You Are What You Eat: The Balance Between Healthy And Unhealthy
I wrote a post a few months ago on my own blog about being medication dependent. That means that while my illnesses are pretty well-controlled, they are only well-controlled because I am on medication that I take religiously. And being dependent on medication, it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll ever be able to be off medication. In an effort to move my body away from that, though, I’ve been kind of on a health kick lately.
After I met my boyfriend, I started eating differently and spent less time obsessing over what exactly I was eating. Whereby he would cook and I would eat whatever he put in front of me. We also have different appetites and he seems to never be satiated, which leads me to snack more often than is necessary.
The key is that’s it’s all about balance. As someone who, in college and the beginning of graduate school, ate fat-free everything – which I perceived as healthy – I bordered on having an eating disorder (but I was skinny! And liked the way my body looked).
Now, since I’m 10 to 15 pounds heavier than I would like to be, I’m refocusing on healthy eating that doesn’t go back to my fat-free everything diet, but that also has more control to it than eating whatever is put in front of me.
For the last several months, I have been drinking a smoothie every morning. It consists of Silk Light Chocolate Soymilk or chocolate almond milk or fat free chocolate milk (I’m a chocolate girl, but any flavored milk works). I like to switch it up just to make sure I’m not getting too much soy in my diet. I then add a tablespoon of chia seeds and two tablespoons of Bell’s Plantation PB2 peanut butter powder. I find that this keeps me relatively full and energized more than say eating a bagel or cereal for breakfast.
One warning, if you haven’t had chia seeds before, which I hadn’t until I got on my smoothie kick, I’ve found that adding the milk and chia seeds to my smoothie cup the night before and letting it sit overnight, allowing the chia seeds to expand, makes them easier for the gut to handle.
I love waking up and not having to contemplate which type of cereal or bagel, or something equally innutritious I will eat. And I’ve actually kind of lost the taste for traditional breakfast foods, like cereal.
I know that there are a lot of discussions out there about anti-inflammatory diets, and other diets that are more extreme. I don’t think I’ll ever go paleo. And as a vegetarian for 12 years, I don’t think I’ll ever go soy-free or dairy-free. It’s great for the people who can, if that works for them, but you have to do what works for you.
This post is not meant to be preachy. If you can live without soy and dairy, that’s totally cool! I just know that I can’t. And I’m not suggesting that you do anything I say I am doing in this post. I’m just trying to share something that has worked for me.
And the key to this is, first and foremost, that I am really listening to my body. I’ve also recently phased out coffee and artificial sweetener because I realized many times when I haven’t felt good, it seemed to be, at least partially related, to of one or both of those things (I mainly use artificial sweetener in my coffee).
But I didn’t do this because someone told me that artificial sweetener is toxic and that I’m poisoning myself. I’ve done it because I’ve noticed that consuming these things make me feel sick. And I think anything that I can do that ramps up my overall health can only help me in the long run. I’ve also realized that for me, too much variety leads me to falling off the wagon and allowing myself to eat things that I know I shouldn’t be eating anyway. But again, this has been all about trial and error.
And it’s working! The amazing thing – and forgive me if this is TMI – is that my bowels are regular for the first time since I got sick. I was diagnosed with an unspecified motility disorder, mainly a sluggish colon, and have suffered through years of going to the bathroom maybe once a week. Now I am going once a day, at least, – and this is only since I started including chia seeds in my diet regularly. The proof is in the pudding, or…eh…the poop.