I came across an interesting wellness article entitled: “Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Becomes Obsessive.” Of course I clicked on it. I am known in our family to be border line obsessive on fresh food vs. factory food and I am often criticized for it.
Orthorexia is defined on the article as, “a dangerous and obsessive preoccupation with eating healthy. In extreme cases, it can become so restrictive that it can chip away at the patient’s relationships, mental health, and physical well-being.” There are a list of questions to ask yourself if you’re showing symptoms of it.
What was forgotten in the article is that a huge part of why we now have to read labels on our food and why a lot of us are careful of what we eat is that there’s been an impact on our health or the health of our loved ones when we didn’t use to care where our food came from.
Some of us have gotten severely ill from the lack of awareness about the local food supply we are getting. Reading food labels is the only way to find out how much preservative, and other laboratory derived ingredients are in our food. Much of these ingredients cannot be processed by people with sensitive systems and may cause moderate to severe allergic reactions.
The fact that there is now a label created for folks who are reading food labels, nutritional facts, and minimizing factory food in their lives just creates another box to put people in. Another box we don’t really need or do we?
Are we eating healthy so that we can enjoy a good life or are we showing symptoms of Orthorexia?
There are diseases that can be controlled and kept at bay when we watch what we eat. It is a matter of finding what foods are good to you, what aren’t, and sticking to it. Once you find a sweet spot, nourish that relationship between yourself and food.
It’s not easy to make good food choices and eat healthy in this culture. Luckily for us, our built-in body intelligence knows when have eaten something that we shouldn’t. With awareness, time, and practice, we learn to understand this intelligence. Eating and doing good by our bodies are habits that drastically improve our quality of life.
On occasion, I indulge in something I know that contains one of my allergy triggers like red wine. Food additives that trigger my allergies which can cause body inflammation and my skin to break out are: sulfites, tartrazine, benzoates, grains, sugar, and other processed foods with preservatives. These are the ones that I know of so far that cause suffering and stress to my body.
Dealing with suffering takes away so much of our good energy. I remember being at the peak of feeling unwell (inflamed skin, abdominal pain, leg cramping, low energy, frequent migraines, and insomnia all at once) I felt powerless, I just kept asking how much more of this I can handle. All I know in that moment is that if I go see a doctor, they will put me on a medication that can potentially destroy my organs and affect my fertility over time. My health is not an option I can risk or gamble.
The reason why I got into elimination diet is that I needed to be done with my physical and internal suffering so that I can focus my energy on my passion and my essential task (my family and my work). I had every reason to believe that I can gain control of what’s happening to me.
One of the first things I had to remove were all highly processed packaged foods. If it comes in a box or a bag, I’d avoid it. I got into reading ingredients list on everything that I am buying. I stopped shopping at places that sell foods that are unfriendly to my body. If a store is not transparent on where they are sourcing their food from, we don’t go there. A year later, I followed it by detoxing from cannabis (both THC and CBD). Then I developed an exercise routine that can easily be done at home. I was surprised to find out how much it made me feel better and more connected to my body. I am reminded of how sacred life is. Now I have the energy and the will to focus on what matters most in my life (my marriage, our beautiful dogs,projects and little things that gives me happiness :)😘)
What I would hear from my community when I tell them that I cannot eat from certain food group was, “oh how sad you have to give it up, it’s so delicious,” or “that’s so crazy” or “oh that’s great, but are you actually happy?” Insome ways, elimination diet may appear or sound extreme. But the results that we get when we eat only the food that’s good for us is priceless.
We all have different body types, blood types, and allergy triggers. That’s why I recommend elimination diet by personalizing your journey. It’s easy to follow health gurus and popular diets. It’s hard when there’s something in that box that doesn’t suit us and we only get frustrated and give up hope.
What we mostly do in our home is a hybrid of Ketogenic and Paleo Diet. I mention these two diets because it is easy to find recipes online and modify them if there is something in the ingredients list that you are allergic to. The foods in these categories have eliminated highly processed foods + bad oils and is a good start if you want to learn what whole foods are.
This article by Mark Sisson from 2012 helped a lot when I was beginning this journey, he has a good list of what to avoid when learning to eat clean and only shopping for what is good :click here to read it
When doing elimination diet, it is important to:
Pay attention to the way your body feels after having a meal. If you suspect something on the food triggers negative impact, write it down. You will need to test it again in two ways: both in its isolated form and combined (mixed with other foods) form.
Make notes to remember what foods trigger your allergies. This is only until you remember what to avoid.
