With Clara Bailey
Guts and Girl Bits Podcast Episode #43
I am joined with the ever graceful and wise Clara Bailey from Mediatrix Wellness. In this episode Clara shares her wisdom about elemental eating – how you can gain health and peace with your diet by eating in alignment with the elements.
You will learn what the elements represent and support in your body, what foods and eating practices can increased or reduce certain elements.
We also chat about intuitive eating, and how this practice can help to reduce binge eating, emotional eating and can help you to build a beautiful relationship with food.
When you combine elemental eating with intuitive eating, it is a recipe for long lasting health.
Have a listen here on on the embedded player below.
Links we mentioned:
Get in touch with Clara:
You can find her on Instagram @clarabailey__ and her website is mediatrixwellness.com.au .
Clara creates cycle awareness resources for her newsletter community, called the Moon Times which you subscribe to over at the website.
Alison Mitchell 0:08
Hi, everyone, you’re listening to Guts and Girl Bits. I’m Alison Mitchell, a practicing naturopath. I hope to share with you all sorts of information about women’s health and digestive health, to educate and empower you to make informed choices about your own. Please remember that all information is general and does not replace consulting with your practitioner.
Hey, everyone, I’m joined today with Clara Bailey, and we’re going to be talking about elemental eating, which is a really interesting topic. Most people would have probably seen lots of different recommendations for diet out there in the interwebs. But how do you know what’s right for you? Well today that’s what we’re going to find out and actually understanding the different characteristics that you have and then the different characteristics that different types of foods and herbs can have can mean that you can actually really individualize and personalize your, your eating to get the best health. Thanks so much Clara. I’m so excited to have you here.
Clara Bailey 1:10
Thank you for such a succinct summary of what is a big topic.
Alison Mitchell 1:15
I mentioned it is going to be a bit of a big topic, but we’ll do our best. Can you give us a little bit of a bio about yourself and a bit of a background for those who haven’t heard of you before?
Clara Bailey 1:27
Yes, so I am like you, a naturopath and herbalist. I’m also a fertility awareness educator. And I’ve been in practice six years now and I am clinically focused on women’s health, people with uteruses health and have a big love for really bringing or the keeping the traditional side of our craft alive and balancing it with all I mean, I feel like there’s a lot of great voices advocating for the science side but these more traditional things not so much. So that’s okay. Yeah, strong part of what I do and who I am.
Alison Mitchell 2:08
I love that. And I definitely think that such a important area to bring back into the world of naturopathy. Because we are, we’re our own profession and having that connection to our traditional knowledge and wisdom is really important. And that’s how we’ve had such success for so many years. So if we’re merging into a new paradigm, then it’s not going to do anyone any favors in the long run. And I know that I was trained when I was trying to UWS it had a big, big science background and elements. So when I was a new graduate, that was, you know, where my head was at, whereas the more that I’ve been practicing them, the more I want to really get back into those grassroots concepts.
Clara Bailey 2:55
Yeah, and it’s just so relevant, it’s Yeah, it’s like come through the canon of thousands of years and it’s, you know, so much richness there to reapply to a modern concept, modern context.
Alison Mitchell 3:09
For sure. And so this topic that we’ll be covering today, elemental eating, does touch on a lot of those things as well. It goes back to some of the things that, you know, it’s really hard to actually identify in scientific literature and that is a bit like a constitution or a personality type. Is it possible for you to just give us a brief overview of what is elemental eating before we start getting into the nitty gritty?
Clara Bailey 3:35
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I mean, my first exposure to this even concept of elemental eating was actually as a teenager, I was really into Latino like magical realism books, like the Gael Garcia Marquez and Laura Esquivel and Isabella Lunday, like it’s this whole beautiful body of literature where they just described things with such richness and it was a book code ‘Pomegranate Soup’. And it was going into Zoroastrianism like one of the, like, one of these family members knew these like Secrets of the kitchen, to like, keep the family together and so that big fights wouldn’t roll out. So one of the sisters was very hot headed. And when she was, you know, in one of the moods she would know, to make cucumber yogurt and soup for dinner that night, and it would mean that, you know, that would keep the peace in the family and then, you know, another family member who was very quiet and introverted, you know, when she was getting too much like to that way she would, you know, want to make like fiery, passionate dishes. And so, then when I was doing my naturopathic training and it was, you know, like Indian medicine, Ayurveda and Arabic medicine and Persian medicine had this, you know, there was no, there was a lot of fluidity between food and the home and then medicines. I just loved that concept so much. And this idea of your kitchen becoming your apothecary. So I just always had that lens and that antenna up with anything that referenced that through my training. And then it just put a lot of that to practice and find it to be this really beautiful, intuitive language to talk to people because we all know what you know, something that cold or hot or dry, or moist is so instead of talking about in these overly clinical terms, so the overture to it.
Alison Mitchell 5:36
For sure, and that’s really interesting as well, because, as you mentioned, there’s principles in things like Ayurvedic medicine, and even in Chinese medicine as well, because there’s a lot of talk about the different sorts of constitutions and health patterns that you can have there were like in a beta, there’s the Vata and the Pitta and the Kapha. And then the blends of those and in Chinese medicine in TCM, there’s different elements including things like, like metal, but I haven’t really looked into much of Persian medicine before. What are some of the differences with that?
