I’m not a nutritionist and will never claim to be one. I have had my own struggle to figure out the best foods for me and my body. However, if you are anything like me, my body changed so much after college.. maybe even during college.
All the energy drinks, coffees and sleepless nights really took a toll on my body. I started having severe stomach cramps, rashes and just noticing that my body no longer could process certain foods. I would talk to doctors and wellness practitioners but at the end of the day i had to do my own research and really test things out for myself. If i could go back and tell my 22 year old self anything that i’ve learned I would say the below. These may not work for you however I think at the end of the day, nutrition is really important and i’m figuring out everyday that it’s nearly impossible to eat as healthy as we think we are eating and it’s impacting our hormones, stress levels and overall well being.
I could link several studies here however they all sum up that close to 80% of the population is lactose Intolerance in some form or another. Does that mean I will kick the bucket once I have some cheese or yogurt? Not necessarily, however, for most of us, our bodies start changing around our twenty’s and we really need to start listening to see how we feel. For me cutting out dairy seemed so simple, mainly because i didn’t admit to myself Pizza had cheese on it. That’s a whole other story in itself. My point is, really listen to your body. If the dairy isn’t settling with you, chances are your body is trying to tell you something. I know so many people with sever gas issues that continue to consume dairy products. It’snot a fad. There’s a lot of science behind it and I encourage people to look into it. Our bodies are not made to digest Cow Milk and i encourage you to try living a dairy free lifestyle (we are living in the prime of dairy free alternatives right now!). I would definitely research the difference between Milk allergy, dairy allergy and lactose intolerance.
I always read articles about how important it is to cut back on sugar to lose weight. What i didn’t realize was how detrimental it was to my health. I would consumer so much fruit thinking i was on a cleanse or being healthy when in fact the fruit was increasing my sugar uptake and giving me horrible crashes midday. This may not be the issue with other people however i would definitely look into the total consumption of sugar that you have and how it’s making you feel. I always felt great eating some fruit or a bowl of blueberries but i would always experience severe cramping and IBS related symptoms. I went through a period of brain fog and symptoms of “narcolepsy”. I didn’t want to believe it was the fruit but it was. I truly encourage some of you who are dealing with any small issues that come up by looking directly at your diet and seeking a nutritionist who is well versed on how food impacts your overall being.
Eating Plant based
I think we can saw we’ve all tried dabbling in Veganism and Vegetarian lifestyle. It’s pretty difficult to sustain if you don’t do your research. I will definitely say that we are in this great time where there is ample research on how our bodies are digesting certain foods. For me learning to make my meals plant based first truly helped me to solve the issue with eating enough vegetables for my body. Again, everyone is different but I highly encourage you to look into the Fab Four Lifestyle by Kelly LeVeque and the Whole 30 programs. It’s incredibly useful to find a diet that you can sustain long term that helps you feel good. Don’t we all miss the days where we could eat anything and feel just fine? I sure do! However, I will definitely say that I wish I was more informed of the importance of having the right amount of protein, fat, fiber and greens at every meal.
This is one of those personal things i had to naturally give up. After I turned 25, my body started taking a turn and alcohol consumption was not something I could sustain. After just one alcoholic drink my body would turn into a ball of fire and I would have trouble sleeping, have increase digestive issues and for a whole week after my body would be in a state of recovery. Again, everyone’s body is different, but I highly encourage you to evaluate how you are feeling after consumption of alcohol and maybe choosing a better alternative. Maybe your body will do better with Vodka & water? Maybe just water. Also, don’t feel the pressure to live a lifestyle that is just not working for you.
I won’t spend much time on this one. Mainly, I want to add that taking up yoga in college and continuing a habit of exercising at least 3 days a week truly changed my anxiety and overall wellness. It wasn’t about losing weight, which didn’t always happen, but just an overall sense of wellness and calmness that comes after breaking a sweat. Combining that with a balanced diet has really helped me maintain the same or smaller pant size since High school. The best advice i got was when my mom encouraged me to work out or take a yoga class straight after I got off of work. After a one hour session of yoga or a run, HIIT class,etc., I just felt calm and less stressed out about work and other social stresses of the day. You don’t have to be an athlete or wait for the right time to start forming this habit.
If I could go back and relive my childhood years I would go back to all those nights I stayed up and watched the sunrise. I loved it! I can definitely watch the sunrise now, however I need to sleep by 7 p.m. to have that experience again. It’s mind-blowing how much energy you have after 7-8 hours of sleep. I’ve noticed for me, sleeping around 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. is what works for me the best. My best advice is to truly listen to your body. A good night of sleep will calm you, energize you, cleanse you and lower the chance of anxiety and depression. If you are unable to have a restful night of sleep I would start figuring out the root cause. Lavender tea, lavender lotion, and turning off media have helped me out tremendously.
These are just some of the things that I learned and I’m always telling my coworkers and girlfriends about. Let me know what helps you and the changes you’ve made to live a more balanced and healthy life.