Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind

Revisiting: Nutrition and Mental Health with Dr. Erin Ellis

December 08, 2021 Calm, Cool and Connected Season 1 Episode 116
Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind
Revisiting: Nutrition and Mental Health with Dr. Erin Ellis
Show Notes Transcript

Revisiting Nutrition and Mental Health with Dr. Erin Ellis

We're nearly done with our end-of-year look back at some of our favorite episodes. Today we're looking back at our interview with Dr. Erin Ellis all about the brain / gut connection. With the holidays in full swing, now is the time to check in with our intuitive eating skills and make sure we're eating with awareness and overall health in mind—and that includes mental health. Grab a snack and enjoy this favorite throwback!

We all know that it’s really easy to start to snack on our favorite comfort foods when we are feeling stressed. But why do we do it? 

Dr. Erin Ellis joins Dr. Fedrick on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected to shed some light on the topic of nutrition, and how it plays a role in our mental health. 

Key Takeaways from Liz’s chat with Dr. Ellis: 

• Hear why we snack when we are sad
• Find out if there is a reason we tend to reach for the “unhealthy snacks”
• Learn about the brain/gut connection
• Hear which foods can actually help our gut health 

All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected. 

Find out more about Dr. Erin Ellis on her website:
Connect with Dr. Ellis on Instagram:
Connect with Erin on Facebook: 

For more information on Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick, visit her website:
Connect with Dr, Fedrick on Instagram: @drelizabethfedrick

Watch the video interview here

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Dr. Fredrick: hello and welcome to calm. Cool. And connected. I'm your host, Dr. Elizabeth Bedrick. So I have a lot of hobbies. There's a lot of things I enjoy in life. I enjoy hiking, reading, spending time with my son. But for the people closest to me, as they know, one of my favorite things in life is snacking. Bottom line.

It's what I like to do. And while I can usually keep my snacking somewhat under control when I'm feeling stressed or I'm feeling down. Sometimes the [00:01:00] snacking spirals a little bit, and usually not with the best choices. So this is where our next guest comes in. Dr. Aaron Ellis is a natural path who specializes in all things, nutrition.

And she's going to help us to understand today why this snacking gets a little more tempting when we're feeling down, when we're feeling low, when we're feeling stressed. Hi, Erin. Welcome to the. 

Dr. Ellis: I thank you for having me. 

Dr. Fredrick: So tell us a little bit about that. I assume I'm not the only one with that tendency to outreach for those what we might call crappy food groups when I'm feeling stressed or down.

Tell us a little bit about that. That, 

Dr. Ellis: yes. And as soon as you said that, I was like, oh boy, that's me. And I think everybody else that's listening is raising their hand. I mean, we're all guilty of it. But there's a reason that we do that. And if we understand the reason, then we might not choose those or make those choices moving forward.

So we want anything that will give us that dopamine rush that or dopamine is our pleasure neurotransmitter. [00:02:00] And so the foods that we choose when we feel crappy are the ones that we want to fulfill that pleasure reward. So that is kind of like in a nutshell, basically, why pick those foods that really aren't the best for us, but that's why we're choosing them so that we can get that, that nice rush and that good, like, okay, I feel better, but then we usually feel worse because then we're going to have a crash because typically these are empty calories or maybe loaded with a lot of sugar, et cetera.

Dr. Fredrick: And from a survival perspective, is there some validity to, as choosing those food groups? Because thinking about the extra fat content. Extra carbohydrates. So kind of like the energy that it produces from those foods. 

Dr. Ellis: Absolutely. Yeah. And that's why we want them to, to, to fuel our energy. I have patients that I, you know, do diet recalls every day.

And I say, well, that's very carb heavy. Like, I, I have a feeling you're wanting the carbs and you want that sugar for the energy. Sure enough, like they're exhausted or they're just mentally fatigued, whatever the case may be, [00:03:00] but they ended up crashing and that's where you have to make sure like, yeah, you might be okay having that crappy food, but as long as you.

Good protein and good, healthy fat, then you should not have that crash later on. 

Dr. Fredrick: Sure, absolutely. Tell us, how does, how is the gut brain connection? How does that work? Exactly, because we do know that the foods that we eat often influence then mood states, as you're saying later on whether it's the crash or just feeling kind of yucky afterwards, help us to understand that that brain gut connect.

Dr. Ellis: Yeah, so we have neuro-transmitters and these neuro-transmitters are the ones that actually make us feel good. And 90% of them are built in our gut. So the gut brain connection, different, not phew, like feeding the good microbes in our gut, which we have. Like trillions of different microbes, then we're not going to have a healthy mind.

