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Mind-Body Connection for chronic gut issues with Kari Natwick

Picture of podcast cover art with Christa Biegler and Kari Natwick: Episode 299 Mind-Body Connection for chronic gut issues with Kari Natwick

This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I have my dear friend, Kari Natwick, who's a registered dietician nutritionist and an integrative and functional nutrition certified practitioner. On this episode, Kari talks about the mind-body connection for chronic gut issues. We talk about how most people have unrealized stress, how to realize it and simple but effective exercises you can do to help tune in to what your body is trying to tell you.


  • What it is unrealized stress?
  • How to discharge stress from the nervous system
  • The gut-brain connection
  • Stress and the impact on gut health
  • Trauma and the impact on gut health
  • What is allostatic load?
  • What is body attunement?
  • Attunement exercises
  • What is somatic experiencing?
  • Inflammation and stress in relation to the gut-brain


Kari Natwick is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner (IFNCP). She serves individuals who struggle with chronic digestive complaints such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, reflux, and abdominal pain. She also serves individuals who struggle with disordered eating and Binge Eating Disorders, through the incorporation of intuitive eating principles and mindfulness-based techniques. Unlike ineffective one size fits all solutions that only create more fear and stress, she helps people develop individualized approaches that move them toward attunement and alignment in their health.

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[00:00:00] Christa: Stress is the inflammation that robs us of life, energy, and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down we're overmedicated and underserved at the less stressed life. We are a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional western medicine toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories.

[00:00:27] Christa: Each week, our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

[00:00:38] Christa: today on the Less Stressed Light, I have a dear friend, Kari Natwick, who's a registered dietician nutritionist, and an integrative and functional nutrition certified practitioner. So we'll talk about what that means. She serves individuals who struggle with chronic digestive complaints like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas reflux, and abdominal pain.

[00:00:55] Christa: And she also serves. People who are struggling with disordered eating and binge eating disorders through the incorporation of intuitive eating principles and mindfulness-based techniques. I don't think I knew this about you, really? Yeah, I don't think so. So this is good though, because people, what is it like 80% of people with disordered eating have gut issues?

[00:01:13] Christa: Something like that. Pretty much, yeah. 

[00:01:15] Kari: I see. Or like 

[00:01:15] Christa: 105% pretty much. Yeah. Uhhuh, 

[00:01:19] Kari: there's a lot of overlap for sure. 

[00:01:21] Christa: So we really agree about this, unlike ineffective, one size fits all solutions that only create more fear and stress. I just love that line that create more fear and stress.

[00:01:31] Christa: My answer to things, people are like, should I do this? I'm like if it. I should see how it's making you feel like there's a lot of things that just pay attention. They could be an option, but we're just gonna go ahead and take 'em off the table cuz they add to your stress, which is counterintuitive to absolutely everything.

[00:01:43] Christa: So it won't really 

[00:01:43] Kari: matter. It's not healing. That's right. Yeah. 

[00:01:45] Christa: So she helps people develop individualized approaches that move them toward attunement and alignment in their health. So we're gonna talk all about attunement. Welcome Carrie. 

[00:01:53] Kari: Thank you. So good to see you, my friend. 

[00:01:56] Christa: So Carrie, is this kind of like warm motherly figure?

[00:02:02] Christa: I mean that in this lovely way, she's got this amazing skin. I'm always wondering what she's using. These are how I feel. Not telling this is how I'm telling, this is how I feel about Carrie when I'm in the room with her. But what I'm really one thing I was impressed by when I first met Carrie was she has done like all this Wild training in different integrative health realms that I respect.

[00:02:22] Christa: Yeah. A lot of times people are doing like they're gathering, I dunno how you feel about this, but they may be gathering trainings but not using them and I feel like you more methodically picked this stuff to, it's really lended to how you're practicing now. So I wanna get into it a little bit about that.

[00:02:37] Christa: But, so my questions are two part here on this. You love this gut brain connection. So much so wanna know why you're really like, what spawned the interest in that and why. Okay. And then if you want to then segue, you can do this. I just wanna hear more about how that maybe even informed, I don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg.

[00:02:58] Christa: Was gut brain connection of interest first or was that some of the reasons you pursued some of those trainings and certifications? And I just wanna hear about some of the life change and practice change that happened as you pursue, as you added different tools to your tool belt. So talk to us about this gut brain connection and like why you care about 

[00:03:14] Kari: it so much.

