Sounds like those really, really annoying and misleading Facebook ads doesn’t it? I have clicked on them a few times out of curiosity and they took me to a “news” page with an “article” about how this person and that person lost 40 lbs in one month using the magical new supplement they found in some mythical jungle. Ya. Right.
But here’s a real transformation. I lost 3 inches off my waist in just under 18 hours. Seriously! Here’s the photo evidence:
Impressive, no? Want to know my secret? It’s so incredibly simple. I stopped eating food that was causing a bloating reaction in my body. That’s it. Stop eating food your body doesn’t like.
Now in my case, it was not just simple, it was also easy, because the food my body doesn’t like is chick peas. It may be a few more things as well, and I’m working on figuring that out. But definitely chickpeas. It turns out cutting chickpeas out of my diet really isn’t that hard. Does anyone really ever crave chickpeas?
The interesting thing for me (actually there are many; one of them), is that for the past couple of months, I had been trying to eat more healthfully, while also eating a more vegetarian diet. I know some people will read this and say “there! proof that vegetarian is not healthy.” I will politely raise my eyebrow and shake my head at that reaction, but won’t dwell on it. But I will acknowledge, that it looks like a vegetarian diet may not be in the cards for me.
Unless I want to look like the picture on the left. And feel like it. I don’t care to go into too much detail, but let’s just say, you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be in the same room as me after I ate the chickpea curry.
As I look back on previous experiments with vegetarian eating, and the reason I experimented with it in the first place (my body wasn’t happy when I ate a lot of beef), my suspicion is that this isn’t the only legume that doesn’t agree with me. In fact I’m now recording what I eat for the next few weeks, but instead of focusing on calories and macros (carbs, protein, fat), I’m focusing on how I feel after I eat. I want to know what foods make me feel bloated, or gassy, or tired, and I will take them out of my diet.
Let’s face it – life has enough challenges, that I don’t need to add to that list. Food is supposed to be a wonderful thing. It is fuel, but it’s more than that. It provides pleasure, both in flavour, and in the social environment we create around meals. What a horrible feeling when that delicious and fun-filled meal turns us into bathroom-dwellers for the rest of the day. But there’s more. I keep thinking “if one meal can make my stomach balloon up like that, what else is it doing to my body?” Let’s face it, that’s a pretty spectacular reaction to one meal. But is digestion the only aspect of my body that’s affected? What if that inflammatory response is also affecting the rest of our body? Imagine how great we would feel if we took the offensive food away?
As I noted above, for me, at least based on what I know so far, removing the offensive food is both simple and easy. It’s chickpeas. Yes, I like hummus. Heck, I even liked the chickpea curry. But I don’t love it. I can drop it without thinking twice. I think black beans will be tougher, and I have a sneaky suspicion that both beef and onions are also a problem for me, although I’ll continue my journal to find out for sure. If I had to give all of those items up, I wouldn’t be too disappointed.
For many people, the foods that will be inflammatory are going to include dairy and wheat. And that’s where the solution is simple but not easy. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese? But consider what you’re putting your body through. Is cheese worth spending that much time in the bathroom and feeling self-conscious about the crop-dusting you’re forced to do? I’m not sure even cheese is worth it.
If you find that you feel bloated, gassy, or tired after eating, think about keeping a food journal for a few weeks. Write in all the ingredients, because you never know what it’s going to be. Most importantly, write in how you felt in the 1 to 3 hours after. Look for patterns. I suspect for most people, it will be pretty obvious. The key is to actually write it down instead of just trying to remember. Maybe this is the science geek within me talking, but nothing provides clarity more than having the data staring up at you from the page.
If it seems complicated and difficult to figure out, consider seeing a Naturopath for help.
Is this hitting close to home for anyone?
Elsbeth Vaino is a personal trainer in Ottawa who feels a need to keep food intolerance in check for the sake of the clients who need her to spot their bench press.