A Soul Simple Diet

Maintaining a well balanced, healthy diet has always been a challenge for me. I’m a fussy eater, and have always been a carb loader. I love chicken schnitzel, and the occasional blow out at McDonald’s or Hungry Jacks. I love a big bowl of popcorn when I watch movies, and the occasional chocolate or bowl of ice cream.For the past 15 years I have struggled with various digestive issues including lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, and a generally sensitive constitution that has caused me ongoing issues since I was a small baby. As a result of years of avoiding certain foods, trying to maintain a healthy weight, and countless attempts by professionals who continue to give me conflicting advice, I have a very distorted relationship with food.For many years I followed a healthy diet with strict discipline and my body was loving me for it. But after a series of additional health issues I got to the point where I was exhausted and fed up with being so controlled, and one afternoon binge turned into weeks and months of depression, bad eating and poor decision making. I’m still recovering from that. Looking at my life now, I am happy in pretty much every area. The only contentious issue is my weight. I am 20 kilos over my ideal weight, and in order to prevent future disease and a myriad of preventable health problems I really need to lose the weight.So I have decided to set myself a challenge of simplifying my diet, and applying the same soul simple values to my wellness as I have to almost every other area of my life.I will share my progress in future blog posts, but firstly, I want to document the principles I am putting in place:

  • Eliminate pre-packaged foods
    Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
    Buy organic wherever possible
    Purchase ethical organic meat produce
    Choose vegan wherever possible
    Flavour with herbs, spices, lemon and lime
    Eat when hungry – stop when satisfied
    Drink plenty of herbal teas and water
    Drink Kombucha to maintain gut flora
    Enjoy a wide variety of foods
    Take time to prepare and enjoy meals
    Keep recipes simple and flavoursome
    Eat slowly and mindfully
    Avoid foods wrapped in plastic or foam
    Buy local – support small business
    Shop at local farmers markets.

So that’s one part of the equation covered.But what about exercise?

  • It is widely reported that maintaining a healthy weight is 80% diet, and 20% exercise.
  • That’s good news for me, because I’m literally allergic to exercise. As in, I have recently been diagnosed with food-dependant exercise induced anaphylaxis.
  • This means that whenever I combine food with exercise I am at risk of going into anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening if not managed quickly.
  • We are still experimenting with exactly which foods trigger my allergic response.
  • My husband, Rob has recently turned 50 and is in quite good shape for his age. He walks the dog twice a day most days, and for many years we walked together. Following my recent diagnoses I have stopped walking. Mainly because I think I’m just overwhelmed and afraid of what will happen. But also because historically whenever I get back into exercise, I tend to go into it full speed ahead and just as I start to see positive results, something bad happens and I end up out of action again.So for me this is as much a psychological challenge as it is a physical one. I’m a little bit over not being a normal person who can just go out and do stuff without having to worry about ending up in hospital.According to my immunologist, I should refrain from exercising alone, and must always carry my phone, anti-histamines, a bottle of water and my epipen. Whoever I exercise with should be familiar with my condition, and should be able to administer the epipen should I experience an anaphylactic reaction. The easiest option would be for Rob and I to go back to walking together. I am also considering gentle yoga and Pilates that a I can try at home, with low impact.To complicate things further, my anaphylaxis is also triggered by a combination of heat and exposure to various airborne allergens such as grasses, dusts, moulds and rye. Mostly particles that fly around in the air that we can’t see, but when combined with heat, food, exercise and contact with my skin, I can have a severe allergic reaction and end up in hospital.The area we live in is mainly ex-farmland. And the rate of new construction going up, there is so much stuff in the air, that I simply don’t know what I’m going to be exposed to on any given day. Anyway, enough excuses – I’ll end the pity party here. For now I will focus on my 80% diet element, and hope that with some consistency and time I will start to see some progress on the scales and in my measurements.To keep it simple, I will set myself 5kg milestones, and aim to post an update as I reach each milestone. This gives me four stages of my journey to a healthier me.If you have any tips or ideas or encouragement, feel free to leave me a comment. Otherwise I’ll catch you on the next roundabout!

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