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Can Your Emotions Add to Your Physical Symptoms?


Emotional Release

Are you feeling…


Stuck in life?


Burned out?


Deeply disconnected from your body- may be living in your head most of the time?


Exhausted by your relationships (food, family, love, friends, etc.)?


Fatigued daily?


Stressed?


If the answer to these questions is yes, don't worry; you're not alone.


Back in the day, when we lived in tribes and communities closer to nature, our bodies and nervous systems could regulate and adapt to daily stressors.


Today, cognitive and emotional dysfunctions are an increasing burden in our society. We now spend hours inside a building, not moving our bodies, eating more highly processed foods, and isolating ourselves as a means to be "independent."


Science shows that while many of these changes have had benefits, many of these lifestyle changes may also contribute to the development of chronic diseases and mental health decline.


What if you could live a life where your body can get out of its chronic stress state, where challenges come up, and you're able to ride through them, where there is compassion, love, and kindness towards yourself?


We can all thrive in life; We sometimes need a little guidance.



Solution: Emotional Release + Integrative Nutrition

As a professional athlete, registered dietitian, and emotional releaser, I can blend a unique approach to touch on the physical and emotional bodies.


With this approach, high-achieving individuals can get their bodies from stress back to safety, where relaxation and proper digestion are possible for optimal health.


Through emotional release, individuals are allowed to access their self-healing mechanism. It is a process that helps the body naturally release the emotions that occur daily.


Perhaps you are thinking, “ I release my emotions all the time.” While many of us can be very good at fully realizing and releasing our emotions when they arise, many of us in a variety of instances tend to suppress what’s underneath those big emotions. This build-up over weeks, months, and even years can lead to physical illness.

When we don't process these emotions properly, they get stuck and create blockages that can become abnormal conditions like today. Emotional release helps us communicate directly with the emotional body, allowing the body's deep self-organizing mechanism to bring us back to wholeness.


We are only capable of healing when we meet with awareness all the parts of reality that are/were hard to process in the body.


It took your body many years to get to where it is today, and by the same law, it will take some time, patience, love, and compassion to remember your inner light and wholeness.



What is Emotional Release?

Many studies are coming out in light of the mind-body connection and the impact of blocked emotions on the physical body.


Illnesses and symptoms are the manifestations of a dis-eased body, and our caregivers and society give us minimal resources to allow these emotions to flow through the body.


Emotional release is a form of psychosomatic (mind-body) work that connects deeply with emotions laid dormant in our subconscious. These emotions may come from our ancestors, childhood, parents, and life in general; it's a process that allows us to face ignored or surpassed feelings that were hard and too much to handle.



How to tell if your feelings/emotions may be repressed?

  • Feeling numb or blank regularly.

  • Feeling nervous, low, or often stressed without knowing why

  • Feeling irritated or distressed when someone asks you about your feelings

  • Experiencing unease or confusion when other people share their feelings

  • Feeling discomfort when others express emotion (crying, screaming, laughing, etc.)

  • Suffering from chronic conditions (IBS, autoimmune disease, etc.)

  • Not letting yourself linger on anything upsetting and constantly feeling high and happy

  • Not identifying with emotions like anger, grief, sadness, or fear

  • Still suffering even after seeing many doctors, done every test in the market, trying all the diets and protocols

Techniques used in Emotional Release:

  • Breath

  • Verbal guidance

  • Touch



What to Expect?

Our minds will often try to figure out how various situations will play out or what will happen before we even take action; we are designed this way to ensure survival and protection.


With that said, it is crucial to let go of the expectation that a session will save, fix, or heal the problem or the symptom. We still have to take full ownership of our emotional process, understand that sometimes things may get worse before they get better, and continue putting in consistent work at home (e.g., nutrition, movement, community, etc.)


Emotional release respects where the body is in the moment and will only help process the topics/themes ready in the system. It may help fully express emotions cathartically, but it could also be a subtle journey into the subconscious. It will guide and help you face situations that were hard to process when they happened.


Although releasing the energy stored may feel gratifying, shifts and major transformations occur when we feel and witness subtle emotions. Such emotions may have no expression (hopelessness, apathy, powerlessness, etc.).


If any of these resonates and you feel curious about trying a different alternative to healing, reach out! We’re here to help.



Who is Laura Sanchez?


Laura Sanchez Zuluaga, Integrative Registered Dietitian

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist and life coach with over 1,200 hours of supervised practice, including clinical and integrative/holistic nutrition. As an integrative dietitian, I combine different healing techniques (i.e., emotional release, mindfulness, breathwork, coaching, and intuitive eating) to help patients find the root cause of their pain and suffering.


My passion is to coach and guide stressed high-achievers stuck in diet culture, chronic stress, perfectionism, and a judgy self to create a good relationship with food, their emotions and body, and most importantly themselves.


