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The Adult Chair

The Nutrition and Mental Health Connection with Andrea Nakayama

The Adult Chair
The Adult Chair

It’s that time of year again…the holidays are here, and with them come all the delicious food and treats.

I’m ALL about treating ourselves and eating for enjoyment, but there can also come a point where it’s no longer fun. You probably know the feeling: the sugar crash, the sluggishness, the fatigue, maybe even body aches or indigestion or mild depression.

It turns out there’s a reason behind this: what we eat is deeply connected to our brain chemistry, our hormonal balance and our mental and emotional health. And it’s different for everyone.

On the show today, I talked to functional medicine nutritionist Andrea Nakayama about the connection between nutrition and mental health and how we can make mindful choices that support our health and happiness this holiday season.

We talked about understanding our food triggers and our inherited beliefs about food and our bodies, the way sugar affects our brain chemistry, the root causes of chronic disease and why understanding your unique makeup and your story is critical to making conscious nutrition decisions.

This is a fascinating conversation about how nutrition can actually affect our psychology and how we can develop holistic, sustainable habits that are rooted in a deep connection to self.

Listen to discover:

  • What functional medicine is & the role of a functional medicine nutritionist in overall health
  • Understanding our inherited beliefs about food and the reasons why we eat the way we do
  • Raising awareness to our food triggers
  • The role of sugar in our brain chemistry and psychology
  • The three roots of any chronic condition
  • Ways to enjoy sugar or sweetness without negatively impacting your hormones or brain chemistry
  • Epigenetics and its connection to disease that can trigger mental health issues
  • Why it's so important to enjoy our food

To be 100% clear, this episode is not about labeling food as good or bad or about how our bodies look. It is about understanding how our brains and bodies FEEL when we eat.

We were made to eat and enjoy food! And true enjoyment comes when – like everything else in The Adult Chair® – we stay connected to ourselves, bring things into awareness, live embodied and make conscious choices that support our health – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

"Everything is connected, we are all unique and all things matter." - Andrea Nakayama

"There's never one root cause." - Andrea Nakayama

"Systems biology tells us that everything in the body is connected, the psychology is connected to the physiology, the gut/brain, the gut/hormones, the detoxification and the hormones...it's all connected." - Andrea Nakayama

"We have to remember that we are our best judge, we need to tune into ourselves, what do we need intuitively." - Michelle Chalfant

"Understanding all of that, your relationship to your body and the way you eat, is a critical part of the equation." - Andrea Nakayama

"There are reasons we may be eating sugar or consuming sugar that feel like they're about regulating things, when they may be contributing to a dysregulation." - Andrea Nakayama

"There's nothing good or bad about the food." - Andrea Nakayama

"It's not about the food. It's about the food and you." - Andrea Nakayama

"No two people are the same." - Michelle Chalfant

"We've got to pay attention to our moods…what happens to ourselves, to our emotional state, our mental state, when we are eating these foods." - Michelle Chalfant

"I think one of the mistakes is the elimination, elimination, elimination, elimination of food without the internal physiological healing." - Andrea Nakayama

"Sugar is like the band aid that gives us the quick feeling of, 'Now I'm boosted," or 'Now I'm motivated,' but it's not the long-term solution." - Andrea Nakayama

"It's kind of remarkable to me how complicated the relationship with food has gotten." - Andrea Nakayama

"There's so much trauma that's influencing chronic health concerns." - Andrea Nakayama


Andrea Nakayama Website


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Episode #237: Healthy & Balanced Eating During the Holidays with Jessi Jean



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