A healthy lifestyle hasn’t always been a priority for me. I’ve gone through phases in my adult life when I never ever exercised and did not care whatsoever about the nutritional content of food I was eating (this describes my 20s). There have also been times when I focused on exercise and eating right. The importance of being healthful finally stuck when we had children. I became a mom for the first time at what they call “advanced age” (AKA old), and the desire to be here on earth and be well as long as humanly possible kicked in soon after our first child was born.
Over the past couple of years, I have spent time learning about the power of nutrition and exercise. Learning how much control I have over my own health has been incredibly empowering. I can’t unknow what I know, and I feel compelled to try to live my life based on the knowledge I have. I know that when I actively make choices most of the time (75-80% of the time) to feed my body the fuel that I’ve learned that I personally need, I feel physically and mentally solid, strong, well, and better than I ever have.
There’s no giant secret here. What keeps me feeling my best: fruits, veggies, lean meats and proteins, plant based fats (avocado, olive and coconut oils, nuts and seeds), and tons of water. I try to avoid certain things because I have done my own personal science experiments to understand what I need to avoid so I can feel my best. I do indulge – I love pizza, cupcakes, donuts, Mexican food, but my body doesn’t really like these things. When I eat what doesn’t work for me, I feel a difference – I feel lethargic, cranky, a mental cloud. These things include dairy, refined sugar, bread, pasta, caffeine. I have to ask myself before I eat it if it will be worth dealing with the aftermath!
The reality is this: this is NOT easy for me. I have to consciously make choices many times a day to stick to my own wellness plan. I love food. I also have the infliction called Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). This applies to many things in life, including food. There are cupcakes in the break room? By golly, I can’t miss out on that, even if I’m not hungry! Like most things in life, I (we all) have to figure out a healthy balance.
It is well documented that many foods elicit an inflammatory response and many conditions and diseases are partially caused by inflammation, including arthritis. There is emerging evidence that suggests that a diet high in fruits, veggies and whole grains may boost mood and even fight depression. Highly processed food or “junk” food also seems linked with lower mood.
If you’re reading this and wondering if your nutrition needs a kick in the pants, it probably does. Do you want more energy/less bloating/less gas/better mental clarity? If so, I encourage you to explore your own nutrition: pay attention to what you put in your body and how your body and mind react. You may be surprised. It might be beneficial to start a food journal . Write down what you eat and how it makes you feel (energetic, tired, bloated, gassy, mood boosted/busted, sluggish GI).
I am not a trained nutritionist or dietitian – I am simply sharing a few ideas with you that you may wish to explore for yourself if you are looking to feel better. Good luck!