I saw the movie “Eating You Alive” last Tuesday after feeling pretty digestively terrible. It dawned on me that I was most regular and my skin looked its best when I was on the Daniel Fast last year, so I was interested in learning more about how a Vegan diet would improve my health. I don’t know how I feel about the movie, as it definitely was one-sided, but I completely believe the stories of people being healed from different conditions by changing their nutrition.
I guess the hard part for me is that the nutritional changes people made were not just to a plant-based diet, but rather to what they referred to as a “whole-food, plant-based” diet. This means eliminating not only animal based foods, but also all processed foods, white flour, all oils, and essentially anything considered “bad”. Now, I’m not saying cutting all of these nutritionally bankrupt foods out is a terrible idea, but in my mind, it makes it hard to determine exactly what is causing the individual problems. I guess in my mind, of course eating a perfectly clean diet will make you healthy, but I don’t want to give up everything, just the main foods that are making me feel badly. It’s like the Whole30 – sure you feel better when you do it, but for me, it’s too restrictive to maintain long-term.
After watching the movie, I started looking at the foods that could possibly have the biggest impact on me. I seem to be struggling with digestive issues, and now see that I have a sensitivity to sulfur. But, what exactly is causing the problem?
I think red meat is a good option to eliminate, as it is hard to digest and also high in sulfur. I also seem to have problems with dairy products, but I haven’t investigated enough to know. Chocolate is also pretty high in sulfur and potentially a problem in my diet. Beer is another suspected culprit.
Then, if you consider the sulfur issue, in addition to meats and dairy, you’d have to get rid of onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, and some healthy nuts.
Where do you stop? It’s overwhelming to consider how even seemingly “healthy” foods can be problematic for you.
For a couple of days after seeing the movie, I made pretty good decisions without trying to completely deprive myself of foods that I enjoy. It went pretty well and I felt better. This was after cutting out Diet Coke, and then deciding that I didn’t need caffeine any more to maintain a good energy level. I also stopped taking two of the medications I was on because I thought I was starting to feel better. But, the mindset and subsequent benefits didn’t last…
While I am still not having soft drinks, caffeine, and haven’t taken those two medications, yesterday, I made several poor food decisions and that definitely contributed to my feeling terrible today. In fact, I feel worse today than I did when I was eating terrible and drinking soft drinks, caffeine, and taking the medicine. It really doesn’t make sense.
It can’t be all or nothing… I mean, I guess it can, I just don’t want it to be all or nothing. I want to find the happy medium that’s sustainable and leads to a better quality of life, overall, where I can enjoy food within reason and not have to be so restrictive.
I guess I shouldn’t let a couple of days of feeling better lead to complacency. If I am starting to feel better, I should continue on that path and not think I can go back to the way things were. I need to remember the foods that I eliminated that caused me to feel better. If I start feeling badly again despite my better choices, I might have to start looking at the next item to try and eliminate. Otherwise, I am going to have to end up back on one of those restrictive diets like the Whole30 or the “whole-food, plant-based” diet.
By the way, two nights ago, I slept through the night without waking up. It took me a while to fall asleep, but once I did, I didn’t wake up. I think it’s because I gave up taking drugs to help me sleep and instead tried a wakefulness promoting substance. This medicine, plus the better nutritional choices, and removing the bad beverages was successful in allowing me to not wake up for the first time in over 20 years. Returning to crappy food singlehandedly made me sleep badly again last night and led to how I feel today.
One step forward, two steps back sometimes, but I am at least learning as I go…