Healing From Trauma, Using Food As Your Medicine (transcript & Audio)

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Nicole Patraw  0:00  
We’re still having the same struggles. And I’m not saying that nutrition is going to fix everything. And in the same breath, I am my own testimony in the fact that I changed my entire way of eating, and I still eat McDonald’s. So don’t get me wrong, I no longer on medications with the help of my doctor and my therapist and food. And I feel really good. I feel really good.

Amy Watson  0:21  
Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts are as we have really come to call it and we love calling it the healing zone. This podcast is fully sponsored guys by donors for the entirety of 2022. And we just awarded our first pro bono counseling scholarship in March. If you’re interested in supporting our mission here, you can do that in a couple of ways. First, you can pray for us. Pray for wisdom as we award these scholarships and create content and a post pandemic world because we will have plenty more trauma and its friends. Second, you can subscribe rate review the podcast this helps get the podcast out there to people as efficiently as possible. Now that we get all that out of the way, let’s step in to the healing zone. We are in the back half of season three trauma spaces, places and aces. Today, I am honored to welcome my friend Nicole Patraw to the show, Nicole and I met on Advic advocacy stages on clubhouse. And she comes to us today not only a survivor of trauma, but she also comes to us with one of those aces that we talked about that will help mitigate the damages of trauma, especially in childhood. I am so honored to welcome Nicole to the podcast. Welcome to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast, Nicole.

Nicole Patraw  1:47  
Thank you, Amy, I’m so honored to be here. I always love our conversations. And I’m just excited to sit down and share our story with each other because so often we’re sharing space for other people and to actually sit down and share stories with each other. And sometimes through sharing our stories, we’re helping other people. So I’m very honored that you asked me to be here. And I’m so excited. We’ll sit down and have this time with you. 

Amy Watson  2:12  
Well, thank you. I couldn’t think of a better person for the subject that I wanted to cover today. But But first, we’re going to start the podcasts the way we have started almost the entire season. And it’s been really interesting, because people have come back to me about this question and said, That was the question that that was the hardest for me the very first question out of the gate that you asked me because Nicole, you know, we both been on audio stages together. And so we know, you got to be short and concise. So I don’t want to, you know, say tell us where you’re from and what your favorite team is, and your birth order and all that. And so I wanted to come up with a creative question that met the mission of this podcast. And that is really helping people step into who God made them. So I wanted people to think and so the question here to open the podcast is, what is your favorite thing about the way God made you?

Nicole Patraw  3:03  
You know, it’s funny that you say that, because this is the easiest question for me. And the first thing that came up automatically, it was my favorite thing of why God made me in the way that he made me it was with purpose. It was an automatic answer. And I have a really interesting vision of when I was younger, I always had this vision growing up, and I thought it was a dream.

But I was up in the clouds with somebody that just felt like a father and warmth. And I was like I want to go down there and help. This is a dream that I had over and over and over. And I haven’t shared it with many people. When I said I want to go down and help and he said, Are you sure because there’s a lot of pain down there. And there’s a lot of suffering. And I was so eager and excited. I was like yes, I want to go down and help. And so he goes, Okay, you can go down and help. And so I remember being sent down and then like kind of shot back up to where I came from. I was so confused. And I felt rejected. And I was like what was what was that he the fatherly voice said, well, sometimes we’re not wanted there. And it’s a place of suffering. I’m like, Well, I want to go help. And the same thing happened. I went down and came right back up and I was so confused. I felt so abandon and this is the weirdest dream, the weirdest vision to me and one day shared this with my mom. I finally got sent down and and stayed to the place that I wanted to help and serve. And I told my mom this and my mom expressed to me that

in a previous relationship, there were two terminate

pregnancies that were

did not survive. They were terminated. And to me like, I don’t know if it’s symbolic just to me, it makes so much sense. But when you ask this question of what’s your favorite thing about how God created you is with purpose. I feel like that vision and my connection with God I feel

like I have so much purpose here. And if it just means something to me cool, but I think it’s a really cool story that I really haven’t shared with many people. So I was kind of like, I wanted to share that with you. I thought it was kind of cool, a little bit cool. 

Amy Watson  5:14  
That is very cool. And I actually still have chills like when you first said it, I got chills, because you know, i i that is, so your heart is. So who I’ve known who I’ve experienced you to be are always out there helping people. And we’re going to talk more towards more about that. And that is why you’re here today. But wow, that is so cool. That is so cool. And God is using you. And you do have purpose. And you know that that’s why you’re here today. So I the chills are still not gone, I still have chill bumps. So thank you for sharing that that is very, very awesome. And I do think that