[00:03:15] Kari: I've been a dietician a very long time. So like we're talking decades, like over two decades at this point, which feels really unbelievable to me. And I've done a lot of different things in, in my career starting like working in pediatrics to working in perinatal health.

[00:03:34] Kari: I've worked a lot in Indian Health Services, including working, I worked for over a decade in Alaska and I think like a lot of where the gut brain connection, kinda emerged for me is in working with people who have been living in trauma and coupled with that is like, How trauma impacts the body and how it shows up in chronic disease states.

[00:03:59] Kari: And this can be everything like working, especially in Alaska native communities, like thinking about the impact of historical trauma on chronic disease. Sometimes that's gut related, but it's also related to everything from, diabetes to cardiovascular disease to depression. And, working in Alaska also, I, came into contact with a lot of traditional, like healers, like a lot of like shaman, like healers, a lot of, I don't know, like int what we would call in our space, like integrative healing modalities, but it's, these were really.

[00:04:32] Kari: Just like historical healing modalities that have been passed that have been used by tribes and passed down, from generation to generation. And so getting exposed to, I think that world is where I became really interested in it. And then, I think, another really pivotal moment for me was when I did a training with Dr.

[00:04:51] Kari: James Gordon at the Center for Mind Body Medicine and just seeing what he was doing in the work of trauma healing for people using a lot of really approachable healing modalities that. Like he has, so he has teams that go all over the world into spaces where people are experiencing trauma and he will use like really accessible healing modalities based on these premises that, again, have been part of cultures throughout the world, which is that, we all experience trauma.

[00:05:22] Kari: We all experience, like in the United States especially, we, we all live under chronic stress. The impact that this has on our bodies, most of it for so many people is Unrealized and then when it's unrealized, how it becomes embedded in our nervous systems and then like how we do not pay attention to that and we do not use some of these ancient wisdoms around how we discharge stress.

[00:05:49] Kari: From our nervous systems and our bodies and how when we don't do that, it starts to show up in our physiology. It shows up in our gut brain connection. There's all kinds of, changes that occur in the microbiome. That start to impact everything from, what's happening neurologically, what's happening with brain function, what's happening with mood and emotions.

[00:06:09] Kari: And so this like idea of integrating all of that into healing, and first taking this idea of what I call, this somatic experiencing idea where we first use. Attunement or interception to first slow down and actually realize, where we're feeling things, where we're experiencing things, how this, how trauma, how chronic stress is showing up in our body so that we can implement some of these really simple techniques that shift from a sympathetic nervous state into a parasympathetic nervous state.

[00:06:44] Kari: And so just the, so I've had a lot of exposure like through teachers and. When I'm working with people, like most of the women that I work with and many of the men that I work with, especially in the gut health space, but you're right, 100% in the eating disorder space. And I don't work with as many eating disorder clients anymore.

[00:07:02] Kari: I'm really selective about who those people are and mostly work with, GI related disorders. But most of them have a lot of unrealized trauma, whether it's small tea. Big T, chronic or acute, and it's like there's a huge disconnect for people around how trauma impacts their health and how this like timeline in their life around like when they were experiencing things and how and when they were getting like sick and how and when this was showing up in their body is so unrealized for people.

[00:07:34] Kari: It seems 

[00:07:34] Christa: like it's funny that you're using the word unrealized stress because that's been like my favorite. Newish term to use, and I haven't really heard anyone else use it because this is how I, this is actually for the longest time has been a greatest struggle with clients because how do you help people realize unrealized stress?

[00:07:58] Christa: Like how do you make that tangible? Yeah. 

[00:08:00] Kari: it starts with doing the hardest thing, which is slowing down, and slowing down in it can look like a lot of different things. And one of the ways that so one of the things that when somebody first starts working with me, we talk about.

[00:08:17] Kari: We talk about the concept of allostatic load. And which it refers to all of the various stressors that are in our lives that are showing up in different ways in our body. It can be everything from you wake up in the morning and the first thing you're thinking about is your to-do list in a day.

[00:08:35] Kari: That your body is keeping the score around that. And then the second, like it can be other things like you have a stressful job, you have a stress relationship, you have financial stressors, and so slowing down first and just inventorying what is contributing to allostatic load. And then, coupled with that is a lot of the work that we do around, functional testing where we'll look at what are, what's happening with nutrient deficiencies, what's happening with infections, stealth infections, what's happening with dysbiosis inflammation, right?

