PSYCHOLOGY OF OUR PHYSIOLOGYThe Mind in your Gut- Your Gut Brain Axis

The Mind in your Gut- Your Gut Brain Axis

The Mind in your Gut

Functional Nutrition looks at the powerful intersection between food, physiology and psychology. It is truly mind body nutrition. It is the area where everything is interconnected. Our food, our body and our mind. True Mind Body Nutrition is who we are after the food we eat

Where did your Gut originate from?

Someone recently told me that he thought food was important for health but he didn’t believe that it could influence who we are. That’s when I thought I had to write about this before anything else.

Have you ever watched the movie The Parent Trap? Identical twins Hallie and Annie are separated after their parents divorce. Years later, they discover each other at a summer camp.  Hallie and Annie, after fighting and being sentenced to isolation until camp is over, discover that they are twin sisters, who cannot naturally hate each other, as much as they tried. The story goes through them switching places and living each other’s lives with the opposite parent and finally bringing the parents back together, for Hallie and Annie belong together. They’ve discovered in the short while of knowing that they are identical, what upsets one upsets the other, and that they want the best for each other no matter what.

Your gut and your brain are like Hallie and Annie, separated at some point, but identical, and eventually realise that what upsets one upsets the other, or from another perspective, what supports one benefits the other as well!

In early Embryonic stages, the same clump of tissue is the root of your gut and your brain. As the embryo evolves and grows, the brain goes towards the crown and the gut moves to the centre. This doesn’t mean that they are not connected after that. Your brain and your gut are connected via the Vagus nerve. The Vagus nerve is called the Wanderer, and for no small reason, as it wanders through your body, reaching many areas, and controlling a great deal. 

Since your brain and your gut originated from that same clump of tissue, their root is deeply similar. Your brain is then the primary brain and your gut is your secondary brain! Your brain houses the control centre of your nervous system, and your gut is your Enteric nervous system. It has a mind which is profound.

The Vagus nerve connecting the two, creates the deep gut-brain axis. Your Enteric nervous system is located in the tissue around your esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. It controls your entire gastrointestinal function. But this is no small role. 

Being connected to the brain via the Vagus nerve, which is a super highway, how your gut feels impacts your brain, and how your brain feels impacts your gut. This can be both good and bad. This of course means that when you feel angry or depressed, you either cannot eat or your digestion is impaired, and if your digestion is impaired you feel anxious or depressed. But we forget. This also means we have great power. And in the words from Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. 

If we eat responsibly, we have the power in our hands to feel calm, happy and balanced, initiating a powerful mind that works and supports us towards greater goals. If we don’t eat nurturing and nutrition rich food, we can actually harm our gut, and harm our minds. This can make us feel everything from pain to overwhelm, sadness to anger, dejection to exhaustion.

This confirms the Bidirectional movement of the gut brain axis, and explains the psychology of both via the Vagus nerve connection.

Psychology of our physiology looks deep within the space of the mind that exists in our body, and how we can deeply create powerful change using the principles and practices of Functional Nutrition.

Exploring the psychology of our Gut

Creating change through therapeutic food

Your gut and your brain are like Identical twins really. When one gets disturbed so does the other. Remember that feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you have an impending public talk or when a loved one is terribly sick? Remember when you have lunch after a disturbing argument with someone, how you either have a runny tummy or pain afterwards? 

If you explore almost every culture and tradition, prayer before meals was a big part of a family’s lifestyle. Christian homes thanked God for the food they were about to receive. Muslims prayed and their prayer physiologically soothed digestion. Hindus looked at food as part of something greater.

And those who were not religious, spent a moment smelling the wonderful aroma of the food, and really worshipped the flavour.  This sight and smell of food stimulated a nerve impulse that went right upto the Hypothalamus in the brain, which stimulated the Medulla Oblongata, travelled down the Vagus nerve and stimulated more saliva, so the digestive system was ready to receive food. All of these extra few moments spent before a meal, were potent and powerful tools to calm the brain and nurture the gut. That few seconds more gave time to activate digestion. 

