Episode 43 The importance of mindset and mental state on health and wellness with Ayan Hassan

Our guest today is Ayan Hassan. Ayan has a professional background in finance but is also a certified Holistic health and wellness coach who is passionate about helping women focus on their health and well being.

Ayan talks to us about how she naturally reversed her hypothyroidism and touches on important aspects on health and wellness giving us eye opening information.

Ayan’s passion and enthusiasm to help others started about 8 years ago when she was able to naturally reverse and cure her hypothyroidism. After years of medication, she was able to do that by simply changing her diet and lifestyle.

 

In this episode

 

●      Important things someone can learn when diving in to research on health and wellness

●      Ayan answers to food/diet myths

●      The importance of mindset and mental state on health and wellness

●      Exercise and stress relief

●      Ayan’s Stress Buster techniques

●      Guided breathing meditation benefits

●      Ayan’s advice and tips for a healthier holistic lifestyle          

●      Understanding how what we consume affects our body

●      Food tips for gut health          

●      Understand and identify stress triggers and learn ways to work around them and turn them down.

●      Cooking tips to replace meat

 

Contact Ayan here

Facebok: Healthy Bites With Ayan https://www.facebook.com/BetterHealthwithAyan/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/healthybiteswithayan/?hl=en

Wordpress: https://healthybiteswithayan.wordpress.com/

full transcription

Naptime Is Sacred Podcast Ep. 43 Transcription

 

Fousia: Asalaamu Alaykum and welcome to the Naptime is Sacred Podcast where we share stories of Muslim women doing amazing work. I'm your host Fousia Abdullahi.  Hey Guys! On today's episode I have with me Ayan Hassan who you guys might know as Healthy Bites with Ayan on Instagram as well as Facebook. Ayan is a holistic health and wellness coach who is passionate about helping women focus on their health and well-being. She helps her clients reach optimum health by bringing balance in all areas of their life including relationships career mental and emotional well-being as well as the pattern stress level and spirituality which are just as important as the food we eat. Ayan's approach is all about supporting the whole person and not just addressing the symptoms. Let's get right into today's episode with Ayan.

Ayan Asalaamu Alaykum, how are you doing?.

 

Ayan: Thank you so much. I'm doing very well thank you. I'm honored to be here with you today.

 

Fousia: I am so excited to have you. We've been connected through social media for a while now and like every time I've like looking at everybody's Instagram and all that kind of stuff I'm like. I really have to have Ayan on the show because the food that you make... First of all, looks amazing. And second of all it's healthy. So, tell us a little bit about yourself to start with and how you started this journey of healthy eating.

 

Ayan: Well thank you. The food that I eat really comes from a place of passion and intention, but it wasn't always the case for me my career if I go back I was a manager at a bank. So, it had nothing to do with food. But before I go into that again my name is Ayan Hassan. I am a holistic nutritional health coach. I am a daughter the eldest of five sisters. I'm a wife and a mother to three beautiful girls that are 11 9 and 3 and my journey to health and wellness really started about eight years ago after my second daughter was born and after I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which basically means your thyroid does not produce enough hormones and in turn that basically slows down your metabolism. Some of the symptoms are that you lose an extensive amount of hair, dry skin. It's hard to lose weight when you're hypothyroid and many other things such as foggy brain. It's hard to obtain new information and things of that nature so that's when it all started for me. I was prescribed a synthetic hormone medication centroid and I was on it for five years. In those five years my condition has not changed. It did not get any worse and it did not improve. But the most significant effect of my hypothyroidism was that we couldn't conceive during that time we were trying to grow our family. So that was really the big driver for me. I knew Alhamdulillah I was healthy. I am a Muslim so we do believe that Alhamdulilah that whatever Allah has in place for you will always take place. But we also have to always try to better ourselves understand our conditions and situations so that we could do our part as well and then leave the rest to Allah. So I decided to understand my condition a little bit better and by doing that I really heavily invested a lot of my time and interest in learning about health and wellness and that's how my journey began and Alhamdulilah within a very short period of time within 30 days to be specific after changing my lifestyle and particularly my eating habits. I was able to reverse my hypothyroidism and then within three to four months I became pregnant. So that was the proof that I needed the icing on the cake if you may say that food has a lot and almost everything to do with our health and wellness.

