You know that old adage "trust your gut"? Turns out, there is a whole lot of truth to it. But sometimes it can just be nearly impossible to listen up and pay attention to your belly. In a world of ever increasingly processed foods, fake scam fit teas, and quick fix diets, it can be hard to weed out what is healthy for you and your body as a whole.
I spent most of my formative years being highly active. I was a little human pin ball bouncing around from kung fu classes to soccer practice to dance lessons. For me, food was just fuel. With the exception of the one night a week my folks made me cook for our family, I didn't think much about the things I was putting in body so long as it kept me full.
My relationship with food went solidly sideways my senior year of high school when I developed bulimia. Looking back, my eating disorder was the result of multiple factors, the primary of which was struggling to find control in my life during my tumultuous transition into adulthood. There was definitely a struggle with body image that also contributed to my bout with bulimia. Being surrounded by ballet bodies day in and day out definitely had an impact with me as my own physical form took on a more curved shape after puberty.
Moving to an entirely plant based diet taught me a ton about cooking and really changed my perspective on food as a whole. I loved the experiment of going vegan, and the impact it had on my palette and the food I cooked, but ultimately I really enjoy eating meat and fish and eggs. I slowly began integrating these things back in my diet but kept having as much veggies as possible.
As I began reintegrating these things, I realized the one thing could absolutely do without was diary. I've never been a big milk and cheese fan, and during my vegan experiment I discovered that I loved dairy free alternatives, like almond milk and vegan butter spreads. I didn't miss dairy one bit, and what's more, I noticed that for the first time in years, my persistent skin issues had started to clear up. I realized, once again, my body had been trying to tell me something, it was just time to start listening more. It was then that I decided to ditch dairy for good, and I haven't regretted it once.
These days, I'm still a no gluten/no dairy kind of gal. I occasionally cheat on this diet due to limited options or for a cupcake I can't resist. However, when I stray for more than a day or two, I notice the impact almost immediately, particularly in my gut. The discomfort alone makes me eager to get back on track. I try to focus on meals that are at least 50% or more plant based and look to lean meats and eggs for protein. Quinoa, gluten free oats, and gluten free granola are my go to for grains, and I still eat goat cheese on occasion because it is easy to digest and totally delicious.