The benefits of healthy eating are massive. No, that is not an understatement! We have survived as a species specifically because we have an instinct as to what our bodies should eat.
So much information on the internet is misleading people. They tell us that if they only eat this one new food, go Vegan or plant-based, or drink coconut water it will fix everything.
20 years ago oat bran was going to save everyone from heart disease. 10 years ago, Acai and green coffee would improve your health. Now it is quinoa.
Does it make sense to you that you can only obtain optimal health with a food that you cannot grow where you live?
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic. My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible. It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes.
Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life. You want a quality long life.
I like to focus on simple concepts and moving forward one step at a time for sustained progress. If that sounds good to you, then be sure to read any “Related Post’s” within the page for more quality information.
**My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them**
Your Health Is Like A Bank Account
If you invest in yourself, you will receive dividends that last a long time. It took me a long time to sort out my health issues, but it is easier now that I eat clean “ketovore”, which, for me, is eating carnivore most of the time with the odd vegetable side dish.
Carnivore works like an elimination diet. Because you eat a limited menu, as soon as you add a food that your body does not like, you will get obvious symptoms. Symptoms similar to hay fever, or more intense symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, hives, and/or nausea.
An elimination diet can help you pin-point your offending foods.
*Note: I would only recommend this route if you have several health issues and you don’t know how they relate to your diet.
An elimination diet is a challenge, to say the least. Eating carnivore is quicker with similar benefits as long as you tolerate meat, fish and eggs.
Related Post: Ketovore
Anyone who tells you that it is unhealthy to eat only meat has not looked at human history.
150 years ago, if you lived where there is a lot of snow in winter (hands up anyone?), meat (fresh or dried) and fresh fish were all that was available. And eggs, if you had a chicken or two. The pioneers didn’t die from a lack of fresh veggies or fruit (or quinoa) and neither will we.
What Is an Elimination Diet??
An elimination diet is where you cut out most foods, adding some back one at a time. When you add in a food that your body does not like, you can usually tell because you will get symptoms the same day.
In some cases, you don’t get symptoms until the next day, which is why it is best to try foods for four days at a time.
You start by picking a meat and veg that you know you don’t have issues with, like chicken and carrots, and eat only that for four days. You want plain, non-coated and fresh foods.
I opted for chicken, carrots and homemade chicken broth and I ate my foods like soup. Bone broth is super nourishing.
Related Post: The Benefits of Bone Broth
Four days is ample time to check for a reaction. If you have no reaction, put those foods on your “safe” list.
On the fifth day, you try a different meat and a different veg for four days and monitor your symptoms. You keep adding in foods, only one or two every four days, monitoring your symptoms.
It is simpler to start with single ingredient foods, like fresh chicken instead of seasoned individually frozen breasts, which contain multiple unlisted ingredients.
Inflammation Is Likely Causing Your Health Issues
Inflammation is a natural process in our body that alerts us to injury. When you twist your ankle and it swells, that is your body alerting you to injury and attempted repair.
However, the inflammatory conditions listed below are mostly related to eating “non” food, or processed items that appear to be food but are not, like most breakfast cereals. Fruit Loops do not grow on trees lol.
Related Post: Clean Eating for Improved Health
Inflammation is our biggest health concern, as most disease stems from inflammation in the body. For example:
- Allergies – Most allergy symptoms can be tied back to the foods we eat. My allergy to beef presents as hay fever.
- Asthma – Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against airway lining
- Brittle Bones – Inflammation in the gut can cause nutrient deficiencies, so your bones are not getting what they need to be strong
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Chronic inflammation causes excessive muscle tension, which shortens tendons, which compress nerves
- Depression – Inflammation makes depression worse
- Eczema – This comes from inflammation in the liver and gut
- GERD – Inflammation of the esophagus and digestive tract
- Hair Loss – Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss to your whole body
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – An autoimmune response triggered by anti-bodies
- Heart Attack – Chronic inflammation contributes to coronary atherosclerosis
- Pre-Menstrual Problems – High CRP levels (an inflammatory marker) can make PMS, cramps, and backaches worse
- Psoriasis – Chronic inflammation in the liver and gut
- Receding Gums – Chronic inflammation of the gums i.e periodontitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against the joints
How does this food related inflammation work?
You eat something your body does not like, causing inflammation, so your body sends out workers to deal with it. The more foods you eat that your body finds “toxic”, the more workers are needed to deal with it. The workers are white blood cells, immune cells, and cytokines.
Eventually your body cannot keep up with the demand of fixing everything, so it picks its battles based on priority. Your body is trying to keep you alive by choosing which body systems get help. Digestion is not at the top of the list until its is critical.
This is when you see multiple health issues crop up, that seem to appear out of nowhere.
Like when you regularly eat natchos at the pub with your friends but suddenly now they give you gut pain or diarrhea. This means that your body is not prioritizing fixing your dairy issue anymore because it is swamped with other work.
Toxic foods are pseudo-foods created in labs. They mimic real food in many ways, but your body is not fooled! These are items like:
- “vegetable oil” (ever squeeze corn to get oil? I didn’t think so. Same for safflower, soybean, canola, sunflower. Read why at Paleo Leap.)