Clara Bailey 6:12
Well, it’s more actually attuned to the Western, like our Western traditional medicine, I guess, having that similar. They stem from like the Greek, the Greek humoral idea. So humoral meaning that they used to organize their understanding of medicine, and health, according to hot, cold, dry and damp or wet. And so then scholars stayed in Greece and developed those ideas and that sort of brought us to the age of, you know, like Galen, which then really is what we have inherited in our lineage, and then parts of that went off, and it really got, you know, through the Arabic system so their spices and then mixes and all of that, and their cuisine is just often really grounded in those concepts.
Alison Mitchell 7:07
Okay, so that then again, translates into what you were saying as well with the kitchen pharmacy where you can actually heal yourself a lot with the food that you’re eating and, you know, blend up your little potions in the kitchen to do that.
Clara Bailey 7:22
Yeah, exactly. And, yeah, and that, that the kitchen was this like invisible force of wellness. And yes, that and that cookbooks were just as much like, you know, almost spell books, but also medical handbooks back at that time. And it was really Herbs and spices that were forming the baseline of all of that.
Alison Mitchell 7:47
You know, I see a lot of these recipes come through and these pictures of inspiration for clean eating and low carb eating and all of these other forms of eating that’s meant to be health protomoting. But the things that get me excited the most is when you see these herbs and spices actually putting the flavor into it. And that’s what really just drives that healing component. And I think that you can get carried away with counting calories, but it’s not going to bring you health. It’s the nutrients those phytonutrients and there’s different aspects in there. But also the energy of it, isn’t it? It’s which is where it comes down into elemental eating. And we’ve forgotten all about that. It’s something that we probably have done intuitively and you said it before, just just remembering, isn’t it because it’s ingrained in us. So we have to do more intuitive eating in that regard.
So let’s just talk a little bit about the constitutions and the different sorts of categories that people could fall into, to understand then what they need to eat.
Clara Bailey 9:00
Yeah, for sure. So I work off…. So this is very much my remix of taking in lots of different traditional systems of medicine. I’ve just tried to get rid of all the, you know, terms that don’t necessarily mean like a lot of Ayurvedic terms, when you’ve been studying it, they become second nature. But for most people, it ends up sounding like you are speaking another language. So I just go off fire, water, air, fire, earth and ether, ether being the element of space. It’s sort of that expansive… the thing that everything is within. So that’s often like a trickier concept to get your head around the others easy.
First element – water. So wetness, it is associated with winter, and it is when it’s out of balance, like as it would show up in the body. It can present in two ways, one is when there’s an excess loss of fluids. So excess sweating. You know, cases where like for people who just can’t like they just need to go to the bathroom all the time, they like bladders just don’t seem to hold on to anything. Or it’s the opposite where your body is not getting rid of water. So you become it’s like quite a stagnant state. It’s feeling like it’s like water retention and also the body not being able to release its metabolic byproducts. So that can end up manifesting in quite like a stagnant state.
So people who have got like water, you know, a lot of water in their constitution would know that when they’re out of sorts or out of balance, they might tend to one of those sort of patterns of imbalance. And with you know, a line tool that it can also be people who are prone to like a lot of mucus, so sort of like sinus, the issues, if they get sick, the phlegm just seems to stick around for a long time.
And they can also it can also feel like it’s difficult to shift weight for these people. It’s like that more like, clinically, clinically we talk about people who have like lower metabolic rate, whether that’s naturally or it’s actually been caused by a deeper imbalance. But this is all sort of associated with the water element. It’s also the most if we’re talking about yin yang it’s also the most Yin element of them all so it’s very, it’s very introverted and it’s a it also I mean, water is a real seat of emotions as well. So I mean, if people there’s a lot of astrological associations with all these elements as well it’s like the really like the Pisces, and difficulty moving fluid out of the body can be these people’s sort of Achilles heels.
So foods that are really good when you’re in this sort of sense of, when this is out of balance is you want foods that are going to give you structure. So we talked about this more like a mouthfeel, rather than a flavor like astringent foods. And also foods that can help like alter the metabolism help the body to eliminate waste and herb term used for that is alternatives. So spices that are really wonderful for this is as we’re talking about before and Iranian spice called sumac, which is used a lot with lamb and in rice dishes and it’s when you have too much of it, it will make your mouth pucker, that’s the astringent taste or when you leave a cup of tea for too long and a lot of the tannins get extracted.
Alison Mitchell 13:01
Is it like pungent?
Clara Bailey 13:03
Pungent is slightly different, pungent like is what like diffuses across the tongue like mustard or black pepper. This is what we can imagine eating a really green banana. And it’s sort of like, ‘TSK. or an unripe apple.
Alison Mitchell 13:15
Ah, okay. Yeah. So real puckery, dry.
Clara Bailey 13:21
Almost sour, yeah. But it sort of pools tissues together. And all your alteratives which sort of, these herbs that can help give the body a hand at eliminating waste. And so things that are really simple that a lot of people would know about in that category of things like nettles, and dandelion, and violets and chickweed and your red clovers. So yeah, both of those. Those elements are really helpful when that’s about and also seaweed, seaweeds are fabulous. Especially if you’re losing a lot of fluids and salts. electrolytes are really important for these people, or if you’re in this kind of imbalance.
And then next element is the element of air. And when that is out of balance, we get a state of dryness. And so that’s dryness of skin, of the membrane. So feeling like constantly thirsty feeling like you’ve got to really know like dry nose. It can also manifest in like, dry, like poppy, creaky joints, and also tending towards more constipation or difficulty passing stools.