[00:09:06] Kari: All of this is like, Stopping, pausing, taking inventory of everything that is happening in a person's life and contributing to allostatic load. And then from there, we're like peeling back the layers. But one of the things in order to incorporate this like integration is, I usually give people assignments around, Taking moments to check in with themselves in the day.

[00:09:32] Kari: And this is what interoception or attunement is. And so I'll use this thing, it's, I call it the gut brain heart check. And so it can be done, like people can do it while they're just sitting in their chair. They can stop, they can lay on the. Floor. I always like the idea of somebody laying on the floor and feeling really grounded and feeling really held.

[00:09:52] Kari: They can cover themselves up with a blanket. They can put on a, an eye mask if they really wanna just tune inward and just stopping in first, like checking in with your gut. And again, because I work with, a lot of people have GI related issues, a lot of times, stress, trauma, unrealized stress, allostatic load will show up there.

[00:10:11] Kari: So what is that feeling like? And then extending that to the rest of your body. Like where do you feel tightness, where do you feel tension? Where do you feel discomfort? Cause all of that can also be representative of things like, Being in a free state, right when you're under chronic stress and you're, engaged in your sympathetic nervous system, perpetually, sometimes that also can show up as freeze.

[00:10:35] Kari: And so sometimes we'll see that like in our shoulders. We'll see that in the way that we hold our posture. Sometimes freeze shows up in our gut when it slows. Like when we're just seeing the slowing of our migrating motor complex and motility in our gut. So just really having people like pause, attune, pay attention.

[00:10:53] Kari: And then second is and I think this is where so many women especially move to override, is just stopping and moving into your heart and your emotions and really letting yourself, like giving yourself permission to. Compassionately, observe what you're feeling non-judgmentally. What are you feeling in your body?

[00:11:17] Kari: What are you feeling in your emotions? What are you feeling in your heart? And then the hardest part is really like letting some, let, like letting you, letting your body feel those feelings and maybe even expressing them. And I think what I, like so many people have told me when they have done this exercise is they have so much unrealized anger and so much unrealized sadness from, like loneliness and disconnection in their life from, whatever it is, like feeling like I.

[00:11:45] Kari: The betrayal even of their body. And so like allowing yourself to really feel it and express it and sometimes it, it like this process can even get really vocal. Like sometimes people will find themselves like yelling and screaming and just really emoting during the process, which is exactly what needs to be happening in order to move these energies, move the stuck energy in your nervous system in your body.

[00:12:11] Kari: But it's a form of discharging it. And then, the last part of this attunement process is just paying attention to what's happening in your mind. What are the thoughts that you're thinking? What are you noticing yourself ruminating on? Is there something that you can ma, for a lot of people it can be things like, Just beliefs about their body, not believing that, it like feeling like their body is betraying them, not feeling like their body is capable of healing, feeling like there's always something wrong, and then again, like perpetuating this whole cycle of this gut brain connection where negative thoughts, stress. Negative emotions become like moved downward, change the microbiome, which creates more dysbiosis and also microbes that then start res signalling br signaling back to the brain that there's something wrong.

[00:13:04] Kari: And it really creates this entrenchment in thought patterns and you know it. And really in order to change all of this, the place where it starts is just first like doing something as simple as stopping and moving inward and checking in with yourself and just not seeing what you notice.

[00:13:21] Christa: There's a lot here that I have a thousand questions about. So first of all, I wanna stay present in the topics that you just shared, which was slowing down, stopping and moving into heart space and emotions and giving yourself compassion and then paying attention to the repeats of what's on your mind.

[00:13:40] Christa: Like what's on, what's up, what rec record is stuck in your brain. Yeah. So can we say that the word attunement is essentially tuning inside? Absolutely. Okay. So you're giving people attunement exercises to the op, the opportunity. We're very stimulated by the outside world, right? We're very stimulated. So you're asking people to change their attention from outside to inside, right?

[00:14:10] Christa: Yep. Simply underlining this because I feel like people who need this, we struggle with it, right? We all do. These are things. So someone might say, that's nice, but how do I stop and move into my heart space and my emotions? And then maybe on that note, walk us through more of this lying down exercise.

