How Food & Supplements Help Us Achieve Resilience

Diet & Supplements together are part of the core RM tookit because of their ability to alter everything from inflammation to metabolism, gut health and our microbiome and influence mood and mental wellbeing as well as the physical. This includes foods as well as nutraceuticals such as natural supplements, vitamins and minerals and botanicals to target specific issues.

All of these can contribute to lowering our allosteric or total brain+body stress load, enhance resilience and brain function, and reduce inflammation. It works best when you can tailor the food and supplements to your unique resilience make up and needs. This also helps avoid overwhelm especially when choosing supplements and botanicals.

The Resilience Medicine Diet

A ketogenic or modified keto diet is one of the most metabolically impactful types of eating for many people. this is because of the effect on our cell powerhouses called mitochondria and the way our body handles sugar and insulin. However, a whole foods anti-inflammatory low GI diet may be more appropriate for some people and have many of the same benefits (eg. women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people who cannot easily tolerate a ketogenic diet long term or find they just feel better including some healthy slow-release carbs from vegetables and a moderate amount of whole grains).

Recent research shows that diet strategies for improving brain health, mental health, and many chronic diseases that decrease inflammation should be a core part of treatment and prevention. For many years, modern medicine turned away from diet as a medicine especially in mental health and wellbeing but the recent research is now showing what an important role food has on mental and physical and immune health and the crucial role of regulating our gut microbiome.

The foods we choose and diet have an enormous impact on the biochemistry of our bodies and brains. The RM diet was developed by Dr. Dani Gordon over a decade of experience treating patients with difficult to treat conditions and based on the latest nutritional medicine and integrative medicine research. This dietary approach is a way of eating to support optimal brain and neuro-immune function and mental wellbeing rather than a diet for weight loss purposes. It is designed to improve each of the 4 resilience skills of cultivating calm, mood balance, energy and mental clarity + cognition. However, if you are over your ideal weight most people will naturally shed excess weight when following this diet due to its beneficial effect on metabolism and insulin regulation, especially if you have ‘metabolically active’ fat around your tummy or middle.

The Diet Works via The Following Mechanisms:

  1. Improving Insulin regulation in the brain and body. Insulin regulation is not just important if you have prediabetes or diabetes but is now linked to mental health conditions and brain ageing disorders including dementia. Restoring health insulin regulation is a core aspect of the RM diet
  2. Gut repair. Restoring the microbiome to the most optimal balance is integral to normal immune function as well as mental health and neurotransmitter function, since the majority of brain neurotransmitters regulating mood are made in the gut. The Endocannabinoid system is also active in the gut and restoring the gut microbiome and healing a leaky gut is thought to improve endocannabinoid system function.
  3. Mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are our cell energy powerhouses. Many diseases of ageing as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms including central sensitivity pain syndromes, depression and brainfog and fatigue all involve mitochondrial dysfunction. The RM is a mitochondrial protective diet and designed to help make your cell powerhouses work more effectively in both the brain and body.
  4. Regulate/reduce inflammation. Neuro or brain inflammation, microglial (brain immune cells) regulation and global chronic inflammation all contribute to mental and physical health symptoms and disease and reducing these pathways of inflammation and supporting microglial function through an anti-inflammatory diet rich in a variety of active plant compounds including cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenoids and polyphenols is key to health and also to getting chronic inflammation-related symptoms under control.
  5. Support telomeres. Telomeres part of our DNA, can be thought of as little hats on the end of our DNA sequences. They control how fast our cells age, when they get shorter we age faster. Chronic stress and inflammation and a diet low in antioxidants shortens them. Telomere shortening is also seen in conditions associated with premature brain aging and chronic diseases as well as mitochondrial dysfunction.

HOW IT WORKS FOR YOU: There are many principles that make up the complete RM diet. However many people will choose even one dietary change at a time to avoid overwhelm and get the most benefit from each change you make. In the app, you can decide which changes suits you best after getting your R score and personalised recommendations and track how well they are working for you.