With these, when you’re in this state, it’s all about nourishment, getting water and oils into the, into the cells. So, I mean, you can get into a state of dryness through like after a period of a lot of like pushing yourself too hard. Or just you know, possibly not nourishing yourself. Liking Would you just feeling like a bit with it and like we just want to get beautiful nutrients into all those cells. So fluid of course is really important here, but also tonic oils, so lots of lovely healthy things like all your Omegas, your hemps, your hemp oil, fish oils, evening primrose oils, and with your Herbs you want, we’ve got this beautiful class of Herbs called the emollients and the mucilage containing herb. This is really beautiful, particularly if you are tending towards constipation. So these are Herbs are plants that when they’re exposed to water, they become beautiful and slippery. So these are things like marshmallow root and you slippery elm and flax seeds. And so bringing those into the diet can remarkably help with all those symptoms and bring that back into balance. And often I’ll say Here you often get these elements and combinations so you know you can get that real like dryness from heat in the summer just you know if you’ve you know been exposed to too much sun and your skin’s feeling like dried out but also equally if you’re in a, you know, a deep winter and in the mountains that can be incredibly drying as well.
So, yeah, nutrients, nutrients, nutrients and sweet tonics as well. So a lot of our herbs that we love are adaptogens so, you know, your liquid dishes and your American ginseng and Siberian Ginseng, like when you taste these, these are all really sweet. And the sweet flavor connotes that it’s building and nourishing. It’s why kids love the sweet flavor so much, because they’re just doing so much building.
So yeah, that’s often a nice thing to talk to people about like sweet foods, but naturally sweet foods like your sweet potatoes and putting lots of olive oil on there.
Alison Mitchell 16:59
Yeah, and in constitution’s the hot and dry constitutions in Ayurveda they often recommend putting oil on topically as well as part of their daily practice. Do you think that to ya know for especially for these kind of people.
Clara Bailey 17:16
Yeah doing an even this is so lovely to do is like herbal infused oils. So if you’ve got like that real dry heat like you just said like doing a rose sesame oil is like cooling but nourishing.
Alison Mitchell 17:31
If you’re tending to that like cold dry, you might want to put more like, more like your mugwort so your gingers are sort of as more warming notes to oil. And that would be beautiful massage to have in in winter with all of those.
Clara Bailey 17:50
And doing it before… in Ayurveda they talk a lot about doing that before getting into like a warm bath and it just sounds very luxurious and beautiful. Beautiful.
Alison Mitchell 18:01
Sesame oil is so nutritive. It’s so full of antioxidants. That would be lovely thing for someone with dry skin. In my infant massage classes we recommend sesame oil as been one of the best ones to use because it has got so many benefits for dry skin and healing eczema in little bubby’s and provides so many nutrients. So it just fits all those kind of things that you said have a dry constitution. So just needing needing nutrients and making the soothing.
Clara Bailey 18:32
Yes, and I yeah, exactly internally and externally. And I mean, yeah, and I mean I love how you can like dial up and down dial down this perspective on like little bubs like a little bug that’s quietly you know, eczema just like giving like the parents like an idea, okay, like little one is just in a state of dryness, just think about moisturizing and it just reframes things in a nice way. I find.
Alison Mitchell 18:59
Yeah, as opposed to ‘there’s a disease state’ and you get fixated or worried, as opposed to getting worried about a specific diagnosis, understanding that all humans, all people have fluctuations in their health at all times in the elements sites. And so it’s bringing you back to balance.
Clara Bailey 19:18
Yeah, that’s it. And yeah, any like becoming attuned to the environment like okay, like if we’ve got like the heater on or not, you know, if it’s like quite a dry environment, like considering all of that, as well.
Alison Mitchell 19:32
Clara Bailey 19:35
So after air, we’ve got the fire, the fiery constitutions, so that’s associated with more when it’s out of balance, excess heat and inflammation in the body. And, you know, the season that a lot of us will often experience you know, at least a little bit of this is of course in high summer, and something about people who have got that more fiery constitution and in Ayurveda they talk about the pitta, pitta constitution. And if you fall into this category, like, you know, there’s so many great qualities about, you know, a fiery constitution – they’ve like a lot of focus and determination and action, like fiery constitutions are great at taking action.
But if we sort of stay, you know, in that, constantly taking action and wearing ourselves out, that can be that, you know, wearing out, you know, too much heat in the body, too much inflammation that’s not being cooled and calmed. And in like a health context, like, these people are sort of more prone to allergies and, you know, insomnia which you know, in an energetic framework is just like too much activity in the entire nervous system and in the body and you know, things like skin rashes, loose stools, that kind of that kind of thing and sort of you can intuitively sort of Know what these kind of people need they need to be cooled down they need to have that you know potential irritation frustration like dissipated and grounded. So ways we can do that with food is emphasizing sour and bitter flavored foods. So things I mean and then also just things that have really cool in nature so anything green like cucumbers, melons, yoghurt. I mean the herbs and spices that are brilliant to reach for are like anything like mints, dill, like dill seeds are super cooling and Rose I just say like rose everything when you know you’re in like an exacerbated heated state. And, and then things like you know, things to pop in your tea pot would be things like licorice and chamomile and lavender and lemon balm, like it’s just about that. Yeah, creating a cool and calm environment for these people. When they’re a bit out of sorts, and it’s also super important, something I love to tell my fiery constitutional, you know, clients is taking time to rest, reset and recharge is super important. So yeah, that’s, that’s fire.
