Combe Grove’s Five Roots of Metabolic Health
The Five Roots of Metabolic Health form the foundation of Combe Grove’s Metabolic Health Retreat. Achieving a healthy balance in each of these areas may help you to regain and maintain homeostasis within your body and enhance your metabolic health. The basis of Combe Grove’s Five Roots is our connection to the natural world; we believe in the value of spending time outdoors, creating a supportive environment and nourishing ourselves with natural food. The visual representation of the roots refers to resilience, nurture and consistency. These roots will anchor your tree, preventing it from becoming imbalanced. Deficiency in one root, such as sleep, could cause imbalances in the other roots, for example, mindset. We believe in nurturing the whole.
What do we eat and drink?
Consistently making informed choices of what we eat and drink can reduce our blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic health. To achieve this, The Combe Grove Food Ethos recommends a focus on real food that is low in carbohydrates and rich in protein and natural fats. Nutrition is the tap root, the most vital within metabolic health. Type 2 diabetes often starts with what we consume. The other roots have an impact on our nutrition root. For example, if we have poor sleep, it can affect the food choices we make the next day, meaning an increase in complex carbohydrates to boost energy quickly. Food can have an emotional connection; if we feel sad or stressed, we may seek comfort in the food we consume. Ultimately, nutrition is the primary root to supporting metabolic health and the key link to where disease starts, in the gut.
How – and how often – do we move our bodies?
Physical activity plays a key role in the management of metabolic health by improving insulin sensitivity, lowering inflammation and reducing the accumulation of fat in the abdominal cavity. Furthermore, it aids flexibility, coordination, increases the speed of the metabolism, helps us manage stress and support healthy sleep. Exercise can also bring us outdoors into nature giving us fresh air, sunlight and relaxation. Movement, as a root, can improve sleep quality by balancing the circadian rhythm in the body.
At Combe Grove you will have access to the gym, swimming facilities, tennis, walking, yoga and classes to support your movement root.
How much sleep do we get, and of what quality?
Lack of, and disrupted sleep, has been linked to poor metabolic health both directly, by causing an increase in insulin resistance, and indirectly by increasing the likelihood of unhelpful lifestyle choices such as sedentary behaviour and poor diet. Sleep allows your body to rest and restore. It also allows your body to repair itself due to hormonal growth factors, as well as detoxing the brain, improving cognitive function and forming memories. Sleep also creates a healthier mindset, giving us the mentality to move and eat well. In the morning, blue light stimulates the mind and activates melatonin, a hormone within the body, which aids your circadian rhythm. In modern-day we have access to so much technology, especially mobile phones, which have an adverse effect on our sleep patterns causing us to stay awake for longer due to them emitting blue light. It is advised that to improve sleep quality and establish a consistent sleep pattern, you should ensure that your bedroom environment is free from technology where possible and that you have time before bed where you avoid anything that causes blue light stimulation.
How do we think and what impact does this have on our mental, and physical, health?
The way that we think can have a significant impact on the way we feel and the actions we take. Your mindset and your beliefs can have an influence on your food choices, how much you move your body and your quality of sleep. Behavioural change and goal setting can improve your connection with each root to gain control and balance, as well as improve your production of dopamine, the reward hormone, which can reduce stress and anxiety. Setting affirmations and using mindfulness tools such as meditation, breathing and creativity are excellent ways to build a positive mindset. This indirectly links to your nutritional root, where a positive mindset can make better food choices and for your movement root; exercise is known to increase your happy hormones.
How do we interact with nature and the world around us?
The way that we interact with our environment can have a profound effect on how we experience the world, with implications for stress management, mood and contentment. A lack of balance in this area can lead to increased stress and inflammation within the body which may aggravate insulin resistance and worsen metabolic health. There are many things to consider with your environment root. This could be your home setting or your workplace for example, but it can also be your support system of family, friends and colleagues. In terms of the environment in supports your nutrition root, some attention should be given to your eating environment. Do you sit on the sofa while eating or do you lay the table and create a beautiful space to enjoy your meals? Do you eat alone, or do you share your mealtime with others?
Another aspect of your environment root is your work/ life balance. If your work takes precedence, it could create more stress and fatigue. Taking time for self-care to balance out your work and social life gives you moments to reflect and reset your battery.