[00:14:32] Christa: Walk us through that a little bit more so we can understand that. I wanna hear about it from a perspective of how you might assign this task. What happens when people go do it, and what do they report back? Maybe 

[00:14:43] Kari: that'd be fun. Yeah, so the like again, I think it's important to realize that these interventions do not have to be complicated, and most of what it is changing patterns.

[00:14:55] Kari: Like changing patterns of behavior, changing patterns of being, changing patterns of recognition, and realizing where our attention is being drawn in any given moment, in any of any day. But and if you start to pay attention to like your life and the world in that way. I think what we realize is you're absolutely right.

[00:15:15] Kari: Like we're all just so distracted all the time. There's a million things keeping us busy. Like I don't think people even really know how to be bored anymore. I don't think kids really know how to be bored anymore. Just as an example of just how overstimulated we are. All the time. In assigning this task to somebody, one of the things is you just have to put it on your calendar.

[00:15:38] Kari: You really have to carve out a space in a time where you're dedicated to doing this. And one of the, I think like one of the times a day that elicits one of the best results is the transition time from work to home. Because that's the time when most people are like, especially women are really overstimulated.

[00:15:58] Kari: They're transitioning from one job to the next and like their nervous system is already on override and they're really already in this state of like total disconnect. I really 

[00:16:09] Christa: appreciate that because I actually have a lot of guilt around this from the last, like several years, and this is why I've, in the summer I figured out like I must have an office outside of my home, or this is my physical adjustment.

[00:16:20] Christa: I don't know if it's really a correction, but I think that's the thing. I was really struggling to shift from work to home, which is, I'm not bragging about it, I'm just saying I suck at this. So thanks for calling me out. I no. I think we all, 

[00:16:34] Kari: we all do. I know like summertime when my family is home and I'm here and working from home, it's The I noticed this showing up in my nervous system in a much bigger way, as opposed to I have the house to myself.

[00:16:47] Kari: There's nobody like asking me for things. There's nobody interrupting me. It's like there's like these are just little things that are happening. This is no, like major trauma that's happening in my life, but it really impacts my nervous system and I think to be able to give ourselves the permission to just, Stop and slow down and to literally lay on the floor.

[00:17:09] Kari: And this can be like lay on the floor. I think legs up the wall is also a really great way to, to implement and integrate this. Cause it stimulates the vagus nerve. Yeah, you got it. It stimulates the vagus nerve and it also like supports better blood flow, especially blood flow to our brain and blood flow to our heart, 

[00:17:29] Christa: which is an issue when we're in chronic stress.

[00:17:31] Christa: We're preferentially moving that blood flow away from these organs in the center to our periphery. And so obviously things can't work well, 

[00:17:38] Kari: Exactly. Keep going. No abs. No, absolutely. That's part of our whole survival mechanism is if we're truly running from a saber tooth tiger, our body is going to protect us by moving shunting blood from our digestive tract into our extremities, into our heart, into our brain, so that we're more prepared to run or to fight.

[00:17:58] Kari: So being able to like. Stop, slow down and move your body even into a space that like, I think, so sometimes this is where like using a weighted blanket can even be really helpful because it helps to engage. Our parasympathetic nervous system promotes that sense and that feeling of safety in our body laying on the ground, so that your whole body even can feel really supported, can also, help us to release that, that sense of the, the sympathetic nervous system of feeling like we're in fight or flight. And then, when you lay down, the first thing you're going to do is, and this is through the work of Dr. James Gordon, he uses the term of a soft belly breath, which I really like.

[00:18:42] Kari: So it's, so the first thing you do when you lay down, Is you might put your hands on your tummy and you just think of you just feel like that ebb and the flow, like the rise in the fall and the softness of your belly and just starting to like tune into your breath and to start elongate your breath and maybe even to like, Hold your breath and pause your breath at the top and pause at the bottom using, like the four square breathing.

[00:19:09] Kari: That's an automatic engagement with the parasympathetic nervous system and arguably like the fastest portal into the parasympathetic nervous system. So you're, you're promoting safety, you're promoting calm, you're engaging your parasympathetic nervous system and sometimes especially in patients that I've worked with who have, and like the kind of the profile would be somebody with chronic constipation, maybe a history of like big T trauma where their body is truly in a state of freeze.

