I feel very honored to have been interviewed for a Recovery Warriors podcast on yoga and eating disorder recovery.  Please listen by clicking the link below. 

https://www.recoverywarriors.com/anastasia-nevin/

"For Anastasia Nevin MS RD RYT yoga became a profound spiritual practice that helped her overcome an eating disorder and realize that we are not just a body, but we are spirits and we have souls. This appreciation and awareness awakened the calling to becoming a healer and a teacher. 

Full circle, Anastasia now helps others heal from their eating disorder by integrating nutrition therapy and yoga, the two things that helped her overcome her personal battle.  In this show, we talk all about yoga and the many deep lessons it can teach if you are willing to show up on the mat to learn"

I made this recipe a few weeks ago and wanted to share it with you because it is simple, delicious, and Vata-Soothing. In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, Vata dosha is the constitution associated with the Fall and a dry, light, airy, etherial, and irregular qualities. Grounding, warm, cooked and sweet foods like root veggies are balancing for Vata.  If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda, contact me for a consultation. 

To make the recipe, I bought a bag of sweet potatoes, rinses, boiled them and peeled the skin off. (you can also roast the sweet potato with coconut oil for a more toasty flavor). I then added 1 can of light coconut milk and minced fresh ginger into the sweet potatoes and blended with my immersion blender. Add salt to taste. I cut up some cilantro and crushed walnuts on top for garnish. Enjoy!

 

A while back, when I was feeling a bit dark, a dear friend of mine suggested making a list of the "little things" that bring me joy, and to somehow connect to one thing from this list per day. Here are some of the items that landed on mine:

sunflowers, marigolds, chai tea, mini pumpkins, huge earrings, bright red lipstick, pastel-colored vespa, Savasana massage, dancing to Latin/Gypsy music 'til sunrise, Moroccan lanterns, Goddess candles, incense, warm turquoise ocean, sushi, backbending

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Since then, I carry this list with me everywhere I go. It's a perfect and readily accessible reminder of the beauty and light we can tap into when we need a boost of inspiration. I invite you to make your own "little things" list without any filtering or judgment. You can use your creativity to make it your own through images, collage, music, etc.  This can be a great tool during recovery or simply during any challenging moments that arise.  Enjoy the process. 

Light and love,

Anastasia 

 

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AuthorAnastasia Nevin

Late Spring to Summer through an Ayurvedic lens is also known as Pitta season. The qualities of Pitta are hot, sharp, spreading, oily, pungent, astringent, fast, and bright. Someone who has a lot of Pitta is usually charming, charismatic, ambitious, organized, competitive and courageous. In balance, they will have a strong appetite for food and life, good digestion, an athletic build, and warm body temperature.

Follow the link to Recovery Warriors  below to read the full article!

https://www.recoverywarriors.com/3-powerful-lessons-from-ayurveda/

 

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AuthorAnastasia Nevin

“Yoga is about creating harmony within oneself and to create that harmony while pregnant meant my practices had to honor as well as include the process my body was going through to make a newborn child.” -Sharmila Desai

Many avid yogis have practices that consist of headstands, arm balances, and leaving the mat happily drenched in sweat. For some, envisioning a time when the body cannot sustain this level of activity, such as during pregnancy, is daunting. When pregnant, a woman experiences a bevy of physical changes that require a different approach to practice. Knowing how to properly approach yoga during this time is essential for the health of both mother and child, but continued practice can also deliver deep physical and emotional benefits during a woman’s journey to motherhood.

Please continue reading the full article here 

Source: http://www.sonima.com/yoga/yoga-during-pre...
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AuthorAnastasia Nevin

Sometimes we don’t understand how much tension we carry inside until the moment we take the leap and surrender. I remember this moment for me, now almost a decade ago, soaked in sweat, lying in Savasana in a San Francisco room of 100 bright-eyed yogis, warm tears dripping off my face.

Please read the full article here

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Here's my latest post for Recovery Warriors!

You can link directly to the website here

As an eating disorder nutritionist, yoga therapist, and someone who is recovered, I believe that so much of recovery is about shifting out of our over-active mind and back into inhabiting and connecting to the wisdom of our body. Yoga is a spiritual practice that allows for this movement from Ego to Soul and Self. Even the simple practice of breathing into a mudra, a shape of our hands that calls upon a certain energy, can completely change how we feel. The sequence below is designed to help you practice making peace with yourself and your body by cultivating compassion and self-acceptance.

