The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but will rather cure and prevent disease with nutrition. Thomas Edison
Disease aside, I feel I have always known that what I put into my body in terms of food, played a huge role in my health. However, somewhere along the way I have lost my feeling of being connected to how I am fueling my body. Last week I decided to reconnect to my food intake and see how it would affect my overall health.
Which “diet” you choose to follow is not really the point of this entry. The more important point is for all of us to start listening to our bodies more and to start to hear what our bodies like and what they don’t. For way too many years, I have ate food that made me feel uncomfortable and guilty. How many times have I ate foods and instantly started wondering why I had ate that. I used to be a dancer. I knew what kind of food I needed to eat to have energy for activity. I was a dance teacher in a studio that was run by an elderly dancer. Every day that I would come in to teach, she would have slices of cheese and chicken stock for us to drink before we started work. When I had a relapse 5 years ago, I went to see a naturopath who recommended I try an elimination diet to see what my body reacted well to and what it didn’t. I found out that my body did not like gluten and most dairy. I have reintroduced these items at times. The outcome is never positive. Dairy makes me have a lot of gastrointestinal problems, and gluten gives me acid reflux instantly and makes me extremely bloated. These have all been flashing road signs along my life journey. For some reason, most of us silence these notifications that our bodies send to us.
In the stage I am now of my MS progression, mobility is a major concern. It is harder for me to move around without an assistive device and when I do have a fall, it is increasingly hard for me to get back up. I know that I am carrying way too much weight for my frame and current strength level. My first attempt to listen to the signs, came 5 years ago when I cut out gluten and most dairy. Both of those substances are very inflammatory. When you have an autoimmune disease, inflammation is the last thing you need in your life. I also started gardening at that time because I wanted to know what my produce was grown in and nothing is more satisfying to me than walking into my backyard and coming in with all the fixings for a salad. However, with all the changes I have made, my body still wasn’t letting go of the extra weight that I had accumulated over the past 18 years. I am very limited in terms of what I can do in terms of exercise now, so most of my weight loss will be coming from diet. I am not discouraging exercise, but I believe as do many others that most of our weight is determined by what we put in our mouth rather than how many times we go to the gym. My goal is to lose weight so that I can start to be more active even if for me that means using my walker for a longer distance.
The plan I have decided to follow is a ketogenic diet. That means eating a high fat and low carbohydrate plan. Seems counter-intuitive that eating lots of fat would reduce fat on our body. After a lot of research, I have learned that most of our fuel for energy is coming from carbohydrates in today’s world. If we limit that drastically, and increase the fat, our body learns to burn that. It becomes much more efficient at that and then starts to burn the fat off of our bodies. This plan does not work for many people. If you have high blood pressure or liver issues, not a good plan for you. For me, it has been great for the week I have done it. I have never been hungry and I get to eat a lot of foods that I really love and thought were bad like olives and butter. And an added bonus is that I lost 5.5 lbs in the first week! Pretty good to keep me motivated.
This post is not to get everyone to rush out and sign up for a ketogenic diet. It is to tell you to listen to your body when it comes to food. If sugary foods make you feel guilty, then don’t eat them. If carbs make you feel bloated and lethargic, don’t eat them. Somewhere along the human experience, we lost touch with the most important medicine we have available to us, food. Another thing I am looking into is what type of hungry I am. Am I stomach hungry or head hungry? I have started drinking water when I am “hungry” to see if that satiates it. If my stomach is growling then I know I am stomach hungry and I eat something that my body wants. I grab a pepperoni stick or a piece of cheese that my body likes.
Time to get back to being connected to food that comes from source. I am sticking to the outside perimeter of the grocery store for awhile and more than anything, I am looking out for the flashing sign posts.