Good day, dear reader. Today I want to touch on a subject that has been coming up a lot in my conversations lately, FOOD! As wonderful as food is, finding the right diet for yourself can be quite challenging and even self-destructive.
As I mentioned in my pose about self care for digestion, I’m no nutrition expert, but going along with my digestion theme as of late, I would like to share with you some insights that could help sift through the diet hullabaloo.
But let me start with a story. A friend of mine, let’s call her Betty, came up to me yesterday all disgruntled. Betty went on about how horrible she felt trying on her new high protein/low carbs diet. Someone at her work was raving about it, and Betty had already been feeling like she had been carb overloading lately (but haven’t we all, amirite?), and so she thought she’d give it a whirl.
Betty didn’t really eat meat or cheese, and then all of sudden she overwhelmed herself with these things, thus sending her body into shock and all sorts of sick feelings. So, she started researching the diet and read all of the mixed reviews, and then came the emotional and mental confusion and frustration. Sound familiar?
Though I have never tried that particular diet, I have tried a whole lot of others. I can definitely relate to my sweet Betty. And I’m sure you can, too.
Most of my life I’ve been frustrated with my digestion as a whole, so I tried this diet and that meal plan, and read this article and that book, all contradicting each other, of course. Pretty soon my relationship with food was even more jacked up than I thought my digestive system was. Food changed from something I loved to something I feared. Which was very sad, indeed.
I’m finding that fear and confusion is oh so common and is growing more and more. So what do you do? How do you clear the clutter? How do you know who to trust?
Well, I wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer to how it will look for you individually, but I will tell you that there is a simple answer to get you on the right path. So simply put:
Relax and enjoy food. Find balance in your diet. Pay attention to your body.
Allow me to elaborate.
Relax and enjoy food: A lot of emotions and tension can occur when trying a new diet or around food in general. Even with the healthiest of diets, if we are paranoid or upset or confused with what we are eating, our muscles tense up. You may not be aware of it, but they do. Tense muscles and stress hinder the digestive functions, countering whatever efforts you are trying to make with diet. So relax. Calm down. However you eat, be at peace and enjoy what you eat. You will be better for it. And it will get you on the right track to…
Find balance in your diet: Back to the story of disgruntled Betty for a moment. She thought she was eating too many carbs, so instead of just reducing carbs and increasing protein, she let the pendulum swing the other way with no carbs and all protein. It is tempting to live in a world of extremes, but a lot of health is to be had by simply balancing out your diet.
I love these quotes Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” and, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” They are simple and great words to live by.
Instead of majorly cutting out things that you love and will miss and eventually resent, bring balance. Nourish instead of neglect. Fuel your body with good things, and the not so good things will work themselves out. And more than likely, you won’t even want the crappy stuff anymore over time.
Pay attention to your body: Start noticing how different foods make you feel. Did that bowl of pasta make you feel tired or did it give you energy? How do you really feel after eating cookies for breakfast? Does this food light you up or bring you down? Taking note after each feast can tell you a lot, more than any book or article.
Your body is ultimately wiser than any other source out there. Experts can give you insights and guidance, but at the end of the day, you are your best physician. Journal, meditate, or pray if that’s your thing, on what path to try. Trust your gut (literally). And try to relax and enjoy figuring out what works for you.
Also, I know that food sensitivities and allergies are a thing, and those should be tested out with more professional guidance, but I think these principles still apply.