 

Fousia: It's amazing mashallah like... I mean I know for a lot of people that's kind of like a hard let's say I guess a pill to swallow because we're used to that right? Like we're constantly being medicated especially here in America for every ailment or any problem that you have... There's a pill for it. So tell us a little bit about how you started. Like what kind of foods, you started with and maybe some other resources that helped you or gave you this push to try a more holistic solution to the problem of your hypothyroidism.

 

Ayan: Well I almost became obsessed with researching so much so that my husband really became worried about me and he's like "It's okay"... If this doesn't workout we're OK. You know? But it was much more than that. Once you crack open that kind of war if you say you just dive deep and you just want to learn more. It opens your eyes to so much more than just wanting to heal a condition that you have you understand how certain foods affect our body you understand how farming works. You understand the pharmaceutical companies. So, there is so much that you dive into when you start on this journey of wanting to initially heal yourself. Most of the people that get into this health and wellness especially the holistic health and wellness are people that come from a place of healing themselves first and then that passion develops and we just want to spread the word and help as many people as you possibly can reach and teach. But going back to my own story as I was researching about hypothyroidism I came across veganism and I was interested because I've seen so many people go either plant base where they completely cut off animal products consumed some or vegan where they totally cut off all kinds of animal products. And so, I was intrigued by all the healing that people were experiencing by cutting off meat and dairy and animal products out of their diet. And as I was following that trail I came across the documentary which I'm sure a lot of people have heard of.. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It's a full documentary. Anyone can watch the full documentary on Youtube. And that was my aha moment. The producer and the guy in the documentary is called Joe. And so, Joe was on a bucket of medication. And within 90.. He did 90 days. And within 90 days he was able to get off every single medication from that bucket that he was on for years. And so that gave me that motivation that drive that passion that resilience to want to try it because I figured if this guy can get us all these medications with these very serious illnesses that he have I can get off one pill and that's all that I'm on. So I took it upon myself and I did a 30 day juicing detox where I consumed nothing but juiced mainly vegetables and some fruits and that handed low after the 30 days I went to and for my lab work and everything was back to normal.

 

Fousia: So, what were some of the best fruits that you were juicing like going through hypothyroidism. What are some of the things that you figured? out because there's a lot of I feel like misinformation out there as well like everyone is like all cut out things like broccoli and bell peppers and tomatoes and all that kind of stuff with your experience and the knowledge that you have as a holistic coach are those myths really true or like should you eat some fruits and vegetables and not others. Or is it everything is beneficial to you.

 

Ayan: I think everything that God has created was created for a purpose and everything out of nature from nature has its own unique benefits. It's made up of its own unique vitamin’s minerals vital nutrients. One may have more of one and the other may lack. And so when you put them together they balance each other off beautifully. And so there's a beautiful balance that happens in nature and with that being said I'm a core believer in the fact that we are all a term called bio individually engineered every single one of us is as unique as our fingerprint is certain bodies may not be able to break down certain proteins or minerals and other people may be able to process it better than them. There's a lot of things that come into play and I just want to touch on that really quickly whenever we talk about health and wellness. The main focus is always around food. And although food plays a very vital role in our overall health and wellness it nourishes our body with nutrients and vitamins and minerals and keeps it strong. What is not talked about often is the emotional state of being of a person. If a person is not able to manage stress if they're not able to understand their emotions if they're not able to unravel that web of emotions and feelings and stress and anxiety no amount of green juice or healthy eating can really cure a human being because it all works in your head. You can't get motivated if you're not in a good place within yourself. I always tell people you can drink all the green juice you want. You can go to the gym as often as you want but if you come home and you come to a stressful relationship or a marriage or your work is unsatisfying and it's not giving you that growth that you if you're financially scarred than all over the place it all plays an effect. Stress especially releases chemicals into our body that affect the way we break down food. So, I think the focus is always almost 100% on the food and other areas that are just as critical to our health and well-being are not addressed. So, a state of a person is very important. That's why you and I get on a diet. The same exact diet with the same exact calories and micronutrients and we both weighs our food and everything. You may get a result different from mine because your stress level my stress level, our sleep patterns our work environments. The support you get from your family or your spouse then when I get my... could be so vitally different and that's why people get like frustrated or discouraged when it's like OK my sister did this died and worked so well for her and it didn't work for me because it's about much more than just the food that we're eating.