we have to turn our pain into purpose, because it would be wasted otherwise. And so I do want to say as I say to all of my guests, I don’t know your story, I’m getting ready to find parts of it out. But as a trauma survivor, myself, I’m sorry. So sorry, for your pain. But I am so proud of view. And I find myself getting very preachy and big sisterly on these podcasts interviews these days, because the listeners can’t see what I can see. But there are probably 30 years between you and me, well, maybe not quite 30. But a lot of years between you and me, we are a different generation, I am Gen X, I’m guessing you’re probably a millennial. But to have that kind of wisdom at such a young age is incredible. Well, let’s jump right and one of the things that I am asking guests to do, and I’m so grateful that everyone has agreed to do this, because what I’m about to do is not easy. But we have been teaching in this back half of the season about adverse childhood experiences. And so when I’m when when I have guests, I asked you ahead of time, if you would be willing to answer these questions fully knowing that this podcast is going to be out there forever, and your friends and your family are gonna listen to it. And you said, Yeah, I’m willing to answer those questions. And so what I’m going to do is understand either yes or no really quickly. And because what I want my listeners to understand is the authority of what you bring to this podcast today. And, and trauma gives us that authority to talk about it. And so these are the basic 10 wildly accepted adverse childhood experiences in Psych and psychology, that if you, if you have three or more of these, you, you are considered to have had toxic stress. And stress is something that you and I talk about a lot, we both will disappear off of social media, if I don’t get a text message from you, or you don’t get one from me, you know, we both went to shut down protect mode, because we had these experiences. And so let’s run through those really quickly. Because I want people to understand the authority of what you bring to us today. So before your 18th birthday, did you experience and you can just say yes or no for me, any of these things. And so the first one is did you experience in your home before your 18th birthday? And it doesn’t need to be in your home even though we’re focusing on the home, but especially if this were true in your home, but verbal abuse?

Nicole Patraw  8:16  
I suppose if we’re talking outside of our home, definitely. Okay. Physical abuse.

Amy Watson  8:23  
Okay, how about physical neglect?

Nicole Patraw  8:26  
Absolutely. And we’re gonna be talking about that a lot today. Was there mentally? Was there mental illness present in your home?

Amy Watson  8:34  
There was substance abuse present in your home

depends on perspective, but I would say you know, probably yes, yeah. Because things like food, cigarettes, drugs, people, codependency, alcohol, all the things.

Did you have an incarcerated relative?

Nicole Patraw  8:56  
No, but my father was not there. My My father took his own life when I was three. So he wasn’t incarcerated, but he also was not in my life. So I think that’s relevant. Little bit. You just stopped me in your tracks on that because he kind of was incarcerated in his own hell. All right.

Amy Watson  9:16  
I am so I am so sorry to hear that. I did not know that. Well. How about domestic violence?

Yes. How about emotional abuse?

Nicole Patraw  9:31  
Yeah, not in my home but in a relationship outside of my home before 18? Yes. And emotional neglect.

Yep. Okay, how about sexual abuse?

None that I can recall. And that’s an important disclaimer that you just gave us none that you can work on set as that is and that’s a whole nother podcast because we we often actually, maybe not. We’ll probably get there a little bit today. Well, here’s the deal.

Amy Watson  10:00  
Obviously, you have a score higher than three, therefore, all of the professionals out there would tell you that you would be subjected as an adult to toxic stress, which causes all kinds of havoc on our bodies. We are in a series of childhood trauma.

One of the biggest is neglect. And you mentioned to me that you had neglect. And I can imagine, and you can talk a little bit more about this, if you want, that some of that neglect came by pure nature of your father completed suicide, and your mom probably was just trying to do everything she could to survive. And therefore, I’m sure that may or may not be where the Nicole came from. I don’t want I don’t want to assume that I’m going to I’m going to finish the question. And I often say most of my guests are smart enough to answer these multi, multi layered questions. And so So as I mentioned, we’re in series of childhood trauma, one of the biggest is neglect. I have asked you here today though, because of not only because of that, a score that you just told us about, but because one of my favorite things about you is this, you have a passion for health, both mental and physical, and we’re going to discuss all kinds of things like food insecurities, and how it affects the developing brain, and give hope to those out there who experienced food security, insecurities or neglect food, food was withheld from them, that was my story, or not provided. So my first question is to you, why? Why is this your passion? Helping people for free? I might add most of the time. And nutrition, both. And then also your your Instagram handle, which I just love as well nurtured souls. Tell us why this is your passion. Clearly, you’ve been through some stuff. Tell us why this is your passion.

Nicole Patraw  11:52  
Yeah, I mean, serving other people has always been my passion. I, I’ve just feel like that’s part of my nature. But nutrition wasn’t actually always my passion. At first, I actually didn’t know a lot about nutrition.

But growing up, I didn’t have the easiest upbringing, you know, and I don’t, I like to take myself out of the victim mindset. But sometimes I do have to acknowledge where I did come from.

Like I said, earlier, my, my dad took his own life when I was three. And then my mom raised me and my brother alone.

Therefore with with no fault from our caregivers, they’re they’re surviving, how can they

give us something that they don’t have for themselves, but there was a lot of like, emotional needs that weren’t met or physical needs that might not have been met. And food was definitely one of them. But as a young kid, this is all this is really confusing growing up, because it’s your normal, it’s the only thing that you know, going to school hungry, being in class hungry, not having a lunch to eat. I mean, it you don’t know any different because that’s your normal. And I started to have a lot of emotional regulation challenges. I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, later, bipolar and borderline personality. It’s a nice little mix of ingredients there. 