I’m originally from Bogota-Colombia, and as a former professional golfer, I did what was told and expected. I went to school, got excellent grades, and graduated with a Business-Finance major.


Yet, I felt insecure, carried unresolved trauma and emotions, and lacked self-trust, belief, and self-love. My health wasn't a priority, and somehow, I felt empty.


Over the past four years, I have been on a journey of exploration, re-discovery, and re-connection through food, mind-body work, emotional release, and cycle tracking. They have improved my perfectionist thinking, emotions, health, and relationships, especially with myself.


During this process, I realized I was being toxic with my internal talk, taking care of everyone first and demanding perfectionism without knowing I was already perfect, enough, and worthy of love. I thought I was broken and that someone needed to fix me, but I now understand I am the healer and that my body can be whole and thriving again.


Through my experience, I believe that to heal deeply, we must come to terms with who we are today, and I’m ready to embark on this journey with you.


I will embark on with you on the following journey:

  1. Exploration: Work with our current self, situation, and patterns. Where do we stand today? What patterns and trends do we have around food? What is my relationship with food, my emotions, and my body? How to bring safety back to our bodies?

    1. In this phase, we dive deeply into what happens in your internal and external world.

    2. We learn to hold space and create safety with what we have in the present.

    3. We bring awareness

  2. Healing: Work on our physical, mental, and emotional imprints and traumas.

    1. In this phase, awareness meets with the parts of reality that are hard to process.

    2. We use the integral heart-based approach to build capacity and explore the emotional depth.

    3. Emotional release: integrating bodywork, mindfulness, breathwork, hypnosis, catharsis, and containment.

  3. Curiosity: A place where we want to know more and do more research about the foods that nourish and bring joy to our bodies.

    1. What foods can my body tolerate, and how do I eat optimally for my unique physique?

    2. What foods do I need to provide to help with my mood/feelings/emotions?

    3. What foods do I need to provide to build hormones and be in tune with my cycle?

    4. How can I build a good relationship with my emotions, so food does not become the only tool to deal with them?

    5. What activities support your mind, spirit, and body?

  4. Adventure: A place where we may be open to trying new foods or foods that were a hard no before, we tap into new ways of tracking the cycle and thinking about our body and emotion.

  5. Transcendence: creating a new and sustainable relationship to eating food by connecting/integrating our mind, body, and spirit.



More about Emotions and Integrative Nutrition

Eating behaviors in human beings are affected by emotions. Food choices, quantity, and meal frequency may depend on different emotional states unrelated to their physiological needs. As seen in the increasing prevalence of eating disorders and obesity in Western societies, environmental and physiological factors may be the root cause of these problems rather than metabolic and genetics alone.


Many studies have recently compared emotions and their relationship with food intake. Mehrabian (1980), for example, found that higher food consumption was reported during boredom, depression, and fatigue, and lower food intake was reported during fear, tension, and pain. On the other hand, Lyman (1982) showed a greater tendency to consume nutrient-dense foods during emotions viewed as "positive" and a greater tendency to consume highly-processed foods during "negative" emotions. Patel and Schuldt (2001) found that meals that were eaten with "positive" and "negative" emotions were significantly larger than meals that were consumed with neutral emotions.


Another study found that hunger levels were higher during anger and joy than during sadness and fear. They reported that during anger, there was an increase in impulsive eating (fast, irregular, and careless eating directed at any food type available). During joy, there was an increase in hedonic eating (the tendency to eat because of the pleasant taste of the food or because the consumed food is thought to be healthy).


Different emotional states significantly affect eating behaviors, as seen in several studies. The key is to learn how to create a good relationship with all emotions so that food isn't the only tool to deal with them.



What we Eat Affects our Emotions

We now know emotions directly impact our eating behavior, but the foods we choose to eat also influence our brain chemistry. Certain macro and micro-nutrients can make us happy, calm, sleepy, and alert.


The lateral hypothalamus controls feeding, and the locus coeruleus, another part of the brain, releases norepinephrine (adrenaline), which makes us feel alert. Sometimes, the communication between these two parts of the brain can make us feel excited or anxious depending on our relationship and associations with food.


Locus coeruleus activates the lateral hypothalamus, inhibiting feeding and making us feel like we don't want to eat. This communication is an ancient mechanism; we are supposed to feel alert or a little bit anxious before a meal, and as we eat, the mechanisms for calming and satiation are supposed to kick in.


Digestion begins in the mouth, and the vagus nerve constantly senses our gut sending information to the brain: is there sugar? Is there fat? Are there contaminants?


After the brain receives all this sensory information, it decides whether it will keep eating. Some accelerators will want to make us eat more sugar and fats, given they're nutrient-dense to ensure survival. How much we eat comes from subconsciously detecting adequate amino acid intake by the brain. The gut constantly sends information to the brain and tells it when there are enough amino acids.