 

Fousia: Yes, that's so true and I feel like in especially Muslim society we don't look at that part stress and mental problems whether it's depression anxiety any mental condition that you might have like that's not looked at all. And a lot of things like hypothyroidism things like you know any auto immune disease comes from a place of stress and trauma and not eating healthy food and having really bad gut health all of those are a catalyst to start up these problems some of which are not even like you might not be genetically predisposed to. Let's talk a little bit about some of your stress busters since we're already on this part. I see you exercising so I know that probably is a big one for you and I love that you involve your kids so you're setting up that good experience for them on how to like relax calm down how to not only eat healthy but also work out as well. So, tell us a little bit about some of your stress busters and how you deal with it.

 

Ayan: Exercise is one of those things where you actually have to do it to understand its benefits. We can tell a person from here until I don't know... end of time that they need to move they need to move. But once a person actually moves and experiences that amazing high from exercising how you wake up really stressed out in your day and especially if you're a stay at home mom and you have a million and one things to do. But if you just spend even just five minutes just stay still somewhere and move yourself around for 10, 15, 20 minutes whatever time you may have you have a small one or whatever just to move for a little bit. Your mood can automatically and significantly change from that of low energy to high energy because again there are certain chemicals that are being released into your body that are affecting your mood. So it's very important to move. But in addition to exercise there are many techniques that over the years I've learned to incorporate and to my lifestyle for example number one I don't... I try to turn off my phone as much as I can at least an hour before I go to bed. That's one that I've noticed made a huge difference because I'm not going to bed stressed out about all the things that are happening around the world and understanding your energy is also very important. I have a very sensitive or a high level of energy which I believe means that I'm easily affected by types of energy that's going around me. So when I see war or turmoil or disasters happening it can linger around my mind for quite some time. So I've learned to understand that about myself and learn to tone that stuff down I had to cut off a lot of friends from Facebook during certain times of war and stress because if I can help and reach out to people I felt there was no need for me to just raise my level of stress and anxiety and carry that heaviness around it. You have to learn to know what the stressor triggers are in your life and start to eliminate them. I also incorporate a lot of meditation and meditation is not always sitting cross legged and doing a little meditation comes in all forms. And it's one of the most beautiful relaxing forms of distresses that anyone can apply. And one that I love is when I'm going to bed. I just lay down and do a breathing exercise which is available all over YouTube and anyone can have access to it. And so, doing breathing exercise doing a little bit of physical movement and activities and exercise doing what you love. I jump rope I do cartwheels I don't have to go to the gym and lift heavyweights although I love cross fit but if I can't get to it I do what I can with what I have at home. Anything everything else outside of that is just excuses we use to keep ourselves from doing what we need to do. So.

 

Fousia: And it's really hard. I feel like as moms to come up with these excuses because we're already exhausted. But when you do them just it feels like a load lifted off of your shoulders when you're working out or even going for a simple walk outside spending a few moments of just peace and quiet and just you know doing deep breathing like you said it makes such a big impact. And I want other sisters to benefit from this and know that like pausing will help you. You can release that breath that you've been holding in all day after you've done the school runs coming back and cleaning up breakfast and all that kind of stuff. Just be intentional about pausing and relaxing just so you can destress and not get sick inshallah.

 

Ayan: I just want to really emphasize for anyone who has not done the breathing exercise to truly look into the breathing exercise. Sometimes if you find 15 or 10 minutes to just sit somewhere honestly you could be in the bathroom and hide away from your kids. I'm a mom. I know what it's like to have a few moments you. Have to hide in a closet.

 

Fousia: Yes.

 

Ayan: But mainly at night when you're getting your body to relax or in early mornings because we can afford to either sleep a little after the kids and it's kind of quiet or we can do it a few moments before we wake the kids up for school. You can even do it on your couch if your husband is in bed and you don't want to bother him not that breathing will bother anyone but you can even lay on your couch in the living room and do it but breathing is absolutely amazing and if you listen to guided breathing meditations sometimes emotions that were bottled and emotions that were neglected for so long. Feelings that could be inside of you that you may not be able to share with your spouse or friends or other people because not everybody shares there are some serious intimate things that we keep within ourselves. I have seen and I myself have gone through moments where you just break down and cry and it feels good. It's a good cry. It's not a bad cry. But just going through those breathing sessions can help release some of that stress or some of those bottled up emotions. So I really want encourage anyone who has not done a breathing exercise to truly give it a try.

