25 October 2012

We Really Are What We Eat

There is just no getting around the fact that if you don't eat well, exercise or get enough sleep you are never going to feel really good. It's just not possible. It's like putting the wrong kind of fuel into your car regularly and then complaining that your car doesn't run well.

I am surprised at how often I hear people complain about health issues that are very often tied to lifestyle and then talk about getting no sleep, no seriously regular exercise, eating entire bags of candy, consuming large amounts of alcohol or caffeine, and indulging in a diet of mostly processed foods with very few if any fresh fruits and vegetables.

I have been trying to eat a very clean, simple diet, mostly fruits, vegetables and a small amount of meat. It's amazing how good I feel on a small diet of these healthy fuels. Even more stunning is how horrible I feel when I cheat and sneak a bit of fast food, high-sugar "treats", breads or foods high in unhealthy fats. I feel it almost immediately and I feel gross. Now that my body has gotten used to good fuel it is really letting me know that it does not like bad fuel.

I have heard many health advocates say that the bad American diet has people walking around in a fog, feeling tired, lacking energy and growing more obese with every decade. When you look at the ingredient lists on foods you find in the grocery store you find artificial sweeteners in things that don't need them, long lists of scientific names of things that are completely unrecognizable as human food. We are truly killing ourselves with high sugar diets and highly processed foods. I was stunned to read this article in the New York Times asking if Alzheimer's is really Type 3 Diabetes and brought on by diet. We are in a health crisis in every way, due mostly to bad diet and lack of exercise.

I have a long way to go. But I have to ask myself what I am doing? Why am I not more vigilant about what I intake. I have learned that no unhealthy treats make me feel good. I do not want to suffer from stress and lifestyle related health issues. More sleep, more healthy fruits, vegetables and meats and less junk are vital. You may question my mention of meats. Let me say that I do not really enjoy eating meat very often and I did eat as a vegetarian mainly for about a decade. What I realized is that a lot of people turn to a mostly carb diet when they turn to vegetarianism. That's not healthier. So if one does vegetarian, it takes work and dedication - a lackluster effort is potentially much unhealthier than one with some meat.

It would be good to get really honest about what we're eating and how we're feeling. If you feel poorly, the first four questions to ask yourself before you panic and run off to a specialist are: 1) What am I eating? 2) Am I getting enough sleep & reducing my stress, 3) Am I exercising and 4) What do I need to change?   Try these things when you first recognize you don't feel great and see how much better you can feel using basic, practical healthy steps to improve your well-being. It's amazing how our bodies react to good care. I'm still learning and trying to be more honest with myself. I like the results.


kittybaroque said...

I think we have similar health goals. The challenge is indeed being honest, I guess those half chocolate bars and packets of chips DO count :-( SADLY...... I'm on gluten, sugar and dairy free with no fruit either (I have a fructose issue....), super good about what I eat most of the time but every so often lose it and go crazy. Hard eating healthy in a supermarket world thats fo sho.
Lets be strong and eat well before the crazy of the holidays is upon us., Blessings kitty baroque BYW

Jenn said...

Oh, you are so right about all this! We started transitioning to a super clean diet about three years ago and at this point I don't even miss processed foods like bread, pasta, cookies, etc. It's crazy how your body changes when you let it :). I have a few friends who are insanely unhealthy, make horrible lifestyle choices and criticize my eating habits. It drives me completely crazy, because I know how much better they'd feel if they cleaned up their diet and slept more. At this point, I just focus on how Chris and I are eating and how much better we feel :)

Ish said...

It's funny, people always ask me how I get our toddler to eat so many vegetables and I laugh. As opposed to what? Her food options always include veggies so of course she eats them. She's not doing the shopping or food prep so it's not like she can force me to give her unhealthy things like ice cream or candy. She'll get that soon enough as she gets older but for now she doesn't even know what that tastes like.

Stephanie said...

So so true. I feel terrible when I try to slip in crappy foods every blue moon. But feel great when I am eating well, drinking a lot of water, getting enough sleep, etc. My next goal is to start an exercise routine. I have struggled with this for a very long time and it's catching up to me! xo

michelescottage.com said...

Good food choices are so important, aren't they? Eating clean is something I try to do every day. Thanks for re-inforcing it. We grow some of our food and have our own chickens. Doing that really integrates healthy eating into our lives.

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