Alison Mitchell 22:20
Those all sound like delicious foods and I love the idea of including rose into your diet, something that so many people wouldn’t think to do.
Clara Bailey 22:27
I know I will actually say fire is my very much my constitution and I used to live up in northern New South Wales, which is like a very hot, hot climate when I first moved there, I didn’t quite know how I was going to get through my degree. So that’s where I went to train. And I discovered getting a coconut, like a fresh coconut. And I put a nip of rosewater in that and some mint leaves and lemon balm leaves from my garden and that cooled me down like nothing else.
Alison Mitchell 22:57
That sounds amazing.
Clara Bailey 22:59
Yeah, and then the electrolytes and the coconut water was just yeah, it was like my special cool and calm down remedy. And even, you know, speaking of like, you know, people going through that menopausal transition can often get like, you know, these exacerbated heated states and keeping a spritzer of rose water in your bag, when you know, a hot flash comes past is such a lovely thing to do as well.
Alison Mitchell 23:28
Hmm. And I love that you said that because it really opens up that discussion of how many conditions have a heat element to it. But like going even beyond a constitution beyond the person, there are things that can alter you that you want to be driving down that heat. So using that sort of spritzer would be really good for all sorts of hot heated conditions.
Clara Bailey 23:52
Yeah, especially hot, overheated little children too, that can be a nice one.
Alison Mitchell 23:57
Clara Bailey 23:58
Yeah, to cool them down. And yeah, so that’s Fire.
Alison Mitchell 24:03
Beautiful. Yeah. And then do you recommend more raw or cold foods for these constitutions?
Clara Bailey 24:12
Yeah. If you’re like, if you are very fiery temperament, then you’re you are constitution that’s going to be able to handle more raw food than other constitutions. Yeah, and if you’re in a really imbalanced state of too much fire, then yes, leaning towards rawness is helpful there.
Alison Mitchell 24:30
Yeah, so something like a, you know, a cucumber soup or as you were talking about before, like a raiita with a yogurt and cucumber in it might be might be a nice option with some mint or dill throughout it.
Clara Bailey 24:43
And like a gaspacho.
Alison Mitchell 24:46
For some people like that might be handy to have a little fire remedy in the cupboard.
Clara Bailey 24:51
Yeah, exactly. You don’t like if you’ve got a significant other or somebody in your family who’s like a fire like do not serve curry if they’re a bit out of sorts
Alison Mitchell 25:02
Yeah, and that old saying of having a curry or having something spicy would cool you down because it makes you sweat. Does that go a little bit against this concept?
Clara Bailey 25:13
No, no, no, that is true, actually. I mean that that gets like a little bit more into the like deeper… I mean, I forget the term. It’s like a Sanskrit term, but they talk about plants having a primary action in the secondary action. So something like Chilli has a primary action of heat, but it heats so much that it opens up the peripheries like so the sweat glands, so then you sweat and then you cool down. So then it’s got a secondary cooling effect. Something like Turmeric is really heating but it cools down inflammation. So because herbs are just working in these beautiful dynamic ways all the time aren’t they, and so it’s this way like the instinct with it comes in but yeah, to an extent having chilli just to break the heat. Sort of rebalance the constitution can be helpful.
Alison Mitchell 26:03
Almost like a pressing the reset button.
Clara Bailey 26:07
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Kinda like how people go for like this ice, you know ice swimming in the winter and it really like invigorates the whole system and makes them quite resilient.
Alison Mitchell 26:17
Yeah, I have not brought myself to do that. I know there’s a lot of research behind those being beneficial at the moment but yeah, I’m too so much of a loss. I think that I might be a little bit on a colder constitution. So…
Clara Bailey 26:31
yeah, probably know the middle of summer for you to play around with that idea.
Alison Mitchell 26:37
And you were talking about how where you are has a bit of an impact to this too, so I guess, even though you might find that you are a certain constitution or a type. You’re always going to have different experiences within these as well. So you’re not always going to be a wetter type or a dry type or hot type or something like that. Because you might have go traveling and you go, okay, like, I’m actually expressing a little bit more of that. So that’s that’s really good to know too.
Clara Bailey 27:07
Yeah, exactly. Like, we gotta like our base note, and then everything can be like iterated on there, huh? Okay.
Alison Mitchell 27:17
Clara Bailey 27:18
That’s heat, that’s fire and then yeah, and then we move on to the opposite of that, which is Earth and like, coldness is associated with Earth. So this is like, instead of a over function, like, too much expression, this is like his depression of function. Everything’s like a bit of a lowered activity. There’s like an under stimulation going on, and like us, you know, clinicians when we see people like that we’re often be thinking about like, Okay, I’m thinking about, they’ve probably got sluggish circulation or you know, always thinking about like, okay, how’s the thyroid doing because, you know, our thyroids govern you know, that thermostat, you know, in our bodies, and often if we’re tending towards always coldness that would lend to some of those things. But there’s like plenty of things you can do just in your home, that can help just warm up the body. But I mean, when you’re out of balance, and you’re really in that cold state, it’s you know, everything is slow. So feeling like a low mood feeling fatigued, potentially, like slower bowels like tending towards more constipation, cold hands and feet, maybe even like a blue or purple tinge to them. Just again, all that the sort of poor circulation stuff. And often also like brain fog, if you know too much with it are fiery people, they can get maybe a bit hyper focused or over focus, whereas if you’re in that cold state, it’s just hard to get everything sparking and going. And so and we often feel this in the depths of winter don’t really like it’s like, I just am feeling Like, slow and just want everything to spark back up again.
