“One’s person’s food is another person’s poison.” There is no one perfect type of diet, nutrition, workout, music, relationship, or self-care routine for everyone. This is because we are all biologically and genetically unique and food will have a different impact on each and every one of us. This is what’s known as bioindividuality.
Many of us are disconnected from what our body really needs and how it speaks to us through symptoms. Being aware of our body’s signals in relation to food allows us to identify how food makes us feel, both physically and emotionally. Remember that your body speaks when you listen and you,only you, can really identify the foods that heal and hurt you.
So the question is: How can you make better health choices by listening to your body?
Start by asking questions like: Do you need a nap after eating a certain food, like a big plate of pasta? Are you hungry an hour after eating a green salad? What if you add protein or a healthy fat such as avocado or nuts? Do certain foods cause you to experience bloating? Are you too active and nervous after your afternoon coffee? Asking questions, observing, and listening to your body, and then experimenting with small changes will allow you to become your own best health expert.
Many people suffer from inflammation in their bodies because they ignore the stomach ache they feel after having a certain dessert or after a glass of milk. Many times, the symptoms they experience (bloating, pain, gas…) become a “normal” part of their day because they have become so used to living with them.
If you want to take steps to become healthier it is essential that we begin to listen to our bodies and address possible food sensitivities, which are common to more than half of the population. Food sensitivities can express themselves as digestive problems, poor concentration, headache, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, runny nose, shakiness, anxiety… If you suspect you have food sensitivities to diary, gluten or soy, for example, you may decide to eliminate certain food groups temporarily. Do you feel any different when you eliminate them for 7-10 days? You might then progressively reintroduce the food group you have eliminated and if you have a sensitivity to them you will really see symptoms pretty fast. If you eliminate different food groups at once, make sure you reintroduce them one by one, and 3 to 5 days apart so that you can identify which food is causing sensitivity.
Knowledge is power and knowing this valuable information about yourself can empower you to take steps towards living healthier. Keeping a food journal will help you spot the patterns that show up around food so that you can develop a personalized eating plan that nurtures your body. In your journal write how you feel physically and emotionally, right before eating, right after, and two hours later. You don’t have to do this every day, but maybe try it for a few weeks and be especially mindful of this when you don’t feel great after a meal. Food is medicine and we should feel energized, balanced, centered, and “plain good” after a meal. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all diet, you have to be your own investigator, listen to your body, and follow its wisdom if you really want to live a healthy lifestyle.