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is important in building tissues, muscles, enzymes…pretty much everything. Many people don't realize that neurochemicals made in the brain are also built by amino acids.


Dopamine


Dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, is released from the brain. Its release may be caused by surprise, excitement, or events that you're looking forward to and turn out well. It can be inhibited by events that you're looking forward to that don't work out or when your overall expectations do not meet the actual reality (i.e. when you expect a meal to be delicious and it's not).


Dopamine is not just the molecule of reward; it is also the molecule of desire/wanting. Dopamine is what's going to lead us to eat more of something or not. L-tyrosine is a precursor molecule for L-DOPA, which makes more dopamine in the body. L-tyrosine is made in the body and is just one of many examples of why optimal digestion is key to mental and emotional wellness. The precursors to make L-Tyrosine come from a diversified diet and the ability of our gut to properly analyze and absorb their nutrients.


Serotonin


Another neurotransmitter that is important for optimal vagus nerve function is serotonin. This molecule gives the feeling of calmness and comfortableness. More than 90% of the serotonin we make is in our gut. We have neurons in our gut and brain that make serotonin. Most of the serotonin that impacts our mood and mental health is not in the gut; it's in the neurons in the brain. Those neurons control whether we feel satiated, calm, or happy. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in meats, cheese, oats, seeds, soy products, and carbohydrate-rich foods, is the precursor of serotonin.


Other Nutrients


Other nutrients that help brain chemistry are Omega 3s, L-carnitine, and pre-and-probiotics.

The Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio has a profound effect on mood. In a study, they found 1000 mg of EPA decreased depressive symptoms. Omega 3s can be found in algae oil, fish oil, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, and chia seeds. Given EPA needs a high dosage to achieve its mood-modulating effects, supplementation may be recommended.


L-carnitine also has impressive effects on depression because it can pass the blood-brain barrier (BBB) once acetylated and converted. Despite studies showing its efficacy for depressive symptoms, there need to be more studies that further investigate these findings. Our bodies make L-Carnitine from Lysine and Methionine, which we need to get from our diet.


The microorganisms living in our gut influence the neurons and neurotransmitters in the gut that carry information to the brain impacting dopamine and serotonin levels. Supporting a healthy gut microbiome is good for our mood, digestion, and immune system.


Probiotics are microorganisms that have been found to have positive effects on the human body. They can be ingested through fermented foods, and supplements, but most importantly we have probiotic populations living within us at all times. The foods we eat and the actions we take daily can either destroy probiotics in us or help them thrive; this is why as an integrative registered dietitian, my approach will always be food first.


Prebiotic-rich foods like green bananas, whole grains, artichokes, and foods rich in dietary fiber are my go-to!


Remember, we are all unique individuals with various eating behaviors, and certain foods may impact our brains differently. Make your well-being and healing a top priority.


There is no commitment when registering for our practice, and you are welcome to chat with any of our Registered Dietitians before you schedule.

Laura Sanchez Zuluaga, Integrative Registered Dietitian





In Best Health,

Laura Sanchez-Zuluaga, RDN, LD, MS, NER

Integrative Registered Dietitian, Emotional Release Specialist








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REFERENCES

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  2. Lyman B. The nutritional values and food group characteristics of foods preferred during various emotions. J Psychol. 1982;112(1st Half):121-127.

  3. Patel KA, Schlundt DG. Impact of moods and social context on eating behavior. Appetite. 2001;36(2):111-118.

  4. Qualls-Creekmore E, Münzberg H. Modulation of Feeding and Associated Behaviors by Lateral Hypothalamic Circuits. Endocrinology. 2018;159(11):3631-3642.

  5. Sciolino NR, Hsiang M, Mazzone CM, et al. Natural locus coeruleus dynamics during feeding. Sci Adv. 2022;8(33):eabn9134.

  6. Briguglio M, Dell'Osso B, Panzica G, et al. Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):591. Published 2018 May 10.

  7. Veronese N, Stubbs B, Solmi M, Ajnakina O, Carvalho AF, Maggi S. Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplementation and the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Psychosom Med. 2018;80(2):154-159.

  8. Jazayeri S, Tehrani-Doost M, Keshavarz SA, Hosseini M, Djazayery A, Amini H, Jalali M, Peet M. Comparison of therapeutic effects of omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid and fluoxetine, separately and in combination, in major depressive disorder. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008 Mar;42(3):192-8.

  9. Huang TT, Lai JB, Du YL, Xu Y, Ruan LM, Hu SH. Current Understanding of Gut Microbiota in Mood Disorders: An Update of Human Studies. Front Genet. 2019;10:98. Published 2019 Feb 19.

  10. Littrell J. The mind-body connection: not just a theory anymore. Soc Work Health Care. 2008;46(4):17-37.

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