Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Diet. What a huge topic. People want to know my story when it comes to my diet and eating habits. Many times I’ve been asked what it is I eat, what I recommend and how I stay so slim. Questions like these are really important and I'm glad to share what I've learned.
Food is medicine, I believe. Much of what ails society can be cured by correcting the diet. People really need to begin to understand the relationship between what they ingest and how they feel. Each body is different and general answers about what is the best thing to eat isn't always the best. Each of us has a unique metabolical and digestive system. What works for someone may not work for someone else. One of the keys to health is to learn what foods work specifically for your body.
Our level of food intake changes throughout our lives. For example, the diet I ate when I was seventeen wouldn't sustain me today. As good as my diet was when I was seventeen and as much as I liked it, it had to transform into a more appropriate diet for each of my lifestyles, like when I was pregnant, when I was nursing, when I was recovering, when I was going through my divorce, when I was traveling a lot, when I wasn’t traveling a lot. You have to be aware of your bodily needs and give it what it needs when it needs it.
I strongly recommend that you begin to be aware of how food makes you feel immediately after you eat it. Your body is a miraculous organism which constantly gives signals and feedback to you and it will let you know if what you just ate agrees with it or not. All of us already know some signals loud and clear, like when you get food poisoning. Those signals are so strong you can’t NOT hear them. Others are so subtle that they might go unnoticed and if they go unnoticed for too long, some sort of sickness develops and will start to get your attention that way. That’s when you know that dietary changes for the better need to be made, or else.
How do you hear the subtle signals your body gives you, you ask? There is more than one way to hear the subtle signals. Here are a few pointers that I’ve learned about how to do hear the subtle signals from your body if what you’ve just eaten is good for you or not.
After you’ve swallowed food that's not agreeable with your body, almost immediately you might feel a subtle reaction coming on like a very slight headache, you might sneeze, cough or get a tingle in your nose, or some joints might ache, for example. All those signs are subtle enough to think that they are just a sneeze, just a cough, just a tingle, just a minor ache. But remember, we’re talking about reading subtle signals from the body that have been triggered by food you just ate. If you’re not sure it was signal, then take another bite and see if you have the same reaction. If you do react again, then you know your body doesn’t like what you just ate and you have to stop eating it. Try eating it again after 21 days and see if your reaction is different.
If you’re healthy most likely you are maintaining your weight. I’m against fad diets and starving myself or denying myself food that I enjoy because I believe that part of being healthy is being happy and getting enjoyment from your food. Emotions and eating go together. They are effected by one another. For example, if you are feeling bad, usually your appetite diminishes. If you are feeling fantastic, food can taste fantastic, too.
Here are more tips that I’ve acquired in my lifetime that have helped me and have helped others to maintain weight and health--
*When you are helping yourself to a serving of food, make it just a little bit
smaller than you think you need. Usually our eyes are bigger than our
stomachs. You can go back for seconds if you need.
*Chew, chew then chew some more. I remember a quote I heard that
originated from India which was “Chew your liquids and drink your solids.” Mastication is what you want to do. It’ll break down large particles of food into small particles, coat them with saliva which will help you to digest more easily and allow your body to extract the most nutrients from your food. Mixing your food really well with your saliva helps the digestive process begin in your mouth and make their way down the esophagus easily into your small intestine. You want to swallow particles of food, as small as possible, so your small intestine can absorb as many nutrients as they can from your food. By doing this, you’ll feel when you‘ve eaten all the nutrients you need and this keeps you from overeating. On the other hand, if you chew quickly and swallow larger particles of food, this can cause major problems like bloating, gas, leaky gut, or creating neurotoxins in the intestines and a host of other disease conditions including autoimmune disease, which affects one in five Americans today. So, slow down, chew your food and enjoy your meal.
*After you've taken a bite of food, put down your eating utensil and leave it on your plate while you chew. This helps slow down the eating process. This will give your stomach the time it needs to signal to your brain that you are full. If you’re a fast eater it’s easy to over eat because you’ve crammed a lot of food down before you realize it’s too much.
*This is one of my favorite tricks to stop overeating or snacking and help control weight is to brush your teeth right after finishing your meal. There’s something about freshly brushed teeth that says “I’m done eating.” or “ I just brushed and if I eat something else I have to brush again and I don’t want to.”
*Never eat late in the evening. If you do then the food will be in your digestive track while you sleep and 1) won’t digest as quickly which leads to problems and 2) uses energy to digest while you’re sleeping which could make your sleep less of a deep, restorative sleep. For me, my cut off time from eating for the day is eight pm. I just don’t eat after 8pm except on those festive occasions, then I allow myself food but I eat light foods, not heavy foods and I make sure it's in small quantities.
*Stay away from highly processed food. If you’ve be eating mostly processed food, reading your subtle signals might be harder at first because the signals might be weak. It’s like headlights on a car. If they are covered with mud you can’t see the light. Once the lights are clean then you can see their brightness. Same with your body and food. If your system is unclean because you don’t eat clean food, give your body some time to get detoxified and eventually you’ll be able to read the subtle signals loud and clear.
The best foods for your health must be the freshest and close to their natural state as possible. These are the foods that will help give you and help you to maintain your optimal health.
Hopefully, this helped many of you to become more sensitive to what your body is telling you, aware of the quality of food you eat, understanding of the importance of chewing your food well and motivated to take your health back into your own hands. Relearning how to care for yourself as you change in life is an ongoing process. But what stays consist is to keep it simple, keep it clean and keep it light. Start creating new habits that bring you good health and, believe me, you’ll be happy you did.