The Resilience Medicine Diet Principles:

  • No refined sugar-sugar in forms of whole fruits are allowed due to their flavonoid, fibre and high nutrient content, especially lower GI fruits such as berries, apples, pears.
  • Minimal simple carbs- bread, rice, potatoes, alcohol
  • Minimal processed foods-this means things that come pre-packaged, especially snack foods, foods with preservatives and additives and processed snack foods such as snack bars, granola bars, chips, crisps, crackers, baked goods and other ‘simple carbs’
  • High in Healthy oils, mostly from plants- MCT, cold-pressed virgin coconut, olive, cold-pressed tree nut oils, moderate amounts of organic butter or ghee
  • Low Glycemic index (GI) foods making up the bulk of diet (below 35 score on the GI)
  • High in Fiber-especially soluble fiber which is found in large amounts in beans and legumes, peas, oat and oat bran, flaxseeds, avocados, berries, apples, banana, grapefruit and citrus fruits, inulin
  • Minimal gluten- not everyone has a problem with gluten but if you have any damaged gut lining or chronic inflammation, gluten can open the tight junctions in the gut and create a leaky gut which can lead to inflammation and immune related issues from foods as well as other ingested substances, chemical or toxin residues on foods etc. being able to enter the body via the gut wall. Therefore, it is best to minimize gluten containing foods especially in their processed forms (Eg. break, baked goods, snack crackers etc.).
  • Minimal /moderate dairy, mostly fermented. Some people may do best with minimal or no dairy whereas others may tolerate a moderate amount of healthier dairy such as goats and sheep’s milk, kefir, yogurt and cheeses from organic producers. If you are following the keto level of the RM diet and you do not have any dairy sensitivities, these healthier forms of dairy provide a good source of low carb protein and fat to the diet. Those who cannot have dairy should include non-dairy fermented cultures eg. organic coconut or nut based kefir and yogurt, fermented vegetables (eg. sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented soybeans) unless you have symptoms of what is called MCAS, where fermented products can worsen symptoms.
  • High in Nuts and seeds-tree nuts and seeds of all varieties
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs, plant polyphenols and flavonoids
  • Moderate Protein intake, some at every meal
  • The majority of ‘carbs’ from high fiber whole food non-bread or pasta sources eg. root vegetables, fruits, vegetables and small amounts of whole grains in unprocessed forms
  • Unlimited veggies, especially green vegetables and non-starchy vegetables
  • 14-hour fasting window each day and optimal meal timing and eating window to support metabolism and 24-hour body hormone circadian cycles: Eating last meal by 6:30 pm (eg. early dinner) so that I can have breakfast by 8:30 am to start the day.
  • Snacks- unlimited nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, nut butter, whole fruits as snacks. 1-2 squares raw cacao chocolate per day


Supplements

Many doctors still believe that if you eat well, you don’t need supplements. However, supplements play a very important role in a biological balance approach. Virtually everyone in the modern world needs supplements to function optimally, due to factors such as the high burden of environmental stressors we face (including toxins, pesticides, stresses from excessive screen time and lack of time spent in nature) and modern lifestyles.

Everyone can benefit from carefully chosen supplements. Factors such as individual epigenetic variation – or how much of something we need – should be considered and environmental toxin load (which can be measured with functional medicine testing as well as estimated in many situations even without testing) and the impact of chronic stress on the body and brain which is unique to each person.

Supplements may include cannabinoids such as full spectrum CBD, herbal adaptogens and fungi, amino acids such as L-Theanine, liposomal glutathione, vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium and vitamin D, herbal combination products for sleep and stress, and many others depending on your resilience makeup and current challenges.


What Supplements do I Need?


Take the Resilience Assessment to find your R Score & discover your resilience makeup to see what supplements may be most needed.

Take the Resilience Assessment

Combining the RM diet at the level which suits you, cannabinoids & personalised supplements  is incredibly powerful not just for improving issues or symptoms but for maximising energy, mood, mental clarity, lowering toxic stress levels and restoring optimal vitality and balance. 

I’ve seen this time and time again in my medical practice treating patients with very complex conditions and symptoms where they maybe have followed a very strict diet or taken a variety of supplements often spending a small fortune, and medications with troublesome side effects but didn’t get better. That is because there is no one single diet that is best for everyone, even two people with the same diagnosis of depression or fibromyalgia or anxiety or chronic fatigue syndrome can respond differently and need a slightly different dietary approach. 

The ketogenic diet is incredibly powerful at shifting many mental health and physical immune system symptoms in many people but I have also found that for some people it is nearly impossible to stick to, or that for premenopausal women it can sometimes make them feel more fatigued or worsen their mood or stress levels. 

In other cases, people may have tried a supplement or cannabinoid but didn’t take it long enough or consistently enough at the right dose to see a response. Or in the case of supplements they used the wrong form or subspecies of the herb, wrong preparation of an amino acid or magnesium. So taking these individual considerations to create an individualized plan and then tracking what you do in a simple easy way is key to removing confusion and simplifying things. 

This is why we created the app so you can take charge of your journey easily. Sharing your journey and progress with your health care team is a way of taking back control over health and wellbeing and proving what works for you with evidence to remove the guesswork and stress of trying to figure out what to stick to since most doctors are not able to provide this kind of support and insight.

Dr Dani Gordon, Founder of Resilience Medicine