So like our think of your gut is like your second brain. [00:04:00] And then there's that connection between the gut and the brain. So that's why making sure we feed our gut with nutritious antioxidants, fiber, rich foods, et cetera. It's so important that we can stimulate the brain and keep it. 

Dr. Fredrick: Okay. So that makes a lot of sense.

So with the gut microbiome, can you explain to us, so that is kind of the buzz word. When we talk about mental and physical health, can you help us to understand what exactly does that mean? All right. 

Dr. Ellis: So we had, the microbiome is made up of good and bad bacteria in our gut. So we have, we all have it. It's just whether or not it's balanced and most people don't have enough good bacteria because of.

Feeling it with the good phyto nutrients that are found in foods and plants that we need to fuel this good gut microbiome. And we have a lot of the. I wouldn't say bad, but more the ones that are contributing to a negative microbiome than a positive one to be able to full and, you know, really [00:05:00] recharge that brain.

So yeah, it's all about balance. And then making sure we can get those good microbes from foods. And sometimes, most oftentimes we have to supplement and get good probiotics and things like that until. 

Dr. Fredrick: What are some of those foods that you might recommend for? So when you're working with patients who are struggling, maybe they don't have enough of the good, uh, what are some of the foods that you recommend?

We know we can use supplements, but if we choose to use whole foods or food, the food groups, what might. 

Dr. Ellis: Well, good sources of greens. So any leafy green would be a good, I don't nutrient antioxidant, rich foods like berries, some fruits, not high sugar fruits like bananas and mangoes. Like those are all good in moderation, but more like the berries and good fiber content, which you can get from fruit beans, things like that, that will fuel the good, healthy gut microbes.

That's such 

Dr. Fredrick: good information. When you see your patients start to increase 

Dr. Ellis: the good, 

Dr. Fredrick: what type of shifts do you [00:06:00] see and maybe their mental health or their daily functioning. What are some of the benefits that you really can tangibly see? 

Dr. Ellis: Probably the first thing that I see and I I'm guilty of it too.

Like when we get down, obviously we pick the foods. It's you feel more lethargic. So when you start feeding yourself, these good foods, it's like, oh, the cobwebs have kind of cleared from the brain. You feel a little bit more. Lighter clear headed. You're able to focus more. You're not so much like in this haze of this like cloud, because you have all of these good phytonutrients that you just filled yourself with.

So mental clarity, I think is the first thing that I see. And I also see a lot of improved energy in with that like really good sleep too. So sleep is improved. Energy is improved and mental clarity. And for a lot of people like those three components are huge. If we can just see a little bit of improvement with that, it's.

Dr. Fredrick: So that's a great point. When it comes to nutrition and sleep, we see a lot about don't eat after a [00:07:00] certain time of day or don't eat certain foods later in the night. Is there any truth or validity 

Dr. Ellis: to any of those? Absolutely. If you're having say ice cream right before bed or something, that's full of sugar, that likely is not going to help yourself.

But if you do choose and a lot of people do need to eat to, to balance the blood bigger, we want to get a good protein and a good, healthy, fat. That's the best thing to eat right before bed time. So for me, like, I like to have a scoop of peanut butter and yeah, it has a little bit of sugar in it, but it is.

A balanced, like macro little snack, or even like a fat bomb, like a good, healthy fat to nourish those brain cells and also stabilize that blue blood sugar while we sleep. Okay. Great 

Dr. Fredrick: information. Tell us, where can our viewers find more information about you? Where can they learn? Maybe if you're putting out blogs or social media on nutrition, where can they find more?

Dr. Ellis: Right. Well, I'm super active on social media, Instagram I'm on there every day. [00:08:00] So my Instagram handle is I believe linked below, but it's doctor dot Erin Ellis. And then I also have a website hope natural My blog is a little obsolete, but we're working on that. So there should be more fun tint, but most of my content is found on Instagram and Facebook.


Dr. Fredrick: And so if there's one tip that you could give to our viewers, before we wrap up on the best way that they can support. You know, the nutrition and the healthy good microbiome. What might that 

Dr. Ellis: be? Ditch those comfort foods and eat more plants. Oh man. Moderation all in moderation. I'll take that. 

Dr. Fredrick: All right.

Thank you so much, Dr. Ellis. I appreciate you joining us. Thank you. And thank you all for tuning into this episode of calm, cool and connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcasts so that others can find our content as well. Thank you again for joining us. .