What’s your favorite food and how does it make you feel when you eat it? How do you feel AFTER you eat it?  Do you know what’s in your favorite food?   Do you know if it’s good for you or if it may be bad for you in ways you couldn’t even think of?

I was raised on chicken fried steak, mash potatoes and gravy, fried chicken, bologna, salami, cheese, bacon, fruits, veggies, burgers, pizza and hot dogs, frozen dinners, breads – all the staples of a well rounded diet.  Desert was served every evening along with soda and chips, pretzels, candy, ice cream – you name it – we grew up on it and we didn’t seem to have weight problems or attention issues or sleep issues…

So what happened?  What changed?  Why are the foods we used to eat no longer on our list of foods we can eat?  Why does eating something make you feel tired or upset your stomach or even make you cranky?  Did you even realize those things were happening?  Did you know eating the wrong foods can upset your sleep pattern too?Did you know eating the wrong foods can cause all kids of learning, attention issues too?  That’s another story though.

Did you know there is a blood test that can determine what foods you may be intolerant to?  It’s just a poke in your ear and a drop of blood on a slide.  Painless and so revealing!  It’s incredible how much we don’t know about our own bodies and how little our doctors share with us – if we don’t know to ask.  My regular doctor refilled my Ambien prescription for years without ever attempting to fix the reason I wasn’t sleeping.

I had never even considered seeing a naturopath until it was part of my thermogram followup (if you’ve never had one, go to www.beyondpink.net and apply for a grant).  I saw my naturopath a few times before we actually got to a discussion about me wanting to discontinue taking Ambien.  I had been on it for years and was concerned about short term memory loss as well as other issues.  Her first step was to see what foods I was intolerant to – wait – what?  What does what I eat have to do with how I sleep?  Everything.  Just like caffiene can keep you awake at night, eating foods you are intolerant to can do the same.  It can cause inflamation in your blood as well as bloating and for me, can make me feel really sleepy right after eating or give me a headache.  It’s not even eating carbs on an empty stomach which I haven’t done for years as I didn’t want to develop diabetis issues. I’m intolerant to soy, potatoes, iodized salt (potato starch is an anticoagulant in salt), yeast, walnuts and enriched flour – the ‘enriched’ B vitamins are the culprit here.  I can have most fruits but not in combination with sugar.  

When I first saw the list of what I couldn’t eat, I almost lost it.  The only item in my kitchen I could eat was greek yogurt!  It’s a good thing no one was around because there were some #!&* words said!

What it comes down to is that potato (I LOVE potatoes) I want to eat now isn’t grown the same way it was when I was growing up.  So much of our foods contain chemicals, addititives, etc. or are genetically modified to be grown faster and cheaper than they were when we were growing up and it’s those ingredients that we become intolerant to.  What it comes down to is no fast food, no processed food, no potatoes, soy, etc.  What it comes down to is eat whole foods and read lables!

I have been on this food adventure for less than a year – yes adventure.  What I found is that when I eat right (for the most part), I feel better, have lost weight and am no longer taking Ambien to sleep.  Do I still have sleep issues?  Yes but I’m working on that in other areas too (like no computer before bed, etc).  Do I still have weight to lose?  Of course but I’m happy that I lost 14lbs!  Do I eat perfect all the time?  Absolutely not but I’m working on that too.

I have found 1 type of bread I can eat, uncured bacon, cheeses, nuts and other favorites made with sea salt, lots of salad ingredients that I actually like and we’re learning to cook with sea salt and other spices that don’t contain that darn table salt!  Eating at home isn’t the issue – it’s eating out…picking foods not full of soy, potatoes or salt.  Did you know most salad dressings are made with soy?  Just eating salad isn’t always eating right!  Croutons are made from bread which is made from enriched flour and most likely salt…you get it.

So here’s my point – if you don’t feel GOOD after you eat, you may have food intolerances and it may be worth checking into it.  If you feel bloated and you’re not on your monthly, don’t sleep well or get headaches or gain weight, it may be from eating foods your body is intolerant to.  

Do yourself a favor – listen to your body.  Spend the money and get a food intolerance test and then do the work on getting healthy – you are worth it!  Remember it won’t happen overnight but it will happen and you’ll be better for it!

Karla O'Neill