You’re on vacation. The sun is yellow and glistening in the blue sky. You walk around local shops and stores. You take your time walking along the street. You have pleasant conversations with the store owners and passerbys you meet. It’s a weekday, and most of the restaurants have yet to open.
Suddenly, your stomach gurgles!
A pang in your left side develops and the experience quickly turns.
Now you feel miserable, anxious, and sporadic in your thoughts. You don’t notice the clear sky or the people smiling as you walk by. Your feet are tired and your low back is aching. Your stomach keeps gurgling like a motor boat.
As much as you try to regain your Presence, it is impossible.
You are “hangry!”
If you have had a similar experience, you are not alone. Our world has been plagued by “hanger” since the beginning of time. There is a physiological basis for why your Brain and Body decide to behave in this manner.
From a basic survival perspective, it makes sense that your demeanor becomes more aggressive and straight-forward in this state. You need to find food to survive! Back when it was life or death, thank goodness we had Nervous Systems that could take control of our situation to obtain the food necessary for our survival. This is actually a beneficial response, a trait that has been naturally selected over thousands and thousands of years.
The only issue is now that we are living in the 21st century food is more readily available on this planet than it ever has been. Why then, do we still maintain this aggressive, unpleasant trait?
The inconvenient answer is that although there is more food available, we are less fit and adaptable than we were back then. We don’t walk 20 miles a day on average with fasting for long periods of time during this traveling. Now, we are lucky to get 5 miles a day and the “normal” is to eat three meals (sometimes with light snacking in between). This is not the behavior that our Nervous Systems evolved from.
Since the agricultural revolution, grains and sugars are a “stable” food in our society. It’s deeply embedded and it hasn’t been until recently that people are beginning to understand the negative effects of eating so much sugar, carbs and gluten. It is too much. It is inflaming our systems. This constant surplus of carbos and sugars puts us in a single metabolism state. It’s no wonder our Mind goes monkey everytime our blood sugar begins to drop. It has forgotten that there are other means for energy besides sugars/carbs.
As such, many of us have a poorly adaptable metabolism – namely, our livers seem to be not very good at switching from sugar to fat burning mode. We have two main metabolisms for good reason, but we are only using one based on the decisions we are making.
Being “hangry” doesn’t have to be a regular part of our lives; we just have to ask ourselves if we are willing to make the decisions necessary to be more adaptable.
Are we willing to receive Chiropractic and other wholistic care to keep our Mind-Body’s aligned and centered?
Are we willing to take steps to challenge our metabolism to function better?
Are we keeping track of the times when we are irritated or down-hearted and correlating them with our blood sugar levels?
These are all very real and useful questions for those of us who embrace mindful practices such as meditation or yoga. The point I always like to make as a Chiropractor is that the Nervous System is connected to everything! Your moods, emotions, physiologic states, heightened consciousness, physical sensations, so on and so forth, the nerves are the network for your experience of reality – both internal and external.
The simple fact is this: when your body is not used to switching to fat burning mode, your Nervous System gets irritated. It has to reactivate pathways that it is not used to using. In a way, it creates a low level state of panic. Lower centers of your brain (brainstem & hypothalamus) begin to light up to drive your Nervous System into survival mode. As a reflection of this, your personality (ego) is more easily agitated. This is because your number one primary focus is to get survive! At least, this is the perspective that your Nervous System holds.
Chiropractic care is all about helping the Nervous System become more adaptable. When there is good “nerve flow” to the liver and digestive organs, the brain gets good feedback and is less surprised. It is able to “see ahead” and prepare for drops in blood sugar and metabolic changes. The channels have to be open though, there has to be proper messaging between the brain and the body.
Chiropractic is an invitation to a real-time, conscious relationship between our Mind and our Body. When the two begin to sync up – I like to call them the Mind-Body – they truly work together for our benefit. We can do things like intermittent fast, which is a valuable tool to move our Body back towards its evolved two metabolism system (sugar/carb & fat burning). Instead of counting carbs and doing all sorts of ridiculous diet gymnastics, we simply take a breath in and sense what nutrients our Body is craving (or at least we know what foods are actively causing us inflammation and metabolic stress).
When we begin to develop “somatic” awareness (of our Body), it is much easier to create the changes we need to. Healthy decisions lead to a healthy Lifestyle. One of the healthiest decisions you can make is to get your spine and Nervous System check so that you can improve your somatic awareness … and yes, be less “hangry.”