 

 

This morning I attended a fascinating lecture for eating disorder professionals in New York City.  (Yes, as well as being immersed in yoga and spiritual practice, I am also a neuroscience nerd). Leah Graves RD and Scott Moseman MD each presented on research that suggests brain differences in anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder, and non-eating disorder population.  I hope to share with you some interesting findings that stood out to me today:

 

  • Dr. Moseman spoke to his belief that anorexia is an anxiety disorder where restricting food and focusing on weight becomes the mechanism of managing already high levels of anxiety and genetically predisposed character traits such as perfectionism, obsessive compulsive tendencies, altered interceptive awareness such as overactive bladder function (I was surprised to learn people with anorexia actually have an unusually high rate of bed-wetting), harm avoidance and possibly altered gastro-intestinal function.
  • Many of these traits exist prior to the development of an eating disorder. New brain studies show that people who struggle with anorexia do not have the same reactions to reward  as people without anorexia, and that there are disturbances in dopamine systems, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Brain differences in this area explain why a "normal" eater feels agitated by hunger, while someone with anorexia may feel calmed by hunger.  In fact, the area of the brain associated with delay of gratification is overly active in anorexia. Some of these brain differences may explain, for instance, why those who struggle with anorexia also have a difficult time receiving positive feedback and latch onto any sign of criticism. 
  • Research studies on brain function in bulimia and binge eating disorder (the most common eating disorder), also show neurobiological and regulatory differences that account for traits such as impulsivity, commonly associated with this population. One of these differences is the down-regulation of dopamine in the brain. Specifically, something that would satisfy a non-eating disordered person may under-satisfy someone with this type of eating disorder due to the way dopamine functions in the brain.  However, because there is a high comorbidity in bulimia with substance abuse, trauma and other psychiatric disorders, most brain research studies focus on anorexia. Hopefully more studies will allow for a better understanding in this area.  
  • Genetic predisposition is now thought to contribute to 50-80% of those who develop an eating disorder. These estimates are similar to those found in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • 40-50% of people with anorexia are vegetarians, whereas only 3% of the general population is vegetarian. Vegetarianism can be a major risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Avoiding sources of nutrients, such as in animal protein, can make recovery and weight-restoration even more difficult for someone with dietary limitations. While this is not necessarily a neuroscience fact, there are brain changes in anorexia (areas of the brain can actually shrink) that depend on proper nutrition and weight stabilization to be restored to normal function. The good news is that by cultivating healthy eating and exercise habits, our brains can function at their maximum capacity. 

My hope is for understanding more about neurobiology and food behaviors to allow for a  holistic approach to treatment and recovery. I believe that when we practice self-awareness and acceptance of the more difficult parts of our personality (and even brain chemistry), we can work to channel these parts in a healthier way that serves our well-being and health.  Happy Friday!

     Namaste,

           Anastasia

 

I just returned to NY after attending three full days of the Academy for Eating Disorders'  annual ICED (International Conference on Eating Disorders) in Boston. I had the opportunity to hear ground-breaking new research from experts in the field of eating disorders, neuroscience, psychology, and medicine.  My intention in sitting down to write on this Sunday morning is to be able to share a bit of what stood out to me with you, and that some of this information you can apply to your own recovery or in caring for a loved one. 

 Photo by Nousha Salimi Photography

Photo by Nousha Salimi Photography

1. Brain ChangeDiet change that is associated with a reward (i.e. compliments on losing weight, coping with emotions etc) creates a new habit. Habit shifts activity into an area of the brain called the dorsal striatum. Over time, this behavior (ex/food restriction) becomes outcome independent, which means that it is no longer dependent on external cues or the 'because' to be reinforced. This finding supports, from a physiological perspective, why it is so difficult  for someone struggling with an eating disorder to stop engaging in food-related habits or use future consequences as motivation. 

2. Brain Plasticity: The prefrontal cortex is an area of the brain that myelinates the latest, is most modifiable, and is implicated in mental illness. Myelin is made of fatty acids and aids in the efficiency of a signal from one neuron to another. Did you know the brain is the organ that contains the most fat??? In recovery, weight gain leads to brain changes and the potential to recover white matter lost in severe restriction. (Yes, the brain actually shrinks and does not function properly during an active eating disorder!). In recovery, there is an improvement in cognitive tasks. 

3. Exercise + Recovery: In one experiment, low body weight and increased running, even before any food restriction, was a predictor for anorexia. Compulsive exercise is associated with longer hospitalization, earlier time to relapse form an ED, and poor long term outcome. Exercising a lot when anorexic is also a predictor of suicide. On another note, learning to have a healthy relationship to exercise can also be vital in recovery, and has shown to decrease stress, depression, and anxiety. Ask me more about yoga and recovery!

 

Namaste,

Anastasia

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AuthorAnastasia Nevin