Amy Watson  13:17  
Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. And I think here’s a good place to talk about some of the scientific and then listeners of my podcast know that I have a degree and pre med and I love that to geek out on the science of it. But your passion is your passion for the same reason my passion is my passion is because I don’t want I don’t want to replicate it out there in the world, right? Like, you know, I remember literally been handed a can of dog food with the lid still up with a with a with a spoon on it and handed it to me. And that was what we ate. But one of the signs that’s horrendous, it is horrendous. And when I look back now, I wonder how I made it out alive, right? Because like, if you go to eating healthy, there’s an organization called eating healthy research. And they talked about like just the caloric necessities of children. And they range everywhere from you know, when you’re zero to three, to like, 1200. And then when you’re a teenager to 1700. And when you’re not getting that, like you and like me, there’s certain things that don’t happen. The same organization, healthy research talked about the things that that children need, and that’s it’s not dog food, obviously. And it’s not junk food, which we so often give our kids especially in situations like yours, where your mom was just doing what she she knew to do. She was doing the best she could and there are many people under the sound of my voice that probably grew up on McDonald’s or other things but but in order for our brains and we’re and we use fancy terms like neuroplasticity, which helps us handle this anxiety so this so this segue into you were then diagnosed with all of these things make sense?

To me, because from a scientific standpoint, when we don’t get that nutrition at zero to five, and so your dad completed suicide at three years old,

you may be like me and wonder what the heck happened after that, especially up until five years, five years old. And so we know that lots of brain development doesn’t happen when we don’t have that nutrition. And that is when we get that truncated window of tolerance that we’ve talked about so often on this podcast, again, that that window of tolerance, if you think of it like a, a gutter, and when you’re bowling, you know how they put up the ones for the kids will pretend that that’s not there and you bowl and the ball goes in the gutter, because some outside pressure either you throw it wonky or something happen, it pushes it into the gutter. Well, these traumas at such an early age pushes our what we call our window of tolerance, which is our ability to handle trauma or bill or ability to handle life in general, it makes it very, very narrow. So something very simple, can push you into an anxiety attack and all of those things that you just talked about. And so I’m not surprised that that you got diagnosed with those at that, that that age. The other the other concept to you have to think is happening in homes like yours and mine as hydration right water just dried up water. And water is so important for us now which you are my my accountability buddy on that just from your Instagram feed as an adult I got, I got that listeners can’t see me but I got this, this big old thing of water sitting next to me because water, because water cushions our brain, it so it also lubricates it for lack of a better word, especially from that zero to five. And so it doesn’t surprise me that you were diagnosed with those disorders at such a you’re at such a young age. And so for listeners out there, if you and I have Nicole a plethora of listener, so I have parents who have adopted children who have trauma, I have trauma survivors who are adults and have eating disorders, I am one of those people, we you know, all I have the gamut. I have people that don’t want to traumatize their kids or want to know how to do better. And the episode coming after you is going to be a very cool way to connect with our kids as it pertains to food. And so and so water is another thing. And so when we think of these basic things, I was telling you earlier about this, this study called the Perry so it’s p e r y preschool study, and they’ve been following these kids that were in marginalized communities. Now both of us are not people of color, we would not necessarily be considered a marginalized community. But it sounds like both of us grew up very poor, with with all the simple sugars when we got food. And you know, like I said that definitely a lack of resources, I would say, yeah, maybe that’s a better way to put it. And so they took these kids that had these lack of resources. And they they put them in this preschool program, and they followed them. So the youngest now is 52 years old, and the oldest is 56 years old. And not only did they provide them with the educational resources, that control group did not get those kids got two meals a day of all the things and you’re gonna tell us later what kids need, but of all the things that kids need for their brain development. And they followed those kids against a control group for 56 years now. Now, this was all about money, unfortunately. But it’s still got a very interesting outcome. Because the kids that they put into this, this preschool program where they were getting at least two or three meals a day and then educated year round,

were exponentially better off than the control group and the same community with the same lack of resources, and to the tune of a return on investment for every dollar that they spent. And that program, those kids grew up to have careers that that they turned back into society to a seven to one ratio. So for every dollar that was spent, to get them to where they needed to be and their brain to develop properly. And that such an early age from zero to five, they were able to give back to the community at a seven to one and that cool.

Nicole Patraw  19:28  
Wow, isn’t that so amazing? But it’s I’m not even surprised about that, even though those are amazing numbers and chances

are, you know, and we look a lot at the pieces, you know, what are the missing pieces with our society or kids and I think that just proves one of those missing pieces. That’s so important. And we know it’s such an important thing is really just nurturing them nurturing their body and nurturing their brain because it shows that when we nurture a child’s body and their brain

In or in adults, they they strive more socially and they strive more academically and they will strive more in their career and, and emotionally and just, it’s not the answer. nutrition isn’t not the only answer. But it’s a really big puzzle piece out of this whole equation. 

Amy Watson  20:21  
Yeah. And especially if we want them because no matter what, you know, parents are going to screw up their kids in some ways. You know what I’m saying? Not not necessarily traumatically, but they’re going to screw them up somehow. And so if I even do at times, I’m sure, yeah, that was gonna be my next question to you. You have children, right?

