#25 Staying Healthy During Stressful Times

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"When you're going through a particularly stressful time, the key is to not get too neurotic around being "perfect" with food; that just creates more stress. I'd also recommend not going too low carb and make sure you're still eating every three to four hours."

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In Episode 25 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss how to stay healthy during stressful times and using a healthy diet to reduce stress.

  • Diet tweaks to manage stress
  • Supplements that can support you through stressful times
  • Lifestyle and exercise hacks for reducing stress
  • Essential oils for stressful times

Natalie K. Douglas 0:01
Hello and welcome to the holistic nutritionist podcast. My name is Natalie Burke, holistic dietitian and nutritionist from health by Whole Foods calm day you and with me as always, I have Kate Callahan, the holistic nutritionist from the holistic nutritionist calm, Kate, how are you? I am Excellent. Thanks, man.

Kate Callaghan 0:19
How are you?

Natalie K. Douglas 0:21
I’m pretty good. I forgot what I was gonna say. I Well, I was telling you before that I had coffee this morning. And for those of you who don’t know, I usually don’t drink very much coffee, because it makes me quite jittery and anxious. And I did what I always tell you guys not to do, which is coffee crotch. And I’m just being accountable here and saying it was a bad idea. So no one should coffee crotch.

Kate Callaghan 0:49
I didn’t say it’s probably a good time for us to admit this. And we’ll probably talk about it in this podcast.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:54
Yes. Not Not Not a great strategy for managing stress which what we’re going to talk about today. Yes.

Never an awkward pause on this podcast. So structured and professional. Actually, my, my partner was saying the other day how the introduction to this podcast when I say it is so formal. And then we go into the podcast, and we’re just like, the most non professional, non formal with that’s what the word is people. And I’m like, Well, what do you want me to say? Like, I can’t, I can’t make it to dodgy, otherwise, people will turn off before it gets to the good stuff. Okay, we

Kate Callaghan 1:38
gotta start letting them see that they’re getting it coming from sort of professional inclination that it’s all downhill. Yeah, it is.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:46
Anyway, as mentioned, today, we are going to talk about how to kind of manage health, lifestyle, diet, supplementation, all those kind of things when you’re going through a stressful period. So really supporting yourself through a stressful period. So it doesn’t really matter what stressful period we’re talking about. We are trying to make this a general, I guess, podcast around that. So whether it’s, you know, emotional stress, whether it’s having the stress of moving out to a different house, or work stress or friendship, stress, anything, where the response in your body is pretty much the same. So we are going to chat about how we personally manage that. And also how we recommend that you guys manage that if if you are going through that stressful time. Because often, when we’re under a lot of stress, the first thing to go down here, Lydia is our health because we just enter that survival mode, and we coffee crotch, and, and do all these things that probably aren’t doing us any favors in terms of our health.

Kate Callaghan 2:54
Absolutely. So, yes, can I just put a little caveat out there that I told you before, I should probably mention it, just in case people here like wrestling and thoughts things. And I may have to breastfeed my baby made podcast if he wakes up. And I did try and beat him while I was asleep before. But he didn’t take to just going to wrong shoving a boob in a sleeping child’s face. But take it, take it.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:22
Take what you can get Come on Come on,

Kate Callaghan 3:25
feels like a violation. Anyway, what’s going on?

Natalie K. Douglas 3:32
Yes, she’s not doing anything suspicious, just breastfeeding her infant. While she’s podcasting. This is what we’re about just being real. Alright, well, we’ll get started. Sorry, I think the best way to approach this or at least the way that makes sense in my head is to go through maybe the different areas that we can control during during a stressful time and how we would recommend managing those. So being a nutritionist, I am I’m going to suggest that we start with diet. So Kate, I thought I would give a few tips or strategies that I use when I’m going through a stressful period in relation to diet. And then maybe if I’ve missed anything that you often use, or you recommend to your clients, then I’ll get you to add some stuffing at the end. So the first thing that I would recommend when you’re going through a particularly stressful time is to not get too neurotic around food because you don’t want to create more stress than is necessary. in your environment already, I would recommend eating a bit more regularly to manage blood sugar. So generally, I would say eating every kind of three to four hours, when you’re going through a stressful period is going to help keep your blood sugar balanced and just keep your body in that state of not thinking that it’s under stress or under threat or anything like that. And it doesn’t mean to say that that you can’t go back to eating, you know, three larger meals a day or, you know, doing some intermittent intermittent fasting, if that’s something that you’re using therapeutically for a purpose, that’s okay to go back to that. But when you’re going through a stressful period, my advice would be to eat more regularly, I’d also recommend not going to low carb, so we don’t want to again, put our body into more of a stress state than needs be. Now when I say don’t go too low carb, I also I don’t mean ate all of the sugar that you can that would be something that would be kind of country country indicated in this case. So avoid sugar but don’t go too low carb. So focusing on things like sweet potato, buckwheat, Kamala, white rice, those kind of slow releasing carbohydrates that are rich in fiber as well so and of course, veggies and fruit, also your other sources of carbohydrates. The last thing that always I would recommend would be to actually eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up and make that a high protein breakfast. So that’s going to help with stabilizing your blood sugar and managing your cortisol throughout the day. And if you’re not used to doing that, it may be a bit difficult at first often a lot of people find they’re not hungry in the morning if they haven’t been in that habit. But once you start doing it, you’ll find you end up waking up hungry entities much easier to do. Kate, I’m sure there’s at least one other thing that you can add to that what would you suggest or what other strategies Do you often use?

