Women’s Health & Nutrition@kymbermaulden
🧘🏼♀️CNC, IHC, AS Join my women’s health course, HABITUALLY HEALTHY, to gain lifetime support in reclaiming your female body. 🔥 Let’s work together!👇View Stories
The cultural myths we’ve all been fed about cholesterol make up some of the most damaging & confusing myths in health today. “Eat your cheerios, they lower your cholesterol.” “Replace butter with Earth Balance, it will keep your cholesterol in range.” “Take a statin to lower your cholesterol.” We’re all susceptible to these widespread messages, especially when they compound over time & we’re seeing consistent lab results showing that our cholesterol is “dangerously” high! But we need to PAUSE, and start seeing cholesterol as an overall metabolic marker instead of a dangerous bio-threat (which, spoiler alert: it isn’t!) Our body produces cholesterol for a lot of very important reasons. It’s used by our cells throughout our entire body for crucial tasks & without it, our metabolisms simply would not work. YES, even LDL! Both HDL & LDL are created for a reason. Our body uses cholesterol to 👉 Produce our sex hormones 👉 Combat inflammation & oxidative stress 👉 Convert vitamin D from the sun 👉 Acts as a building block for tissue 👉 Assists in bile production And more! So having too low of cholesterol can be just a problematic as having too high of cholesterol. And since our blood is NOT a destination for chemicals, but simply a highway… when we get our serum cholesterol levels checked, all we’re seeing is what happens to be in the blood at any given time. What we’re NOT seeing is: why it’s higher in the blood, our thyroid levels, inflammation & oxidative stress, nutrient status, sex hormone levels, vitamin D levels, & liver function. Without these metrics being tested & addressed, working to lower our cholesterol is a waste of our time & might even create more problems since high levels are generally a warning sign that other things are off. Same goes for cholesterol that is too LOW. If it’s low, this could be a dietary deficiency and/or a liver problem. Notice that none of these necessitate a statin, vegan diet, or a bowl of cheerios?
MENTAL HEALTH TALK. For as long back as I can remember, I’ve had a VERY intense internal world. Big big feelings, a lot of sensitivities, always curious about how things work, & so imaginative that I can create whole worlds in my own mind to please or torture myself at will. As a kid I kept this intensity in check w A LOT of physical activity & socializing. I played sports, built forts, had lots of friends, & worked hard to ensure those around me responded positively to me (which was very stressful because others’ responses to me is largely out of my hands). As a teenager, my intensity became a big problem for me & I got self-destructive. When drinking, smoking pot, & controlling my food intake/outtake took me to a dark place, I gratefully accepted several mental health diagnoses & spent years on prescription meds. Then I went vegan, then paleo, then keto… you get the gist. Control, control, with a side of attempted control. But the single greatest tool that has pulled me through ALL these limiting attempts at control… has been developing a desire for self-reflection. Going inward & doing the vulnerable & oftentimes painful work of unpacking my own deeply-rooted patterns. It makes EVERYTHING else I continue to do in my personal & professional life so so much more potent, effective, & rewarding. But that doesn’t mean it’s often easy or painless, even if I’m skilled at it. In fact, turning inward can be some of the most painful work we do because we often have to see things that we don’t like about ourselves. This is why making self-reflection a regular practice we do both alone AND with others’ support can be so healing. Yes, we need to look within… but we also need the skills to treat ourselves w compassion & respect when we don’t like what we see. We need help interpreting what we see so we don’t get stuck in stories that disempower instead of heal. And we need tools for changing based on what we see. I chose this image of myself because it represents the work I’ve done to see myself clearly, w all my flaws that I’d love to cover up & hide. And it’s actually become my favorite image of me… because of the self-compassion it now elicits.