[00:19:41] Kari: The, like that gut brain, heart check might stop at soft belly breathing because, There's already, there's so much disconnect happening that just stopping and like feeling their breath is like a hello to their body and to their nervous system that they may not have had for years. And so for some people it's like just starting really slowly and starting in a way that feels safe and that feels right is like that, that may be all somebody has capacity for.

[00:20:13] Kari: And then you know, somebody who maybe has a little more capacity. Who can really move through, what their body is feeling, and they may even like, start in their gut, but they may start in their toes and just move up like from their toes to your ankles and just slowly move from, bottom to top in your body.

[00:20:32] Kari: And just again, like com, through a place and through a lens of compassion, just seeing what you're noticing and just tuning into it and there's no judgment around it. Like the most important thing is that whatever is coming up for you in the body scan is something that it is like it is there, and it. And it's, and you, the unrealized portion of that and some, and the kind of override, or the disconnect or the ignoring is part of what keeps it there. So this, like saying hello to these things, so to speak, or just, having this like acknowledgement or this recognition is like the first step.

[00:21:14] Kari: To then, you're, you being able to discharge it. So so you might, so that's like how I work through the process with people and then, feeling into their heart. A lot of times journaling is and feeling into your heart. I know that's like a very. Flowery maybe term. So it's more of, so I think, again, with this whole gut brain connection, with our whole integration of our mind, our body, our emotions, our spirit one of the things that like we'll show up is we'll often feel things like in our chest.

[00:21:45] Kari: And you'll, and you hear people talking about this all the time, right? So with that is, being able to feel it, it's usually something that needs to be released. And when you feel it, it's just a sitting there with the feeling, whether it's a tightness, whether it's an ache. And if you sit there long enough with the breathing process, what often will happen, or what people will report to me is that they'll usually eventually cry.

[00:22:13] Kari: And that is one of that again is an example of how we discharge stress is, we have to that either through crying, sometimes it's through moving, sometimes it's through dancing, sometimes it's through screaming and yelling. That's there's different ways that our body can discharge stress and crying is probably one of the greatest.

[00:22:34] Kari: And I can't even tell you the number of women that I meet who. Really don't allow themselves to cry. Or the minute they feel it, they stop it. 

[00:22:42] Christa: So I wanna walk through this. This woman, she lays down on the floor, maybe she's got a blanket, she's doing a body scan, which is there's different ways to do this, but maybe you talked about starting just in the belly and like feeling.

[00:22:57] Christa: In your belly and putting your hands on that. Maybe that's all you do. Maybe you move up to your heart. Maybe you move up to your head. So you're a kind of, I don't know if you have other instructions that you suggest people do, but a body scan is usually going through one section of the body at time and checking in to see how to, how space.

[00:23:14] Kari: Yeah. 

[00:23:15] Christa: So you brought up the word, that's why I'm 

[00:23:16] Kari: trying to define it. Yeah. No, I think I probably, I commingled my terms and techniques. So gut, brain, heart check is, yeah, like checking with your body checking with your gut. And in the gut check, which is basically checking in with your body, that's when you can implement that full body scan, right?

[00:23:35] Kari: Like starting, top to bottom and then, Second step, checking in with your heart, your emotions, how are you feeling? Are you overriding things like sadness, anger, loneliness, what's showing up for you there? And then the last is just watching your mind. What are you thinking about?

[00:23:54] Kari: What are you ruminating on? Where are your thoughts in the day? Yeah. And. And, these are all things that, again, it can be quick, it can be like a 62nd body scan. Maybe that's all you need to do, and sometimes it feels better or you have more time to be able to implement it longer. And so maybe it ends up being like a 30 minute body scan where you do more breath work with the soft belly breathing.

[00:24:21] Kari: I think this is where I don't really set those types of parameters on it for people. It's it's really, time allotted and then what feels best for them in that moment. 

[00:24:30] Christa: I know before we jumped on here, we were brainstorming things we would wanna talk about today.

[00:24:36] Christa: You mentioned people noticing pain in certain areas during this, so tell me about how this gets reported back to you as a clinician and what are some of the things that people tell you that it brings up for them? 

[00:24:49] Kari: so oftentimes it gets reported back in, like out, in the check-in that I do with in one-on-one sessions with my patients and, and when, so often when it, when people bring things like this up obviously I'm a dietician and I'm not a therapist and.