Nicole Patraw  20:41  
I have three kids, you have three kids, and I love following. I’m not sure which one of your three kids when you guys are playing hockey, you’re like, I’m dead right now. I’m just dead. But

Amy Watson  20:51  
But, but you talk about, and this is a nice segue into asking you to talk to our listeners about what you do for your own kids. Because I laugh so hard when you go to these hockey tournaments, because we’ve all had family members who are in clubs something right and and it’s like you’re sitting and there’s tournaments, just wishing they’d lose so you can go home. But but you actually, that you actually, you actually, you talk to us on Instagram, especially about those times, because ideally, so let’s start with the ideal nutrition of children and your mind based on your research. And you have done some formal training with this. And you’ve got some some programs we’re going to talk about at the end. And so here’s where, as a survivor of trauma, and as a survivor of as somebody that like myself, who did not get nurtured as a child, we did okay, but because we did the hard work, right, maybe neither of us would suffer from some of the things that we still suffer from, because I don’t know about you, but my anxiety and the things that happen as a result of my childhood with nutrition being in play, didn’t go away, right. And so I always wonder how much better I would be had I been taken care of, while you have three children. And when you go on those hockey tournaments, you post, like, we still take snacks. And then occasionally, like I think I might have seen once I gave in and we just ate at McDonald’s and parents out there, I understand Happy Meals, make them happy. And all that. And this is not a knock against fast food or any of those things. This is to talk to you guys about the importance of nutrition and the child’s brain, regardless of whether trauma is present or not. Because one day they are going to have trauma. And if we can have that window of tolerance as wide as possible, because we have nurtured them. And Nicole not only with food, but just and listeners can’t hear me but just hugging them. And you know, like I I didn’t get that as a child. And there were parts of my brain not developed because of that. But talk to us about what you recommend to parents for nutrition to set them up the best we possibly can in life. 

Nicole Patraw  23:01  
Okay, let me start with I love myself a good spicy chicken, McDonald’s sandwich. There’s no shame in that. And I think it’s healthy to have a balance and to let yourself have a treat every once in a while. But that’s my little pleasure. And I’m not going to call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel guilty for it.

It’s really interesting being a mom, because my first child that I had, I got pregnant at 14. And now that kiddo that’s in hockey is 14 themselves. So that’s a little bit wild. And it’s been really interesting to watch their journey growing up.

Because as a teenager,

raising a child, I only knew what I knew, based off of what I’ve been shown and all children are different. And my oldest is a lot different than the younger two, in the way of where my oldest and I are kind of healing together if that makes sense. And not just nutritionally but we make a big point out of that, obviously, but also our social skills and

you know, identifying our feelings, why we’re feeling that way affirming

our kids and you know, because there’s that whole self fulfilling prophecy thing too. And I think affirming our children is so incredibly important. So my my journey as being a mother going through this whole wellness journey has been very interesting. Because I have been on both polar sides of parenting of being a teen parent. I’m just surviving purely surviving just like my mom was and definitely missing some of my kiddos needs. Like you said that the physical nurturing and being there because I was so busy working and trying to financially provide now being on the other side of that spectrum and pouring so much into

my kids, all three of them. So I have a six seven and the fort

18 year old, and just pouring so much nutritionally into them and awareness and affirmations. And it’s truly interesting to see, you know, by nature, they’re different they are. But my 14 year old has had a much different upbringing than my younger two. And it’s very interesting to see how their academics have

been different and unique and how their social life has been different and unique. And I think there’s some sort of radical acceptance of even if we’ve gotten to a certain point in parenting, where we go, oh, man, like I screwed up, I could have done so much more different. There’s some sort of radical acceptance of we did the best that we knew how. And when we know better, we’ll do better. And we’ll give ourselves grace because we want our kids to be able to give themselves grace to. So going into the nutrition. I like to keep it very simple. Nutrition can be very complicated. And I think that’s a lot of the reason why people kind of get scared off or step away from nutrition or they’re like, oh, there’s so much information. But when it really comes down to it, it’s you know, about sick, five really basic things, is what are they eating for breakfast, you know, whole grains and protein is so incredibly important for regulating our mood. It regulates our blood sugar, the whole grains and the protein regulate our blood sugar and our blood sugar can regulate our moods, and being diagnosed diagnosed with bipolar. I’m like, was I really bipolar? Or was I having these wild blood sugar swings with a lack of social skills developed? Did that manifest in the bipolar? I don’t know. God only knows. That is the answer. That is, I don’t want to interrupt you. I did interrupt you. That is so he’s okay. 

Amy Watson  26:55  
That is so huge. Which came first the chicken or the egg, right? Because even if you had bipolar disorder, would nutrition help, and we know it will? I’m sorry. Okay. So your that was one one point. I’m sorry, that that correlation, that correlation cannot be ignored? No, it can’t, it cannot be ignored. And, and so I just want people to under to hear you when you say that. Okay, go ahead. 

