Last night my husband and I went to dinner with some new friends. Conversation veered towards nutrition and by the time we were done with dinner I felt like we had steamrollered over their entire set of eating habits! I really didn't mean to. But it did make me realize that I've learned a LOT in the last 15 months!
In October of 2013 we did a candida cleanse. For 30 days. Well, hubs did it for 45 (because he's his own drill sergeant when it comes to stuff like this!) It was easily one of the hardest things I've ever done! It was also worth it.
Candida is yeast overgrowth. Your body should have some, but the amount of refined sugar and grains we consume creates a breeding ground and candida has been linked to PMS, inflammation of all kinds, IBS, body odor, bad breath, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, weight gain.... truly, the list goes on.
But I'm not writing this to encourage a candida cleanse, although I heartily do, I'm writing this because it was BECAUSE of that cleanse that we became so very aware of our diet and what made our body's feel good...and what made them feel rotten.
What's been the most interesting aspect of this to me has been the emotional component. As soon as I tell myself that I can't have something, it's all I want. And I'm very stubborn. My husband on the other hand seems to just decide and go with it, almost effortlessly. I find that completely intriguing. Body image is a thing and quite a huge one for me. So you'd think I'd just jump on board, work out, eat right and be happy. Ha! Anyway...I digress.
My point here is that once we learned what fed the yeast overgrowth, how to get rid of it, what we were really putting into our mouths and what we really wanted to accomplish, we've made a lot of changes in our home. As I coach my clients to better health, it's important for me to encourage small changes. One step at a time. And it looks like this:
1. Pay attention to gluten and dairy. Not everyone has an intolerance to these products, but until you remove it and add it back in, you won't know for sure. Gluten free has come a long way and most of what you find out there is fairly tasty. Instead of a sandwich with bread, try Udi's gluten-free flour tortillas and make a wrap. Or use romaine or collard greens to make your wrap. I was surprised to find that I love collard greens as a wrap. You've gotta steam them first for a minute or so, but they've got a crunch to them and I love it.
Milk is a huge mucus-causing product. So your latte's, your ice cream, anything made with milk, pay attention to how much your consuming. So much is hidden that you don't even realize. And no, I'm not a fan of soy-milk, so use almond milk instead. MUCH better.
2. Eat fruit alone. I'd rather have veggies than fruit any day of the week, but a piece of fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth if you let it.
3. Snacks. This is a good one. That afternoon bag of chips out of the vending machine is evil. E.V.I.L. There are so many more things you can choose from: sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, carrots, bell pepper slices, avocados, the list goes on. I make the hubs a baggy of mixed nuts - like almonds and walnuts and add in goji berries for an afternoon snack. Works great!
4. Dialogue with your body. I'm a stress and boredom eater. Big time. So I started asking myself what I was hungry for when I head to the kitchen. The truth is that most of the time I'm not. But if I'm gonna eat, I make a decision. If I'm wanting something sweet, I go for fruit. Something salty or crunchy, maybe nuts or celery and hummus or nutbutter...which by the way is really delish!
5. Remind yourself what your after. Is it important to lose weight? Are you struggling with a health issue? Is summer around the corner and you just want to feel better in your swimsuit by the pool? Re-focus. And breathe darn it. Take a minute out of your super busy day to reconnect with what you really want.
6. Forgive yourself. And when you fall short, it's super important to let. it. go. If I run through all my tricks and still am after that bag of peanut butter m&m's (my weakness) then I tell myself that I am going to INDULGE. That word, right there, makes a huge difference. I'm giving myself permission to dote on me. So I treat myself and then get back on track.
By the time we were done with dinner last night I thought...that's it, we've done it. We've officially turned granola. I've become one of those annoying people who eat raw all the time and preach to others how they need to join me. But that's really not the truth at all. The truth is that what I've learned matters. It matters for our health and the health of our loved ones and THAT's what's so important. I fall short, I don't make healthy choices 100% of the time and some days not even 50% of the time. And I don't believe health lies solely in foods we consume either, but that's another topic for another day. In the meantime, I'll continue to educate, share and inform.
What this all boils down to really is this: self-care isn't an indulgence. It's the single most important thing you can do. What's the saying? When you feel good, you look good and when you look good, you feel good? Ain't that the truth? And nothing is sexier than confidence.