So finding an affirmation that works for you personally is a powerful tool for your gut. It need not be prayer. If it is a prayer which is a crutch for you personally, then that’s great. If not try this affirmation…

 “My body heals and strengthens with every bite I take.”

This is a prayer to you. To your gut. To your brain.

So begin to nurture your gut. Understand the psychology of your gut. Know that your gut has a mind. Know that your gut controls your brain and your brain controls your gut. Both are equal partners, and for a truly beneficial relationship, both have to be taken care of equally. 

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind clear and strong

― Buddha


  • Shyam nair

    Dear deepa, An inightful way to picture the gut brain connection . Wonderful work. Keep it up and give it up to the world.

    • Deepa Kannan

      I'm sure Hallie and Annie will help keep it in everyone's mind:-)

  • Uma

    Informative article Deepa ! Thanks :-)

    • Deepa Kannan

      Pleasure Uma! So glad you found that interesting!

  • Aarthi

    Very informative, Deepa. Thanks. :)

  • Dr Sita Bhatt

    Loved the prayer ! So true ... my body celebrates the health I give it through mindful eating. Thanks Dee!

  • Griffith

    Thanks for this wonderful insight Deepa. Confirms a lot of my beliefs. And gives great credence to the old adage "You are what you eat".

  • Rupa Sharat Kumar

    Bang on ! Recent research indicates the same with children with Autism. 90% of children diagnosed with Autism have severe gut issues. I have personally witnessed children recover considerably when their gut issues are addressed.

  • Jackie Cook

    This is a very enlightening article. It's changes the way I think about food. Thanks Deepa!

  • Dwarak Ethiraj

    Good article indeed and will try your recipe soon, However, we have tried various brands of readymade Gluten free flour with little success at Roties and consequently forced to settle for Parata (stuffed type). Any suggestions on the techniques of getting pulkas right?

    • Deepa Kannan

      Yes most of the readymade gluten free flours drive us mad! Try this combination and see. It works really well to roll. I'll also share another combination which comes for phulkas soon. And we have made parathas with this. Try it out and see

  • Bhavna Kaushik

    such an enlightening post.

Comments are closed.

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#testimonial Deepa's detailed approach and calm demeanour makes you feel you are in the hands of a healer. She is extremely knowledgeable and I can lean on her expertise. She answered all my queries. Highly recommend Phytothrive. Deepa has extensive knowledge in functional nutrition and wholistic wellness - her approach is deep rooted and methodical. It was truly life changing for me! I have learned so much from Deepa. I am able to better understand the why's and how's of eating for a healthy mind and body. I had chronic inflammation, insomnia and pain when I started consulting with Deepa. These eight months have been therapeutic in so many ways. I do feel empowered by the knowledge and tools that Deepa has painstakingly explained through her detailed notes and chats. I am really grateful for her guidance.

Sridevi #cleanliving #greenlifestyle #healthmatters #holistichealth #holisticmedicine #intuitiveliving #mindbodygreen #liveinspired #mindandbody #mindfulliving #nourishyourself #mindbodyspirit #nutrition #nutritionexpert #foodasmedicine #integrativenutrition #holisticnutrition #immunityboost #gutbrainconnection #healthyfoodadvice #nutrientdense #nourishtoflourish #microbiome #nutritionbloggers #healersofinstagram #healingjourney #youaremagic #youarepowerful #manifestyourlife @himalayan.yogi @mysleepwhisperer

#cleanliving #greenlifestyle #healthmatters #holistichealth #holisticmedicine #intuitiveliving #mindbodygreen #liveinspired #mindandbody #mindfulliving #nourishyourself #mindbodyspirit #nutrition #nutritionexpert #foodasmedicine #integrativenutrition #holisticnutrition #immunityboost #gutbrainconnection #healthyfoodadvice #nutrientdense #nourishtoflourish #microbiome #nutritionbloggers #healersofinstagram #healingjourney #youaremagic #youarepowerful #manifestyourlife #positiveintentions via @mysleepwhisperer @himalayan.yogi ...

