3 Things You Probably Never Thought About Food
This week's topic in the 90 Day New Year is fuel so it feels fitting to blog about it. I hope you are getting a good foundation and momentum with your 90 Day New Year and if you aren't yet engaged, don't miss out!
What to eat to thrive with autoimmune disease is definitely the question I get asked the most. Food as medicine was definitely what got my attention and started me on the transformation journey from surviving to thriving.
Although it's not everything, food is by far the essential foundation in healing your body. It can be the catalyst to move from a sick cycle to a healthy cycle. There is so much more to food than meets the eye, it's understandable that most people don't recognize the potential that is in that bite you are taking.
One thing that I have learned is that one diet doesn't fit all. Moreover, your own personal diet needs change throughout your life so it's not as easy as 'set it and forget it'. This personal observation is supported by research coming out about the microbiome, genetics, and lifestyle medicine.
Have you ever noticed how some people can pack away whatever they want and remain thin? Some people thrive on a vegan diet while others thrive on a keto diet. How is it that in a family where you have the same environment, same genetics, and same diet that you can have different body types and energy levels?
The answer is your unique individuality within your microbiome, your genetics, and your lifestyle. None of us are the same which speaks to the necessity of understanding your biochemical individuality in nutrition.
Another consideration is the process of eating and digestion. Did you know that HOW you eat could be as important as WHAT you eat?
Mindfullness has gained traction in the mainstream over recent years but most people don't apply it to eating. Rather, a grab-and-go or chug-and-chuck economy is driven by the SAD life. The problem is what happens inside when you are fueling up in an on-the-go situation.
Digestion begins to occur even before ingestion. Take a minute to think about what you are planning to eat at your next meal. Immediately you can feel the changes in your salivation and mood as you anticipate ingesting the food, yet you haven't taken a single bite. Your digestion starts with thinking about the food, seeing the food, and smelling the food.
Once you take the first bite, the system continues to break down the foods by biting, chewing, and swallowing the foods releasing information to the esophagus and stomach that there is 'in-coming' for preparation of acids and chemicals to breakdown the food into fuel. This transport system running the full length of your digestive tract is extremely intricate, interconnected, and automatic delivering the nutrients into your bloodstream and throughout your systems to power your body.
Until it's not. Because you didn't think about what you were going to eat. You didn't begin the process. Then, you didn't prepare anything. Instead, you grabbed a packaged meal, had it delivered, or stopped for take-out. Finally, you sat down in front of the screen of your choice to escape and eat your meal.
What seems innocuous at the time isn't connected to the heartburn you experienced 30 minutes after your meal. It's not connected to the difficulty of falling or staying asleep. It's not connected to weight gain because you consumed 2-3 times the calories your body needed for fuel.
The reality is that IT IS, in fact, insidious because it IS CONNECTED to all of these underlying issues because you are eating in a sympathetic state (a stressed state) not a parasympathetic state (a relaxed state). Digestion is a process of the parasympathetic system and when you take it off-line the entire system can be impacted.
This is the simplest hack of all! Be mindful when you are fueling up. Not only about what you are putting in your mouth but also about the environment and mindset.
- Plan-Think about what you are going to eat and why.
- Prepare-Get the ingredients, wash, prep, cook, chill...whatever is appropriate for the food you are consuming.
- Appreciate-Express gratitude for the food you have and the fuel it provides to your body.
- Consume-Eat your food appreciating and recognizing all that it is and all that it does for you. Be mindful of the flavors and textures as you bite, chew, and swallow your foods.
- Review-How do you feel after you eat? Did that food make you feel light and energized or heavy and bloated?
- Adjust-If the foods and amount you ate gave you energy and fuel then you want to make note of integrating them into your individual diet. If the foods or amount you ate made you uncomfortable, lethargic, moody, crampy, bloated, or anything less than fueled then you may want to make note of eliminating it from your individual diet.
Don't Eat Poison
Remember the Mr. Yuck stickers that you were given in elementary school to take home and put on all of the bottles of cleaning supplies so that they wouldn't be drank by little kids? Whatever happened to Mr. Yuck? Were things like bleach and toilet cleaner really so enticing to us that we needed a sticker to know that they smelled and tasted like poison?
Most people think of poison as a toxic substance that leads to death. The internet defines poison as a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.
It took me a while to understand WHY my body would react when I ate processed foods. It wasn't until years into my research of nutritional healing that I finally made the connection. Not all poison is obvious.
If you have ever wondered why rodents or pests would eat poison in traps, it's because it is laced with smell and taste that is enticing. By the time they feel the effects of what they ate, they are dead.
Sadly, but no less damaging, the same thing is happening to you when you are consuming processed foods. This is the reason I am so adamant that no matter what your autoimmune disease, no matter what your biochemical individuality, no matter what your age, gender, or ethnicity... processed foods are POISON.
Most people react to that statement with justification. 'Just because something isn't healthy doesn't make it poison.' True. But processed foods aren't just unhealthy. They are poison. We are just beginning to truly understand why and again it comes back to the microbiome.
Maybe you have heard of the lawsuits around Roundup and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, and pediatric brain cancer. These diseases have been linked directly back to repeated exposure to this herbicide and as a result, many class-action lawsuits have been filed to compensate individuals who have been affected.
Roundup is also known as glyphosate which is where it gets really scary. This herbicide was introduced in the 1970s and has been widely used throughout the United States on crops, lawns, gardens, you name it.
Because it was so widely used and presumed safe it was then put into the actual DNA of the seeds for crops, what is referred to as GMO (genetically modified organism). This practice was successfully integrated into agriculture with most of the wheat, corn, and soybeans in the US being GMO.
The whole point of herbicides, pesticides, preservatives, and antibiotics is to prevent micro-organisms from taking over. Us versus them. This has been the perspective of agriculture, the food industry, and healthcare since the 1950s.
Now we are beginning to understand that killing off these micro-organisms is detrimental to our survival as humans. If you kill off the bugs you will eventually kill off humans.
Research is linking all autoimmune conditions to leaky gut which is a condition of intestinal permeability where nutrients and waste "leak" through the walls of the intestines rather than being absorbed or passed through the digestive system.
Leaky gut links back to the microbiome of the gut which is being widely studied with new understanding and implications emerging rapidly. What is coming to the forefront is the damage that herbicides, pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics, and antifungals are doing to the microbiome.
What we now know is that anything that is meant to kill micro-organisms has the potential to kill you. Make no mistake about it. Whether it is meant to make crops not have weeds. Whether it is meant to make foods last longer in the supply chain. Whether it is in small enough doses that it doesn't kill you immediately. Whether it is packaged to entice you with smell and taste. Understand that it is poison.
This one is a bit tougher to modify than getting into a sympathetic state for eating because the complexities of the microbiome are just beginning to be understood. The incessant and excessive use of all of these substances in our culture is pervasive.
All is not lost. The good news is that these little guys are resilient. Being aware of consuming GMOs and preservatives will go a long way in healing your gut. Providing a probiotic environment by eating lots of plants can heal the damage done but you can't heal it until you stop it.
The one-two punch? Stop eating poison and start eating fuel. Your microbiome will love you for it and you will begin to love the foods that love you back. So much LOVE!
I hope you are getting a good foundation and momentum with your 90 Day New Year and if you aren't yet engaged, don't miss out! Click the button below to get registered and join us in making permanent changes for thriving with autoimmune disease.