- additives (those ingredients that you cannot pronounce on food labels)
- tofu that is not fermented (like much that is sold in N. America and made from GMO soybeans)
- foods that come in a bag within a box, like crackers and cereal (heavily processed with mystery ingredients)
- fruits and veggies grown outside their natural growing season and sprayed with pesticides
For an interesting post on why industrial seed oils may cause carb cravings, go to the Fat Head blog.
The Advantages of Eating Healthy
Maintaining a whole foods diet makes it simple to discover your offending foods. Most people might have a vegetable or two that they dislike, but most people are not allergic to most veggies. Same with most meat.
I went to a Naturopathic Doctor to find out why I had chronic hay fever, year ’round, and shockingly, even in winter. The doctor recommended that I get a blood allergy test so that we could do a proper elimination diet.
I was shocked when I saw the results graph.
What were my offending foods? Beef (my top offender), egg white, and casein which is a milk protein (they are tied in second place). I am also moderately allergic to garlic, strawberries and pineapple. #sad
If I eat several items on my list in one day, I get all the hay fever symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, sinus congestion, and sometimes hives.
Read this post from Allergy Details on the top allergic foods. Do you think any of the foods are causing you health problems?
I stopped eating beef for a long time, but now I know that I just have to pick and choose my food battles. For example, I will be sure not to eat eggs or dairy for a couple of days before I want to eat a big steak. This planning lessens my overall symptoms
What Exactly Is Healthy Eating?
- Breaking your fast with healthy, whole foods (fresh meat, fresh veggies, and some healthy fats for brain function) Not cereal, read why.
- Eating foods rich in folate, as dark leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers
- Balancing your intake of protein and fat
- Eliminate sugar, except for fresh fruit, in season
- Eat fish 2 or 3 times a week (Make sure it is wild and not farmed fish. Better yet, catch your own fish)
- 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day (using frozen veggies is fine during winter months); salad and fresh fruit when in season
- Drink caffeine in moderation
A good trick is to divide your plate. Mentally visualize your plate divided into 4 quarters. One quarter should be protein; one quarter should be healthy fat; the last 2 quarters should be vegetables. See this video for more help:
For A Holistic Approach, You Should Consider The Whole Body
Enhancing your emotional state:
The secret to improved health is to eat the best whole foods that you can afford. It may seem cheaper to load up your shopping cart with carbohydrate-rich “filler” foods, but if they are processed foods, they are not healthy.
Poor health is more expensive than healthy food.
Healthy, whole foods that your body likes will sustain you through the day and not make you unhealthy. You will have less, if any, brain fog; your mood is better and your thinking is clearer.
Better yet, you just feel good. Like all the time.
Maintaining a healthy weight:
The best indicator that your diet contains foods your body does not like is being overweight.
Chronic inflammation, especially in the gut, will slow down or stop weight loss. As well, if your gut is in poor health it cannot properly absorb and use the nutrients that you do eat.
If you are eating whole grains, but your body does not like them, then your “healthy eating” is causing inflammation. #unhealthy
All the so-called professionals telling people to eat grains are causing more illness than they are fixing. Many dietitians get funding from cereal and grain companies that benefit from promoting the eating of grains. #shill
Also read this post by Candace Choi.
Personally, grains make me gain weight…quickly. We are all different and not every body should eat all foods. #commonsense
Boosting your energy levels:
Eating foods high in iron sustains your energy levels throughout the day since the mineral iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body. Examples of food sources rich in iron are beef, spinach, Swiss chard, and almonds.
Meat has the most bio available (better absorbed) form of iron, called heme. Iron from vegetables is less readily absorbed and your body absorbs less overall than if you eat heme iron.
Anyone who tells you that non-heme iron is just as good as heme has never had iron-deficiency anemia, like me.
Anemia means your blood is low in red blood cells, which causes fatigue, paleness, hair loss, and headaches. I cannot tolerate iron supplements so I tried the liquid iron from the health food store, but it did not help.
That product is made from fruit, vegetables, and herbs. I tried several bottles, but my health did not improve.
This is a big reason why some vegans switch back to eating animal protein. It takes forever to build up your iron stores eating a plant-based or vegan diet.
Improvements To Your Health When You Eat Nutritiously
After 1 day:
Less hunger pangs
Boost in metabolism
Increased focus and clarity
After 1 week:
Increased energy levels
Lessened sugar cravings (none if you are not currently eating fruit)
After 1 month:
Eating healthy becomes a lifestyle choice
You save money on soft drinks, fatty junk food and snacks
After 6 months:
Boost in self-confidence
Lower blood pressure
After 1 year:
You’ve reached your goal weight
You’re smarter about your food choices
You feel stronger and more alive
You get sick less often
Your concentration and memory have increased
In their book Perspectives in Nutrition (1990) by Gordon M. Wardlaw and Paul M. Insel, they state that “…nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions.
The essential meaning is that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop.”
This is the best reason to eat fresh, in-season produce that is bursting with nutrition, and good quality pastured and/or grass fed meats, along with fresh, wild seafood.
Processed foods need to have nutrients added to them, which is a good indicator that the food is unhealthy.
If you think about it in that perspective, you’ll realize that food is much more than just counting calories or reading food labels. It makes us look at food as the sustenance we need to keep going strong for many years to come.
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat” – Benjamin Franklin
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Until next time, here’s to our health