Now that I’ve completely changed my eating habits and I've sustained my new lifestyle for over a year, what I'm starting to learn is that my body is not going to let me behave like I use to. I was once the Queen of processed foods. Not only that, but processed foods that were easy and ready NOW, or I wasn’t going to bother with it! I always believed I was buying “high quality” and healthier processed foods. I read every label. Every. Single. Label. I even managed to commit to finding and buying foods that only had five ingredients or less. I put in all that effort, and STILL... I didn’t feel well. Since the Institute of Integrative Nutrition came into my life in 2015, that all has changed so much. I no longer suffer from daily headaches, regular migraines, neck and shoulder pain; I’m no longer lactose intolerant, my acid reflux is no longer an issue, and I no longer struggle with constipation or lack of sleep. All of that improved once I started eating more nutritious foods and taking less prescription medications. I’m not sure why our doctors aren’t asking us what we eat and drink, but I’m living proof that the food you eat can be your medicine or your poison.
Eating out often isn’t enjoyable for me anymore. I know... what a shame! I struggle because I live in a location in Maine where there are so many franchise restaurants and local, sustainable food options are lacking. When I am out, I try to make the best choice I can, but man! Sometimes even the best option on the menu is still not a great option. As I scan the menu, I'll think back to what would have caught my eyes just a few years ago. The kids were involved in activities, and we were on the road a lot, so we would eat out nearly every weekend. Back then, when I was in the vicious cycle of feeling unwell and tired, I didn’t notice how the foods I chose affected me. Now that I don’t fill myself with all those processed foods constantly, I notice immediately when and how those foods affect me.
I ventured to Portland recently, and I didn’t want to cook when we got home, so I suggested we eat out. There's a burger place there, known for their gourmet burgers, and I thought how bad can a burger make me feel?! A gourmet burger, versus a fast food option, sounded safe to me, but I was wrong! I ordered what I thought to be the best burger on the menu – it didn’t come in a bun, it was wrapped in lettuce, and I even swapped the fries for broccoli. I was tickled pink with the choice I had made, versus what I would have chosen just 3 years ago. We weren't even finished our drive home when I realized that burger was not going to settle well at all. For the next three days I felt negative effects from that burger. Needless to say, it was another learning opportunity. As much as I tell myself I hate learning opportunities, they really do keep me moving in the right direction.
Dr. Mark Hyman says the cure for what ails us can be found in our kitchen. From my personal experience, I completely agree. The food-like substances offered by the industrial food system trick our taste buds into momentary pleasure, but our biology rejects the junk that can wreak havoc on our genes and hormonal/biochemical pathways. The variety of flavors of processed foods may make you happy momentarily, but the scary thing is that your brain can become addicted to these sneaky combinations of fat, sugar, and salt. This addiction is dangerous because our biochemistry cannot properly break down and dispose of these foods. Since the cure for what ails us is in our kitchen, the best thing we can do is start preparing more meals at home.
You can start today with these 3 simple steps:
- Shopping cart makeover
- Fridge makeover
- Pantry makeover
Food is truly the best investment for your health! Choose locally grown, organic, whole foods as often as possible, but, most of all, focus on nourishing your body. Would you like some personal guidance in your journey through your shopping cart, refrigerator and pantry makeovers? Contact me today: firstname.lastname@example.org for your free wellness consultation!