 

Fousia: Yes and Charlie there's lots of YouTube videos with breathing exercises. There's podcasts completely dedicated to breathing techniques and meditation. There's some with just sounds that you can relax and just let your thoughts form and just like go with it. So definitely check those out you guys. So let's talk about... we're both Muslim woman. We both have busy lives. You've got kids husbands careers everything is going on. What is some of your advice for the sisters out there married or not children or not. How do we live a more healthier holistic lifestyle. What are some of your tips.

 

Ayan: First and foremost just take it slow. I think if there's anything I've learned over the years and as I matured into my age and as a woman as a mother every... you know you learn and we continue to learn and if there is anything that I've learned it's to learn to slow down. Time waits for no one. So if you're just relax and just take it easy. And when it comes to health and wellness I think Muslim sisters brothers people in general if the focus shifts from health and wellness being some kind of a weight control approach then it could be draining and it could be exhausting. The one thing I always tell people is your shoe size when you were 5, 10 or 11 is not the same today as it was before that. Yeah so your body will not continue to be the same. Your body will continue to change as you grow older as you birth. You know as situations change around you. So just taking it slow. Being mindful being intuitive and eating with the intention of health and wellness in mind as opposed to a weight control approach which I think is the trap that most of us fall into. We only go back to what we eat when we want to lose weight but rather we look at it and learn. I always advocate for people to learn about the food that you eat. I engage my kids. We watch documentaries. It doesn't have to be graphic documentaries because they're all out there but you can take age appropriate documentaries and if you're a young Muslim woman or a brother I do encourage people to know how the food that we eat is being made. Knowledge is power. And once you understand how either these diet pills that people take affect your body or certain foods affects our body how it's produced how it's made how it's manufactured. Then once you understand that you're able to make better health choices when you understand how sugar affects your body and not just that sugar is bad but truly understand sugar. Ok. Sugar feeds cancer. We all have those cells dormant in our body and so understanding these things will help people make better choices for themselves and for their kids. Understanding the importance of gut brain health. Just to educate ourselves in general and watch documentaries and know better because food isn't in stores the way it used to be back in the day and I always get that our grandparents eat what we eat. We always eat meat. So why is meat so bad. You know. Well lucky for some of us we get our meat from halal market so we know it's well, but we only know that it's slaughtered in halal way. Yeah, we don't know entirely.

 

Fousia: Yeah. What has been injected with.

 

Ayan: Exactly. So, understanding that is important too. I think the more people are educated and knowledgeable about how food is produced and how it affects our body they will make better food choices. So being intuitive and educating yourself as much as you can about what you consume and respecting and listening to your body our body is communicating with us all the time. When you eat certain food and you're bloated you're not just but your body's telling you I cannot process this food.

 

Fousia: Yes.

 

Ayan: But I've come across many people that just pop an anti acid and move on with life. Well what you're doing is really creating a ticking time bomb because eventually your gut cannot handle this anymore. You know you have bigger problems.

 

Fousia: This is the problem with everything right. Like I said there's a pill for everything and the pill is making us numb to the signals. That's all it's doing. And the pill might work temporarily but all it's doing is like you said it's a ticking time bomb. Eventually that acid reflux is going to turn into something worse. Eventually all the gas is going to turn into something else and then you're going to have to play catch up. So let's talk about the daily routine of some things that are really good for the gut. It all starts in your stomach all the stress. Everything is leading to either weakening or strengthening your stomach. So what are some go to things that you would recommend daily that people can either eat or drink. That's really good for the gut.

