Did you know that 66% of the U.S. population is on a “diet”? Did you know that there are well over 100 dietary theories out there to choose from? Have you tried one or more of them? How does a person know which one is best? They all claim to be!! Do you go gluten free? Do you go paleo? Do you go vegan? Do you want to lose weight? Gain weight? Just feel better in general? How does a person ever make sense of all the information out there? Here’s another question….can you trust your doctor’s dietary recommendations? Can you trust the FDA’s dietary recommendations?
Have you ever heard the term “bio-individuality”? This is the theory that one person’s food is another person’s poison. It’s based on age, gender, race, blood type, and level of activity. Do you believe you can trust your body to tell you what foods are best for you? I believe you can, if you give it half a chance. I believe we have to respect the individual before we respect the dietary theory. I also believe there is so much more than the food on our plate to consider when trying to be healthy. In fact, I believe that things such as our relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity all need to be considered FIRST, even before we consider the food on our plate. Because if there is an imbalance in these other areas of our life, there will be an imbalance in our food choices, as well as how we metabolize the nutrition we take in. These areas of our life can, and will, affect our relationship with food in general. We have to look at the whole picture. It is our ”circle of life”.
I have learned how to sift through all the information out there, and get to the bottom of what is best for me. I believe you can too. Don’t let food be a burden. Don’t let your “diet” be a chore. I would like to eliminate that word entirely! It has such a negative connotation. How about “bio-individual bill of fare”? Maybe too wordy, but you can call it whatever you choose.
I have an easy plan for identifying your bio-individual nutritional needs:
(There’s that word again!) This will help you identify any food sensitivities or allergies. It is really not as horrible as it sounds. I did this recently and I am so glad I did! I discovered things about the food I had been eating I would have never known otherwise. You can do this in a couple ways. The food groups you want to explore are gluten, dairy, corn, soy and nightshade vegetables. The fastest way to do this is to eliminate them all for at least three weeks. There are so many alternatives out there, so please don’t let this overwhelm you. If I could do it, anyone can. After the three weeks, re-introduce each food group one at a time, one week at a time. Observe how your body responds, and record any uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, skin problems, itching, foggy thinking, or pain. If you experience a symptom with any of the food groups, you then know you need to eliminate that food group for a period of at least one year. At that point, you can try re-introducing again. During this time period, it is a good idea to also eliminate sugar. It is not one of the common allergy food groups, but it is a huge trigger for inflammation, and a host of other problems. The biggest thing I noticed when I did my elimination diet was that my thinking became so much clearer! Also, please remember it is important to stay well hydrated during this process, so that your body can eliminate toxins.
Your healthy eating plan does NOT have to include foods you don’t like! There are so many options and alternatives. It is absolutely possible to find delicious foods that you can look forward to, without guilt!
Here’s a hint: ALL of your health concerns or conditions are affected by your nutrition!
Answer the question WHY do I want to improve my nutritional habits? Perhaps answer this statement….I want to improve my nutritional habits in order to…..? Answering this question will help you quickly zero in on your goals. It will also help identify any other areas of your life which may be affected by your relationship with food. Do you want to be able to feel better in your clothes? Do you want to be able to ride a bicycle with your grandchildren? Do you want to lower your cholesterol levels to avoid medications? Do you just want to feel better? Go ahead and identify a few things you’d like to do! Refer back to your list time and time again to keep yourself motivated. It’s a fabulous feeling when you can check items off that list!
Now that you have identified the building blocks of your new nutritional needs, you can begin putting together your new, healthy, nutritional plan!
Try not to be overwhelmed, and don’t feel like you have to change everything at once! A less overwhelming way to approach this is to find a new, healthy food that you enjoy, that you can add in, rather than take away, for your first change. When you have accomplished that, add another! Do this for one week, and then the following week, try reducing or removing one of the foods that you know you should eat less of. For instance, replace regular French fries, with a baked sweet potato. Remember to do this according to your bio-individuality, and your likes and dislikes. Another option to get started is to drink one less cup of coffee per day the first week. One of the things I have changed is that I allow myself one TALL cup of coffee, but I make it a really good one, a delicious frothy latte. I have found a way to make a really good, healthy latte. So these are just a couple of examples of how to get started with this. Just start slowly! Change one thing at a time, and go at your own pace. Be sure to stop and congratulate yourself with each accomplishment along the way! Be proud because you are taking control of your health!
Here are a couple of ideas to make this whole process a little easier, and a little more fun!
I would love to hear your ideas about what has worked for you and what has not. If you are confused and searching for your key to healthy living and better nutrition, I would love to help you find it! I won’t tell you what food you have to put on your plate. But I can promise I’ll help you find a way of eating that will nourish your body, as well as your soul. Give me a holler, and let’s get started!