My nutrition philosophy has changed dramatically over my adult life. The progression has looked something like this:
- 2007: freshman year of college, read the book Skinny Bitch, decided I needed to become a vegan.
- 1 week later, realized vegan was too hard, decided to become a vegetarian.
- 3 months later, went to the doctor and had elevated cholesterol levels, most likely due to a diet full of JIF peanut butter, pancakes from the East commons and a dependence on pizza for dinner and cheese for protein.
- Decided to go back to eating a regular diet with all the meats, blood checked again in 3 months, cholesterol levels improved to within normal limits.
- 2011: Senior year of college, found Tone It Up, idolized them and tried to eat like them, hated tempeh (ate it anyway), hated tofu (ate it anyway) and stuck with their meal plan for about 2 weeks before quitting and just doing their workouts.
- 2012: First year of working full-time, dad told me about Shakeology, drank it every now and then except when it was the weekend because I either was hungover or wanted to go to brunch (or both).
- 2014: Second year of working full-time, created and managed a healthy eating cafe packed with delicious food. Ate all the food because it stared at me all day long.
- 2015: Third year of working full-time, realized I needed to change. Started drinking Shakeology every day. Counted calories, avoided all fat.
- 2016: Found Paleo.
- 2017: Found food freedom (outlined below)
When I was in school for my undergrad degree in nutritional sciences I heard musings of this “paleo” thing. I thought it was just those gluten-free people going crazy. I really started to get exposed to it in 2014 when I created a healthy eating cafe geared towards athletes. I was asked about it a lot but didn’t know much, so I went back to my training and said that “all foods fit in moderation.” But a year and a half into my own personal weight loss transformation and fitness success story I hit a wall. I felt tired most of the time, woke up super groggy and in a bad mood (sorry husband), experienced bad breakouts on my face, and had chronic back pain. These were just a few of the symptoms I had that I felt were not normal. Not normal for someone who was taking care of themselves, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking a superfood loaded shake, picking lower calorie options, avoiding fats and staying active.
By this time in my journey weight loss wasn’t as big of a concern as it was at first. I had lost weight and felt much better about my body– this was about my physical and mental health. Like I said, I felt tired a lot and had aches and pains that I didn’t think I should have. After all, I had lost 35 pounds! Weren’t those symptoms supposed to go away with weight loss? In theory, yes. But there was a big piece of the puzzle missing from my nutrition philosophy as I’m sure there is one missing from yours.
First, we need to learn a little bit about the topic: inflammation, in general, is the body’s immune reaction to real or presumed foreign substances, like bacteria, viruses, toxins OR due to injury, irritation or the aging process. The acute inflammation process is a normal and necessary part of healing and lasts 24-48 hours. Think bug bite (red, swollen), twisted ankle (hot, swollen). Chronic inflammation occurs when the symptoms of the inflammatory process continue past the point of the healing needs. Chronic inflammation is a sign that something has gone wrong. Some of the diseases linked to chronic inflammation include Alzheimer’s, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. The best way to treat chronic inflammation is… you guessed it! DIET. There are foods that are known to cause inflammation in our body and there are foods that are known to help. It is this fact and information that has helped form the diet I have today.
The nutrition philosophy that I follow is based on the paleo diet, which is rich in anti-inflammatory foods that aid the body in healing. In my personal experience, it has helped me to overcome a lot of the symptoms that I was feeling before I made this switch. I have continued to eat like this for almost a full year and can tell you that I have NEVER felt better.
So what do I eat? I eat a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, 1-serving of Shakeology per day, proteins and healthy fats. I limit dairy, grains, legumes, added sugars and pre-made foods. It is through this scope of eating that I have been able to find my own food freedom that allows me to eat to nourish my body rather than punish it. Oh, and my food freedom still includes pizza, beer and desserts. Just not in the mass quantities that you used to find me eating it! I can’t help but laugh when I think back to how this whole journey started with me thinking I had to be vegan in order to be healthy —because I read a book called Skinny Bitch. LIKE REALLY JESS?! The title should have told you something was off about it!
If you need help finding your own food freedom, I am here to help! Never hestitate to reach out, submit an application to the wellness studio below or send me an email. <3