 

Ayan: One of the main focuses or one of the things that I look really like to focus on that comes the gut health is probiotics helping that good bacteria thrive in your gut. We've all taken antibiotics. We've all given antibiotics to our kids and it would normally, and this might shock some people is that it could take between four to six months to get those out of your body. And that is only if you are actively working on improving your gut health by really knowing that you need to strengthen your good bacteria in your gut. But for most people that are not aware of the effects of antibiotics for example they'll never look into healing and trying to do a reverse of the damage that the antibiotics did. So for me probiotics is a must. One of the main things that I do at home is I have kefir. So it's basically milk that has alive bacterial culture in it. And we recycle it and I use it and it's the number one source of probiotic. And to help those good bacteria's grow and thrive so that you have a stronger immune system you can fight off illness and disease. So we use probiotics quite often. It's a little tangy at first for most people that are not used to it but just like having yogurt . It's really sour yogurt. And if you're making it at home you are completely in control of how sour and acidic you want it to be. I'm fermenting summer right now and mind I don't pass 12 hours I just recycle that 12 hours I take the good stuff out put more milk in there and leave it out for another 12 hours and then I just have milk kefir in my fridge all the time. So the way I encourage it for my kids because there's no kid that's going to drink that straight up is I turn it into a smoothie to even you know amplify its benefits. So we add blueberries that are filled antioxidants. We do that pineapples in there. So kefir is definitely the number one way that we help boost our gut health. And the other thing is not food related but it's stress. Stress can damage your gut because your gut and your brain are completely connected. The gut is your second brain. And so whatever is going on if your gut is not healthy it's going up to your brain and vice versa. They're communicating all the time. And so any interruption in that communication can affect your mood your bacteria. So it's not always food. So really tackling stress in your life. It's inevitable. Stress is there. What makes a difference is how we approach it and how we address it. So I was a huge stress on myself. You could tell if my mom called me two times I would think the worst case scenario. And that's just who I am. I'm an expat. I'm all the way in Saudi Arabia. My family is all the way New York. So that's the kind of stress. So I had to learn and understand that whatever is meant to be will be at any given time Allah's will take its place. Whether you're stressed or not. So I had to give into that to distress myself. So we have to find ways to understand identify because what stresses me may not be stressing you. So we have to understand and identify those stress triggers in our lives and then learn ways to work around it and turn it down a little bit. For our gut health... Most people that are healthy have no issues with milk. Although my problem with milk is not just the milk it's the way it comes through. Even the animal during production animals are injected with a ton of antibiotics growth hormones. And one thing I always tell my female clients especially the moms is that as mothers when we take a dose of antibiotics what's the first thing the doctor tells us. If you're breastfeeding. Oh do not breast feed. Yes that's what they tell us. If you're taking antibiotics do not breast feed your child because there's a likelihood of that medication passing through your milk. Now if you think about it if cows are being injected with antibiotics and growth hormones how is it not coming through them as well. And on top of that it gets even more processed it loses a lot of its nutrient’s environments throughout these processes as well.

 

Fousia: Is that process different in Saudi? Because I know for us it's really hard because of the regulations to go get like fresh milk from like a healthy cow that hasn't had any injections or hasn't been pasteurized or anything like that. Is that process different for you guys?

 

Ayan: Without getting too political. I think things are not as transparent here as they are in your states. So it would be hard to tell. But I still do believe that it's absolutely much less process than it is in the U.S. because I have the privilege of being here and consuming food and meat and dairy here and then coming back home every summer and consuming food over there. There's a vast difference in the way food tastes here and there you could see that when you live in two different parts of the world the milk that we have here tastes much more rich than the watered down milk that I taste in the States even if its whole milk. So there's a huge difference and this is why more and more people are becoming lactose intolerant lactose sensitive gluten sensitive or have celiac because it's not just that our gut health has been compromised but it's also been compromised due to the foods that we are eating and all those additives and food coloring preservatives and all the things that are added to it. And so we're becoming more and more sensitive because our gut is being weakened by food and chemicals that are added to food that our body just does not know how to process that over time. It's just going to run slow or run down and you're going to have to heal.

 

Fousia: That's so true and it's really hard. Well let's continue Insha'Allah with we were talk about probiotics and gut health. What are some other things that you use.

 

Ayan: We have switched also just recently from regular breads to sour dough bread and that's what I was making today. It's quite the process but it also helps because when sour dough unlike regular bread has also live bacteria in it and life culture which eats away on gluten that is in the flowers once it's needed. So it's easier on the stomach to digest it basically means just going back to what our grandparents probably used to do is looking for breads that are the least processed it could be a very tedious process really if you list down the things that you can and cannot do. But I usually tell people to focus on not what they cannot but what they can do and slowly eliminate certain foods depending on what really could be not working with your body. So listening to your body is really important. So we lowered down on our consumption of processed breads. We lowered down on our consumption of meat is not that much. In my family anyways because meat does create a lot of acidity in the body not only because of the way again cattle are fed and meats processed but just in general. It can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours for your body to just break down meat regardless of how it's processed so it could sit there day after day you're consuming meat every day whether it's burgers or in a Briyani or in a cup whatever it is it could accumulate in there.

