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New Mitochondria, New Me!


The phrase “New Year, New Me” is a great reminder to implement healthier habits. Despite good intentions, the resolution “to lose 20 pounds” or “to stop eating sugar” often falls short, resulting in old habits. Rather than a short term resolution, it may be wiser to take a life extending approach and focus on the root of what makes us tick, metabolically speaking…our “mighty” mitochondria…our cellular energy factories. 

When mitochondria are healthy, they go through multiple processes that create varying amounts of energy units called Adenosine TriphosPhate (ATP). Trillions of mitochondria are unevenly distributed throughout the human body, according to each tissues’ needs. Organs like the heart and brain need far more mitochondria than our hair or toenails!

Mitochondria have always been deemed amazing structures in the world of biology but have recently garnered much attention as the cellular “fountain of youth” and primary gatekeepers to health and disease. What is known as the aging process is actually no more than the degeneration of quantity and quality of our mitochondria! That proverbial “fountain of youth”, should be called the “fountain of optimal health” which is the result of caring for our mitochondria. 

As “mighty” as mitochondria are, their health and productivity are very sensitive to both the cellular environment they reside in and the larger environment of each working system within a human being. This is all affected by our eating habits, sleeping patterns, emotional stressors, supplements, and all the other virtues and vices. And don’t forget that most of your pharmaceuticals are toxic to your mitochondria!


Follow Nature’s Rhythms– As humans, we are a part of nature just like all other biological beings. We have an internal clock that is meant to follow the rhythm of the changing seasons, as well as the day/night circadian cycle. When the daylight hours change and much of the life at temperate/non-tropical latitudes takes a pause, we also need extra rest. Try these few suggestions as we enter the New Year:

These practices can help reset our nervous systems by connecting us back to the light and sound frequencies of nature, supporting our mitochondria that have been stuck in a state of disharmony from constant life pressure and overstimulation. 

Eat with the Seasons– Just as we are meant to follow nature’s circadian rhythm, we are also meant to eat foods that are in season to balance our metabolism. A common mistake in winter is the continual consumption of raw, cold foods, such as fruit and salads like we eat in the summer. Cold foods require more digestive energy to break down and assimilate. This may be fine in the summer when our metabolic rates are higher but become harder on the gut in the winter. The same mitochondrial energy that is used for digestion also keeps us warm, prevents hypothermia, and maintains immune resilience–hence our bodies naturally prefer cooked meals during these shorter and colder months-or when your digestion is struggling!

Conserve vital energy!

  • Eating light-to-moderately cooked, warm foods.
  • Eat organic and low-carbohydrate seasonal foods such as high fiber squashes, dark leafy greens, nutrient dense animal products, broths/soups, and spices (i.e. ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon,  and nutmeg) – Check out our recipes!
  • Eat your meals (especially the largest!) during daylight hours.
    • Shift to earlier dinners in winter!
    • Don’t eat after dinner/at bedtime!

With these changes, we maintain metabolic flexibility and absorb critical nutrients to keep our mitochondria running smoothly all without overtaxing our system through excessive consumption of raw/cold foods. 

Body as a Sacred Temple– If you seek optimal health, respect your system with proper support and recovery. Holiday stress of family reunions, shopping, and parties replete with processed and high-carb foods end up leading to late-night, low-quality sleep and gastrointestinal inflammation that negatively impacts our mitochondria.  We all need rest, recuperation, and recharging. When we tune into ourselves and assess our physical/emotional needs, our bodies’ wisdom will gently indicate when we are living out of sync. If we ignore and suppress our mitochondrial “cries for help”, we begin to experience dysfunction that leads to early signs of mitochondrial dysfunction: fatigue, bloating, insomnia, poor stamina and mood changes. Get your Temple in check before late signs of mitochondrial dysfunction appear: depression, anxiety, loss of libido, pain, brain fog, and intolerance to light, noise or temperatures. Mitochondrial failure is when we have outright disease, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer.

The best way to go about implementing any number of these resolutions for supporting optimal mitochondrial health is to make one simple change at a time. The goal is to ensure this change can be sustainably repeated on a consistent basis until it becomes fully integrated into our life. Here’s to the New Year – New Mitochondria, New Me!


  3. The Mighty Mitochondria. Module 2: Introduction to the fundamentals & testing of the terrain. The Metabolic Terrain Institute of Health. Nasha Winters, ND. 2020