Alison Mitchell 29:06
Clara Bailey 29:07
what we want here is like aromatics and our warming foods. So, like, I mean, basically a nice way to just distill it in a simple way is Chai spices. Oh yeah, put it in a chai pot. So I mean, what do you like to put it in your tie?
Alison Mitchell 29:29
I I tend to have a ready made one but I particularly like cinnamon and cardamon, they’re the flavors that stand out to me, and a little bit of clove.
Clara Bailey 29:38
Yes. Very good. Yeah, clove always gets things moving. Yeah, so yeah, and you’re nutmegs and black peppers.
Alison Mitchell 29:48
I think I’ve got a bit of kapha. I tend to fluctuate between a few of them, but I have a little bit of kapaha, a little bit of pitta. And I think the things that I tend to quite like is your Rosemary and Chilli, like things that are going to be like quite stimulating as well
Clara Bailey 30:05
so that any of those Mediterranean herbs too, so your Rosemary’s and bay leaves, and sage and Oregano are those all superheating I mean, another thing like about a cold state is that there’s that can be that predilection to like getting infections easily like picking up colds and flus, and like having, you know, using all those spices and herbs liberally and your food is such a good way to keep, you know, all those bugs at bay.
Alison Mitchell 30:37
And, you know, I guess, like my understanding of it is that if you’re of a different constitution, it’s not that you have to avoid those spices. It’s more so that they are a particular benefit to other types. Would that sound right?
Clara Bailey 30:51
Sorry, it just it just a little robot move on me.
Alison Mitchell 30:54
Oh no. I’m saying is that, That the feeling that I get is that sometimes it’s not that we have to avoid these spices or foods if you are a different constitution, but just that they are a particular benefit for that particular constitution that we’re talking about.
Clara Bailey 31:13
Exactly. Yeah. And I think, totally, totally Yeah, it’s definitely not creating like, Oh, you’ve got a hot constitution. So avoid all heating spices.
Alison Mitchell 31:23
Clara Bailey 31:24
It’s more like, if you are, if you are hot constitution, and it’s in the middle of summer, like, you’re probably going to enjoy that coconut water with the rose water more than you were going for a really hot steaming cup of Chai. Yeah. Yeah. And then, you know, visa versa, if you’re that cold constitution. So I guess, like, the real guiding principle of all of this is just like, becoming that like, you know, awakening that kitchen, witch if have, like, if you’re feeling really out of balance, you’ve just got this really cool set of principles to draw upon to bring you back into balance, rather than this becoming like Another rule book of how to like structure, you know, your health and well being.
Alison Mitchell 32:04
Yeah, like do this and don’t do that. It’s more about how exactly, and I love that term Kitchen Witch, that is so cool.
Clara Bailey 32:12
Yeah, that’s actually become quite a part of my vocabulary these days actually. I think we all have an inner kitchen witch that lacks to be evoked.
And then and then we put our final element, which is one that potentially doesn’t get used as much when I talk about this often, but it makes complete sense to people but it’s like something that hasn’t been heard as much. At least in western idea.
Alison Mitchell 32:42
I admit it’s not one that is in my line of thinking about constitutions, but I’m so excited to hear what you say about it.
Clara Bailey 32:51
Yeah, so I mean, ether is the element of space. So, like literally just spaciousness, so Like beyond the earth, excellent, you know, expanse. And so when there is a lack of space, in the body, we have tension. And in the Ayuverdic constitutions like Vata is part cold part ether. And that really differentiates them from a kapha, which is part cold part earth. So with that ether element, you know, that can just be that internal tension, it can be that state of like getting cramps and spasms. And, you know, I feel like it’s actually like a pretty, you know, if you live in a city that’s really busy, you were quite predisposed to have an imbalance of this element. Yeah, because it’s just all about the nervous system taking over. And when it’s, you know, has been maybe working a little bit too hard over time. So, I mean, really, and this Yeah, and this is just, it’s equally about like Psychological tension, as it is physical tension with this element.
Alison Mitchell 34:04
It makes so much sense when you do say it. And I remember Dennis Stewart, who’s a herbalist, he says that we’re becoming a vatagenic society. And I guess that’s because Vata is like, you know, high strung and anxious but, but the way that you’re talking about constitution says things a lot more broader than just like, the ayurvedic constitutions that you’ve got all these other things in there and so ether makes so much more sense, because that’s, that’s probably more what’s going on then. Then, what what we just said.
Clara Bailey 34:35
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know about you. I just feel like everyone I speak to with with there’s like this chronic sense of like, lack of time, lack of space, lack of lack, you know, everything’s feeling pressured. And we sort of got like, kind of thing contained from all angles.
Alison Mitchell 34:51
Yeah, I definitely resonate with that one.
Clara Bailey 34:53
Yeah, yeah. And I think Dennis to its right on the money. I see. I think, yeah. People have got to get to the ether imbalance going on? Yeah, maybe that’s why holidays are really good. ..into space.