Kate Callaghan 6:37
ideas knocking I hundred percent agree with all of that. I would say really try and be diligent with increasing your veggie intake and stress does deplete the body of micronutrients, your vitamins and minerals. And then you want to give anybody the best support possible. So eat the rainbows, all different colors, and as much as jeez as you possibly can, aiming for at least five cups a day if possible. And all different colors, which I just said sorry, repeating myself. implemented foods is organic sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, full fat yogurt if you tolerate dairy. And because stress does affect your gut bacteria as well. So we want to try and keep that on track. So you’re not adding to your health issues with with that stress. And there was one other thing I was thinking about salt, include salt in your diet. And so salt is so so important for an a huge range of things. But it’s also going to support your adrenal glands during times of stress. And having that electrolyte balance is going to help you feel a lot better. I actually listened to a really, really interesting, fascinating podcast recently with Robb wolf. So it’s his latest one, it’s the Paleo solution podcast. And he’s interviewing guy insults, I don’t know his name. But I will, I’ll try to find it. And that would be my suggestions, also, and I’ll try and find his name. Excellent.

Natalie K. Douglas 8:09
Now, the other thing that I would add, which we kind of joked about and touched on before would be coffee. So I would advise cutting out caffeine during times of stress. And it’s often the thing that we go to first, because, you know, it gives you a little false pick me up, it’s delicious. And it’s also a bit comforting in a habitual way as well. However, I don’t think that drinking coffee, when you are already in a stress state is going to have a net positive impact on your body and on your mind. And it also can potentially worsen any blood sugar dysregulation that’s happening, any kind of dis regulate dis regulated cortisol levels that are happening in your body, and also can interfere with sleep. So you know, it varies from individual to individual as to how well you talk, right cafe. But even if you’re someone who’s like not, could like have coffee at 10pm at night, and as my lack nighttime beverage, put me to sleep thing, don’t risk it, just cut it out and see how you go, nothing will change the coffee Gods will still love you. And coffee will still exist. Post your little detox. And I was discussing this with Kate before. If you’re like us and find it difficult to resist when it’s in the house, then get it out of the house so that that diarrhea, I guess that temptation isn’t there as well. So I wouldn’t suggest drinking all of the coffee and then make it disappear out of the house. I’d say get someone to hide it. I know that sounds silly. But if you need to get rid of coffee ASAP, and you’ve got like stack food in your house, then get someone to put it in a temporary hiding place. So the temptation is not there while you get through the stressful period and reduce your intake and then you can reintroduce it in a more sensible way, not not so much of a tip dependent way. And I will be listening to this podcast later to remind myself of that advice.

Kate Callaghan 10:07
I would I would say it’s probably a good idea to do that with other foods as well. So if you find that you’re a stress eater, in terms of if you’re stressed and you go to the covenant and you’ll eat a whole packet of chickens, and then probably best to get those foods out of the cupboard, out of sight out of mind so you don’t binge eat on them.

Natalie K. Douglas 10:27
Yeah, I’d 100% agree. And on that note, for all you people listening who are not butter lovers, I would also recommend potentially hiding the nut butter jaws while you’re going through this period if you are an emotional eater, because I know a lot of you cannot stop at one tablespoon of peanut butter or almond spread and oh my god, I discovered cashew spread the other day I was about to say it is my weakness. Yeah, I bought one da and I just I had a bit too much. And then I was like,

take it away. I made my I made don’t actually take it to work with him.

Kate Callaghan 11:02
And I’m like you have to finish it please. I will I will catch you better in my trimester. As I mentioned, I hadn’t been a bit of candy over the thrashing my third trimester. And so I went a bit lower carb. But we’re looking to get my calories down all the time was pregnant and breastfeeding. And so I was just down in cashew butter like this. No one’s business. And yeah, probably the healthiest option but

Natalie K. Douglas 11:26
could be worse. It could be it could be anyway.

