also might need different components to the food, like a bodybuilder who needs more protein because of what they require their body to do.
Certain foods impact our bodies. I think if people understood why certain foods impact their body the way they do, they would make better choices. The words we like to use are “If you know the why, it’s much easier to comply.” Often people view switching to a healthier diet as deprivation, but if you know that sugar makes you cranky, it’s easier to decline the office donut and reach for something that makes you feel better.
I have a pretty clean diet. Some of the healthy eating advice people give is to eat whole grains, like brown rice. But by tuning into my wellbeing, I’ve learned that my body doesn’t like brown rice. I also learned that my body doesn’t actually like broccoli. I love broccoli, but my body gets inflamed with it. Everybody’s different, so it’s important for you to figure out what fuel makes your car run the best.
What we drink is important
Just like the tree, we need water and we need to make sure we are getting enough water. You know that if you require your body to be outside in the heat of summer, then, just like the tree, your body will require more water.
My guideline for water is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weight 150 lbs, you need to drink 75 ounces of water each day.
Genetics: why you need to know what your DNA has in store for you (it’s less scary than you think!)
Our genetics also affect the chemistry that our body needs. When we talk about genetics, some people are scared to find out what is in their DNA, because they’re worried they are predisposed to a certain disease. But what we know is this: 67% of what happens to you is lifestyle. However, what’s really important about knowing your DNA is that you can start to understand what could happen, and begin to plan a different route for yourself. You can start planning changes to your chemistry and your lifestyle that will support your body and put the odds in your favor.
Tune in to Change Your Life
I want to encourage people to listen to themselves: if you check in every morning and say how do I feel, what would your body tell you? Go ahead and try it now: Did I sleep ok? Did I have a good bowel movement today? Do I feel vibrant and alive or do I feel foggy? Do I feel achy and sore? I call this tuning in to your wellbeing. It can be done in just two minutes after your alarm clock goes off and before you get out of bed. If you are someone that needs to get moving, let your feet hit the floor and then ask yourself these questions as you begin your morning routine.
If people would start to tune in to their own bodies, they would start to think about what led to them feeling the way they do. What did I eat yesterday? Did I drink enough water? Did I drink too much alcohol? Did I have too much sugar and so I have more pain? Once we know the cause of own pain, discomfort, or lack of energy, we can begin to change. If you tune in and notice a headache–which makes you remember that you didn’t drink very much water yesterday–you can remind yourself to drink more today–and even start with a big glass right now!
If we pay attention to our bodies and remember these four components of chemistry to our body, what we eat, what we drink, genetics, and tuning in, we can make healthier food choices and put the odds in our favor.