Last week was both exciting and disappointing. I got to reintroduce four new food groups – grains, alcohol, dairy and added sugar. Adding these items to my diet was exciting because I was craving each of these things, but disappointing because all of them caused the negative symptoms I have been trying to avoid.
Over the last few weeks I have really become aware of how my body feels after I eat. I tracked everything I ate, when I ate it and how I felt afterward in a food journal. And while there were a few external factors (sinus infection, allergies) that affected how I felt, every symptom corresponded with what I put in my body.
So when I added these first few foods to my diet again, I felt a noticeable difference. Without going into too much detail, the main symptoms I felt when I introduced each of these food items was reflux, gas and bloating, and fatigue. And because I have become so aware of how my body feels after eating, I know that it’s not just the reintroduction that caused those symptoms to return – it’s the food itself.
Now that I am beginning to add more foods back into my diet, I am developing a new approach to eating. It’s probably an approach many people have taken without an elimination diet or cleanse, but for me it’s been a natural progression.
I don’t want to eliminate grains, alcohol, dairy and added sugar from my diet, so I’m not going to. But what I am going to do is limit them. To what extent I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s in my best interest to limit them to a point where I can still enjoy them without feeling the negative effects of them.
Of course I’m not perfect and I know I won’t always be able to avoid these foods. So when I do eat them, I am going to practice “mindful eating” to help make sure I don’t over indulge. Actually, these practices can really be applied to anyone eating anything, so I highly encourage you to read them and consider them.
The Practice of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating draws substantially on the use of mindfulness meditation helping us focus our attention and awareness ont he present moment, which in turn, helps us disengage from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. Engaging in mindful eating practices on a regular basis can help us discover a far more satisfying relationship to food and eating than we ever imagined or experienced before. A different kind of nourishment often emerges, the kind that offers satisfaction on a very deep emotional level.
Examine the size, shape and color of your food before you even bring it to your mouth. As you pick it up smell it, consider its weight and observe your body’s response. Place a bit of the food in your mouth and close your eyes. Sense the food in its totality: roll your tongue around it to be more aware of the shape, temperature, texture, imagine its color, all before you actually take a bite. Mindful eating can be made more manageable with the following suggestions:
- Never eat distracted, i.e., while watching TV or running to catch the bus. As you slowly chew on your food and enjoy each bite, you experience a real fullness that satisfies your hunger. Learn to identify the hunger satiety point at each meal to help control the desires of your taste buds.
- Do not visit a restaurant starving. Consider eating a small snack right before – a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, some fresh vegetables. After a light snack it is easier to have restraint while ordering and eating, keeping both waistline and budget in check.
- Share a meal: order one appetizer, entree and dessert for two people. Not because you can’t afford more, but because you can enjoy sharing. Describe the new tastes to each other, immersing yourselves in the experience and appreciating new food. Try this even when out with a group of friends: order three plates with a group of four and share.
- Don’t aim for 100 percent full. Hara Hachi Bu is Japanese for eating until 80 percent full. Okinawan islanders practice this and are known to be one of the longest living people on the planet. Their longevity is attributed to this moderate calorie restriction in combination with consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables.
source: Josh’s coworker gave this to him. I’ll post her name when I find out who it is