Friday, May 16, 2014

Discovering the Foods That Work (and don't work) For YOUR Body.. {My quest to find my 'perfect diet'}

Hey guys! Today I have a little different topic to talk about! It's about finding the diet that works for you. And when I say "diet" I don't mean a diet you go on to lose weight, in which health is not necessarily the main focus. You can lose weight eating unhealthy foods, short term, but not really heal your body and have optimal health. I'm talking about a "diet" as a way of eating for life. Everyone's body is different, and therefore reacts to certain foods differently. Some people are allergy to gluten and some are allergy to peanuts...some people can eat both happily but have an allergy to eggs! Everyone is unique. I personally have been struggling with some digestive discomfort this past year and I really want to figure out what the problem is once and for all. I already eat a very "clean" diet - lots of fruits and veggies, no gluten (except on rare occasion), lean organic protein... so for me it's not that I want to eat "cleaner" or even "healthier", but rather find the foods that don't work well for me and the ones that do. I think digestion is one of the biggest components of health and how we absorb the nutrients from our food. And even if I'm eating clean foods, but not properly digesting/absorbing them, how can I truly be healthy? As I embark on this journey, I'll start by telling you some things I've considered and/or tried:

Gluten Free Fad?
Now we all know how the label "gluten free" is trending all over the grocery store, and many people think they're being healthy by eating gluten free. Truthfully, a lot of these "gluten free" products are actually highly processed and loaded with sugar, which could actually do more harm than the gluten itself. I eat mostly gluten free, sometimes I'll have some sprouted Ezekiel Bread (which is easier to digest than most wheat). I've gone days without eating gluten and still had stomach pain, so I don't think gluten is the problem. But... gluten free doesn't mean grain free. Many people are actually sensitive all grains, including ones that are naturally gluten free, rice and oats.

FOD-what?? Yes, FODMAPs. Your probably wondering "what the heck is that?" FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the body. In people with gastrointestinal symotons, eating a diet high in FODMAPs can cause constipation, bloating, and stomach pain. Some include wheat, corn, certain fruits/veggies like apples, onions, garlic, mushrooms,chili, and lactose. I tried eliminating some, but I don't think I stuck with it long enough to see the results. I think I will try it again, because it makes a lot of sense. Click here for more information.

Now, I don't usually eat dairy, so I think something else is the problem. I personally know that when I do have dairy, I don't feel my best and I don't like the idea of drinking milk, especially since most milk is highly pasteurized. I used to eat a lot of greek yogurt, but I've cut back on it because it doesn't leave me feeling that great. Many people are lactose intolerant and don't even know. I plan on still limiting dairy anyway, but I'd like to know how it affects my body for sure. But of course, I will indulge occasionally on an ice cream or some cheese in a salad or pizza!

Paleo vs. Vegan? The great debate...
While I love the idea of eating vegan, and understand paleo, they are very contradicting. In this post, I'm just talking about health, not the philosophy or moral beliefs behind each one. Paleo includes meat and eggs and excludes beans, legumes, and grains (because they weren't part of the primal diet and can be hard to digest) while vegan would be the opposite...If you're not eating meat, eggs, or dairy, you'd have to get your protein from beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I don't eat a lot of beans/legumes, but I don't know how I feel without them until I really try and cut them out!

But when I comes down to it, I always focus on JERF. Just Eat Real Food! Nothing made in a factory or anything I can't pronounce. That simple.

While many styles of eating can be healthy, everything works different for everyone! I plan on eliminating and reintroducing certain foods and keeping track of how I feel. I'm also going to see a specialist and get some food allergy tests done, and hopefully rule some things out! Let me know if you've experienced food allergies, or how different diets have worked best for you!

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