What is Circular Nutrition?

It’s not a very catchy phrase, Circular Nutrition, but then word-smithing is just not my forté…

However, nutrition IS.

The thing is, that you cannot separate the cycle that involves our health, our food and our soil. And that all ties inextricably into our society and the environment. It very much reflects how everything is interconnected in our bodies; you are not likely going to have food allergies (immune system) without having a leaky gut (digestion) that is allowing food particles access to the immune system that no longer recognises it as ‘safe’.

How it all began

For a long time while I was living in London, I wanted to have a garden. The Victory Gardens that were left over from WWII, created a space for inner city people to experience nature, grow their own food and learn while providing a habitat for the insects that we rely on.

I was studying nutrition in London and I soon realised that you can’t be healthy, if your food isn’t healthy. The impact that the chemicals we put on our plants and into our soil result in nutrient-poor foods. The chemicals affect us, disrupting our hormones, increasing our toxic burden, ageing us and taxing our livers.

When I moved to Amsterdam, I started taking workshops and courses with Cityplot it defined and explained the things I saw in my parents’ and grandparents’ gardens growing up. I joined forces with them and gave workshops on How to Grow Your Own Juice, Sprouts to The Rescue! and Grow.Stretch.Sprout, which was a 1 day retreat.

The more I learned about growing my own food and putting it into practice, the more I realised how important the health of our soils are. You cannot have nutrient-rich plants, without having nutrient-rich soil. Let me repeat that:

You can’t have nutrient-rich plants without nutrient-rich soils.

Taking it further

So I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) called Pluk!CSA and picked my own veggies each week. I got my own garden at Mijnstadtuin and started studying permaculture at Tuinderij de Voedselketen before doubling my own garden this year.

For me the loop is closing. You need healthy soils to have healthy plants and you need healthy plants in your diet to be healthy. This is the concept of ONE HEALTH

One Health Strategy: health of soil, plants, animals, people, and environment is one and indivisible.

For our soils to be healthy, we need to look after the environment and preserve the life under the ground. I see the web of microorganisms in the soil as mirroring that in our guts. There is a symbiotic relationship going on…we can’t live without those bacteria, as they number far beyond the number of our cells. They need the food from healthy plants as much as we do, and when we feed them, we benefit from them in multiple ways:

  • The neurotransmitters they produce like GABA and serotonin to keep us relaxed and happy
  • B vitamins that we need for nerves (again feeling relaxed, but also sending messages) and energy
  • Short-chained fatty acids (SCFAs) that heavily influence balance of the gut and immune system, provide energy and regulate appetite
  • Produce vitamin K, which is key for bone health and blood clotting (important for wound healing)
  • Protect you against pathogenic microbes
  • Help you digest your food, especially starches and fibres

So as I head to our regenerative agriculture-garden this weekend, I’m going to be working in nature, harvesting my own locally-grown veggies from the soil that is rich in worms and other insects and microorganisms. When I get home, I’ll cook dinner and eat the fresh produce with friends, feeding my gut bacteria so they can give me the much-needed bonuses above and beyond what the veggies have already provided. And so continues the circle of health, or Circular Nutrition.

Harvesting at our garden at Mijnstadstuin.

I work with my clients within their ethical boundaries so they can achieve their health goals…and I want that for you too.

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My name is Joyce Bergsma and I teach my clients how to understand their bodies and nourish them in the best way possible. I help them on the journey to be symptom free so they are living happier, more fulfilling lives.

But what I ALSO do is act as a cheerleader, a navigator and I hold them accountable.

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