Many of you may already be well aware of what you should be eating and what you shouldn’t. We know the common food sensitivities like dairy, wheat and sugar, but what about the not-so-common ones like eggs, nuts and beans? Are we fully aware of how we feel when eat eat these foods? If so, to what degree are we suppose to limit them? The problem starts when we assume because it worked for somebody else, it is what will work best for us. We are all different, and we all react differently to every kind of food. What bothers one person, may not affect the other. And what affects us now, may be completely different to say, five years ago. So let’s take a mindful approach on finding our food sensitivities and limiting them to fit our individual selves so our lives can be full of vibrancy and longevity.
I get stuck in the thought, “I used to eat [insert food type here] all the time and it never bothered me then.” I have to constantly remind myself that is because my body has changed a lot over the course of the years. And guess what? Being “sensitive” to a food group is just your body’s way of saying, “Hey, we don’t need that crap anymore.” Let’s face it, it’s pretty cool my body now knows to reject that food so it does not cause deeper and more serious inflammation. So instead of comparing yourself to someone else, or wishing we had this or that, let’s embrace where we are now and what our body needs in this moment.
For example: I used to drink beer freely. It was never a thought beer would bother me. Sure I knew alcohol wasn’t “good”, but I wasn’t about to remove it from my diet because there was nothing noticeably bad happening. I had even done gluten-free diets, but kept the beer because I didn’t think it was causing a problem. Fast forward a couple years, after having spent a month without alcohol of any kind, my body immediately showed signs of rejecting beer when I tried it again. I can drink wine without an issue, but beer immediately makes me feel bloated, and the next day I tend to be constipated. What’s up with that? I thought I could drink beer and it wasn’t an issue? After having removed it from my diet my body was able to adjust to not having it. So when I tried to introduce it again, my body said, “Heck no, we felt what it’s like without it, and we like how we feel better than if we drink it.”
Since finding my sensitivity to beer, I avoid it for the most part. I keep trying it secretly thinking it won’t bother me, but yet again, it does. My body is smart, and it knows when it’s done with something. Even just knowing that may be one of the most freeing feelings you can have. Knowledge is the first step. Then comes implementing it and putting it to practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. After all, we are human.
I have since been playing with truly being mindful about what I eat and how I feel after. Quinoa bothers me and I can immediately feel a stomach pain after. I know I should avoid corn, because after I eat it, my stomach hurts. Despite many others freely indulging, I know my body doesn’t handle it very well. Same goes with gluten in general. After eating a slice of bread, despite it being homemade sourdough (which I believe is the best bread you can eat), my stomach becomes bloated and uncomfortable. I become constipated and cannot poop. Another food is yogurt. I love yogurt. God do I love yogurt. Especially because our family is blessed with homemade fresh yogurt. But every time I eat it, I notice a change in the way I feel physically. I can tell it’s a struggle to digest it, and I feel uncomfortable.
At what point do we say, enough is enough? I really do enjoy yogurt, corn chips, and beer, but I like the way my body feels without those things better. I believe it is time we come to terms with our self, put our ego aside, and finally give our body the nourishment it deserves.
For many people it may take more of an investment. Try removing the food group for at least a week, and re-introduce it by itself. When you eat it, try to sit with it for a bit after you are done. Usually if it bothers you, you will notice right away. Sometimes you won’t have a “symptom” or “reaction” for a day or two. Keep it in mind and pay attention. Within those next couple days, try not to eat anything that may bother you or else it will be hard to tell what the culprit is. The hard part isn’t finding out what the foods are you are sensitive to. The hard part is getting to a point that you want to.
It’s a learning curve for everyone, and that won’t ever stop. Don’t forget that your body is constantly changing and fluctuating. We will never reach the ultimate state of “healthy”. It simply does not exist. All we can do is be conscious of how we feel on a daily basis, and make changes that are in accordance with our own bodies. In the end, you are unique and you must find what works best for YOU. Only then can we begin to feel what it’s like to live in accordance with our soul purpose and body’s unique and natural design.
And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.’ -Nayyirah Waheed