I was having lunch with a group of lovely ladies the other day. The conversation turned to me and what I was up to these days. Of course I’m pretty excited about running the 40 Day Paleo Reset coming up soon so I was rambling on about that! In hearing that the reset is about teaching people how to eat well, take care of themselves and conduct a food sensitivities challenge, one of my lunch companions said the frustrating thing that I hear ALL the time!
With a dismissive wave of her hand, she said “Oh, I’m lucky, I can eat anything I want and nothing bothers me.”
My first thought when I hear someone utter that ubiquitous phrase is generally that they ARE bothered and don’t even know it. It’s highly doubtful that their health is perfect, even if they’ve been given a “clean bill of health” from their M.D. It’s much more likely that inflammation is lurking, it’s probably contributing to nagging health concerns and even worse it’s driving a silent disease process that my dear acquaintance has zero awareness of.
Now, I don’t want to be presumptuous. I don’t really believe that everyone on the planet is walking around with unknown food sensitivities that are destroying their bodies from the inside out. Unfortunately, I happen to know how commonly that IS the case because I see how incredible people feel when they actually eat foods that SUPPORT their health and avoid the ones that DESTROY it. It frustrates and saddens me that people aren’t getting the knowledge they need to make empowered decisions about their health, which means that it will inevitably slip away, like a thief in the night. And we’ll blame aging. We’ll blame cancer. We’ll shake our heads and say “it’s such a shame”, “life is so hard and unfair”, or “you can’t change genetics”.
And that is all such a load…
Few people realize how insidious foods like grains, sugar and dairy can be. It’s just not logical to think that the “healthy, whole grain” cereal you eat for breakfast every morning, the cereal that is RECOMMENDED by the heart association and the well-meaning food guide people, could be a major cause of the inflammation that makes your knees hurt. Or that it could be a big piece of the puzzle that’s driving your lagging concentration, or your insomnia, or your headaches, or your depression or much more serious disease processes that you may not even know about. I know it’s not as easy as 2+2=4.
The concept that foods can affect areas of the body other than the gut can seem far-fetched. Fortunately, we have a slew of researchers and doctors now sounding the alarm about food and it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the links to serious, preventable diseases like Alzheimer’s, Heart Disease, Parkinson’s, Diabetes and the gamut of auto-immune conditions like Hashimoto’s, MS and Rheumatoid Arthritis. We don’t have all the answers about which foods cause which problems, and exactly how the disease mechanisms work, but we do know that OFTEN when we remove these foods, people heal.
I see a day coming where the first step in ANY medical treatment program is to remove foods that we KNOW contribute to inflammatory disease processes in the body. Until we remove those foods, we simply can’t get a clear picture of what’s really happening in our biochemistry and support it with the marvels of medicine. I mean, really? How much longer are we going to put someone under the knife for a triple by-pass when we could clean out their arteries by removing grains, sugar and dairy for 3-12 months? It’s just not cost effective, not to mention, safe or even responsible to keep ignoring the food connection to health and disease!
Part of the problem that contributes to people not connecting food to their health concerns is that we often don’t have any obvious sense of the problems the foods are causing. Problems outside of the gastrointestinal tract are actually VERY common, but until we remove those foods and then re-introduce them, we personally, won’t have any idea how much those foods are affecting EVERY part of our bodies. That’s why functional medicine practitioners, naturopathic doctors, many chiropractors and even some progressive MD’s ask you to follow a grain, sugar and dairy free diet for a period of time as their first course of action in your treatment.
Avoiding the problematic foods for 10-90 days and then systematically re-introducing them to see how your body reacts is called a “food challenge” and it is something you can easily do yourself to be empowered and take charge of your health.
My mission in life is to help people live healthier, happier lives. That includes teaching them how to be their own doctor and take control of their health and their life through their food choices. When I hear someone talking about grains, dairy and sugar I want to hear them say “yes, I’ve avoided all of those foods for three months and re-introduced them and now I know what those food toxins do to my body and I choose to eat foods that support my health 80% of the time so I can stay well and enjoy my life!”
I’m here to support you every step of the way!
Join me for a FREE webinar where you’ll learn how food can change your life!
- the easy changes you can make to feel better FAST
- how to change the way you think about food so that you’re not feeling deprived and restricted by a healthy diet
- the simple, but powerful whole foods that should be staples in your diet for optimum energy, mood and brain power
And much, much more! Join me Tuesday, September 30th at 7pm Eastern. You could win one of my favorite things; a FREE Paraliminals Ideal Weight Audio (either CD or Mp3) just for attending! A $35 value!
If you’ve read any of my story, you may know that I’ve had a special relationship with food for most of my life. It began with emotional eating, struggles with my weight and the low self-esteem that went along with it all. For me, being a fat kid shaped me in very unpleasant ways and as a result I’ve spent most of my adult life seeking out tools and information that would heal that damage and let me become the person I always wanted to be.
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of areas for me to continue learning and growing but I can honestly say I love my life now. I love and appreciate my body, I do work that fulfills me and I have tools that I feel can help me navigate ANY challenge that life throws my way. Learning about food and eating has been, and continues to be, a pivotal part of that journey that I want to share with you today.
