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Ice Water Technique and Nourishing Resilience Foods

Woman washing her face

Ice Bathing

If you have been to an Ease Wellness event, you may well have been introduced to ice bathing, a lesson in resilience that brings with it a wealth of health and wellness benefits. These sessions are most often facilitated by the amazing Emma Shearman from Sisuu, and they are truly an experience to remember.

Ice-bathing is also known as cold plunge, cold water therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT. No matter the name or just how cold the water is, this is a therapy that has proven effective in treating various mental health conditions, including borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. One of the critical techniques used in DBT is the Ice Water Technique, which is used to help individuals manage intense emotions.

The Ice Water Technique involves submerging your face in a bowl of ice water for a short period. The water's cold temperature creates a physical sensation that can help individuals become more present at the moment and reduce the intensity of their emotions. This technique is often used with other DBT skills, such as mindfulness and distress tolerance.

How to: Ice Water Technique

While the Ice Water Technique may initially seem intimidating, it can be a powerful tool for managing intense emotions. Here's how to practice the Ice Water Technique:

Woman submerging her face in ice

1. Fill a bowl with ice water

2. Take a deep breath and prepare

3. Submerge your face in the water

4. Stay submerged for 10-20 seconds

5. Slowly come up for air.

6. Take a deep breath

7. Repeat as needed

The Ice Water Technique is a resilience-building exercise that involves submerging your face in a bowl of ice water for a short period.

Foods for Resilience

A woman enjoying her salad

Harvard brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, has proven that 90 seconds is all it takes to identify an emotion and allow it to dissipate as you simply notice it.

Life involves an immense number of challenges, meaning we need the ability to deal with challenges quickly without long-term damage.

Unfortunately, too many face adversity when their health is already depleted, impacting their capacity to cope and well-being. When consuming the best foods for resilience, you are able to bounce back from events that may keep you down. Think of resilience in terms of a health bank account. You want to accrue a decent amount of savings! There is a lot to consider when eating for resilience, but try to focus on the following key overarching factors:

Therefore, the power to move through and overcome your emotional stress response lies in your ability to firstly experience and acknowledge the emotion, then break the stress circuitry through awareness, challenging the need to keep the emotion online. Consider, if the emotional response has helped you meet a need, then it has done its job and you can let go and move on.

  • Stay hydrated

  • Balance blood sugar

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Support the immunesystem

  • Eat an overall nutrient-rich diet

  • Fortify your brain and nervous system

  • Cook food from scratch as much as possible

List of Nourishing Resilience Foods

1. Spinach

Dark leafy greens such as spinach contain a payload of nutrients supporting health. They’re a rich source of antioxidants that boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, like vitamins A, C and E. An array of B vitamins bolsters energy levels. It also contains phytonutrients that have anti-cancer properties.

2. Pumpkin

One of our favourite winter vegetables, pumpkin contains cucurbitacins, which halt the enzymes that lead to inflammation. They are also great sources of immune-supportive vitamins A and C.

3. Mushrooms

Medicinal and culinary mushrooms are some of the best foods for resilience for

many reasons! They offer us a number of minerals and vitamins that support the

nervous system and immunity, such as B vitamins and Vitamin D. They’ve been

shown to have anti-cancer properties, plus they have unique immune-boosting

and modulating polysaccharides called beta-glucans that dial our immune system

up or down as needed. We like using shiitake and cremini mushrooms in cooking

and Chaga and reishi as culinary adaptogens in teas, elixirs, and tinctures.

4. Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are highly anti-inflammatory. Omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA, are crucial for brain and nervous system development and our mood. It also contains protein for gut healing and repair, as well as Vitamin D for good immune function and autoimmune disease prevention. If you’re trying to eat healthfully on a budget, canned sardines and anchovies are also a great choice.

5. Eggs

Eggs are an incredibly nutrient-dense source of protein, anti-inflammatory and blood sugar-balancing omega-3 fats, Vitamin D and Vitamin A for immunity, B vitamins for energy and sleep, as well as the antioxidant selenium. Since the brain is more vulnerable to oxidative damage, consuming antioxidant foods can help protect and preserve the brain. They also contain choline, a nutrient that supports the nervous system, improves mood, and helps produce neurotransmitters.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is easy to find at most grocery stores and contains many compounds that aid resilience. It has multiple nutrients that bolster bone health, like calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K. It also contains fibre for good digestion, as well as antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli contains anti-inflammatory compounds and also helps us with detoxification.

7. Fermented Vegetables

Fermented foods like pickles or sauerkraut are loaded with probiotics, which introduce favourable bacteria into the digestive tract and help to fortify the intestinal lining. As 70% of our immune system is found in gut tissue, fermented foods can help boost immunity. The fermentation process also increases the amount of nutrients and decreases phytic acid, a compound that inhibits our digestion.

8. Bone Broth

Meat-based broths are rich in protein for repairing tissues, boosting immunity, and bolstering energy and hormone balance – and contain health-building fats that support cell membranes, joint health, and the brain. They’re also very simple to digest, hydrating, and rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Plus, it’s so easy to enhance broths with more nutrition by adding vegetables, herbs, spices, sea vegetables, medicinal mushrooms, or culinary adaptogens.

9. Sweet Potato

We absolutely adore this humble root vegetable because it has so many nutrients, including carotenoids that support eye health, Vitamin C for immunity, anti-inflammatory compounds, and a wealth of antioxidants like anthocyanins. Sweet potatoes help to support digestion, and their fibre content aids blood sugar levels.

10. Onion and Garlic

These aromatic, sulphur-containing vegetables are rich in anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help us reduce pain, bolster immunity, support heart health and inhibit carcinogens. They are great for fighting colds and flu and are very budget-friendly.

11. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate can be an incredibly nutrient-rich food to add to your diet, depending on the type of chocolate you choose. Good quality dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, bliss-inducing chemicals, magnesium for relaxation, bone health and heart health, and healthful fats that aid satiety, blood sugar balance, hormones, and vitamin and mineral absorption.

12. Raspberries

This member of the berry family has a wealth of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, and is an outstanding source of fibre. Raspberries have been studied for their anti-cancer properties, as well as their role in mitigating obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Use raspberries in smoothies, smoothie bowls, homemade popsicles, and kombucha, and, of course, you can always eat them straight up. If you don’t like raspberries, there are many other berry varieties you can add to your resilience eating.

13. Apples

We love apples because they are widely available, inexpensive, tasty, portable and last for a while when stored properly. Apples are packed with Vitamin C and fibre, and they greatly benefit the cardiovascular system. Recent research shows that the polyphenols in apples help to support the beneficial bacteria in the colon and positively impact the gut microbiome, which is essential for digestive, immune and mental health.

14. Avocado

Avocados contain nourishing fats that help balance our blood sugar levels, mood and hormones, and support our nervous system function. They also have Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, a stress-fighting B vitamin that helps us manage stress. Use avocado in classic ways like guacamole and avocado toast, or take advantage of the creamy texture and incorporate avocados into chocolate pudding or dairy-free ice cream.

15. Ghee

We are huge fans of ghee, which is a traditional food used in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking. It’s full of beneficial fats that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, support digestion and help in maintaining a healthy weight. Ghee is very easy to make at home (and it’s much less expensive!).

A person preparing healthy foods

“Dietary patterns, as well as single nutrients and diet variety, have a significant effect on cognitive function and specific cognitive domains, such as memory and processing speed.” ~ Journal of Brain Health & Clinical Neuroscience, Volume 14, 2020

If you're looking for nutrition guidance, you can schedule a Kinesiology and Coaching session with Katherine Anderson.

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