Nicole Patraw  27:20  
Well, you know, even just on the bipolar topic, and me being diagnosed with bipolar, I went to therapy, I went to doctors, I went to treatment centers, you know, I had, thankfully on successful suicide attempts. And in there was always like a piece missing, you know, the medications and this and I’m still feeling, we’re still having the same struggles. And I’m not saying that nutrition is going to fix everything. And in the same breath, I am my own testimony in the fact that I changed my entire way of eating, and I still eat McDonald’s. So don’t get me wrong. I changed my whole mindset in the way that it eats. I’m no longer on medications with the help of my doctor and my therapist and food. And I feel really good, I feel really good. And a lot of that, a lot of that is about breakfast. And if if you’re not feeling up to cooking a breakfast, we’ll toast and eggs and blah, blah, blah, We’ve even talked, just grab a protein shake, I drink a protein shake this morning, because sometimes, having breakfast in the morning is a struggle, especially if you have mental health challenges. It’s really a struggle to get that breakfast. So if you can imagine how important that is as as an adult is so incredibly important for a kid. But to keep it simple, it’s about our breakfast, it’s about the fat that the kids are eating.

Take away the hydrogenated oils, take away the fake fats, you know, that’s clogging up their brain that’s not allowing their brain to be elastic and flexible. We need to be having, you know, unsaturated and saturated fats like we just go to Olive oil. Keep it simple. It sounds complicated, but you know, I just go for the olive oil or the avocado oil, fiber, because our gut health is so incredibly important. We know that our gut health has a lot to do with on mental health. So feeding that good bacteria in our gut, with fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, just the good foods, whole grains drinking water. I mean, I don’t know if it sounds too complicated, but it’s pretty simple fats, protein fiber, whole grains water, you know, and I don’t get obsessed over counting it. I just make sure that I leave it around the house. I leave it in around the house so the kids can grab their fruit. Kids can grab their whole grain bagels, the kids can grab their water in because I’m tired. We do a lot of hockey. Yeah, we do a lot of hockey and we do I’m just a tired mom. To be honest. It doesn’t have to be complicated. But when we leave these nutritious foods around the house, which a lot of times you can find them

I’m for it within budget. Especially if you go to a place I like to go to all these, you don’t have to buy all the organic stuff and the wild stuff. It’s just making sure that the kids have access to food and even if you don’t have the energy to pick it they have access to. 

Amy Watson  30:17  
And I think that’s so important that they have access to it right, because neither one of us did. And we did and and we’re both I both still I tell people all the time I wake up in the basement, I don’t wake up on sea level, there’s lots of things I have to do to get to normal baseline, right. And I know that that is because as a child, I did not get these things that you’re talking about. You said something that I think is interesting about fats. And about the stretchiness I think was the word you use which is a much easier word to understand and the word I’m getting ready to use of our of our brains have our neuroplasticity. And the reason neuroplasticity is just a fancy word for being able to retrain your your brain, especially when trauma is present. And so if we have set them up to have a stretchy brain by making sure that they have these foods and especially fats and stay away from the the incredibly saturated fats, which are just fillers and waste of of everything, things like red dye too, by the way,

lots of red dye is is very highly coordinated, correlated, excuse me with diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and things of that nature. And so but but so you said that I think that’s important. So those five things listeners, making sure that that is getting into your children in whatever way you can. And and as young as you can right, we create these habits and their eating habits for them when they were very young. My cousin has twins, and I was up there when they were five months old, I went up to stay low in Canada and I went up to see them for spring break for and I’m literally air quoting when I say this vacation, because that was not a vacation. On my word. If you’ve ever been around when’s one cries, one goes asleep, and it’s a nightmare. But she and then as they got into toddlerhood, she would literally like cook up some asparagus, put some cut up some cheese, put some crackers have some hummus, and she would put it on a  board and put it in the kitchen. And they would run up and grab a piece of asparagus and dip it in the hummus and put it in their mouths. Well, they just they just killed like all five of what you just talked about just by hummus, asparagus, nuts, that kinds of stuff. And so, so what we don’t want to do and I know your heart and Nicole is that we don’t want people to think I can’t do that. I also don’t want you to think that if you’re not doing or you haven’t done it that you screwed up your kids forever, because that clearly is not true. I cannot remember maybe you know, Nicole, the proverb, let your food be your medicine. And so this season of the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast is all about is never too late to heal. So those five things we you mentioned those for us one more time, the five things to make sure we’re getting into our kids. 

Nicole Patraw  33:14  
Yes, absolutely. So whole grains and fiber, protein, fats and water.

Those are the basics. 

Amy Watson  33:24  
And would you add water? I think, is it? Isn’t there a rule of thumb, half your body weight is what you should be drinking in water.

Nicole Patraw  33:33  
Yes, same with protein. So you should be taking your body weight dividing it by two. And that’s how many ounces that doctors usually recommend for your water intake for the day. Wow, I did not know that about the protein that is really interesting. Okay, so parents if your child is go ahead, I’m sorry, 

the protein is a little bit different for kids. So for adults, you’re supposed to take your weight divided by two. And that’s how many grams of protein doctors recommend you to have a day. But for kids, a lot of doctors recommends that kids have one gram per body weight. So if my little one weighs 50 pounds, ideally, he should be getting 50 grams of protein every day because they’re growing. 

