For those of you that know me, the greatest way to spend a large part of my day is talking with people about foods, my Pops, health, or other people's eating habits. I have always loved to have discussions with people regarding foods; I think it's in my blood. I feel I have a quest to learn everything I can possibly know about foods (and yes, I know it's not possible). Sometimes, I'll get on my soapbox and other times, I'll just sit and listen.
I had an interesting incident that happened to me recently during a discussion with a random lady at a
a local coffee shop. Within five minutes of discussing food option, she proceeded to tell me, not only that I had lots of health issues I wasn't aware of, but the way I was eating was very unhealthy. She had lots of healthy eating tidbits that I just had to do if I wanted to become a healthier person and feel better.
We had been discussing GMO products and more specifically heirloom seeds, and I jokingly mentioned that I don't have to worry about that because I try to really limit the amount of grain products I consume; therefore I wouldn't need wheat seeds.
With a somewhat smug look and arms crossed, she told me I "needed" to eat grains, and the fact that I don't eat them was not the way it "needs" to be for my body. She even proclaimed she knew of several people who tried to eat "that paleo thing", had lots of issues with removing grains from their diets and were not "eating healthy foods". I nodded my head and I simply stated, "I hope they are feeling better now."
Now besides the fact that I was told I "need" to eat a certain way (whenever I hear the words "you need to do something", it's like hearing nails on a chalkboard), she ascertained exactly the types of foods I should eat based on her extensive knowledge of my situation (I say that tongue in cheek). This really got me to think about all of the nutrition tips and healthy eating advice we receive from friends, family, and the internet.
I found it amazing that she knew exactly what I had to do to be at my healthiest. What was this knowledge she had about me and how could she form such a broad opinion about me based on our discussion of seeds? Did she have some earth-shattering research that was so amazing that it was applicable to everyone?
After the 10 minutes of her sitting next to me (and looking/spying/creeping at my computer screen), all she knew was that I was in the middle of writing a food blog, had been sipping on a tea that was not hot enough, and was snacking on an avocado and orange I brought with me.
I asked her what she did for a living, and she mentioned she was a computer programmer who was at a desk 10 hours a day. In fact, she stated she had decided to get out of the office because she had become completely exhausted and tired staring at her screen. I asked her if she thought her body needed all of the starches and grains she was consuming and trying to use for energy.
"It was necessary", she proclaimed, "It helped her get through those inevitable 3pm crashes". I shared with her my belief that In a world where we sit at computers instead of toiling in the fields or hard manual labor, we simply don't need the sort of high-energy, starchy foods we are told to eat, and certainly not in the proportions we are advised.
My thoughts about grain free eating are based on personal experience and research I have done on my own body, the foundation of which is the starch found in most processed grains (like rice, wheat, etc) converts to glucose very quickly, which then triggers the release of the hormone insulin. For those not familiar with what insulin does, excess insulin triggers the storage of excess glucose into fat storage receptors found in the areas around your mid-section.
If you seem to constantly have that "muffin top" you can never get rid of, you can thank your body's inability to regulate insulin. It is this constant up and down levels of insulin produced after eating processed grains, chips, snacks (or really any boxed food) that creates a whole host of issues... lethargy, brain fog, fatigue, and hypoglycemia. Quick runs to the vending machine to pick up a Kind bar or Good Value pretzels make things so much worse biologically speaking.
If your body constantly produces too much insulin by eating too many grains over short periods of time, ir goes into a permanent fat-storage mode which, many of you know, is the hardest situation to change as you age. This means people who are overweight due to their inability to regulate insulin, get into a cycle of weight gain, short term weight loss, then even more weight gain.
But it seemed she wasn't interested in hearing any of that, and you shouldn't either. If you can, try to stop listening to nutrition advice your neighbor, friend, co-worker, or anyone else for that matter who really doesn't know much about your digestive situation tries to give you. In fact, I'd like you to know many of my posts probably wouldn't apply to you as well.
So why should you even read or view anything I post? What's the takeaway of this read? What I like to do is after reading an article about health tips, nutrition advice, or healthy eating, I ask myself if my body does anything related to article. Do I enjoy those types of foods? Have I ever had issues with eating spicy foods, etc.?
Everyone has an ongoing conversation with their own body. When is the last time you've had a really good in-depth conversation with it? Ask yourself whether you spend more time listening to others about your body than you actually do listening to your own? Simplistically speaking, if you have any health or weight issues, your body is already telling you something, but for whatever reason, you may be choosing to ignore.
So, the next time you find yourself at the bookstore and itching to buy a new weight loss or diet book, go to the science section instead. Pick up a kids biology/physiology book and spend a day or so reading about what your body does and what it produces when you actually eat certain types of foods.
When someone reaches out to me for help to get their digestion back on track, most are completely surprised when I show up at our first meeting with a copy of a digestion book or booklet I find to be an interesting read. I've found that once you realize what your body is doing from a science standpoint, becoming the healthiest you is like finishing a jigsaw puzzle with the edges already put together.
If you enjoyed reading this, please do me a favor and click the "like" button below. Or better yet, if there are people in your circle of friends that constantly give you unwarranted health advice, share this with them.
Bonus: The first step to internal change, many believe is to begin to take supplements. I've recently wrote 8 reasons why it shouldn't necessarily be in the form of a pill and some out-of-the-ordinary substitutes, more specifically through foods (You can download it here).
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I am just someone who likes to talk about probiotics, kombucha, and is obsessively passionate about gut health and digestion, My personal mission is to try to ferment just about anything food related. This blog is a continuous flow of those thoughts on that journey.