Thursday, January 31, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 1

About four months ago, I had a chicken breast for dinner and, not even halfway through, couldn't bear to eat the rest. It made me feel sick, and from then on I have had no desire to eat meat. I've always been a big meat eater - a big eater, really - so it was a strange feeling to suddenly stop eating meat. I haven't stayed away from meat completely however, as I've tested myself over the last four months, trying to ask my body whether it will ever consider eating meat again and like it. I ate a bit of turkey and ham over Christmas, but by the end of it I felt like there was a bunch of nasty, unnecessary stuff in my body which made me feel sick and didn't do my skin any favours.

So last Friday, I went to see a Naturopath for two reasons: #1 I had no idea what I was doing with this whole pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) diet, #2 I have been suffering with problem skin since the hormones kicked in at 14 years old - nearly 11 years ago - and thought it was time to try a different tactic.

I'm not even a week in and already I'm feeling like going to see the Naturopath was the best thing I could have done for myself. After getting over the first week of being pescetarian - the tiredness, the dizziness - I began to feel healthier than I've ever felt before. But after seeing the Naturopath, I've realised what a strong and powerful thing the body is. You feel like you're eating healthy, and you think you have as much energy as you're supposed to have because everyone else around you burns out at around 3pm so it must be normal, right? That must be the body's limit, right? Wrong.

On Saturday morning, the day after I saw her, I ditched the peanut butter and jam on toast and ate the breakfast recommended to me - muesli, berries, almond milk and ground flaxseed mixed together. Not only was it delicious, but it kept me going all day. And I mean all day. From 7am to midnight, I never once felt tired and packed so much into my day. And that was just because I changed what I ate for breakfast.

As well as putting me on a bunch of supplements, the Naturopath recommended a protein rich diet with lots of good skin foods like berries and almonds thrown in, milk and other dairy products thrown out, and not even a week on I'm feeling the benefits of it. Staying away from processed food and going back to basic, organic food is also important and I've found myself analysing everything I eat, even snacks, figuring out what each piece of food will do for me. Will it clear up my skin? Will it give me long burning energy? If it doesn't do the things I need, I won't eat it. I no longer snack out of boredom, indulge in a chocolate bar because I'm having a crappy day. Even a sneaky late night supermarket mission for junk food has seen me return home with organic orange juice, rice crackers and hummus.

My skin is also looking better. It's a slow process, but it's getting there. When you struggle with bad skin, you spend so much time and money obsessing over things to put on your skin like cleansers, moisturisers, pimple cream, makeup, you forget that what goes into your body shows on your skin. So here's hoping, after 11 years of looking in the mirror and finding something wrong with my face every morning, I can eventually look in the mirror, put on some moisturiser and leave the house wearing a smile instead of makeup.

So why am I writing about this? Because the way we humans eat needs to change and, although I'm no expert on the topic, I hope that my journey will inspire people - even if it's just one person - to start thinking seriously about the food they eat and what it does to them and for them. You are limitless. Your body is powerful. Use it to it's full potential.

In about five weeks I'm going back to the Naturopath to report on my progress, so stay tuned every Thursday for updates, inspiration and healthy, easy recipes I've tried.

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