 

Fousia: You just mentioned a really great point that your family doesn't eat a lot of meat. And let's be honest the vast majority of Muslim families that's kind of like blasphemy a little bit. How do we start changing the hearts and mind of our families? Because if I said OK guys there's no more meat or we're going to slowly phase out meat. There would be anarchy. So how did you guys do it?

 

Ayan: I think it's in the approach. I don't say we're going to eliminate you know and I don't restrict we're not going to eat. I just cook less of it. I cook so I'm in control. You eat what I put on the table.

 

Fousia: That's like really great. I know that we're in control but there's a lot of sisters out there who tell me like I don't want to have to make two different meals. Like that's their problem, right? Some people are not interested in that. And a few of the sisters like would blend things so their kids don't see it. You were just mentioning lasagna right. That's one of your go too. Let's talk about that and then we'll get into some of the other stuff Insha'Allah.

 

Ayan: So with lasagna for example a great zucchini and carrots and any of those hardy vegetables you can grate. But mainly I do those two. So I grate zucchini and I grate the carrots and I go on about seasoning it like I normally would when I'm making ground beef lasagna. This is not to say that I don't make ground beef lasagna for my family. I make sure chicken lasagna as well but I just swap things up in a way where I have to incorporate... because it's taste buds really what people crave is what their taste buds have adjusted to over the course of a lifetime. So I keep the seasoning exactly the same. And I make it exciting or today we're going to try something new and not. And then you don't overdo it. I think a lot of times people dive in too soon too deep too fast. Yeah. And it kind of can cause the opposite effect of what you're looking for.

 

Ayan: Yeah. We go extreme like we start throwing everything in the pantry and free drainer and or shocking everyone's system

 

Fousia: Yes, I do one meal. I started off doing one meal a week. Some kids are and I'm not saying I have perfect to entourage of kids that just love to chow down everything that I can healthy my nine-year-old is a rebel. And she does not like veggies is just how she is you know. And so with her doing a veggie burger will not work with my 11 year ha.. she'll pick things out but I try. And so the important thing we need to understand is you're still planting the seed in your family and in your kids if you introduced healthier versions of food like I did. Cups star which is on my Instagram page similar to like a bit of Biryani or something like that but I used carrots zucchini eggplants potatoes and it. And it had no meat and I use the same Curry seasoning that I normally use. I use the same oils. I did it exactly the same way minus the meat and it went well with everybody. So it's just tweaking it around a little bit and not going in too fast too deep for everyone to be shocked.

 

Fousia: Awesome advice Ayan. So tell us a little bit about what you're working on these days and I know you're coaching and you're going more into health and wellness. So tell us a little bit about that.

 

Ayan: Well one of the major things I'm working on is my Web site so that I could be able to reach more people and share more of my programs because I am an expat and we live overseas. It's very difficult for me at times to connect and reach out to people. I'm an extrovert so I love being around people. I love presenting to people I love talking to people one on one and although I speak Arabic sometimes it's difficult to communicate in technical terms with people in a language that you only speak and have not studied. So by creating my Web site what I'm hoping to get out of it is to reach more of my base people that are in the US that are in the UK so working on my Web site is something really exciting that I'm hoping to wrap up in the next few weeks. I'm also extending my services to corporate wellness, so I've done a few seminars at corporations because that's where we spend a good bulk of our time and we're sitting down. I've been there. I have worked in a bank. I sat at a desk, snacked a lot moved less and so bringing that awareness and showing people how to pack healthier lunches and how to move how to give them some alternatives to alleviate stress from work and how to not take back home with you. So corporate wellness has been an area that I've been looking into as well as schools. So that you can plant those seeds and the kids from a very young age middle school on because those kids I mean they will go into college fairly soon after that. So planting the seeds in them. And I've seen so many kids mashallah change from certain eating habits and having severe breakouts to just eliminating certain foods and having amazing success in their skin. So when you plant that seed in that kid and they see that result they will carry that on into their life and it will change how they view their relationship with food from that time like on. So that's what I'm working on reaching out to more people.

