Monday, July 11, 2011

Seven Steps to a Healthy Pantry: Step 6

Step 6: Eat, Observe, Repeat.

For me, this is the most important step (well, okay, maybe as important as Step 1 and Step 3).  It’s important because this is where the rubber meets the road.  I think I can best describe it by sharing my own story/timeline:

February 2011.  I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue/borderline failure.  In addition to med’s, I was told to test a gluten-free diet for six weeks.  After one day I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that gluten contributed to my adrenal troubles, so I made the switch.  My pantry transition began.  First step?  Change all foods in the house, including spices, oils, sauces, flours, etc, from gluten-full to gluten-free.

March & April 2011.  My naturopath echoed what my pediatrician had told me years before: eat as much organic as possible.  Because these two people – from two very different backgrounds and perspectives – were saying the same thing, I started paying attention.  I started looking for ways to buy organic pantry items (juice boxes, fruit snacks, etc). 

If I couldn’t buy organic because of cost I read the labels and bought the best option.  What was the best option?  The choice that had the least (or no) non-natural preservatives and the most whole ingredients.  Sugar was also a factor – I chose the lowest level of sugar possible.  More transition happened in my pantry (not to mention my refrigerator, deep freezer, and back-up shelf in the garage).

June & July 2011.  I started feeling the tug to cut out dairy in addition to gluten.  You might think this wouldn’t affect the pantry, but it’s shocking how many items have dairy in them (remember all those Blue Diamond Nut Thins from Step 5’s shelf picture?  They have dairy!).

So, with the dairy piece added in, I am now in my third stage of transitioning my pantry.

This is my process – it certainly shouldn’t be yours.  While I absolutely believe that some choices are bottom-line healthier than others, for everyone, I also know that our bodies are all unique and at different stages in the process of becoming healthy.

As I’ve changed the way I eat, my body’s needs have changed.  The healthier the food is that I put in my body – and by healthy I mean whole, non-processed, non-gluten, and non-dairy – the more sensitive I am when I eat something that is unhealthy.  Things that didn’t make me feel bad at all several months ago now send me spiraling into a general fog of yuckiness (muscle pain, brain fog, etc).  I believe this is because my body needs good things and simply has less tolerance for junk than it used to.

I could explain all of this chemically – because cravings and lack of sensitivity to junk are 100% chemical – but your eyes would glaze over.  For a detailed explanation I highly recommend The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolfe. 

Why am I mentioning all of this?  Because it’s important that you pay attention and validate what’s happening in your body by responding to it. 

I can’t wait to hear your stories as you implement changes in your diet!  Remember, even the smallest change will make a difference.

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