(The above photo is an actual picture that I took while visiting Mercato Centrale Firenze, a fresh market in Florence.)
European vs. American Lifestyle
While visiting Italy during a recent family vacation, I noticed that the majority of Europeans seemed healthier and happier than most Americans.
Aside from some basic lifestyle and cultural differences, I believe that the way we eat here in America is physically making us sick and tired!
Just a small glance at the eating habits of most Europeans, you will notice an over appreciation of each morsel of food rather than an over abundance of food.
Most towns in Europe have weekly or daily street markets where you may purchase locally produced fresh food. Also, their supermarkets aren’t usually so super. They seem to have less food options and are rarely packed with customers as compared to American supermarkets.
Moderation is Key
As you may have read in my previous blog, Diet Is Not A Bad Word, I briefly discuss the topic of quality vs. quantity. Now, I’m not saying don’t ever have treats like chocolate.
But, what I’ve noticed about Europeans like my French mother is that they generally eat foods in moderation. My mom enjoys a pastry every now and then but not on a daily basis because she knows that if she did that, she would not feel well.
Which is exactly where I’m going with this blog….how you feel is key to knowing which foods cause inflammation in your body. If you really aren’t sure, please be advised to see your physician, naturopath, allergy specialist or book your appointment with me as your holistic nutritionist. (Click Here to Book Your Session)
During our session, we will discuss and decide together which strategies to take to significantly improve the way that you feel.
Depending on the type of food, your gender, age and metabolism, food may take anywhere from a half hour up to 12 hours to metabolize in your body. Inflammation in the body can be seen or felt anytime within that time frame or even longer.
Symptoms and Causes of Inflammation
Signs or symptoms of Inflammation include:
Allergic reactions likes hives, blisters
Rashes or itchy skin
Scratchy throat or small bumps in throat
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhea or constipation
Or any other types of indigestion
Difficulty breathing or even asthma
High blood pressure
These signs or symptoms can come on all of a sudden even without a drastic routine in your regular eating habits. This may be caused by a weakened immune system.
We put our immune systems under warfare by stress, antibiotics, chemicals and also by long-term bad food combining.
There’s a great book that I read once called Food Combining & Digestion by Steve Meyerowitz. It gave me an amazing insight into the reasons why I might suffer from indigestion from time to time. There are also easy-to-follow food combining charts that you may google or take a glance at on Pinterest.
If food combining is too strict or difficult for you to follow, I suggest using some natural digestive aids which for me are three tiered.
3) Herbal support
Probiotics are healthy, good bacteria that help to repair your intestinal tract. They also help to rebuild your healthy flora so that you may avoid any type of bad bacteria or unwanted foods that may pass through.
I always tell people that if you take probiotics with food they will help you to digest your food…BUT….if you take them on an empty stomach they will go a step further by restoring your intestinal wall, allowing it to be more protected against those unwanted toxins.
One of the biggest issues with gluten intolerance is due to the damage done to our intestinal tract from the glyphosates in our foods. Probiotics taken in larger amounts on a regular basis, may repair this damage. (To learn a bit more about GMO’s, PLEASE READ my blog: Organic Farming.
Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring in raw foods but are generally void in cooked, processed foods. To help support a typical american diet, I believe it’s important to use enzymes on an almost regular basis so that you may properly digest your foods and to get the most nutrients out of your foods. Ideally, you will want to transition to a plant based diet for optimal health.
Enzymes will also aid your body in assimilating needed vitamins and minerals. They may also help break down any possible allergens including candida (yeast i.e. bad bacteria).
Lastly, herbal support may include things like ginger which naturally contains enzymes and helps to reduce nausea. Peppermint oil helps with expelling flatulence and calms an overactive stomach.
There are also herbs or plant extracts that help to cleanse the body by increasing elimination like aloe vera juice or triphala, which I mentioned in Ayurveda Part 1.
But, even if we use any or all of these digestive aids when dealing with our stomach woes, we can’t completely protect our bodies from foods that cause inflammation.
Switching from Crappy to Happy
The most common food allergies are dairy, nuts, shellfish, eggs (unless they are hard-boiled) non-gmo soy, meat and gluten.
Also, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry, “A Western diet of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products and beer was associated with higher odds for major depression and anxiety disorders.”
So…what can we do about this!?!? Learn to listen to your body and what it is telling you about what you are eating. This life of yours is meant to be enjoyable so why not feed your body feel-good food with long-term health benefits.
With the help of the occasional digestive aid and proper food combining, start switching out foods that make you feel crappy.
Healthier Options (that also taste good!)
Then begin adding in some foods that help promote optimal health for your body and your mind including:
Fresh Fruits & Veggies
Healthy Fats (Avocado, Coconut, Flax)
Nuts & Seeds (Walnuts, Pumpkin seeds)
Superfoods (Acai, Spirulina, Blue Green Algae)
Spices (Ginger, Turmeric, Cayenne)
Herbs (Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme)
Fermented Foods (Raw Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Kvass)
Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (in minimal moderation – great source of Trace Minerals)
Medicinal Mushrooms (Please read Medicinal Mushrooms)
Non-Gluten Grains (Quinoa)
Beans (Read 6 Healthiest Beans You Can Eat)
Oh yeah and lots of water!!! (Don’t like water, try squeezing the juice of a lime, orange or other fruit to infuse and enhance it!)
Do you suffer from food allergies or pain associated with inflammation? Do you have a condition related to this topic that requires more guidance? If so, Click Here to Book Your Session!
Be well always!