Kate Callaghan 11:30
But God’s name sorry, going back to the salt podcast and he’s the author of the salt fix. I’m telling you the name of the book because his name I don’t step up. Dr. James didn’t Nikolai Tonier.

Natalie K. Douglas 11:42
Oh, sounds perfect. I’m sure

Kate Callaghan 11:43
he’s nailed it. Already. Dr. Jane?

Natalie K. Douglas 11:47
Dr. J’s, we’ll just call him Dr. James. It sounds cool. Anyway.

Kate Callaghan 11:51
Yeah. 29th of August, he recorded a podcast and verbal paleo solution. Really interesting. Listen to

Natalie K. Douglas 11:56
it. Awesome. I’ll pop it in the show notes as well actually haven’t listened to that one. I should I was looking for a new good podcast. So I love good rumble cast. Yes, I do. I so funny. And this is Greg Everett besides named Greg. Regular with podcast.

I was listening to the old ones. Anyway, I find him really funny because he’s like, yeah, blonde.

Let’s just leave, leave, leave that conversation. Moving on. Oh, sorry. One last thing I did want to add is make sure you drinking enough water. So a lot of us you know, when we’re stressed or busy, we often forget to drink enough water and it is super important. So you’ll actually find that people get pretty fatigued if if they’re just even mildly dehydrated. And obviously when you’re under stress, mild dehydration is going to be much more pronounced and much more noticeable then if you’re not. So my tip for this would be to buy a really large like maybe one liter glass or stainless steel drinking bottle and aim to get through at least two of them in a day. And I find the strategy better than telling someone to drink X amount of glasses of water, because I don’t know about you, but I like I could not keep count. And also I find that it’s it’s, I guess a bit of like a target when you’ve got a bottle a big bottle of water that you can see and the levels going down you know you’ve got that aim have just got to get through it twice. So I think that’s a good strategy. If you find water boring, then I suck it up and they maybe try some like essential oils in them. Do Tara lemon, lime grapefruit, those are my three fruit favorites. Otherwise I squeeze fresh lemon in there. Or I sometimes put some apple cider vinegar in there but I have a really bad habit of putting way too much and then like yeah, it doesn’t doesn’t really taste great.

Kate Callaghan 14:01
Herbal teas count as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 14:02
Yes they do. And you can go for gold and you can make them hot or cold. So depending on where you are in the world that might be more appealing. And I think that’s pretty much it for the diet side of things. I think we did a pretty good job of covering that. I always want

Kate Callaghan 14:21
good job I do this all the time.

Natalie K. Douglas 14:24
Just saying

Okay, so let’s move on to supplementation. So supplementation obviously is and should be quite individualized but to give you guys a bit of a little bit a little bit of a short list of some supplements that may benefit you during times of stress and could benefit most people again please check with your practitioner before you start taking them. My kind of go tues would definitely be magnesium. B vitamins can often help as well. Vitamin C as well and different herb slack with ADR radio la Romanee, Arjun saying they can all be really beneficial as well, of course, you know, when they are prescribed to the right person in the right amounts, but those are ones I would suggest that you have a bit more of a look into and maybe discuss with your practitioner who you’re under the care of, because they can really make a difference. Kate, did you have any additional ones on top of that?

Kate Callaghan 15:25
Yeah, I would agree with those I use most of those myself. A good quality multivitamin might be a good idea as well. And and second thing at work or actual ganda does the same thing. Yeah, I think it’s like an Amen name. Which isn’t adapted and helps your body deal with different stresses and without kind of pushing yourself into a state that it shouldn’t be going into. And I also like using essential oils for adrenal support. So clove, rosemary and basil, a good furthering support. And for women with adrenal issues. clary sage can be really wonderful. And grapefruit can also help to block quarters old from stealing away pregnant low sex hormone production.

Natalie K. Douglas 16:10
Awesome, good, good teams, good strategy. So clearly, there’s lots of things you can do with that. But as as we would always encourage you to make sure the basics with diet is there as well, because as much as supplements can help, they’re not going to you won’t get a significantly noticeable difference, unless you are, you know, at least half putting some effort into the basics in terms of diet. Now moving on to other things. So in terms of lifestyle, Kate, what would be your tips around lifestyle and sleep when someone’s going through a stressful period?

Kate Callaghan 16:50
Get as much sleep as he possibly can?

Natalie K. Douglas 16:54
Is that some wishful thinking from you? I hear

Kate Callaghan 16:57
it is in wishful thinking for me. No, I’m actually not too bad moment, averaging maybe seven hours a night, which is, which is okay, I do bet on an eight to nine. But with an eagle and maybe seven hours is pretty good. It’s broken, but that’s fine. And I would also suggest and keeping a gratitude journal, I find that really helps with stress reduction, and meditation. I have recommended it before it’s called one giant mind. It’s an app on the iPhone shows on Android as well. That’s a really good meditation app. I find some of them really annoying it into their voices. And that were not mine is awesome, because it’s just music and not not too much. wastage.