There’s a big difference between taking responsibility for our own health & BLAMING ourselves for our circumstances in life. And this difference will often dictate how we respond to our circumstances & the agency which we feel we have — to heal, restore, & repair our bodies, minds, & lives… or not. I recently had one of the most difficult weeks I’ve had in YEARS, where I was called to take responsibility for my mental, physical, & behavioral health in some pretty fundamental ways. I got to witness my own internal strength in action & part of this required I resource myself in areas that I simply could not go it alone. This process left me deeply humbled, as a healthcare practitioner building her life’s work as a resource for others. I was struggling so much that it was OTHERS that got me through it. But, in reality, it was my own choice to ask for help in the first place that got me through this difficult time. I chose to hire a coach, to increase my therapy, to use my meditation app more, to practice self-care when I so wanted to escape, & to eat when I had no appetite. I chose to call my close friends for support & let those closest to me know what I was going through. I chose to show up powerfully for my clients & put them first during those hours in sessions instead of getting caught up in my own stories. And I chose to create boundaries with work when my pride drove me to overcommit to more than I could handle. Taking responsibility for our health WITHOUT all the guilt-trips, self-flagellation, & excuses that we tell ourselves for why we can’t heal… is a practice & set of skills. And we can all develop these skills if we choose to. Of course, this doesn’t mean we all have equal resources, circumstances, or problems to overcome. Some of us are simply far more resourced than others, leaving self-responsibility to feel easier. But as I’ve said countless times before, no one will save us from the results of our own choices. And receiving help from others is far more potent when we have the internal skills to take the first step ourselves.
It’s no secret that we get a lot of pressure placed on APPEARANCES in this culture. The way our bodies LOOK. The way our faces, emotions, and identities LOOK. Our age, our size, even our economic status & emotional struggles can show up in our appearance & mean something about our value in society. And to some extent, this is just the way life is. What we see matters & plays a role in how we perceive reality. It’s not simply some injustice we can rage against because people who look a certain way get certain privileges. But I think it’s also true that women get far more pressure than men to look good & to directly link this to our value. This plays a big role in the much higher rates of consumerism in women vs men. The much higher rates of eating disorders, dieting, toxic product use, cosmetic procedures, and overall comparisons that kill our spirit, self confidence, creativity, & enjoyment of ourselves. And I see this same obsession with appearances inhibit women from loving themselves during their healing processes. When we need it the most. When we’re focusing exclusively or predominantly on aspects of ourselves that we have less or very little control over (our age, body type, wounds literal & metaphorical, physical symptoms) we WILL be more vulnerable. More vulnerable to mistakes, set-backs, criticism, rejection, & pretty much anything not feeling good in our lives. Because we’re not rooted in what will be there no matter what & what we have the most control over: OUR FUCKING CHARACTER. The way we treat ourselves & others. How honest we are w ourselves & others. Our sense of humor, emotional & intellectual intelligence, willingness to do scary shit, to make hard changes, to embrace how our sexuality FEELS more than how it looks. To pick ourselves up when life hurts. We can still work on our physiques, care about appearances, seek beauty, & enjoy looking attractive. But those things only make up a fraction of our value because they’re not in our full control. They change based on A LOT of factors. If we want to love ourselves long-term (which leads to healthier choices!), I believe we MUST root our value in our character. First & foremost.
*Life Update* I’ve been a bit more silent on here the past few weeks (although I do tend to dip in & out of IG activity pretty consistently anyway, for the sake of my health)… But this month has been a particularly intense one for me, as I prepare to move homes amidst a work schedule that claims my attention most days out of the week. So I definitely haven’t been sharing as much of myself or of my work on here lately. And here are some challenges & insights that have emerged this past month: TRANSITIONS take A LOT of my energy. And I know I’m not alone in this. As a highly sensitive person, this includes most transitions in my life — in & out of meetings with friends & clients, in & out of romantic relationships, and most definitely, in & out of homes. In my twenties, I was a fucking gypsy. I moved homes so many times that it felt like no one knew where I was for several years! (A bonus to that being that I’ve never been called in for jury duty & I spent most of my twenties without American Express card invitations each week 😆) But looking back, it’s clear to me now how hard that was on my system & what an obstacle to grounding & healing that level of transience was to my life. To combat the inevitable stresses of transition, I never really landed. To avoid the pain of attaching & detaching, I stayed in motion — avoiding