CLEAN EATING: eating natural or whole foods instead of processed foods
A half a century of eating processed foods can wreak havoc on a body! For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from migraine headaches which, in part, were triggered by the food I ate. Along with the headaches, I have also experienced regular stomach bloat, anemia and weight gain.
An aha moment occurred for me when my brother went on a low carb, high fat diet. He not only lost weight but was also able to eliminate his high blood pressure medicine. This diet was contrary to everything I always believed to be healthy. Wasn’t I supposed to eat a large portion of grains and very little fat? It got me thinking about how I was eating.
I began to put more research into foods and had a shift in thinking. I found out that the USDA has replaced the old food pyramid with a new healthier version called “my plate”. Basically, eating whole foods, with little to no processing, and eliminating sugar and salt, as much as possible, is considered clean eating. No wonder my grandpa lived to be 97 while eating a diet that included lard and fresh grown produce from his garden!
Why Clean Eating Works
What goes into our bodies is our fuel to run on. This should be premium high quality fuel for better endurance. Foods that have been chemically altered or are full of preservatives add harmful ingredients to our diet that can lead to health problems.
For me, the high sodium and msg in processed foods triggered migraine headaches and stomach bloat. Others may experience weight gain or lowered metabolism from sugary foods and drinks.
On the other hand, whole foods work to properly fuel and maintain the body. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals instead of chemicals. It only makes sense then that our bodies would run better on clean eating.
Now, instead of having a processed protein bar for breakfast, I have eggs, bacon and fruit in the morning. This combination of protein, fat and healthy carbs leaves me more satisfied and energetic. I have also now nearly eliminated all breads and pastries, getting my carbs only from fresh fruit and vegetables and the occasional whole grain.
After several months of clean eating and increased water drinking, I have been able to get off my daily migraine medicine, Topamax. I have also lost my stomach bloat along with the weight that had slowly crept up over the years. My energy is back and I feel so much younger!
Tips For Clean Eating:
- Grocery shop in the outer circle of the main aisles, where all of the fresh produce, meats and dairy are located. Try to avoid the aisles where all of the packaged and processed foods are.
- Buy organic when possible to avoid chemical pesticides.
- Stock up on almonds and other nuts for snacking. Dried fruits and dark chocolate are a couple of other great snacks.
- Incorporate probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut for a healthy gut.
- Drink plenty of water. Lemon water or other naturally infused waters are good options if plain water is too hard to drink. I drink lemon water every morning which is supposed to aid in digestion.
- Substitute sea salt for regular table salt when needed. Sea salt has the right balance of sodium and potassium to maintain proper fluid levels in our bodies.
- When you need to use butter, choose real butter instead of margarine. Margarine contains more trans fats. I like to use Kerrigold butter from grass fed cows.
The Health Scare That Changed My Diet
I have tried different diets before and all of them have been difficult to stick with. Since my brother had some benefits from a low carb, high fat diet, I even tried that. At first the diet seemed to be working for me. I was restricting my carb intake to 50 grams or less a day. This meant even cutting out fruits. I did lose weight but had developed heartburn from the high fat ratio. A blood test also revealed that my chloride and carbon dioxide levels were off. My doctor then lowered my Topamax dosage and restricted me to no ASID pain relievers to protect my kidneys.
This obviously scared me! After more research, I discovered that a side effect of Topamax is metabolic acidosis. And, a person should not go on a low carb, high fat diet while taking Topamax. I decided then to not just lower my dosage but to completely eliminate the medication. Stopping the diet didn’t seem like a good option. I was getting too many good benefits from it. However, I did add the healthy carbs from fruits to my meals. The fiber from fruit is necessary for good digestion. I basically just eat clean and don’t keep track of carbs anymore. Now I no longer get heartburn. And, I no longer get migraines from food triggers. I manage the occasional headache from hormones with essential oils.
Clean Eating Is A Lifestyle Not A Diet
The “diet” I am on now is simply clean eating. Since clean eating only restricts processed foods that make me feel sluggish, the lifestyle change is easy to make. It doesn’t feel like a restrictive diet that is hard to stick with. Plus, processed foods just make me feel bad. Why would I even want to consume them?
I am not a health professional. This post is simply to share what has helped me in hopes of benefiting someone else. It is always good to consult with your doctor about your diet. There isn’t one plan that benefits everyone. Certain foods may be more beneficial to some than others. And, allergies also can play a big role. However, a good rule of thumb is to eat as clean as possible.