Last week I was terribly sick. This is a very rare occurrence for me, as I work so hard to stay very healthy. At the same time I realize that this illness in a way was a blessing. I had worked so hard before the holidays and the week before preparing for a new year for my business and I have noticed that I often have a hard time deciding when to stop working. I just love to get things done and achieve goals! However, there is a time where my body says: "This is enough, I'm slowing you down with this illness so that you can get the rest that you need." Ok, it really doesn't say that out loud, but it did tell me with aches and extreme fatigue.
For quite a few days I stayed in bed and drank water and herbal tea. I also didn't have much of an appetite. However, I paid attention to signs of hunger and what my body was craving. Strangely, I found myself wanting dried apricots, corn chips and applesauce (sometimes with a little bit of homemade granola on top.) Towards the end I did want some soup, chili and some other things, but I was down to the basics at the beginning. I later found out that dried apricots have a lot of iron in them. I found that I was feeling much better with eating things with more iron in them and that is what my body was searching for.
This experience taught me a lot about the complexities of eating, nutrition and listening to how we and our bodies feel with different foods. I think everyone reacts to foods in different ways. I know that I react well to a high protein, high vegetable diet. However, I do feel the need for some grains in the form of brown rice and oats sprinkled in. These help round out my diet as do thing such as Greek yogurt and a splash of milk in my coffee.
When I was sick there was a bright joy to those orange apricots. A joy that carried me through the day and let me know that I was going to get better and that I would have my energy back soon. At the beginning of January I experimented with a few days of a more Keto-centered approach to eating and really cut back on carbs and fruit especially. I found that I was still hungry often and that a lot of the joy of food was taken away from me. That is when I decided that I would take some things that I liked about that diet and add back in some more fruits and some grains. This has left me with a joyful balance. I will continue to experiment with my daily food choices and see what feels best to me. Food is a very joyful thing to me, but I believe it is highly personal too, and one approach doesn't work for every single person the same way. The fundamentals for me going forward are:
3 vegetable servings a day
8 glasses of water a day
A joyful balance of high protein, brown rice, oats, lots of vegetables and fruits that I love
This feels right to me as I felt myself at the beginning of the month bewildered about what to eat (to be honest) and hungrier way more often than on my "listening/joyful" approach. I felt myself looking up different kinds of snacks instead of choosing from some great things I already had on hand. I was second-guessing myself way too often. I find that we all have lots of wisdom already in our bodies and that it is important to tap into it. That being said, studying nutrition and getting help from nutritionists has great merit as well as they can often tailor your choices especially for you.
My final thought is that we should all experiment more and find out what foods bring our bodies the most joy in the form of health. Here's to balance and a great 2018!
With lots of care,