Before this begins, just know that this is not a cry to be vegan or vegetarian or anything else. You eat what you want to eat. This post is simply asking you to be aware of the effect of certain foods on your body.
Raise your hand (literally or figuratively) if you deal with the following physical issues:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Runny/Stuffed nose
- Abdominal pain
- Menstrual cramps
What if I told you that these issues could be lessened or completely diminished just by changing the way you eat?
*NOTE* I'm not a doctor, I'm just telling you what I've learned in my years of eating all kinds of food and dealing with all kinds of foolishness with my body. Also, this is going to describe a few things you might not have wanted to know about me. If you want to maintain a perfect image me, then don't read the rest of this.
A lot of the physical issues listed above are things that some of us deal with on the regular basis. They seem to have "always been there" and we just deal with them as necessary. What I've learned is that a lot of the things we take as just being normal are allergic reactions. What we put in (food) needs to "come out", and if our bodies aren't feeling what we feed it, we might have to deal with some uncomfortable consequences.
For example: Every time I ate anything made from wheat (which is basically everything), my tummy swelled up and I looked pregnant. I also felt uncomfortably full, like someone was blowing me up like a balloon. But whatever, I thought everyone's belly got bigger after they ate, so I never paid it any mind. Fast forward to my early twenties when I meet another girl who describes the same symptoms as I have, except she calls it "gluten intolerance". Wtf? What's a gluten? How am I intolerant to it? After some of my own research I learn that gluten comes from wheat, and the only way to determine gluten intolerance is to stop eating gluten and see how your body reacts. I stop eating gluten, and almost instantly I stop looking pregnant after a meal, and that uncomfortable, tight feeling of fullness is gone. Amazing.
This particular instance jumpstarted my interest in the way food affects our bodies. I'm not here for starving myself or withholding anything that I really want, but I do have to prepare myself for the effects afterwards and it is then that I decide if certain things are really worth it. If I'm craving ice cream, I think about getting some (hey Talenti, girl!), but I also think about how much my stomach is going to hurt and how much gas I'm going to have after I eat it. Is it worth it? Sometimes, yes. But I prepare for the consequences (and make sure I can fart in the comfort of my own home. Just saying. Magical black girls get gas, too.)
If I've been eating cheese, I know to prepare for phlegm in my throat and weird sinus problems. When it's that time of the month, I can have all the sweets, but I know that means that I will also have cramps from hell. If I have grapes instead of cookies, I save myself some Tylenol and time with the heating pad. Junk food makes my scalp and skin itch. Meat and certain types of alcohol give me immediate and intense headaches. Do I completely avoid these things? Nope. But do I make informed decisions on which health issues I'm willing to deal with and which ones I absolutely won't? Yep.
Knowing that these issues are connected to the food I consume, I can make the informed choice whether or not indulge myself. I know now that these issues aren't just "the way it is" and that I have full control of my health.
Try this: When you notice your body doing one of those weird things that it does, think about what you just had to eat or drink and see if you notice a pattern. Take some things out of your diet and then put them back and see if that changes anything.
Nobody is telling you what to eat or not eat, but simply encouraging you to pay more attention to your body and how it reacts to what you consume.
Bon appetit, boo!