One Bite at a Time
My chronic diseases have forced me to reevaluate what I put in my body. Instead of choosing mostly foods that will only tantalize my taste buds, I now make a conscience effort to choose foods based upon how they will help my body. To this day I am still discovering which foods increase or decrease my inflammation level or whether my body is able to digest certain foods easily or not. While prepping and committing to eating a cleaner diet can be tiring and sometimes overwhelming, especially when experiencing a flare, the reward is why I continue to do it as often as possible.
Finding my triggers
Certain foods were easy to recognize as triggers. Foods made with a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners increased my fatigue. Discovering my allergy to citrus was easy as it caused my throat to swell and blisters would form on my gums and tongue. Some foods were not as easy to figure out. There was a time when I would break out in hives from strawberries and watermelon. Assuming I was allergic to them I cut them from my diet. Later I discovered it was not the fruits themselves that I was allergic to, but the pesticides used to treat them before they were shipped to whatever state I was living in. As long as the strawberries and watermelons I purchase are organic and locally grown I can eat as much of them as I desire without any allergic reactions. Later I began experiencing extreme bloating and digestive issues. My doctors recommended that I try a low FODMAP diet to see which foods may be to blame. We discovered that gluten and dairy are often culprits of my discomfort. Eggs also cause painful inflammation and bloating as well as horrendous gas.
Making better choices
Some of my dietary changes have easier than others. I have had to eliminate most dairy. I will allow myself some foods with gluten, but that is only because I don’t have the same reaction with all bread products. Even though they don’t all cause me discomfort, I still limit how much of it I eat. Filling my diet with fruits and veggies that are not my favorites or produce that I would have never chosen to eat was easier than giving up the other instigators. Instead of forcing myself to eat foods with a taste or texture that grossed me out, I disguise them by putting them in smoothies or by juicing them. Most of the time I am able to add more of a favorable and more flavorful fruit to over power the taste of what I don’t like.
I still allow myself an occasional guilty pleasure, however that is not my reward. My body rewards me with a lower pain and inflammation level than if I hadn’t changed my diet. By not eating the foods that cause those levels to soar I am better able to find ways to work with or around my limitations. Best of all is knowing that I am working with my body to help it be as healthy as possible while living with multiple chronic diseases.
Wishing you a day filled with many reasons to smile,