Wake Up Your Vagus Nerve and Heal Your Body
Don’t Starve the Wanderer
The vagus nerve…have you heard of it? It is an amazing nerve, also known as “The Wanderer,” that connects our brain to our body. The nerve starts in the medulla oblongata (the portion of the brainstem that controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion and heart rate), branches up into the brain and goes through the jaw following the digestive tract, branching off at the lungs and heart and continuing down through to the esophagus, stomach, liver, kidneys and intestines.
“The Wanderer” loves food/energy and so it follows the entire digestive system while also receiving some of its nutrients from the different portions of the brain, the heart and the lungs in the form of what is called Prana (pure energy). The vagus nerve is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls our relaxation responses. This nerve can become underdeveloped/deactivated if the body’s in a constant state of fight-or-flight due to the stress and anxiety that comes with living in today’s society. This keeps the sympathetic nervous system in survival overdrive: your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, your heart rate increases and digestion becomes impaired.
In this particular case, “The Wanderer” is being starved of the essential nutrients it needs to help you survive. This can result in a whole host of chronic illnesses and impairments such as chronic fatigue, headaches, bruxism, breathing disorders (asthma), heartburn, I.B.S., chronic diarrhea or constipation; however, anyone can reactivate their vagus nerve with simple breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. These practices can signal your relaxation response and relieve stress in the area that is causing discomfort–resulting in a significant decrease in symptoms.
Another amazing fact about the vagus nerve is its connection to the seven chakras; these ganglions of nerves branch out to all of the seven centers of your body. It is my belief that this is the physical proof that chakras actually exist. You may have heard chakras being described more like Prana or Chi (which again, means “pure energy”) that store and circulate. That is the non-material energy of these physical centers.
Chakras have been described as spiral vortexes that are associated with different colors. These “vortexes” are in control of the different strengths and weaknesses which exist within your body, mind and soul. Meditating and breathing into these energy centers awakens the kundalini snake (another name for the vagus nerve), and will energize and heal your whole body.
Instead of starving “The Wanderer,” feed it with sattvic (pure) foods, deep conscious breathing, meditation and yoga in order to feed it the purest Prana possible.
Top 10 Cleansing Foods for a Natural Detox
Feeling lethargic and constantly bloated no matter how much you exercise? It may be time to jumpstart your body and give it a fresh start with an all-natural detox. Toxins are everywhere – from household cleaners to deodorants – and they can have a negative impact on your health. From getting sick more often to never losing that last 5 lbs., toxin build-up causes your body to waste valuable energy on basic functions.
While some may say the more you sweat, the more toxins you release, this isn’t necessarily true. More exercise may help you lose weight and feel better, but toxin removal only comes when you flush your body’s system from the inside out. By substituting a few of your regular snacks with “cleansing foods,” your body will function more effectively and thank you in the long run.
Recently, detox pills and powders have become all the rage, but they’re unsustainable in the long run. They may help you lose weight fast, but your body will ultimately rebound and they may have harmful long-term effects. The key to success is working healthier choices into your daily routine until they become second nature.
Natural detox foods contain molecules that cling onto toxins and carry them out of your body. While all cleansing foods have an overall purifying effect, specific foods are extra helpful to specific areas of the body. Natural detox foods are everywhere and you might just be surprised at how tasty they can be. Take a look at our top 10 favorite cleansing foods and get your body back on track.
How they help:
Although beets have fairly high sugar content compared to other vegetables, a few beetroots can go a long way. One of our favorite natural detox foods, beets contain a group of antioxidants called betalains, which are excellent for detoxifying your body, and more specifically your liver. Beets also contain a high concentrate of betaine, which helps to reduce liver inflammation.
The antioxidants found in beets support the liver’s phase 2 cleansing when toxins are chemically transformed into a water-soluble form that can be excreted through urine. On top of this, beets are also high in immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin B folate, fiber, potassium and manganese. Just a few benefits you might see are reduced blood pressure, reduced inflammation, enhanced stamina, and increased liver function.
How to use them:
More than just a tasty side dish, beets can be worked into your diet in a number of ways. Trying adding beet juice to your morning smoothie or as a mid-workout drink to help keep your energy up. If you want to go the more traditional route, a cup of cooked beets contains only about 60 calories and with a healthy dose of fiber, will keep you feeling full.