Natalie K. Douglas 17:35
Awesome. I’ll put that in the show notes for us.

Kate Callaghan 17:38
It’s free. Excellent. Good Friday. Would you love a good freebie to Oh, and affirmations? Yeah, sorry, I’m bringing a hippy dippy stuff here. But Louise Hayes. affirmations are wonderful. I’ve got her little and you can do it. calendar

can do it.

Each day, there’s a different acclimation to read out. Nice. Finally, they put me in a good place.

Natalie K. Douglas 18:04
Yeah, I do like affirmations. I actually just read one of her books, which was it? Oh,

Kate Callaghan 18:11
you can heal your life?

Natalie K. Douglas 18:12
Yes, yes. Such a good book. I recommend highly recommend it honestly. Like it. It changed my day to day attitude of a lot of things as well. So I would highly recommend that. And I’m going to put that in the show notes to passed away last week. Really?

Kate Callaghan 18:27
Yeah. He passed away at 90.

Natalie K. Douglas 18:32
Wow, that is that is a good, good effort. Well, lucky, a lot of her stuff lives on and lots of people still benefit from it. Yes. Okay. Now, I guess to add to that, I would say beyond meditation beyond trying to make sleep a priority and, and making sure that you’ve got stress management strategies put in place, I’d also recommend, too, if you are someone who does a lot of high intensity exercise, or a lot of chronic cardio, my recommendation would be to actually pull back on that stuff while you are going through a stressful period. I think exercise is still very important because it can be quite good at reducing stress and managing stress and managing anxiety or depression. If you have that kind of I guess, if you tend to fall into that pattern, when you are under a lot of stress. However, we don’t want to be taking it to the extreme. So my recommendation would be to pull back on that high intensity stuff, maybe switch to more of a lifting weights a few times a week and getting outside in nature and walking as much as you can or just making walking part of your everyday life. So when you’re going to different meetings or having walking meetings or catching public transport instead of driving in a car, that kind of thing. If you’re not into weights and weight training repulses us, then I would say next, sure you’re doing more restorative exercises like yoga, polities, those kind of things as well. And not, as I said, hammering yourself in the gym every day doing CrossFit wads and high intensity intervals and going for like 10 k runs every day, because it’s not going to be very helpful for calming your central nervous system down and keeping you in that in that calm state when you’re trying to manage all these other things that are going on for you.

Kate Callaghan 20:34
Awesome, and I completely forgot that I got my two best easy stress management techniques. And the first one is daily breathing. Good one. So as soon as you wake up in the morning, place your hands on your belly, as you inhale through your belly rise, as you exhale, feel it for do this 10 times before you get up out of bed. And that’s going to get you in at rest, digest and reproduce state, right from the get go. You can use it throughout the day as well. Really, really simple and really effective breath is probably the most effective at reducing stress in your body. And then at night time before you go to bed and doing legs at the wall pose. So it’s called victory to karate in yoga. So basically it is you’re lying down on the ground ball against the wall legs up the wall and hang out with our students. We can really count on central nervous system.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:22
I really enjoy that. Actually, I do that most nights like just lying on like sometimes I’ll I’ll just like, lie there for about 10 minutes before I go to bed. Just doing nothing really just lying there. Or I’ll have a chat to my partner daddy’s day or something. It’s all very normal in my house.

Kate Callaghan 21:41
Kid free LA. Yeah, I’m enjoying it.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:47
Yes, my time will come one day, but for now I’ll enjoy my legs up the wall that is undisturbed.

Kate Callaghan 21:52
Oh, yes.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:55
All right. Alright. Well, I think that covers most of the areas that we wanted to discuss around managing stress when you’re going through a stressful period. If you guys have any questions about anything that we’ve discussed, or you want us to expand on any points that we’ve made, please feel free to contact us. And also let us know if there’s any topics that generally you want answered or questions you want answered, because we are more than happy to make these podcast about what you guys want as opposed to us just running the show all the time and embarrassing ourselves as much as we can. Kate, was there anything you wanted to add before we close up today? No, I don’t think so. Excellent. Well, well done to Ed for holding off on his feed. And I will speak to you in two weeks time you have a lovely day.

Kate Callaghan 22:52
You too. Thanks man. Bye bye.


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

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Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas shows women with Thyroid problems how to heal themselves in less than 30 minutes a day. Guaranteed.

Over the past decade, she's helped treat over 10,000 Australian women, trained more than 5,000 health practitioners.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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