Read labels when food shopping (pay special attention to ingredients). Do not shop in a hurry. Allergen triggers can hide in those bottles of condiments that are sold in the market.
Choose organic produce when you can. It’s better to know that somehow the food you are buying passed certain standards (organically grown fruits and vegetables still has pesticides but it is grown with limited application and the pesticides used are derived from organic matter instead of harmful chemicals that not only poison us, it also poisons the environment).
Buy meat and dairy (if you tolerate it) that are not treated with antibiotics. Although the labels will claim that there is no proof that this impacts us, the consumers, do we really want this stuff in our bodies when our goal is to kick what doesn’t serve us?
Get into meal preps and DIY snacks of only stuff that you know that’s good for you. The internet is filled with amazing resources. Find your favorite food blogger who is on a similar path.
Prepare and eat meals at home as much as you can. This way, you have full control of what’s in your food. Most restaurants will cook with bad oils / fats to cut cost. Our brain is made of fat and needs good fat to power through life. So learn to use and cook with good fats.
The hard work is only in the beginning. This is a path that will have long term positive results that will improve our quality of life. Know that there are others from all around the world that’s doing this journey. This is the truth that I keep reminding myself as I go along. I am not alone.
To the best of my understanding and experience, “showing up” is our ability to grant our passion and accountabilities our full presence. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our physical bodies need to arrive somewhere. Showing up pulls from our capacity and willingness to focus our attention where it is needed (either by something or someone).
Showing up is key to achieving success in our lives. It is a vital part of our creative process because that is when the REAL work gets done.
When we show up to our life and to our immediate environment, the things that need our attention and support gets taken care of. When we show up for the people in our community, not only does it strengthen our relationship, we also learn a lot from each other in the process of showing up for one another. These interactions that happen in our immediate environment has the most impact on our personal evolution and therefore are the ones that we need to pay attention to.
Showing up is an expression of love, both to ourselves and to our community. We may have friends and family that are not affectionate, or expressive of their feelings, but are always there showing up for us when we have a crisis or we just want to catch up.
The people in our lives are here for the reason that we chose them to stay in ours too. To keep the connection alive, we simply must show up.
We each have our own way of expressing ourselves, our love, our gratitude, irritations, anger, and all of our other human qualities that don’t necessarily define who we are. These are very short-lived feelings. What matters in showing up is that we are willing to do the work that is involved and we are willing to work through it, even on days we don’t feel like it.
This may be coming from a self-ISH place:there is a very satisfactory feeling that occurs in our inner self when we show up to our commitments.A part of what can keep us happy is when we feel that we have accomplished something, whether we are in the prepping stages of a project, or at congratulatory stage for the completion of it’s life cycle.
When we have a lot of things going on, the best we can do is keep track of our commitments and show up for it.
How to create a healthy environment for ourselves so we can keep showing up:
Self-care. Eat well and get the amount of rest that your body needs. We function better when our personal needs are taken care of. Make sure to create a ritual for yourself that will allow you to feel how special you are. Whether it is working out, a long bath, a cup of wellness beverage, sitting down doing absolutely nothing, a drive in the forest, a good read, …whatever floats your boat. That ME TIME is a must. When we show up to ourselves and our own needs, we can be sure that we can handle everything else that needs our brilliant presence.
Create a good routine. (a.k.a setting yourself up for success) It’s all about the flow. Good time management is helpful when have a lot going on in our daily grind. So setting a time for the tasks that we need to show up for can help manage the stress that comes within the territory of being accountable. I start the day with a shower followed by a good hearty meal before my many things. If I have an appointment, I create reminders on my phone that alerts me three days before (in case there’s prep work that needs to be done), again the day before, and another one two hours before. For my daily tasks, I like to keep it old school with a notebook with an itemized list of what needs to be done that day, followed by other things / interests outside of work that I like to do that day a.k.a, play. Before I end my work, I try to make another list for the next day’s important tasks. This helps me get a better rest at night.
Pay no mind to procrastinating. It is a distraction to the real entity (a.k.a the brilliant, YOU) that shows up and does the real work.
Make time for your passion. The things we are passionate about are what makes us happy, so it’s important to make time to show up to your passion. This is us feeding our soul. This is the kind of happiness that affects us on a cellular level which is really great for our health. I notice how much happier I feel when I make time to get into things I am interested in.
Show up for the people you love. In this day and age it is impossible not to be able to reach out to our friends and family no matter the distance. The Internet has just made our world a much smaller place and there are so many tools we can use to let the people we care about know we are here for them.