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Tender Vittles

June 30, 2023

Sometimes I call myself Tender Vittles. It’s commonly known as a cat food from the ‘70s, but I feel it more as a state of being. Tender. Less Vital. Vittle.

When I am Tender Vittles, I feel as though someone has taken out all my bones. I’m very wilty and slothy. Waif-like.

Turns out a lot of this has to do with my microbiome. Which at first blush sounds like a geodesic dome in the future that people will live in. It’s not. It’s more the space in our digestive system where microscopic organisms thrive, die, and dwell.

Apparently there is a supersonic connection between our gut and our brain. Like the phone line between allied countries.

Harvard Medical Health puts it this way: “The connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected.”

Then, get this, “up to 95% of our serotonin – the neurotransmitter largely responsible for regulating mood – is manufactured in the gut,” says gut nutritionist Kristy Regan. “If gut imbalance reduces how much serotonin is made or delivered to the brain, we may experience depression or anxiety.”

For those of us with tilty minds where anxiety, depression and other tough moods are commonplace, that’s a handy thing to know. Our minds can be less sad and less scared if our intestines are healthy. Similarly, our tummies will be less scrunchy if our minds don’t invent and pile on unnecessary stress.

(Sidenote. I think I have invented a new word. It’s called UnStressessary. Which means unnecessary stress. One of my tiktok followers said she is considering tattooing that new word on her body somewhere as a constant reminder.)

I think if we can let go of all our unstressessaries, our gut will be happier and then of course so will it’s side kick the brain.

There are books and blogs and podcasts galore about this. And they are worth delving in to if your tummy aches or if you’re feeling Tender Vittles. Here are a few that I’ve been scouring:

Wishing you a healthy microbiome, freedom from unstressessaries, and just plain joy.