Amy Watson  34:19  
Yeah, you’re dropping some gems on us. Yeah, because protein helps muscle development. And we’re gonna put all of this in the show notes. So if you’re on a walk or in your car, I don’t want you rocking trying to write this down. I will put this information in the show notes because that’s super valuable. So half their body weight and water and then protein is double basically right, their body weight. Did I understand you correctly on that one? 

Nicole Patraw  34:43  
One gram per one gram per 50 pounds, they ideally should have 50 grams of protein a day. Okay? And then if they’re 70 pounds, they should have 70 grams of protein a day, ideally, 

Amy Watson  34:54  
gotcha. And then norm and then obviously leafy vegetables and all the things and again, this is all

Helping with brain health, you’re setting them up to have a expanded window of tolerance, you’re setting them up to not be like me, and I can only talk about me because I know my issues. And Nicole, you have been a really good friend to me in this regard. Because you have taken your experience of not having not having the nutrition that you needed as a child. Combined with an ACE score, I think I counted seven or eight, which is very, very high, and then got pregnant at 14. And I’m so grateful that you chose to carry that precious child. And I know that you are growing up together. And I do think I do think it’s interesting to note here that while children are different, inherently, that we can see a difference and your oldest, based on all the dynamics because you were just doing the best you can with what you had, and you were young, you were just a child yourself, our brains aren’t completely developed until 25. And you’re barely barely older than 25. yourself, Nicole, but I do believe I do believe you’re an old soul. And but but I think it’s really important that we highlight there, that there is a difference between your oldest who did not necessarily get the nutrition and the nurturing that your six and seven year old got and they’re all cute, y’all gotta follow, follow Nicole on on Instagram. 

Nicole Patraw  36:21  
They are cute, they do have different genetics. I mean, obviously, they

do have different dads. But I think there’s a lot to say as far as how a child is nurtured how many affirmations they’re given, how many cuddles they’re given, if they have, you know, decent clothes to wear to school, and their confidence and the food and the access and, and just having safety and knowing that like, this is our home, this is our family, I’m safe here.

It makes a big difference with them. You know, it’s almost like with my oldest and me too, we have our genetics, but then there’s certain keys that turn those genetics, some maybe a lack of security and housing turns another key or like

physical neglect turns another key and those, those all end up somewhere building up into something bigger, you know, and so my oldest has had their struggles and and they’re pretty open, they’ve been diagnosed with autism and whatnot. And I think there’s something beautiful and just having that radical acceptance of this is who we are, this is who I am, this is my experience. And I get to create my own reality now because I’m being given the resources and education, and the tools and the support that I need now, you know, 

Amy Watson  37:42  
and that’s the hope that we talk about on this podcast all the time is that it’s never too late to heal. And that and that tagline just came to me a couple of days ago, as we introduced this new series, it’s never too late to heal. And obviously you were able to intervene and your oldest pretty early, but it’s never too late to heal. But part of and I’m speaking now to adult survivors of trauma who were not nourished. And we are we are focusing on nutrition here, but because it’s Nicole, who is a friend of mine, and I and I just feel so safe in this environment. I think too, that one of the things that we both have hit on is just that, that importance of physical touch and hugs and all of that. And so I always wondered Nicole like, Yeah, I’m fairly intelligent, I’ve got a decent IQ, I did well in school and things that my counselor says shouldn’t be able to happen. With, with the exception of the PTSD diagnosis, I was not diagnosed with some of the higher acuity things. And I often wondered, like, knowing what my mom did later, abandoned me. And so like I’m thinking, now as an adult, who potty trained me who fed me who did all of these things, right? And because she abandoned me and most of my family is, is are gone. There are not a whole lot of pictures floating around of me as a child period, I had one of me as a 20. My first Christmas was 24 days old. And it was only my profile, and you really couldn’t see anything. And so I wondered, I’ve wondered, and especially going into this series like

how, who fed me who did who took care of me because I clearly my brain got formed somehow even though I have PTSD, and anxiety and all of that. And I and I wasn’t well nourished, and I still have health conditions related to that. And we’re talking mental health here. But

anyway, so to make a very long story short, my dad’s side of the family somebody in his family had a picture from when I was only nine months old, and my sister was three years old. And Nicole when I tell you that I am the chubby us of the chubby of all the chubby babies in the world. It was but I bet it was so cathartic for me because it helped me fill in some missing pieces like okay, well clearly. When I was that young, somebody was feeding me and then there was a time

