by Vianna Vivante
I would like to share with you, my personal food choices and why I have made the decision to eat the way I do. I have symptoms of osteoarthritis, GERD and irritable bowel syndrome, passed down through my genetic line which many people in my family struggle with. These symptoms include daily pain reaching deep both physically and mentally within myself, and through the years, the choices I have made and the relationship with foods I eat, has brought me where I am today to a place of decreased and eliminated symptoms.
So how did this all come about? Well, my choices evolved around how I felt when eating certain foods, and how I felt AFTER eating foods including days after. I have noticed that my choices include foods known to have anti-inflammatory properties to ease symptoms of arthritic discomfort.
Sometimes, what I had thought of as healthy foods, simply did not agree with me no matter how hard I thought they would, so I put aside any preconception I had about “heathy” foods and relied on the messages my body would give me. Did I feel better? Did I sleep better? Was I able to concentrate well? Foods that truly agreed with me rewarded my body with less discomfort.
I noticed slapping the word organic on the label of an item makes consumers think it is automatically healthy but some of the packaged products have ingredients that cause intestinal distress and aren’t any better than their non-organic counterparts. I choose foods that have five or less ingredients listed on a package to avoid consuming chemicals, fillers or artificial ingredients and any product with added sugar is also avoided. I don’t allow myself to get drawn in and enticed by the latest super food being forced on us by the media. Quite a few of the so called nutritional benefits are over inflated or you need to consume a huge amount of whatever they were marketing to get the benefits of the stated claims that are implied.
Simply put, keep trying different foods until you come upon your formula for eating what you need for optimal health.
I consume the standard healthy diet with vegetables, fruits, yellow fin tuna, salmon, organic eggs (they just taste better to me), coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, walnuts, almond butter, peanut butter (eating these with celery is an awesome mid-day snack), nutritional yeast flakes for B vitamins, Ezekiel sprout bread, chickpea and red lentil pasta, oatmeal, unsweetened almond or coconut or cashew milk. My spice choices are turmeric, paprika, black pepper and Himalayan pink salt. I found if I wait too long to eat I would eat far too fast and way too much, that is why staying satiated throughout the day helps me to eat in a way that benefits my mood and body. I also discovered that not eating anything after 6 pm allows for a restful night’s sleep, free from the digestion woes of eating late. For me, this is my game plan, and for you, your food combinations and eating habits will be unique to you.
I don’t have a sweet tooth due to sensitive teeth from GERD but I do consume a small piece of unsweetened chocolate for the antioxidants and tend toward savory foods. However, I don’t believe you should avoid sweets if you enjoy them but if you tend to eat sweets and it causes you to binge and consume them in excess, then it has to go. That is not treating the experience and relationship with food in a healthy and loving way to your body. Admit it - if you are truly eating each bite slowly and mindfully you will know when to stop. Shoving it into your mouth at the sink or near the refrigerator as if it is something shameful, an afterthought, or a mindless experience is a perfect example of not enjoying food. If you put your dessert on a plate or bowl and sit down and savor each bite with pleasure, then you are truly enjoying the experience and treating yourself lovingly.
I shared with you my medical history in the hopes you understand why there is no specific diet made for all. We each have our own stories, preferences, medical issues, and must make choices that work for our own bodies. Listen to your body and pay attention to your feelings and physical sensations when you eat. Learn to love and appreciate the benefits that food can be for you!