We’ve all been there. You start Monday gung-ho on eating healthy, armed with your packed lunch of veggies and a green smoothie. But midweek, a colleague invites you out for lunch and you end up with a mouthwatering cheeseburger, fries and soda combo from your favorite fast-food joint. It’s not so bad, right?
Perhaps not right away. But the same thing happens week after week.
Does it sound familiar? If you said yes, then you’re not alone, which makes it easy to justify your occasional binges. Unfortunately, these random treats usually become mainstays in your diet. They become a habit, and before you know it, you are inadvertently sabotaging your gut health. Trust us, that’s something you don’t want to be doing.
Let us backtrack a little bit. A few weeks ago, we attended the LifeScience Conversations on Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities. Dr. Raymond Escalona, who was facilitating the talk, was enumerating some symptoms of his patient: gastritis, bloating, joint and muscle pains, fatigue, stress, and so on.
We found ourselves nodding as he recounted the symptoms, which we also experience often. His patient’s diet was no different from ours either: bread, milk, fast-food sandwich, chicken, and rice. What took us aback was how this particular patient, who was a chef, ended up one day not being able to even carry a wok—a task that used to be so simple for him. He was already suffering from Dermatomyositis, an inflammatory disease usually characterized by a skin rash and muscle weakness.
Many epigenetic factors contributed to his condition, but the food, along with a lifestyle change, could have mitigated the health problem, if not eliminated it altogether.
The thought of contracting a chronic illness because of our food choices scare us, but we also found a resolve to rethink and reshape our eating habits. How do you do so?
- Remember, food is your ally.
What we ingest every day, has the power to heal us or make us sick. But the sooner we realize that choosing the right food to eat is the way to go, the sooner we make food work for us. Nature blessed us with a variety of vegetables and fruits. Eat unprocessed food, and go for a more plant-based diet.
- Identify your triggers.
How come some healthy food still can still cause us discomfort? Because each of us has different triggers. Even healthy vegetables, nuts, or protein may cause you discomfort if your gut cannot properly digest it. We recommend getting a Food Intolerance Test from the LifeScience Center to know which food you should be eating more and which ones you should avoid.Dr. Raymond also recommends a food-elimination diet. For 21 days, stay away from gluten, dairy, sugar, pork, beef, legumes, additives, preservatives, soy, egg, caffeine, and alcohol. You might just have to get rid of your food stash in your pantry, but your body will thank you for it.
- What’s good for you doesn’t have to taste awful.
That said, you don’t have to sulk when you can’t enjoy your deep-fried chicken. Just be creative in the kitchen. You don’t have to buy expensive ingredients to whip up a good meal. You’ll be surprised with what a bayong of fresh produce, some cooking demos from the web, and a whole lot of discipline can give your body.
LifeScience Conversations is a series of talks exploring health, functional medicine, and 21st century approaches to wellness. Interested to join LifeScience Conversations? Sign up here to receive our invites.