Alison Mitchell 35:09
Clara Bailey 35:12
So I mean, so there’s like plenty of like, I mean, way to balance this element, I mean, mostly is like doing your best to slow down and like the breath, you know, ether is very much associated with our breath. And if we can, you know, pranayama is so good for bringing ourselves, you know, into balance with this element. And I often see, you know, people who’ve got that very Ethery constitution, they’re the people that often really love, like smoking is potentially more the thing that, you know, is the thing that they like comes from down.
Alison Mitchell 35:47
Clara Bailey 35:48
And that I’ve seen that Yeah, I’ve seen that correlation. Quite a bit. Just kept breathing is just a calming exercise to do and being able to focus on that So, you know, so instead of like tobacco just get taking a moment to do you know, it’s like a simple deep breathing or you can get a bit fancy with some. Yeah, yogic stuff. It’s like a really quick one to do.
Alison Mitchell 36:13
Yeah, there’s so many different techniques. But it’s all so powerful.
Clara Bailey 36:19
But what I like about this elemental way of thinking about it is like, you know, whether it’s like working like as a practitioner and trying to work out like a really nice self care tool kit to, you know, be creating, co creating with a client or if you’re creating your own self care. knowing what’s going to bring that constitution into balance is really cool. So with a cold person, if, you know, they’re in a state of like, mental upset, or feeling a bit out of sorts, you know, their solution might be like, go out into the sun and walk and call a friend or a loved one, versus somebody who’s in that a three, you know, tense state Like, go to a yoga class and make sure there’s plenty of pranayama in there and just like, do what you need to do to feel that space in your body and in your, you know, in your in a world.
Alison Mitchell 37:11
Yeah, that makes so much sense. Like, I know that I often feel so much more relaxed when I you know, just go outside, just sit on the ground.
Clara Bailey 37:21
Yeah, and take your shoes off.
Alison Mitchell 37:24
Yeah, and get some grounding happening.
Clara Bailey 37:26
Grounding get Yeah, like aligning yourself with that elements that you’ve got that, you know, deep constitutional affinity with. And, you know, I mean, it all sounds like, you know, like kind of poetic. But where I find this comes into its own is in this wellness landscape we’re in at the moment, where there’s just so much information and so many lists of things that you can do to self treat. And, you know, but when you overlay it with an elemental framework, things just come into play. life the way you are in that moment, a lot more elegantly and precisely.
Alison Mitchell 38:05
Yeah, that’s beautiful. And it’s also just things that you can just be more empowered about doing as well rather than feeling like the answer is always external.
Clara Bailey 38:14
Yeah, or that the answer is like, it’s because my serotonin is low, and it’s like, I’m having like, an inflamed reaction to gluten. And I can imagine the, like, inflammatory compounds circulating around my body, you know, like, I feel like we’re falling into a little bit of like, of that thinking as a culture. This is like, oh, okay, my fire element is added, like a bit out of balance, like, it’s gonna have some like cooling foods and downtime.
Alison Mitchell 38:42
And I guess, maybe gluten is causing some inflammation, but you don’t have to think about it like that. Because then you tend to get that sort of mind overload and you don’t, you don’t have to get into the nitty gritty of it. That’s, you know, that’s the job of a practitioner to really work out those kinks for you. But even they have All this constitutional stuff, it actually is so powerful, isn’t it? And yeah, gluten might be a factor, but it still comes down to that base level of doing what’s right for you.
Clara Bailey 39:10
Yeah, exactly. And just, yeah, reframing it to be like what is most nourishing to me what is like? Yeah. And then knowing those triggers and yeah, but with that, like having to shoulder the burden of trying to work out what it is when you haven’t had the training for that, and everything can feel like a bit scary. So coming back to the language of our ancestors and the elements I feel is just such a refreshing way to frame it for yourself.
Alison Mitchell 39:41
So it sounds a lot like with ether, there is a lot of things that you can do lifestyle wise, like stretching and breathing. Is there any moves that you’re more beneficial?
Clara Bailey 39:52
Yes. So anything rich in minerals and electrolytes really like and like All those magnesium rich foods because all those minerals is what our nervous system and our muscles need to contract and relax smoothly. So that can be like that can be getting yourself some really beautiful quality salt like a Himalayan salt or Celtic salts or Black River Salt Lake whatever it is like you want like not a table salt and doing you know something like with like avocado on like a toast of your choice with like a nice heavy helping have that like good quality salt. Or like I mentioned before, like the coconut water or anything that’s got a lot of those trace minerals will seaweeds is really helpful. And then anything green like you know, like anything green equals magnesium.
Alison Mitchell 40:48
That’s a great way to remember
Clara Bailey 40:49
basically, yeah, I’ll spare maybe your listeners are going into the geeks, geeky things of chlorophyll, versus haemoglobin. It’s a nice, easy, simple way to, to look at it yet, like you, you know and taking an actual magnesium supplement, if you are in that really eastery state, you know, really tense in your body really feeling tense and stressed in your mind is, you know, such a simple nutrient that can have such like profound impacts quickly. Can’t it.
Alison Mitchell 41:24
Yeah, for sure. I love magnesium and it has such a broad range of actions but very powerful.
Clara Bailey 41:30
Yeah, again, I think it’s so popular now because we are all in this a bit in this state.