the whole process. And my health remained a constant struggle, my body never safe. Now that I’m practicing embodiment as a health practitioner in her mid-thirties, being ungrounded feels far more intolerable. Big Transitions require more space, patience, care, rest, & nourishment. And the pain of goodbyes may require deliberate grief work. I’m also reminded that STRESS cannot be bypassed, & absolutely must be felt. Telling ourselves we’re fine & everything is normal while simultaneously uprooting ourselves may actually land as a self-betrayal & the body will tell you so with symptoms. During transitions, my nervous system is triggered more easily, I burn through core minerals faster, methylation gets sluggish (something I already deal w on an ongoing basis) and cortisol & blood sugar get more unstable. (Continue in the comments 👇)
What’s happening in our lives outside of our immediate healing work?? This will tell you a lot about what your health will look like &, potentially, even how long it may take for you to resolve some of the more deeply-rooted issues you’re seeking to heal. Because we’re not simply healing so that we can be without symptoms. We’re healing so that we can be more present in our lives each day. Which requires we have lives we want to show up for. So that we can be stronger & more consistent in our intimate relationships. So that we can accomplish the goals we’ve been seeking to accomplish, but may have put off because of symptoms. So that we can move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, beyond basic survival, to self-actualization. To play, pleasure, creativity, & greater agency in the world. So that we can know what it’s actually like to live in a state of metabolic safety & nourishment. To meet the pleasures & challenges & growth that’s waiting for us once the tiger stops chasing us & the fear of our own fragility dies down a bit. This is why we’re healing. And YES, of course, we want the pain, discomfort, fatigue, & suffering caused by our health issues to subside for the sake of the RELIEF this will bring. Of course. But once this subsides, are we excited and pleased with what’s left to look at in our own lives? Do we want to be well so that we can actually enjoy ourselves because we believe we deserve this?? I can tell you from personal experience that if you don’t like your life or yourself or where you’re currently at… your symptoms will come back. Because they’ve given you identity & something to fight for. Something to hide behind. They’ve given you excuses for why you’re not happier, more engaged, more motivated, embodied, feelin more sexy… If healing our metabolism becomes our purpose, what’s left once we’ve done this? And of course, we will grow and actualize WHILE we heal & survival mode isn’t something static that we’ll leave behind forever — it’s a state we can return to when life gets scary. But, as Socrates said “An unexamined life is not worth living” and I believe this is true for healing too. We need lives worth healing for.
Self-healing requires radical honesty & self-acceptance. Oof, does this sound as cliche & unappealing to you as it does to me?! What does it even mean to practice radical honesty & self-acceptance… and WHY does it matter? Let’s unpack this. I’m using the term ‘radical’ here to imply we get to the root of the matter — not as some aggressive political statement. Radical, in this sense, means: (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough. This doesn’t require hyper vigilance. This doesn’t require perfection. This isn’t black & white. This approach is rarely linear. What it will absolutely require of us is compassion, patience, nuance, & self-responsibility. We’ll need compassion because most of us have spent our lives perfecting the same patterns & creating our entire identity around our limitations & our symptoms. Looking at this & recreating ourselves can be painful as hell. We’ll need patience because root-cause healing takes time. Behavior change takes time. And self-healing is a long game, not a quick fix (👈 the mentality we’re taught to associate w health in this culture.) We’ll need nuance because our health & very identity is created & developed based on MANY factors, inside & out. We need the cultural & historical context, body literacy, & the awareness of our own patterns in order to make new & better choices. And we’ll need self-responsibility because NO ONE is coming to save us from the results of our own daily choices. This isn’t some bootstrap mentality I’m preaching tho — this is the kind of honesty that motivates us to let go of the blame, ideology, entitlement, excuses, & victimhood that keeps us from making better choices for ourselves. Without self-acceptance, it’s so fucking easy to get caught up in comparisons that only keep us stuck & discouraged. As a coach, it is my purpose to offer you structure, reflection, & to cheer you on NO MATTER WHERE YOU’RE AT. But your self-healing is YOUR purpose — and it starts with honesty & acceptance. Always. Lmk if this resonates in the comments below. 🔥
