‘Diet’ – ‘The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats’ Oxford Dictionary.
This definition reflects to me a person’s choice about how and what they eat. It does not reflect cutting out food, stop eating food, calorie counting, fasting – the media have really changed what we understand the word to mean.
I always thought that I had a pretty balanced diet, however, food/diet/nutrition has affected my stomach and digestive system lots over the last 5 years. As I turned 30 my body seemed to change and has been affected more and more by food. My body was really struggling to digest food but this was also highly linked to stress (cortisol hormone). I had an incredibly difficult few years (I’d say 3 in total) and although I tried to be mindful and work out what my body didn’t like – and I continued to exercise….Persistent and fluctuating stress levels reached a peak for me at the beginning of 2016 and my body said ‘no’, ‘stop’, ‘rest’, ‘rethink’.
I was actually just a fresh new mental health nurse and unfortunately, the job was highly demanding with little support and I ended up being off sick unable to sleep, digest food, go to the toilet, I felt constant bloating and was uncomfortable all the time.
During this time of being unwell I was tested for intolerances/coeliacs and other infections like glandular fever. I discovered my intolerances –
- Rice – yes rice
- Cows milk protein
- Brussel sprouts
- Red meat
I obviously changed my diet but wanted to maintain good health and consider my needs particularly as I want to get in the best shape I can be in with my training.
I found changing my diet really hard. It really was changing habits of a lifetime and thinking about the impact of my choices on my body and how I felt.
I am not advocating going out and having tests to establish intolerances – I needed to do this for myself and I think it was very important for me and my word, I feel phenomenally better for it.
I am still learning how to adapt my diet and vegan and vegetarian diets are really teaching me about different ways to nourish my body – but even if I look at people offering alternative ‘diet’s’ such as paleo, detox, dukan, atkins, vegan, veggie etc, I still have to pick out the things that work for me and don’t work for me. I still need to consciously look and think about my diet and nutrition.
I continue to face problems – particularly around fitness – most protein powders are made with dairy and vegan one’s often are made with rice flour…which I can’t have! Many gluten free products are made with rice flour. Not for me thanks. So I have had to explore different want to –
- Feel full/satisfied after a meal
- Increase my beans/legumes tolerance as I always used to find them boring.
- Feel like I’m eating normal food!
- Find quick and easy ways to accommodate my diet. I have had to switch my ‘pick up’ food from the supermarket to fruits, vegetables, nuts, nut butters, corn cakes, chicken, fish, dark chocolate (no dairy), dips like humous.
- Create meals that I can make and take to lunch to make sure I don’t get stuck eating food that is going to stop me sleeping!
I urge you to look at how you can adapt the models and recipes from healthy eating plans – to your own needs. You are not the same as someone that may benefit greatly from a paleo diet. You are you.
Please get in touch if you need some advice or tips on how to adapt your diet while continuing to have nutritious meals.