I have noticed that eating carbs tends to make me feel very scattered. The aftereffect is I crave sugar, and tend to feel very cranky and confused. As a result, I have made an effort in recent years to avoid both carbs and sugar. As I looked at my vegan plate of pasta and bread I realized I had set myself up for disaster. Not only had I eliminated the food that makes me feel grounded (meat), but I had essentially replaced it with the very food that has traditionally been my downfall. Sure enough, the next day I was tired, hangry, and feeling out of sorts. Time to call in the big guns.
Audrey Byker, our resident health coach, noticed I kept bringing up meat conversations at work yesterday, so she pulled me aside and offered to help. As I collapsed into her arms in my weakened state, she assured me I was in good hands. After taking a comprehensive history and discussing my general feelings on the challenge #overit, Coach Audrey gave me some much needed advice. The human body is pretty in tune to what it needs, and mine is craving protein, and lots of it! I need to get used to eating when I am hungry, however eating the right things. Audrey suggested I keep some protein enriched snacks with me, like a handful of almonds, or apple slices and peanut butter. Furthermore, just because I am gluten free, does not mean I should be eating items such as gluten free bread! Stick to beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds as toppings for various meals. Should I start to feel like a small forest animal, by all means throw some tempeh and tofu in there, mix up that protein intake. Most importantly, fill up on veggies, lots and lots of veggies! When in doubt, mix them up with some brown rice or quinoa throw a little olive oil on top, and you got yourself a meal! I learned from Audrey that these types of challenges really can change how your body will operate, as you are cleaning out your system. For those of you participating at home, if you are feeling a little crazy, your body is telling you that you are eating the wrong things.
This made me think about the other symptoms I have been experiencing, and could they also be related? Dr. Christine Shoenek, naturopathic doctor also of Grand Rapids Natural Health, told me my general feeling of sluggishness will eventually pass. This is merely my body reacting to a change in my general dietary habits. She assured me that in just under a week I would be leaping out of bed in the morning looking forward to my goat cheese free veggie scramble. (Jury’s still out on that one.). I mentioned my appreciation for my daily 5 cups of coffee (I might have told her 3 but the truth always comes out), and she suggested this may be what is contributing to my afternoon crash. If looks could kill, dear friends. No coffee? NO COFFEE?!?! She quickly changed her answer to limit my coffee intake to 2 cups a day. Most importantly I need to stick to my usual diet of whole foods. Stay out of the gluten free aisle. If I am already aware that these foods affect me negatively, don’t go out and eat them! That’s almost as crazy as eliminating all your normal foods from your diet! Well, maybe I said that last part. Let’s just go ahead and blame it on my body not being used to healthy, meatless living. Tune in next week as we decide if frequent protein snacks were the way to go for this hungry mental health therapist.