For those of you whom read this & disagree or find it triggering, here’s what I mean: The world’s leading obesity researcher, Rudy Leibel, is quoted saying “we don’t think body weight can be consciously regulated.” I agree with this. BUT I’ll add that this is most likely to be true LONG-TERM... since we all know that dieting & increasing exercise WILL lead to weight loss - for a while. But how many people with chronic weight issues lose the excess weight & keep it off permanently by nonstop monitoring of their food consumption & exercise? AND WITHOUT CREATING OTHER HEALTH ISSUES IN THE PROCESS? Not many. The vast majority of us will stay the same weight & our basal metabolic rate will stay consistent unless we make serious changes to our body’s nutrient status, stress levels, & overall metabolic functions. In order for our bodies to stop storing “survival fat” we need ✔️a well-functioning thyroid ✔️ adrenals that stay in their own lane ✔️ circadian rhythms humming sweetly 24 hours a day with little disruptions to sleep or daily demands ✔️ NOURISHED cells with all essential nutrient-needs met, consistently ✔️ daily movement that doesn’t tell our bodies we’re in the middle of WW3 ✔️ healthy sex hormone production & a rewarding sex life ✔️ a reason to feel SAFE in our bodies, consistently Because our bodies HOLD ONTO weight out of survival & our metabolic rate won’t change dramatically all the time. It seeks homeostasis. Most people in this culture, where obesity’s growing, are eating & doing things that stress their bodies out, like cutting macros eating junk food skipping meals overexercising Overstimulating ourselves Isolating ourselves Restricting & binging All of these things give our bodies a reason to S L O W D O W N and hold onto fat for dear life. You can’t consciously control your weight, & if you could, all those things listed above would result in a thin culture. When our bodies are safe & nourished, they will regulate our weight for us. We CAN do things to help them along, but a healthy metabolism won’t rely on this as much. What you CAN control is how you treat yourself & your stress levels. I recommend starting there.
I often get asked what the right macronutrient ratio is. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to this ratio, I DO have a ratio that I suggest to my private clients & course students. This ratio has served myself & countless women get their metabolism back into shape, to nourish themselves with much-needed core nutrients, and to take a more balanced & natural approach to eating every day. Who knew that recommending women eat all three macros would be so fucking controversial?! Honestly, much of the damage that the diet wars has caused all our health has come from this dogmatic approach of labeling one of the three macronutrients as BAD. Of labeling entire food groups as BAD. And thus teaching people to replace an entire macro or food group with something else (nuts, anyone?!) that DOES NOT function the same in the human body as the original food we’ve been eating for hundreds or even thousands of years. Examples: 👎Replacing carbs with excessive amounts of fat. 👎Replacing animal proteins with plant proteins. 👎Replacing saturated (ancestral) fats with industrial seed oils. None of this shit has worked for us & if it did, I wouldn’t be making a living helping women to make peace with the fact that they’ve been duped by the macro nazis & now they’re metabolism is fucked up. I go over the specifics as to why I suggest this particular ratio and why there needs to be some individual flexibility in the slides above. I also suggest ya’ll go & download my FREE reparative eating guide if you haven’t already, which is available via the link in my bio. It breaks down my approach to nutrition more deeply than I can here. So swipe left to read & make sure to leave your questions & thoughts for me in the questions below! 👇🔥
One of my own strengths & a skill I’ve grown to value immensely in others… is pattern recognition. Obviously, I’m referring to the human version & not the data analysis that we rely on machine learning for now. But the ability to recognize patterns & act accordingly in response to what we see feels immensely important when it comes to growth & healing. The ability to see patterns in one human which reflect patterns in a large group of humans, if not all of them, can shift not only our views of that individual, but also how we view the world. And for me, this means recognizing patterns I see in MODERN WOMEN. In the women I work privately with & the women in my health course. In the women who do free consults with me & the women who engage in my Facebook groups & show up each day in my DMs & emails & comments. And while YES, we are all unique & deserving of personalized care that fits our personalized circumstances… we are also members of a global species & a global sex who are suffering with a lot of the same symptoms & disruptions. For a reason. And one of the greatest themes I keep running into when recognizing patterns is: EMBODIMENT. We need embodiment in order to heal. In order to move beyond the bullshit stories we’ve all been sold on about what foods we SHOULD be eating & why. About what our bodies SHOULD look & feel like & why. About what our symptoms mean & why. About how we “used to be” & what that means for us in the present… We need to embody ourselves again. We need to understand how we want to FEEL in our bodies & then show up for ourselves every day, even when we’re not comfortable. Especially when we’re not comfortable. We need to start recognizing what nourishment feels like. What safety feels like, what rest feels like, what hunger & satiation signals feel like, what solid energy (that’s not hijacked stress hormones) feels like. This is the ONLY way to stop the cycle of disassociation & fear that has led so so many of us to chronic illness in the first place. I’m going to talk more about the specifics of what embodiment might look like in my stories today. But please drop your thoughts on this in the comments below!