Truth is tricky. It’s so easy to try a new diet or protocol and slip into denial over symptoms that arise. A classic version of this is missing a period after intermittent fasting but trying to ignore it. For a woman your cycle is as vital in information as a lab test!⁣


Have you tried a new diet or protocol and ever convinced yourself that it’s working for you just because you’ve lost a lot of weight? Weight loss has become the highest parameter of efficacy even when there is chaos happening within which can include and not limited to:⁣

💛Frequent headaches ⁣

☸️Dysfunctional cycle⁣

💮Low iron or B12 within few months⁣

💜Frequent fevers and coughs⁣

💛Bad skin⁣

☸️Poor quality of sleep even if you are sleeping nine hours⁣

💮Mood fluctuation that includes anger, sadness and overwhelm⁣


Weight loss should not be enough if all this is happening as well. Health should come before anything else.⁣

#womenempoweringwomen #womenforwomen #womenoftheworld #womenstrong #empowerher #womenofimpact #sheinspiresme #holistichealing #holistichealth #holisticwellness #naturalhealth #naturalwellness #gutmicrobiome #nourishtoflourish #holisticnutritionist #integrativenutrition #foodasmedicine #foodmedicine #eatwholefoods #hormonebalance #hormonehealth #womenwellness #naturalmedicine #integrativehealth #microbiome #eatforhealth #immunityboost #healthyfoodadvice #healthyfoodguide #goodnutrition via @phytothrive_yogini @himalayan.yogi

Fasting is great! But I’m seeing a lot of people who are unable to get benefits from this ancient practice. My guess is that this has a lot to do with sequence, present diet, level of stress and what’s happening within their body.⁣


Some of the indications that the specific fasting approach you are following is not working for you are:⁣

💙Feeling more stressed and having poor resilience to stressors around you. This can include feeling weepy, angry or overwhelmed.⁣

💙Struggling with fatigue and forcing yourself to get through the fasting period irrespective of tiredness, dizziness or giddy.⁣

💙One of the greatest signs of impact is struggling with sleep. This can include inability to stay asleep and not being able to stay asleep for enough time.⁣

💙Not getting a period when you have always had a perfect cycle is a huge red flag. If your body thinks that it’s a state of emergency it shuts off reproductive function and you can miss ovulation and menstruation. I’ve actually heard women say they are happy about missing a cycle but this is really dangerous!⁣


Does this mean fasting is not good? Far from it! I call the fasting approach that I use in practice as Strategic Fasting. This refers to using fasting techniques in specific ways at specific times with specific foods in the feeding window. It can be immensely therapeutic provided you bring it in correctly. ⁣

#womenempoweringwomen #womenforwomen #womenoftheworld #womenstrong #empowerher #womenofimpact #sheinspiresme #holistichealing #holistichealth #holisticwellness #naturalhealth #naturalwellness #gutmicrobiome #nourishtoflourish #holisticnutritionist #integrativenutrition #foodasmedicine #foodmedicine #eatwholefoods #hormonebalance #hormonehealth #womenwellness #naturalmedicine #integrativehealth #microbiome #eatforhealth #immunityboost #healthyfoodadvice #healthyfoodguide #goodnutrition via @mysleepwhisperer @himalayan.yogi

#cleanliving #greenlifestyle #healthmatters #holistichealth #holisticmedicine #intuitiveliving #mindbodygreen #liveinspired #mindandbody #mindfulliving #nourishyourself #mindbodyspirit #nutrition #nutritionexpert #foodasmedicine #integrativenutrition #holisticnutrition #immunityboost #gutbrainconnection #healthyfoodadvice #nutrientdense #nourishtoflourish #microbiome #nutritionbloggers #healersofinstagram #healingjourney #youaremagic #youarepowerful #manifestyourlife #positiveintentions via @mysleepwhisperer @himalayan.yogi ...


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