Discovering the whole foods difference. I have battled tummy troubles my entire life. Seriously, as a baby, my pediatrician diagnosed me with Chronic Reoccurring Abdominal Pain (CRAP – haha). For years, I felt like I had the stomach flu nearly every day leading doctors to test me for Leukemia. All of my tummy issues were directly connected to food but I was never able to pinpoint the issues because I had no food allergies & prescriptions made me even more sick.
I always had a hard time leaning out or losing weight after puberty. I would work out for hours on top of hours of dance practice; I tried supplements, laxatives and other unhealthy weight loss tactics. Nothing worked. Every time I ate, I felt 10lbs heavier and, at times, it would take nearly a week for my body to digest meals – talk about food baby! Even today, I often feel bloated, uncomfortable and battle acid reflux or indigestion. While I haven’t tried vegetarianism or veganism, I discovered a difference in two separate experiences with one major thing in common…(First) In my early 20s, while training with my dance team, our nutritionist put us on a nearly 100% raw food diet. I also cut pork, beef and white or artificial sugars from my diet. (Second) While on vacation in Costa Rica last year, there were no fast food or restaurant chains in sight. All meals were made from whole foods – handmade from farm, tree or sea to table. The only meat I ate was fresh caught fish.
Like an awakening, I realized – my insides just have a low tolerance for crap. If it makes me feel icky after eating it, I try to cut it out 100%. Mostly gluten, dairy and processed foods. As I had mentioned earlier, blood tests confirmed I have no food allergies – more like food sensitivities. I can still enjoy small amounts of dairy or gluten with less discomfort. Still, I prefer raw substitutes with zero discomfort.
The hardest part is truly convenience & peer pressure. Eating groceries before they go bad & going to dinner or special occasions where there’s nothing that fits my diet. Those who don’t struggle with it never tire of giving me a hard time, “Stop talking about it.” “Thats nonsense. Just eat it.” “Your food probably sucks!” I don’t want to say “I can’t help it” because I’m trying to help it. It’s just unpredictable, especially if I don’t know how the food I’m eating was made.
Most Americans have gotten used to the way their body feels, thinking it’s “normal”. They don’t know how much better their body could feel. For anyone who has done much international travel, you can attest that Americans truly have the worst eating habits and the least raw food options. The American lifestyle has become lazy as time-saving conveniences continue to develop. Between Europe and Central America, I noticed 3 major differences that seem to dramatically impact their lifestyle:
- Food is made fresh & few processed foods are convenient.
- They walk or bike everywhere.
- They take their time – meal time is a chance to relax and enjoy conversation.
I want to hear what works for you – what diet changes have impacted the way your body works and feels? Please also share any helpful and informative resources you’ve found.