Time and I remember that time it was around the time of four or five, where we were given were locked in rooms and fed stuff that humans shouldn’t eat or not eat at all. So it clearly was my dad who died around the time that all that started happen that was taken care of man. So it’s so encouraged me because I looked at the picture. And I saw that chubby little girl and my sister who is holding me, barely can hold me because I mean, you know, she she to this day is four inches taller or shorter than I am, we have different dads. And so she’s holding me and I’m, I have a smile on my face. And I’m looking in the eyes of that baby. And I’m saying, I’m going to take care of you as an adult. And it was such a moment for me, because and here’s my question for you. That was a long question. You know this, because one of the reasons why you’re so precious to me is because I shared even more details about my own eating struggles as an adult, as a result of my childhood. And as a result of something that we haven’t really discussed a whole lot. I know that you’re big on with your kids, it’s calming down our nervous system so that we can get our fight or flight and end to rest and digest. And so one day you and I were just texting each other. And you asked me how I was doing, as you often do. And I just said, You know what, I’m really struggling, I can’t eat. I feel like I just ate Thanksgiving dinner, that I weighed on 10 pounds underweight, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, just started talking to you. You said something to the effect, what can you get anything into your body and I’m, I was literally laying in bed at like four o’clock in the afternoon. And I said back to you, I have these protein shakes in the refrigerator, but they’re full of preservatives. I know, they’re not good for me because they sit in the sun before they go in our refrigerator. But they’re 530 calories. And I guess I could get up and get one of those. And you message me back and you said those protein shakes are like love notes to your body.

And that now every time I drink one of those, I think of that, like I I’m reading a book by John Eldridge. And he talked about the verse in the Bible that says, Love your neighbor as yourself. And he said, If many of us are being honest, if we love our neighbors, like we love ourselves, we aren’t very good neighbors.

Nicole Patraw  42:14  
Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. 

Amy Watson  42:16  
So let that read just for a second. And so when you said that, to me, it was like, I have got to value myself. And so my, my question is to you and your work that you’re doing now? Do you experience people like me where you’re you’re finding the need to maybe even go out and curate a eating program for those of us who

have no context of what it means to have a healthy relationship with food? And because I’m on the other end of the spectrum, where I just don’t eat? Do you have any any thoughts for my listeners out there who might be like me? And this goes both ways, because obesity is a thing too, right? We eat the wrong foods when we have trauma. And so I would say, for those of us who have a poor relationship with food as a result of our childhoods, clearly, you have done the hard work and put in the hard work. Can you share with us how we can get to where you are? And I’m and I know you’re not perfect, that clearly you have figured this out? Can you help? Can you give me and my listeners some hope about our relationship with food and the presence of all this trauma that we’ve been through? 

Nicole Patraw  43:24  
Yeah, I thank you for sharing that. Because I resonate a lot with what you’re saying, there’s, there’s something that we don’t really talk about. And I only have the education that I have. So I can’t give you the whole logistics of why this happens. But I’ve definitely experienced that of being so stressed and not being hungry, and not having like the will to thrive. And I don’t know if it’s been conditioned as a kid just not having food. And so it’s just the normal, but I definitely relate to that. You know, it’s six o’clock, and you’re like holy buckets. I haven’t eaten the darn thing all day. You know, how, or how many days have I gotten without eating and not even that it’s always intentional, but it definitely has happened. That’s something that I’ve experienced. And it affects us, you know, because then it it kind of can become this cycle in the spiral. Now we’re feeling worse, because we’re not eating and that we’re not eating, we’re feeling worse. And you know, self care was a really big buzzword for a while. And it’s still kind of is but I kind of look at self care as just making the effort to meet my basic needs. And even though I’ve done the work to be where I’m at, it’s still a daily practice to meet my basic needs like today, reaching for that protein drink to make sure that I had nutrition in my body that I was taking care of my body this morning because I was just tired. I was so tired and sometimes that’s what it looks like. So

I would say the first thing to start with

with anybody, and this is where I started as just having grace with ourselves, you know, we’re not going to go from zero to 10. Overnight, the very, very little, very micro baby steps that we’re taking, whether it’s a protein shake in the morning, or having beef jerky or snacks around our house sitting on the counter, so we fit we see it, if we see it, sometimes we’ll eat it sometimes that’s just the reality of what we live in when we’ve grown up in trauma is that

if, if we don’t see it, we’re not thinking about it. And then we we don’t eat for two days. I think that’s something realistic. 

Amy Watson  45:43  
And that is something that you told me to do. And I do I have a bowl of

on my counter, little, you know, the little Snickers bars, I have them. And yeah, I will, I’ll just mindlessly go by and grab them. And I’ve and I’ve gotten some protein. And you know, and whatever else was good about Snickers I’ve gotten and so so I think the point there is such a good one, but there but there are people like you out there doing good work in the world. And I wouldn’t, I would not, I would not be surprised as we end towards the end of the podcast. And I want you to tell us about your your mission and how we can follow you. And and I believe you have a course available right now. But I also could see you Nicole, curating a program for adult survivors of trauma and nutrition, whereby, for me, it’s accountability. You’re one of those people that are randomly just text me and ask me how I’m doing the but but I think that it’s people like you doing work like you do, that is going to keep people like me, going adult survivors who had not even had any context for our relationship with food as a young child. And so for listeners out there, this is the opportunity I wanted to give Nicole to tell us a little bit about well nurtured souls, and your organization and your program where people can find you and all the things. 

Nicole Patraw  47:05  
I think education is a great way to start. And that’s why I put together my nutrition one on one class, and it’s really basic, it goes over the fiber, protein, fat water.