Think about someone you admire; whether that’s a teacher, the head of your company, your yoga instructor or a friend or family member. Now think about what they eat. Very often (not always), highly functioning people, the people we admire and emulate, do their best to eat well. They seem to have different programming than the majority of people which insists on a level of self-care that supports health and the successful lifestyle they’ve carved out for themselves.
I’ve often noticed that it doesn’t seem to matter which area of life they begin to excel in first, whether that’s athletics, business, academia etc, sooner or later they get food figured out. I think it’s safe to say that the smartest, most successful leaders in this world eat well. Of course, the specifics of the diet will vary a lot based on what their own experiences have taught them about what constitutes a healthy diet, but there’s no question that they are putting some effort into avoiding junk, processed foods and eating whole foods. It may be vegetarian, macrobiotic, vegan, mediterranean or paleo/ancestral, but the fact remains, they are putting effort into eating well because they know that what they eat influences how they think, how they move and how able they are to live the life they want to live.
For me it all started with food.
I’ve never been a high achiever. I was pretty average really. I did well in school without trying too hard, I didn’t care much about getting amazing grades or getting into a good school. I had dreams and aspirations like most kids, but they weren’t terribly compelling and honestly, having fun was more of a priority. As a result of a stupid teenage attitude, I didn’t finish my last three credits in my grade thirteen year. I got my high school diploma, and I was accepted at university for a dramatic arts program, but when actually going to school meant leaving my boyfriend (that I ended up breaking up with two years later anyway) and going to a strange, scary city to pursue something that didn’t really fire me up, I opted out. Everyone in my life was expecting me to go to university, but honestly I was lazy, misguided and afraid. You see I still had the “fat programming” that was constantly telling me I wasn’t good enough. I was convinced that having a few extra pounds would never fly if I wanted to be in show business, and the thought of getting there and being told that I needed to lose weight in order to be successful was too painful to even contemplate.
So, instead of going off to university I worked a year in the fast food industry, gained another fifteen pounds and then got a job working in a factory.
Of course, being that I had a weight problem, controlling food and exercise had been part of my experience from the age of 16, but it’s not as though I had mastered food, or anything about myself through my rigorous diet and exercise attempts. No, back then I was dieting and exercising because I hated my body and NEEDED it to change. That’s not at all the same as being in charge of your life and choosing to take care of yourself with food and proper movement because of an innate sense of self-worth.
But eventually, after years of personal growth work and with huge thanks to EFT, my self-hatred was replaced with self-love and self-respect.
I recall standing in my kitchen, looking at the advertisements for the International Organization of Nutritional Consultants in the back of an Alive magazine and feeling the spark of wanting to “be more”. Maybe it was because I had an interest in nutrition due to my weight battle, or maybe it was because the “I’m not good enough” pattern convinced me that I could never be a mainstream dietitian and this path seemed easier, but whatever it was, I felt that I finally had some clear desire and direction in my life.
So, within the year I was enrolled in a holistic nutrition course.
I don’t think much changed right away. Sure, I had some direction now and I had found something that interested and inspired me enough that I was an excellent self-directed student. But it wasn’t until I had been applying my new found nutrition knowledge for a while that my attitude and self-confidence began to change.
Food made me a better person. When I made the decisions to eat whole, live, unprocessed foods more of the time, I became nicer. I became smarter. I became more empathetic. I grew up.
You could argue that all of that would have happened anyway, but I don’t think so. I have a pretty clear image of the person I would be today if I hadn’t learned about nutrition. For one, I’d probably be obese. That in itself would have a ripple effect on my psyche and confidence that would’ve kept me in a prison. I’d most likely still be working my factory job. I might even still be married to my first husband, not that he’s a bad guy, but I was a different person when I married him.
I most certainly wouldn’t have become a holistic nutritionist, and then a sports nutritionist, and then a personal trainer, and then a Reiki practitioner and then an EFT practitioner. I wouldn’t have become a volunteer firefighter, and I wouldn’t have found CrossFit. My life would be a sad, pale comparison to the life I have today. It’s true. Food changed my life.
And it can change yours.
When you start by making choices about what you put in your mouth you have the potential to improve your life on at least a dozen other fronts. Learning that you have the ability to make a difference to how you feel every day is so empowering that it can’t help but ripple out into other areas of your life.
Here are just a few of the benefits of a whole food, healthy diet:
Improved cognitive function and concentration
Improved energy levels
Improved skin, hair and nails
And those are just the physical benefits. Improving the quality of food you eat also brings you into connection with the local farmers and growers that produce your food, enhances your sense of community and supports your local economy. Spending more time preparing your whole foods diet can improve relationships with your children and spouse and give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. If you can grow your own food, you’ll be supporting a more sustainable food supply and improving our environment. It also gives you control over your own food and the act of gardening reduces stress and can even give you a stronger sense of being connected to nature and improve your spirituality. Nurturing yourself with good food can be the first step in finding a sense of self-worth that will give you the strength and confidence to pursue your dreams and aspirations. Always wanted to do your masters? Start with food. Always wanted to run a marathon? Start with food. Want to improve your relationships with your kids or spouse? Start with food. Want to be more successful in your career? Start with food.
It can ALL start with food.
So, what are you going to eat today?