Hi, I’m Tasha, cannabis writer, advocate, and user, and my goal is to help you improve your gut health, alleviate your IBS symptoms, ease your anxiety, and expand your fitness through mindful use of cannabis along with healthy lifestyle choices. By integrating cannabis into my healthcare for more than twenty years, I’ve learned how to successfully manage my IBS and anxiety, using the plant in its many forms to get rid of inflammation, aid sleep, transform my diet, and achieve physical fitness. The list of benefits is endless, and I want to share them with you. This is what the high road to gut health looks like.
Healing My Gut
My healing process began five years ago when I quit drinking alcohol, and joined a gym. Because I no longer had hangovers to deal with, I had energy and needed to expel it. I chose the gym because I had an ex who lifted weights, and thought, OK, I’ll try that. OMG! What a good decision. I quickly learned that exercise was a great way to manage both inflammation and pain. There have been days when I’m doubled up in pain due to bloating, gas or inflammation but I force myself to go to the gym because I know that by the end of my workout the pain will be gone. It works most times, and on the days when it doesn’t I have a back up: cannabis.
Because fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, I began to also experiment with food as part of my new healthier lifestyle. The fact that I was no stranger to experimenting with food, and had been eliminating a long list of foods from my diet for more than ten years definitely made this part of the process easier. Also, it opened up my world to lots of food substitutes that had been missing from my diet for years, enabling me to finally cut out problem foods (read: donuts) that were the hardest thing to quit. In order to make my own substitute breads and biscuits, I had to brush up on my baking skills, and in the process, found a new passion. Confession: I love to bake, and if you let me, I’d live on cookies.
Cooking with Cannabis
I began experimenting with cannabis cooking a few years ago, and like everyone, I started with cannabutter and brownies. Because I’d been making my own breads and biscuits for a few years, adding cannabutter to the mix wasn’t a big jump for me. Learning how to infuse butter and oils with cannabis took a few attempts, but with a bit of patience, and the right equipment, it became a natural part of my cooking routine. Now, I always have a jar of infused oil or butter in my fridge, and a selection of cookies in my freezer. I spend hours searching for recipes online that I can amend to my dietary needs, and scour whole foods health shops for a wide variety of flavorful and nutrient-dense food. I whip them up into my own recipes like Hazelnut Hemp Cookies, Canna Coffee Brownies and Banoffee Tarts with Salted Canna Caramel.
Now that cooking with cannabis has become more popular, there are recipes and cookbooks popping up everywhere. I’ve bought the books and researched hundreds of recipes online and 99 per cent of them I can’t eat due to my IBS. Thankfully, canna-oils and cannabutter are versatile bases, making it easy for me to adjust the recipes to my needs. I’m a big fan of canna-ghee, which has a rich nutty flavor, and works great with savory dishes, too. I like to melt it on Brussels sprouts but it’s also yum on homemade breads, and I used it last year to make stuffing on Christmas Day, not going to lie, it was divine, tasted like heaven.
However, the best part about cooking with cannabis is the health benefits. A few days after I began eating cannabutter, I notice that my stomach, which has been bloated for years, a classic IBS sign, had softened, and was flatter. As the weeks passed, I noticed more changes, weight loss, better sleep, improved concentration. I noticed that when I ate food, I felt fuller for longer. At the time, I was also upping my commitment to the keto diet, so I credited it for much of the change. But then I started eating cannabis cookies on days when I was in pain due to inflammation, or had indigestion so tight I could hardly sit down, or gas so bad, all I could do was lie down. In each instance, whatever the symptom, the cannabis cookie would relieve it, meaning that within an hour I was fine again, and fit to get on with my day.
Fitness & Diet
No healing journey is complete unless it includes the food you’re putting in your body and what you’re doing to keep you’re body in shape. Because I still had a lot to learn about food when I joined the gym, the first year I lost a lot of weight, and the second year I put it all back on and then some. For the next three years, my weight fluctuated wildly as I tried different diets, all the while eliminating foods that sparked my IBS symptoms. My diet is now a modified version of keto because keto-approved foods like mayonnaise, pesto, and olive oil trigger my IBS. I use butter and lard for cooking, and have replaced sugar with cocoa, drinking it in black coffee, adding it to breads and biscuits. My go-to drink is hot water, which I drink all day.