[00:25:07] Kari: And I always tell people that, and I think like the biggest thing with, with this whole technique is that, whatever people are experiencing in that moment again, is that they're moving into a space of really caring for themselves and giving themselves that permission, to do what their body needs.

[00:25:26] Kari: And so with that, I think there's a lot of things that people end up discovering. And I'll just give you some examples. So one of the patients that I talked to last week in this process and this is really consistent for so many women, is that they discover that like one of the greatest needs that they have is to.

[00:25:45] Kari: Slow down and is too, like they, they need to spend more time in pause. They need to spend more time in rest. They need to spend less time in the doing of everything in their household of day-to-day life. And when they give themselves permission to do that, and they move into kinda a. Like they start and usually it's a slow, unraveling or like peeling back of the layers of how they implement that.

[00:26:15] Kari: It can be everything from like I had one person I guess this is like a bigger example, she, people will sometimes make career changes. Sometimes people will hire for help. Whether it's help with, their lawn, whether it's help with cleaning their house, whether it's, help with what I mean, whatever it might be.

[00:26:33] Kari: There's just, there's a lot of things that people can do when they start. They where a lot of the things that people will discover and they give themselves the permission to do it, and they start like moving into supporting themselves in the way that they need to in their life. And a lot of it is like women really getting time back and, and people and women starting to prioritize themselves through this 

[00:26:56] Christa: process.

[00:26:57] Christa: Interesting. Okay. So we've talked a little bit about body attunement or tuning in. And some Yep. Practical ways to do that. I actually wanted to ask you about, you said that I don't know who Dr. James Gordon is, but you said that he was, really instrumental or. In showing you that this stuff can be really simple.

[00:27:16] Christa: Do you wanna give any other examples of like things he was doing when he was going out and helping big groups of people? What were some of the other, what were some of the other modalities that he was potential 

[00:27:25] Kari: maybe using? So the, so one of the other modalities that he used that sounded really crazy to me at the beginning is this thing called shaking, like body, shaking, like moving and shaking.

[00:27:38] Kari: And in he, he gave the example of, like in nature when, I dunno, let's say a cheetahs chasing a gazelle, right? That if the gazelle gets away from the cheetah, the first thing that you'll see the cheetah do is it'll, or the gazelle do, it'll stop. And it'll shake and then it like goes and starts eating grass again.

[00:27:59] Kari: And so this is I'm not picturing this by the way. I know. Me too. It's it's such a powerful example of how like it, in our primal bodies, like we already know like how to discharge stress, right? And animals do this in the animal kingdom and you don't see any traumatized animals.

[00:28:17] Kari: The ones that like can get rid of. Like the adrenaline, the cortisol surge. So they will, so they get rid of stress that way. And so he uses this and it's based on, I don't know which African tribe, but there's an African tribe who uses the concept of shaking and dancing. And so what he did while we were in this group was he put on.

[00:28:38] Kari: This music with this like African beat and you just close your eyes and you just start like moving your shoulders and moving your arms, shaking your hands, even like bouncing at your knees. And then if you want to, you can jump up and down. And like the mu he would started increasing like the, like how loud the music was.

[00:28:57] Kari: And you just started, you were just moving your body and shaking your body and it was like the most glorious moment for me, just. It like, I don't know, you could feel the release, like you can actually feel the discharge of like stress leaving your body. And so this is something I talk about with my patients is that's one of the techniques, like when you come home for a stressful day.

[00:29:22] Kari: Put on some music, right? Start shaking, start singing even at the top of your lungs as a way to engage your vagus nerve. And just you start moving your body and shaking and discharging. And if it whatever feels right again, like whatever comes up for you, whether it's like a. Like a vocalization, like a, huh?

[00:29:42] Kari: That can be a form of release. Whether it's like a yelling or whether it's like a, like a singing or whether it's like crying that comes up, whatever it is. It's like this. It's one of the ways that we can discharge stress from our bodies. 

[00:29:56] Christa: Did you do this in person with him or is this I did online.

[00:29:59] Christa: Yeah. Oh, this sounds very fun. We can continue that conversation later. Yeah, it was amazing. Okay, so another thing I wanted to ask you about, I think you, this is another word you used in passing and it does get, I see this a lot in the therapy world. And so the word somatic and I think you used experiencing, so tell us about a somatic experiencing.