It’s no secret that our culture places A LOT of emphasis on youthfulness & pressures women to stay young. This gets reflected in the language we use about health, appearance, bodily functions & our overall value as we age. AND it’s especially reflected in the choices women begin to make in their 30s, 40s, & beyond based on what we get told we should prioritize. Here’s the thing: youthfulness DOES matter for a reason. It’s not completely empty. Youthful women represent fertility & fertility represents the continuation of the species and on a more selfish level, the continuation of our own genetic line. The problem is that most of us don’t understand this deeper reasoning for why we revere youthfulness & we’re never taught HOW or WHY it’s also essential to move on to mature phases in our lives. So many of us women didn’t have a great experience of adolescence because our minds were poisoned early & we spent our youth hating our own bodies & dieting the whole time! The term “youth is wasted on the young” rings true here & it shows up in our obsessive cultural drives to cling to our youth well into our older years. And since so many of us live with cumulative stress & metabolic disruptions that have compounded over time, we often FEEL old! We feel old while seeking to LOOK young. And it’s an exhausting battle based on misguided ideas. Because what we TRULY need… is nourishment! In order to improve the way we FEEL, which will show up as much in our appearance as it will in our functions, we need to start making our metabolic health a TOP PRIORITY. Before considering Botox, injectables or anti-aging cream, we need to be asking ourselves if our cells have everything they need to be making adequate hormones in the first place. Before turning to invasive procedures that offer unknown side effects, we need to be asking if our cells are nourished enough to actually PRIORITIZE healthy skin, hair, & nails. We need to be asking ourselves if our behaviors are supporting our metabolisms or disrupting them. We’re taught a skewed view of what aging looks like in this culture, but we also need to make peace with the aging process & find VALUE in getting older.
WHY should you prioritize root veggies over leafy greens? This is a question I get a lot, as confused health-seekers w chronic gut issues seek to understand why they’ve been following all the “rules” & yet their digestion is only getting worse. Why choose those earthy & calorically-dense plants which thrive beneath the soil when we’ve been told all our lives to fill our plate with above-ground & lower-calorie greens? We’ve been told that we need heaps & heaps of fiber. We’ve been told that we should eat the rainbow. We’ve been told to revere leafy greens & to treat salads like a whole meal. BUT THIS IS NOT WORKING FOR MANY OF US. In fact, considering that what we often get taught to think of as “working” within the context of modern nutrition tends to be based on short-term symptom suppression… I’m not convinced eating this much roughage truly works for anyone with a modern metabolism seeking long-term health! Because modern metabolisms don’t have the same digestive tracts as Paleolithic metabolisms…. and are thus less likely to thrive on such high-fiber diets that SOME of our ancestors would’ve eaten (emphasis on the word some) The fact is, most of our ancestors wouldn’t have eaten loads & loads of leafy greens & above-ground veggies. Because they’re not a sustainable food to be basing our metabolic energy needs upon! Above ground veggies spoil quickly. They must endure the elements, the insects & other animals that want to eat them, & they will provide human tissue with FAR FAR less glucose & overall calories to be used as fuel for cellular energy production. Since ALL living things evolve with their own survival agenda, above-ground plants seek to stay alive through being master chemists. They create enzyme inhibitors & other compounds that can damage or slow down the metabolism of the animals eating them — especially in unnaturally high qualities. YES, leafy greens offer us magnesium & other essential nutrients. YES, eating some won’t hurt us & can be a delicious & healthy part of our meals. But if you want to improve your digestion & increase your metabolic rate… prioritize root vegetables! And no, a salad is not a fucking meal.
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