And then, yeah, and then just a few other things that are really nice. The ether people is like warm, salty bonds, like having a nice, like Epson salt bath. We’d like not just like a little half cup of Epsom salts like putting in like a good two cups, and maybe even doing like a special Scrub with an oil beforehand. Yes, today.
Alison Mitchell 42:05
That sounds great. And I’ve heard of salt scrubs being kind of a daily ritual been really helpful as a protective thing to, like quite a nice sort of way to, you know, shed off negative energies. And so doing that in the shower could be quite good.
Clara Bailey 42:21
Yeah, that’s something about salt, isn’t it? Whenever I have a really salty bath, it’s, yeah, it’s guaranteed a very deep sleep.
Alison Mitchell 42:31
Pretty, pretty awesome. So I guess that sounds like a really great review of all the different constitutions, but finding out or working out for a person how to actually navigate the foods around there. That takes a little bit of the next step, doesn’t it? And so, what I would love for you to talk about now is how people can eat intuitively.
Clara Bailey 42:55
Yeah. So so the space of intuitive is something that I just discovered recently in the last 12 months. But I really feel like it is just such a missing link or like or a final link, actually. So I mean, it’s basically the principle of reframing the way that you nourish yourself of like aligning your body’s needs with, you know, with your, like spirit and your heart really and allowing yourself like allowing ourselves to, like rely on our instincts rather than trying to work out what we need from our head all the time. So it’s a philosophy that really helps us move away from like, rigid external rules against around like, what’s good or bad, like what’s clean, what’s toxic, you know, all these kind of words that you know, setting up this black and white, which, you know, it can be really easy to get into that thinking especially if you have had food triggers or, you know, changing your diet has actually made a big impact on your healing. And so I just found myself as a naturopath like, wondering, I was doing a lot of good with putting people on therapeutic food plans, but I was beginning to notice people getting maybe a little bit mentally stressed about it, or becoming a bit mentally rigid about it and it impacting other areas of their life. So even though there was all better, and this skin problem, it cleared up for the periods when I’m back on track, you know, there was this, sometimes there was this other element and I have found, you know, this framework has really helped to navigate that and put a really nice set of principles for people to work with to do that final step.
Alison Mitchell 44:45
Yeah, I love that idea. Because I see it too, that people are so afraid of stepping backwards in their health and you know, you’ve got some results in whatever you’re prescribed a particular diet for, but it’s then the next step. That’s that real scary. area, and you do, but you don’t want to cause stress.
Clara Bailey 45:04
So the last thing you want to do, and and we of course want to leave up, you know, our patients are, you know, farther off than before they came in, you know, source. I mean, it’s beyond the scope of this conversation that I know orthorexia is that term for… You know, I believe it’s now I think, just recently, the DSM, which is like that official, psychological framework for making diagnoses has, you know, it’s been recognized as an actual diagnosis, and it’s just the obsession of healthy eating. And, yeah, and I think, you know, as practitioners in the holistic space have got a great responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Alison Mitchell 45:48
Yeah, that’s right.
Clara Bailey 45:50
Yeah. So, I mean, so how this links with elemental framework is that it’s all about it’s all about senses, right? Like instant intuition and coming into learning to listen to our body and then being able to honor its needs rather than, you know, doing what we think our body needs, and then obeying the rules. You know, there’s quite a distinction between those two ways of approaching our wellness. And, you know, there has to be a caveat here because, you know, some people who have got, like celiac disease, or they truly do have, you know, a reaction to a food like that’s different, you know, that’s in a different category here. Or if you know that there’s been like a food trigger, and that, you know, that’s really taking that food out is really what’s allowed you to gain traction on your health. But if it’s more than that, you know, you feel better off those foods. It’s sort of working out what is the new, like, what is that new terrain? Like? How is it about an amount of it that actually is it a threshold thing And so then just taking away this idea of, you know, restriction and a binary model of like, Oh no, I can’t have that ever to being like, No, I am not having that food right now because I know it doesn’t make me feel good, but maybe it will one day. So just like being a bit more fluid at that at all.
And yeah, I mean, really, the essence of it is coming away from rigidity and just coming into what feels nourishing to you right now.
Alison Mitchell 47:32
It’s almost a bit more compassionate to yourself as well isn’t it.
Clara Bailey 47:36
Oh 100% yeah. Yeah, it’s love and compassion. Like that’s, that’s you hit the nail on the head. Yes. I mean, I’m sure do you find this in your practice? Like, I mean, as a culture we have we have so many crazy ideas around food, you know, when you start disentangling what people have absorbed over the years.
Alison Mitchell 48:02
Yeah, I, I’ve seen many different things I’ve been blessed, but it can’t even find that things can get taken a little out of hand. And I probably have seen it less in my patients than just observing things, I’m sure of it. Because, like, that’s when you tend to see people who get the fad diet going on and are preaching it to other peoples in that. So one of the things that I imagine you get asked quite a lot when you’re recommending intuitive eating, is that just this just mean that, you know, I feel like chocolate cake, so therefore, I want chocolate cake. And that’s good for me. And that that sort of thing. Like, does that mean people are going to give into their cravings.
