”Don’t forget: We all thrive on different foods. And healthy looks different on every body.”
In the end of December 2015 I switched to a vegetarian diet. Transferring to a vegetarian diet wasn’t that big of a deal since I haven’t had red meat or pork in approximately 16 years. I guess the main reason was my body started craving more and more vegetables and plant based foods. However, I was still eating dairy in form of goat cheese and halloumi. After a month I decided to quit all dairy products, since I’m anyhow intolerant to cow milk. At first I thought (or wished) my stomach could digest goat milk better than cow milk, but in fact it doesn’t. Imagine the struggles since halloumi was one of my favourite foods! However, quitting dairy has improved my skin, stomach and throat(?!) While eating cheese and dairy I usually suffered from skin rashes, stomach cramps and infections in my tonsils.
Between March 2016 – January 2017 I followed a mostly plant based diet (I write mostly since I had egg occasionally and a naughty treat here and there). At first I felt really good, energised and alive. Nonetheless, after a while I started suffering from more and more bloating and stomach cramps (since I suffer from IBS this is something I’m more or less used to, but unfortunately it got worse because of all the fiber. I tried to minimise the suffering by drinking a lot of water, but the beans and large quantity of vegetables ( and certain fruits) were too much for my tummy to handle. For example I love dates, and I could easily eat them all day every day, but sadly my stomach doesn’t approve. I still enjoy my dates occasionally, but not as often as before. Same goes with many of the plant based protein sources such as beans, tofu and lentils – my stomach don’t like them as much as my mind do 😉
Today I strive to follow a whole foods plant based diet, I would say 70-80 % of the time – I opt for leafy greens, nuts & seeds, vegetables, healthy fats (coconut oil is my fav!) sweet potatoes, fruits, rice, oats, lentils. However, I’ve started incorporating more and more fish & egg in my diet, and there are certain fruits and vegetables I have to stay away from in order to minimize my IBS symptoms. Therefore I’ve found it more convenient to eat fish and egg – at least at the time being my body crave those healthier protein sources and, the best part, my stomach seems to digest them properly.
I cook my own food as much as possible, since I want to know what I’m eating (and of course I love to cook!). I try to stay away from processed food considering it doesn’t benefit me in any way. For example my stomach can’t properly digest many of the vegan products on the market, such as cheese and meat substitutes. Too much nasty stuff goes in there, unfortunately. Or then I just haven’t found the right products yet..
And yes of course I indulge. I’m a human being for God’s sake 😉 I love my raw food bars, dark chocolate, nut butters (one serious addiction there..) I indulge almost every day. I just try to choose the somewhat healthier options. On the other hand I work out almost every day – my body needs that energy. Staying active is an important factor for me and my healthy lifestyle. I eat so I have energy to work out. I try to eat for optimal health – for me food is medicine. I want to be able to run, jump, do yoga and lift weights when I’m 90 years old.
Lately I’ve had a lot of energy – I’ve been working out almost every single day. If I would have chosen foods that doesn’t benefit me in any way I would instead be fatigued and without energy. That’s why it’s of utmost importance that you choose the right foods for you. Feeling energized is what keeps me motivated.
To wrap up my thoughts I just want to point out the importance of listening to your own, unique body. We’re all different and therefore we all thrive on different foods. While your friend might flourish on a high carb/low fat vegan diet you might thrive on animal protein and fats. And that’s completely fine. In fact, it’s the way it should be – we’re all different. Embrace your unique body. Feed your soul.
Which food do you thrive on? Which way of eating works best for you? If you haven’t paid attention to those thoughts earlier – start now. Listen to your body. How do you feel after certain meals? Think of the foods that make you feel energised, alive, strong, happy and satisfied. Treat your body with kindness & respect by filling your plate with food that’s great for you (and your soul ❤ ).