The everyday vacay series continues: Nurture nutrition

 

“You are what you eat.” 
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach 


Growing up, I thought this was a catchy slogan of some long-forgotten snack food, but as an adult I realize how true the quote is.

woman eating healthy food
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

If you fuel your body with sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, you get short bursts of toxic, anxious energy. But if you provide it with fresh, whole foods from which it can easily derive nutrition, you are rewarded with clean, sustainable energy throughout the day.

When I was in the grip of ennui, I was always in a hurry, which meant I didn’t eat anything until I was completely hangry around 11:00 a.m. Then I would eat a huge lunch because I was starving and proceed to be stuffed and sleepy most of the afternoon. I would then go home and cook a family-style dinner that included copious amounts of starches, before stretching out in front of the television to doze all evening.

Putting 2 & 2 together

I suffered almost daily with stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, and brain fog. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and the doctor suspected food allergies. One day while on the couch sick with an upset stomach, I watched “Supersize Me,” a documentary by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, which follows his journey into the American fast-food experience. That film led me to dozens of books, articles and documentaries on the subject of our “Standard American Diet,” (SAD), and I realized that I was making myself sick with the food I was eating.

I stopped eating fast food entirely. I have not had a fast-food hamburger in more than 15 years. I cut out processed foods and started buying fresh fruits and veggies and more lean meats. I started experimenting with vegetarian and eventually vegan recipes, and although we’ll probably never be vegans, we enjoy incorporating vegetarian or vegan meals into our weekly plan for the challenge and variety it brings to the table.

Like everything else, changing my diet was difficult and uncomfortable at times. But I’m happy to report that within six months of eliminating fast food and most processed foods and adding several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, my symptoms disappeared and remain a distant memory today.

Treats or triggers

At first, I thought treating myself to a doughnut or candy bar for good behavior was a reasonable reward. However, I learned that rewarding myself through food, triggered all the bad behaviors that I had worked so hard to change.

Instead of satisfying my urge, one doughnut made me want two, three, a dozen. Candy bars caused sugar cravings, and milkshakes made my stomach ache. I finally realized that where some foods are concerned, treats are simply triggers in disguise, like tiny ennui seeds just waiting to be replanted in fertile ground.

 

Hidden nutrition

Skin is the body’s largest organ, and what we apply to our skin is absorbed transdermally. Medications such as lidocaine, Fentanyl, nitroglycerine, and even Ritalin can be administered through the skin. Therefore, it is logical to assume that what we put on our skin is, to some degree, absorbed into our bloodstream.

While researching this transdermal absorption, I found a study published by the Tisserand Institute that tested the effect by rubbing garlic on the souls of participants’ feet. Within 15 minutes the odor of garlic was present on their breath and they reported tasting it in their mouth.

I had to try it for myself.

Astonishingly, I could taste garlic within minutes of rubbing it on the souls of my feet. That evening I vowed to be more careful about what I put on my skin. Since personal hygiene products are not governed by the FDA, there is little regulation regarding their ingredients. Deodorants, fragrances, lotions, make-up and many other products contain a dizzying array of chemicals that we would not dare eat but rub willingly into our skin every day.

I’ve since learned to turn to the kitchen for most beauty products. I make my own DIY deodorant, toothpaste, exfoliants, facial masks, moisturizers, and even laundry detergent with simple ingredients readily found in my pantry.

Check out the entire Wonderful Wellness video series here.

This has been an excerpt from the Everyday Vacay e-series. Stay tuned next month for Healthy Habits -- Seeds of Success

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