Clara Bailey 48:40
It’s such a good question and it’s one that you can sort of look at it in a few ways. I mean, so one of them is, in the beginning, when you know, taking on an intuitive eating approach with clients, like often I’ll say to them, like, Look, you know, there’ll be a learning period here and it might feel a bit unstable at the beginning. I forget who said it somebody who’s one of the sort of leaders in this intuitive eating movement of that how it’s like a pendulum swinging from diet land to donut land. And when you you know, if you’ve been in a restricted mindset for a long time, when you when you open when you like release the structures, it can be easy to like, you know, swing all the way over to back to that other side. But it’s actually about, you know, trusting in the process and allowing that pendulum to find its middle ground of where it’s happy. So that’s one part of it. And just to anticipate, you know, and, I mean, the whole thing has been like, okay, it’ll the chocolate cake and maybe you won’t feel so great after it. Like, you know, feeling that like, because all of this is about making me feel good. And then the other side of it is if there is you know, some kind of a food is being used as an emotional crutch, if it is, you know, it is something that is reached for if you know, feeling saturon you know, or vulnerable or whatever it may be, then you know, having that compassion with yourself to just see that as a really great signpost like all okay? When I am really, you know, reaching for comfort food, food or volumes of food or you know, it might be I don’t want to eat because I’m feeling x, y and Zed. Like, that gives you a really clear insight into how you’re feeling and feel, you know, working with the guidance and the support of the practitioner that can give you some really nice insights that will help you on ultimately that healing journey and coming to peace with food and, you know, ultimately, you know, functioning at a, you know, happy optimal level. So, it’s it’s, so yeah, again, it just comes back to compassion and a lot of trust as well. I feel trust conversation a lot with people around this.
Alison Mitchell 50:54
Yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting point. But such a good one. yeah, I love that idea. And then.
Clara Bailey 51:02
And just I mean, the final like the final kind of bow that ties all of this together is this concept of and it’s like the final principle in intuitive eating is gentle nutrition. And it’s like, Okay, take that information about what we know, constitutes a great, you know, like great balance of nourishment. Take what you know about what foods like can like alarm your system and what foods you find really calming and nourishing. and use that as your framework and allow yourself to move within it and experiment within it. And you know, if you’ve got that map of the elements and elemental eating, if you’ve got that sense of trust in your body and trust, of just like allowing yourself to enjoy your food and allow yourself to desire allow yourself to, you know, it just, it brings all your senses back online. That’s just part of your well being. So that’s why I just love it as a, as a as a framework to work in.
Alison Mitchell 52:10
I think that sounds amazing. And I’m imagining that if you’ve got a strict diet in front of you, it’s like you’re going on a highway, and you’re going somewhere in a straight line. And it’s not particularly interesting. Whereas you’ve got money said it’s like a map of an area that you can work within. And then you go on this little adventure with your diet and you get to a little bit of an area that is a bit scary or not very comfortable. But then you get to see all these amazing areas of the world that are just so good for you and find the delicious.
Clara Bailey 52:39
exactly, totally , it’s like you got a terrain to explore. And here’s a map.
Alison Mitchell 52:49
And I love the way that it’s all comes down to knowing yourself and knowing knowing what your constitution is and then knowing what tools you can do for yourself. And then Having, like you said that trust and that love and compassion for yourself and having the tools to do all those things with food, but also with your lifestyle as well.
Clara Bailey 53:10
Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Now I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Alison Mitchell 53:15
If people desire to know more about all of these sorts of content, where can they go to get more information on this?
Clara Bailey 53:25
So I really recommend I mean, the, in terms of the intuitive eating, I really recommend the work of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. They’re the ones that wrote the the sort of the seminal book, they’ve pioneered this area. And they’ve got, you know, they’ve got the book and they’ve got like a workbook with like a 10 week kind of journaling self inquiry process. So I would really recommend that I would also really recommend the work of Laura Thomas, who is a dietitian in the UK, and she’s just really fun. And makes all of this really accessible. And she’s written a book called Just Eat It, which released last year. So she’s a really great one too. She probably makes it like a bit more accessible to the millennial generation I feel. And then in terms of elemental eating, Maya Tiwari that’s MAYA TIWARI. She does such a beautiful job with the Ayurvedic side. But she, she breaks it down into these elemental principles as well. And her work is very beautiful and in depth and she has like shopping lists and things that you can keep on your fridge that gives you those elemental frameworks. So he would get some of those that would have you well set up. Okay.
Alison Mitchell 54:49
Well, I’ll pop the links for those in in the show notes.
Clara Bailey 54:53
Alison Mitchell 54:55
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Clara Bailey 54:58
What a pleasure. My pleasure. And it’s been wonderful.
Alison Mitchell 55:03
If people would like to get in contact with you, how can they do that?
Um, so if you’re if you wanted to join my email community, I write a fortnightly newsletter on all these kinds of subjects. You can go to mediatrixwellness.com.au. And there’s, you’ll be able to find a spot to sign up for with that. And I also hang out on Instagram of it. So I’m Clara Bailey double underscore, or then.
Awesome. And you do have a beautiful Instagram and you share valuable tips. So I definitely recommend everyone go and check it out.
So, thank you so much again for all sharing all your wonderful information. It’s been such a lovely time chatting, yes, likewise, and thank you for everything. Thank you.
Yeah, it’s such a pleasure. Alright, well, thank you, everyone. If you’ve enjoyed today, please go on and leave us a review. And if you have anything you’d like to hear about in the future, please don’t hesitate to ask. Right. Thank you everyone. Bye bye
Transcribed by https://otter.ai