When I’m not at my desk, writing, I’m in the gym or out with the dog. In the future, it’s my plan to become a fitness coach so I can spend all morning in the gym either giving a class or helping other people work out because the gym is my happy place. Working out floods the mind with dopamine and the body with adrenalin, which is the perfect medicine for someone like me with an over-active mind, anxiety and ADD. I like to lift heavy because it totally absorbs me. In that moment, there is no distraction: just me and the weight and how hard I’m willing to push myself. There’s a saying: If you want to compete against something, compete against your own fear. I continuously change up my workouts in the gym, and force myself to try new things so that I don’t get comfortable, and I can challenge my fears. If it sounds like I’m super fit, trust me, I’m not, but I’m motivated to keep going, and that’s what matters.
Next Level Nutrition
When I started working in the cannabis industry a few years ago, I gave myself one rule: follow the plant. Be open to whatever opportunities came along, but also make sure that I’m creating a life that feeds me on all levels. The ultimate goal of any healing process is to figure out how to live a happier life, one that is pain-free and feels spontaneous, has joy and adventure and opportunities to learn, one that’s driven by purpose, and enables you to wake up every day enthusiastic about your plans. In this life, your body supports what you want to do, helps you concentrate and focus and get things done, helps you stick with a challenge, guides you over the finish line, never holds you back. This is what we have to reverse with IBS – our bodies have been holding us back for years except we didn’t know it. We didn’t know because we didn’t realize the connection between our bodies and our dreams. But once we know the two are connected, and in fact one can’t be happy without the other, we have something to work with.
This is why no healing process can focus on diet alone. If you’re not happy with your job, body, relationship, home, education, kids, whatever it is that’s bugging you, your healing will be hindered by it until you figure out how to let it go. This is the hardest part of the process: being willing to take stock of the emotional quality of your life and figure out how to improve yourself so that it too can improve. It’s a daily challenge, and one makes self-care your priority. My self-care routine is a work-in-progress, but I have no pain in my gut, anymore, ever. I know exactly what I can eat, and what I can’t eat! I have clear rules for myself to avoid problems, and am strict about those rules as my wellbeing depends on them. I don’t eat anything unless I’ve prepared it myself, and that may sound extreme, but clear boundaries keep my gut happy, while my hard-earned knowledge gives me the confidence to know what’s best for me.
Is Cannabis For You?
Cannabis is not for everyone. In the same way some people are allergic to nuts while others like me live on almond butter, some people benefit from cannabis and some people don’t. How you react to cannabis depends on many factors but most of all your state of wellbeing. Whatever you’re feeling, cannabis will amplify it. So if you’re feeling wary and worried, cannabis will amp up your anxiety. If you’re too chilled, it will melt you. Like all things, there’s a sweet spot with cannabis, and finding yours is part of the journey. What’s great is that there are now many ways to consume cannabis, some of which are high-inducing, and others which are not, and it’s by mixing them up that cannabis offers the best results. In the blog, I cover all the ways and whys of consuming cannabis to help you make the best consumption choice for you.
Likewise, if you’re someone who’s been consuming cannabis for a long time, it’s like that you’re connection to it is based on dependence rather than an appreciation of the plant’s therapeutic properties. This was certainly true for me. Cannabis was part of my life for 25 years before I learned to regard it as sacred and began to understand its healing powers. For years, I used it as a door out of the tangible world, whereas today I use it to connect me to everything, most importantly, myself. Cannabis has the power to reveal your beauty and your flaws in a way no other substance can. Whereas heavier drugs obliterate the ability to see clearly, cannabis exposes lies, and forces you to see everything for what it is not. Then it puts the responsibility on you to live up to its ideals. Cannabis asks one simple question of you: are you willing to take the high road?
#followtheplant #homegrown #healthyhighs