 

Fousia: Inshallah Tell us what we can look forward to on your Instagram. You're always sharing like really cool recipes and things that you're doing. Do you have any posts coming up that you can talk about.

 

Ayan: I do. I think I will be focusing more because I think my Instagram page took on a cook theme where it's mainly food and so I don't see a lot of the things we spoke about today present. They're like intuitive eating and being in tune with your emotions how to lower stress. So that's what I'm going to be focusing on inshallah from here on forward. So expect to see more recipes definitely but also more tips and tricks and steps to follow to distress and get more educational material on mainly a connection of the mind the body the gut and how to really look at yourself as a whole person and not a la carte pieces like I have knee issues or arthritis. OK. And that's the focus now to understand as a whole person how you work how your stress how your family how your relationships finance work home all of that plays a role in your health and well-being. And we are not just simply the food that we eat although it's important to eat a good balanced diet. But to understand that you are not just the food that you eat. Don't get frustrated with yourself. And then I think that the one thing if anything people take away from today is for Muslim women especially I want to say because we don't have enough not just resources because everyone can type in and find the resources they want online you know and that's a magical place to be. Dr. Google but we don't have a community where women feel safe confident and find the place where they can find the security to deeply truly share their feelings and emotions and the confidence and confidentiality. We don't have that because of our culture because of how we are programmed from our parents and they from their parents and so on and so forth. We come from very private mindsets. And that's one of the roadblocks that I experience here. It's very hard to crack open a person. And if you can't find the right person where there's confidentiality and respect for another person's privacy then if you can't go deep enough you can't heal yourself. It isn't just about what you're eating. It's about addressing yourself. And we are on social media in there. We're bombarded on minute by minute basis not even ours with quirks and strong women is supposed to be X Y and Z and walk away from a marriage because your husband isn't picking up the table and a strong woman is supposed to do this and a strong woman is independent. And so it affects us on many levels and you would think you're having a little bit of problems at home for example let me just focus on that that you're not a strong woman because you're not walking away because your voice is not being heard. And so there's so many things that affects us. But I think the number one thing is to learn to shut out that outside noise and look inward within ourselves and find within ourselves understand ourselves find peace within ourselves and learn ways that we could either manage or seek help in a safe space and be able to talk. I don't think we have that in our community. We don't have enough space that allow a Muslim woman without judgment to offload. And it's important to offload and so I'm hoping to Inshallah be able to create communities for us to be able to connect in a space that's non-judgmental positive that doesn't promote any one type of woman being more dominant than the other. You don't have to walk away from a marriage to be strong. You don't have to discipline your kids a certain way to be strong. You don't have to hate your in-laws to be strong. Strength in a woman has been portrayed differently than what we're accustomed to. And that can create a lot of confusion in identities and in people and in our lives and in our communities. And so that's also part of the reason for a while now I've taken a break from Instagram to find that peace and serenity within myself because everyone is an expert and it's okay to find stories that you can resonate with but it's also important to understand that your story is yours. Yep and just because your story is similar to another woman's story but her outcome is different than yours it doesn't make you any less of a woman.

 

Fousia: Yes it doesn't make your story any less significant

 

Ayan: Yes because you're on two different paths. It doesn't make you any less of a woman. So I think it all comes from just looking at that mirror and looking in your eyes and looking at yourself and wanting to find that which satisfies you makes you happy brings content to yourself and to your life and to your family from your point of view and not all that noise that's around us.

 

Fousia: That's awesome. I think this is a great place to stop and let people simmer with this idea and everything that you've been saying and tell us a little bit about where we can find you and your work Inshallah.

 

Ayan: Inshallah right now I am on Facebook and Instagram as @HealthyBitesWithAyan. All one word. And inshallah once my Web site is finished I will be posting the link to it on Instagram and Facebook. But I am most active on my Instagram at @HealthyBotesWithAyan

 

Fousia: Thank you so much for coming on today's episode. I hope Insha'Allah myself and everyone else who's listening can benefit from everything that you've shared.

 

Ayan: Thank you so much it's been a pleasure.