[00:30:18] Kari: the, so much someone means body. And with somatic experiencing, there's somatic experiencing somatic therapy. Somatic therapy practitioners where, people will actually, you know, either kind of use energy work or even lay hands on people. But a lot of what, like the whole concept of somatic experiencing or.

[00:30:39] Kari: Like moving is a moving into your body and you do that through the, through interoception, which is a lot of what the gut-brain, heart is. Check is where you're just checking in with what your body is, what your body is doing. There's also proprioception where it's more, that's more of a relation of like how your body is and feels in space.

[00:31:01] Kari: And then there's that. There's That kinesthetic version where, you know, like that shaking and dancing and moving and and, doing those kinds of things. I think even like moving your body even in exercise is an example of a way that we can discharge stress. So again, it's it doesn't have to be.

[00:31:19] Kari: Too complicated. And there's people who really specialize in this stuff. And then, ultimately, like when you boil it down, it's really simple and it's really accessible to all of us. 

[00:31:31] Christa: So you gave some examples of things that women discover when they go lay down, do the laying down, maybe.

[00:31:39] Christa: Maybe body scanning, exercise. Yeah. As people start doing some of these things. And practice. What are, is there any other things that you see as results with people? 

[00:31:50] Kari: I think it's important to remember that this is not the only thing, right? This is like one of the steps in the process of healing.

[00:31:58] Kari: And it's one of, it's like one of the like kind of foundational layers is the way that I like to think of it in the healing process where, this attunement piece, like if you are a. This is like that unrealized stress. The unrealized experience, even with in our own body, the disconnect that occurs for so many people in their own body.

[00:32:22] Kari: Without moving into that, I think I. The rest of the work that I do, and you do as an integrative and functional practitioner is something that isn't, it's not as effective. So so this becomes the base layer is just realizing what is happening in terms of allostatic love, realizing where we're storing by storing stress in our body.

[00:32:45] Kari: But then, like all of the other layers of things that we do in terms of, gut healing testing nutritional repletion changing somebody's even relationship with. Food and changing somebody's relationship with their body, beliefs about their body on and on.

[00:33:02] Kari: Then kinda gets built on this foundation of somebody really paying attention. And I think like it not only helps people heal, but it also helps people move through the processes of healing in the work that we do, where let's say like we, we change somebody's diet and they're not somebody who's used to really paying attention to.

[00:33:24] Kari: What's happening in their body or they're connecting, like whatever they think that everything that they eat is, causing symptoms in some way. And and that, that's usually a state of like fight or flight that somebody is in. So when somebody can slow down and look at the information that their body is giving them as.

[00:33:44] Kari: Just that as just information then, and it's not something where their body is betraying them or it's not something where I don't know, like that their body isn't capable of healing, which I think becomes a lot of people's beliefs. But when they're paying attention, non-judgmentally, looking at the symptoms that they're experiencing as information from their body, as their body, trying to communicate something to them, and their job is to really pay attention to that.

[00:34:13] Kari: It can make the healing process go so much faster. So that's where I think this is, it kind, it starts to integrate with everything else that we do in the healing process. 

[00:34:23] Christa: Yeah. I'm all about things that make things go 

[00:34:26] Kari: faster. That is for sure. Me too. Good 

[00:34:31] Christa: stuff. Yeah. Okay. I feel like we covered a lot of things.

[00:34:35] Christa: You brought up body betrayal, you brought up. But body attunement, we talked through that. We talked about the laying down. We talked about shaking and dancing. We talked about somatic experiencing. We talked about how all of this can be a foundation. There was something you went over quickly. But I think our audience would love to talk a little bit more about it before we kinda wrap up here.

[00:34:56] Christa: But you brought up a little bit, and I'm just gonna ask you to reiterate this or talk a little bit more about it, the changes that happened in your microbiota, around thoughts, et cetera. Talk about the gut brain connection literally a little 

[00:35:07] Kari: bit. Yeah, absolutely. Then the gut.

[00:35:11] Kari: I think this is like when you're, like we talked about like the foundation of this, which is that when your body is in that fight or flight activation, that blood gets shunted to extremities, to our brain, to our heart, and, the next, there's lots of physiological processes that are happening during that time.

[00:35:30] Kari: One of which is that, During this process, when our body's under stress, it also starts to release catecholamine, which increase cortisol. And then when that starts to occur, it's in, in our body, we actually start to recruit our immune system, which creates more inflammation, right? And so the inflammation is not only in our gut, but it's in the entirety of our body.