The very basic things without making it too complicated. It explains nutrition, and then how it ties to your mental health, in terms of explaining it, like you would a six year old because I strongly believe, you know, if you can’t explain it to his six year old, maybe we shouldn’t be explaining it, but it doesn’t need to be complicated all the time. You know, so I have I have that course that I do offer and it’s online, it’s self paced, life gets busy sometimes.

And I’m on I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook,

at well nurtured souls. So it’s W E L L dot nurtured that souls and you can find me over on there, but like you said, sometimes we step away and just protect our peace a little bit.

So there’s that, and I try to make that, you know, very accessible to people. I don’t like to charge hundreds of dollars for a course that I feel like should be taught in schools. I, I wish this was taught in schools. And that’s one of my goals is to get it tied to all parents and all schools. But then sometimes we need a little bit extra motivation, a little bit extra accountability. So I do a one on one coaching to where I meet with clients once a week. And we talk about more of like, what’s going on in their life, what works for them? What makes sense for them, because what makes sense for me, might not make sense for them. We’re all so completely different. And how can we make those little baby steps and just make it simple. Like,

it might look different for everybody, but just haven’t I have a fruit basket out. And that’s what makes sense for me and my family. Because we’re busy. And I know my kids have access to food, then some people love to cook with their family. I you know, I’m a nutrition coach. But I don’t love spending hours in the kitchen every single day, I’m going to be honest. But if that’s what my client loves to do, we’re gonna sit down and we can talk about it and how, how we can make that work for them. And maybe like change the facts that they’re using or change the grains that they’re using. So I would say start with a very basic education. Just start asking questions, seeking answers, and in little tiny micro shifts can make huge changes. Absolutely huge changes in our life.

And just have grace with yourself. You know, one thing that I do that’s really funny

when it comes to eating and nutrition because sometimes it’s challenging with mental health challenges, as I literally set alarms for myself. So if I’m working with a client and they’re having a hard time remembering to eat

Then eat, maybe it’s just setting alarms on your phone, or setting alarms on your Alexa that says, Hey, Nicole, it’s noon, it’s time to eat lunch. As silly as that sounds, that’s my reality as a nutrition coach, and that’s, that’s what works for me. And so educating ourselves on what we can use to fuel our body and feel our mental health in our mind in our soul. And then surrounding ourselves with support. Whether it’s you and I, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a spiritual leader, a church leader, parent, a sibling, a friend, a counselor, those Yeah, I love going to therapy. Yes, absolutely. 

Amy Watson  50:44  
And so you just, I don’t know that you’ve ever listened to an episode of my podcast, but you just hit on something that we talked about, which are the three C’s, which are Community Church counseling, I am going to provide all the ways that you can connect with Nicole in the show notes, I did not know that you do that one on one.

Coaching, I probably would be headed over there myself to find out more about that. But we have really dived deeply in to trauma and the developing brain. And then even Nicole has given us some bonus content here with how even as an adult, obviously, nutrition is super important, but particularly in the presence of trauma, because even as an adult guys, we can expand that window of tolerance. And I never even thought about the diet, the possible correlation. And maybe even misdiagnosis sees with with lack of nutrition and diagnosis, like bipolar disorder because of something simple, like blood sugar. And so this has been so informative to me. But also, as a trauma survivor, someone who has turned your pain turning, I should say, your pain into purpose with three beautiful children married to a law enforcement officer, which is a feat in itself, like most people would be eating, you know, their weight and calories just because of that alone. And so I wanted to thank you for that sacrifice, too. And so all right. Well, Nicole, any parting words for our listeners as we end the podcast today? 

Nicole Patraw  52:13  
No, I just want to thank you. And you know, a lot of times we feel like we have to make these huge macro shifts. And that’s really not where change comes from. Change comes from the tiny little shifts that we make those little consistent things that we do, whether it’s just making sure that we drink one more glass of water a day, or we eat breakfast four days out of the week.

Don’t get too caught up in you know, this wellness stuff is very trendy right now. And there’s a lot of pressure on social media to like do it perfect. You know, my they have a lot of like my daily routine. I eat this every morning, I work out this much every day I do this and don’t feel like you have to measure yourself to that. You’re on your own journey. We’re all on our own journey and and just have grace with yourself because you’re so worthy of where we’re where you’re at.

And it’s such a unique process that we shouldn’t be measuring to any anybody except for herself yesterday. 

Amy Watson  53:15  
Oh, love it. And we talk we talk about that too. Not comparing our stories, not comparing our trauma. Well thank you, again for being on the podcast and Nicole, I am going to proclaim over you the same thing I proclaim over everybody. And I know that you believe this but when your faith is hard to find sometimes you need to borrow mine. And so I want you to know that what we have done here today has solidified the message of my heart and the message of this podcast which is something that I end every single podcast with as Phil Baker’s song places out of the podcast that declare the server Nicole and declare it over everyone else. Guys. You are seeing you are known. You’re heard. you’re loved. And you’re valued. Valued yourself enough today to take care of yourself nutritionally. We will be back here and two weeks with Chef Kibi with a very cool way that he connects with his foster kids in the kitchen. So you’re not going to want to miss that. Make sure you’re subscribed. Thank you so much for joining the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. And until we come back here, I will see you again. Two weeks and the healing zone.

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