For years I experienced crazy bloating, it was so bad that a dear friend of mine used to put her hands on my belly and say “make it kick!” We always had a good laugh about it and while I wasn't pregnant, my stomach was really distended and more importantly I was exhausted all the time and in a lot of pain. I knew something wasn’t right and since the problem seemed to stem from my gut, I started to experiment with my food. When I cut out gluten, I very quickly noticed positive changes. I had more energy, my brain wasn’t foggy and the bloating and gas pains subsided.
This isn’t an anti-gluten email because it could have been any food that made the difference. I tested just about every type of food, though I am admittedly a bit anti-gluten. :-) What I found through my food experimenting was that some foods made me feel great and others made me feel terrible. While that may seem obvious, I think many of us go through life with no idea which foods fuel us and which foods drain us and with little idea of what is actually in the foods we eat. The idea of bio-individuality holds true especially here, one person’s food is another person’s poison. We are all unique individuals and have specific nutritional needs based on things like ancestry, age, gender, and lifestyle, among others. Sometimes it’s crystal clear which foods support us best and sometimes it requires some detective work.
The next time you’re tempted to jump on the latest fad diet, consider that your body is probably your best tool. The foods you feel great after eating, are likely the same foods that will support your optimal health.
Here are some strategies I’ve found helpful when experimenting:
- Keep a food journal of what you eat and also how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Look for patterns with foods that boost you and foods that drag you down. (This isn’t a tool for judgment, rather a tool for analysis.)
- Be mindful when you eat. Try to stay present, slow down, focus on the food you’re eating, and notice how your body feels.
- Read nutrition labels and be aware of what you’re putting in your body, especially if you’re testing or avoiding a specific food.
- Focus on the positive and give your body time to adjust and rebalance.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you experimented yourself, if so what have you found? Are you struggling with your health, if so have you considered the role your diet may play?