[00:35:57] Kari: And so when and when we're in this state, as our cortisol starts to increase, one of the things that I don't ever really hear people talking about is that cortisol, like it also gets, this cortisol also gets dumped into our gut where it then gets metabolized by microbes in our gut, and then these byproducts go to our kidneys.

[00:36:17] Kari: They increase things like sodium and potassium because we're trying to, again, bring more fluid into our system and get more blood going to our heart, to our brain, to our extremities as we're getting ready to fight or flight. So like the, so the next, like the next thing in this process is then cortisol bind to glucocorticoid receptors, which then give a negative feedback signal to the gut to tell it to slow down.

[00:36:45] Kari: And then as this cortisol increases in our gut, it starts to create leakiness in our gut. And we also get this whole inflammatory cascade of inflammation through things like interleukin six, which then communicates back to our hypothalamus that that we are in a stress state and it keeps this whole stress response.

[00:37:10] Kari: Moving round and round between our gut and our brain. So cortisol, when we have excess cortisol, kinda the easiest way to summarize this is that cortisol starts to create changes in our gut where the, those microbes that are in our gut, Now start signaling stress to our brain. And our brain then just keeps this whole stress response like moving round and round in our body.

[00:37:33] Kari: And with the changes that happen to the microbiome where we start having more of these like opportunistic dysbiotic microbes that start growing in the stressed out state, again, it's, it just keeps this It keeps, it starts hijacking our entire physiology. And so this round and round experience, like unless you really intentionally like step on the brakes, become aware of it, step on the brakes and stop this whole physiological process from continuing to recur in our bodies over and over all day long.

[00:38:07] Kari: It, it will keep going and it will. Eventually lead to chronic diseases, but especially things like dysfunction in our gut. So this is where, I think like really understanding how microbes that are in our gut are connecting to our brain in, in so many ways, not only in keeping the stress response going, but microbes in our gut are also things that can, like when we're in this stressed out state, these microbes can also for example, they can start to promote cravings for sweets.

[00:38:41] Kari: Because, these ref like carbohydrates become their main food. So they're gonna, perpe, they actually start producing neurotransmitters. That's that start to create some, create cravings for sweets. So there's this like whole hijacking of the system and these microbes like taking over to really almost hijack your whole body to perpetuate.

[00:39:02] Kari: Their survival. There's a lot. So again, like interrupting this, that process interrupting and really, actively engaging your parasympathetic nervous system in conjunction with all the things that you may have to do. Like identifying that the microbes are there, getting rid of them using, things like even psycho.

[00:39:21] Kari: Psychobiotics to re reinoculate your gut with beneficial bacteria using things like diet, obviously. There's lots of different things that we can do to help, grow bene, grow that good gut garden and grow beneficial bacteria. So anyway, that, and that's just this like kind of strategy that we use around like supporting that good gut brain access.

[00:39:43] Christa: It sounds like a symphony when you describe it. She usually like warm. I forgot all the reasons that I like Carrie. Carrie, when I, Carrie and I first met, we were like, Ooh, we like each other. It's because, 

[00:39:52] Kari: oh, like right away. Away. It's cause 

[00:39:54] Christa: it's cause even though she's far away in Oregon, she's really from, not very far from where I live.

[00:40:00] Christa: And so there's just a lot of, we just have a It's funny, common denominators. Like I also worked Inan Health for like almost 

[00:40:06] Kari: a decade, so did you? Oh my gosh, I didn't know that. Yeah. I'm a farm girl from Minnesota, so Yeah, it's good stuff. I like it. Yeah. We're running the same for sure.

[00:40:14] Kari: Yeah. Yeah. We 

[00:40:16] Christa: covered a lot and I loved it and it was fun. Yeah. And I can't wait to share this with people. Carrie work. Can people find you 

[00:40:22] Kari: online? Yeah, so they, you can find me. My website is gut brain or that's, and it's also my Instagram handle at Gut Brain Rd. And you can gimme a follow there or jump on my website.

[00:40:36] Kari: There's a place where you can fill out a discovery call application if you're interested in working with me. But just follow me and keep learning. 

[00:40:44] Christa: Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on today. Thank you. I forward to the next one. See ya.

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