I started baking bread.
Quickly, I learn this is more of an art form that requires precision, patience, and technique. In the process, I ended up with loaves of semi-edible bread and have been snacking on them for days. Frankly, my digestive system has seen better days. Many of my clients have been complaining about stress-eating and bad diets during this quarantine. As we are spending 100% of our time indoors, our metabolism also shifts. I will be making an instructional video on acupressure for better digestion. In the meantime, I reached out to my functional nutritionist friend for some accessible advice from a nutrition perspective.
Sophia Gigitashvili is a Functional Nutritional therapy practitioner (FNTP) and founder of FoodBodyWise. She supports people with digestive discomforts, blood sugar imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies. Sophia uses whole foods and nutrients along with lifestyle suggestions to relieve digestive issues so her clients can enjoy delicious food again while having more energy, clarity, and a flat belly.
How did you become interested in nutrition? Years ago, when I moved to NYC, I started noticing changes in my body. I developed allergies, my digestion got worse, my skin became very dry and irritated. Very often, I felt tired and unmotivated. Back then, I ate at restaurants most of the time and did not really know the difference between healthy and unhealthy food. My daily habits also were not in harmony with my body. I worked hard, went to bed late, and sometimes did not sleep enough. I had no awareness of how food and daily habits affected and shaped my health. One spring, my allergies got so bad I was not even able to walk near Central Park. I was determined to find a solution. Around that time I was taking my first yoga classes and got to meet a few people who were knowledgeable about nutrition and natural healing. I found the idea of food and body chemistry very fascinating. It really made a lot of sense and helped me to craft my own healing journey, and brought me to my new profession. In just a couple of years, I was able to restore my body through natural foods, detoxification, fasting, yoga, compassion, and wisdom. Nutrition and herbs helped me to get rid of allergies, digestive problems, skin issues, and melancholia FOREVER. As if I became a new person. I believe I have.
What have you been doing during this quarantine to help build immunity?
Immunity is a part of the body and operates optimally when our body is healthy and robust. For our immune system to do its job, it requires energy and nutrients. Both of these factors are derived from our food or/and supplements.
For example, our body uses carbohydrates and fats (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nut and seeds, oils) to produce energy; proteins (meats, organic eggs, fish, tofu) to build immune cells and antibodies to fight pathogens; minerals (zinc, magnesium, selenium), vitamins (A, D, C) and antioxidants (glutathione, bioflavonoids) to generate an immune response.
Our body depends on the food we choose. The quality of our food determines the quality of our health. We also have to remember the fact that 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, Proper digestion, absorption, and elimination are crucial for the healthy immune system.
To answer your question - I have significantly increased green leafy vegetables and other colorful veggies during this time. I enjoy my fruits and raw seeds (packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). I start my morning with two glasses of warm lemon water followed by a green smoothie. I also enjoy my coffee, which I grind fresh every morning and add coconut milk and MCT oil. For lunch, I have a lush green bed of veggies with little protein (fish, chicken, eggs), followed by a flavorful veggie soup for dinner. As we spend more time at home, our metabolism also shifts. We don’t walk, move or exercise as much, so it slows down and the system does not really need as much dense food (meats, fats). How do we be more kind to ourselves during this unprecedented time?
I perceive life as a series of events. This time where we are now is also one of life’s events. Yes, it is a bit dark and gloomy, but it is going to change soon. We might as well learn to walk with the change. I believe we can do this by cultivating the mindset of the adventurer and the learner. Instead of fear, we develop curiosity.
There is a learning opportunity in every situation and knowledge helps us to evolve and become better. In tough situations, I try to ask myself these questions: what is this situation showing about myself? What is my job here? What I am afraid of and why? Who can I support today? All answers are acceptable. What is one piece of nutrition advice everyone should know? Love and take care of our body with nutritious food, sleep, and laughter. By all means, stay away from all kinds of processed food! Here is a very simple "healthy plate" that everyone can use as a reference point. This can be the one template to simplify healthy eating.