feel your body, understand your food

Have you ever gotten up from the table and felt sluggish and stuffed, and perhaps even lethargic after a meal? Has it happened that you've eaten something and then felt your stomach acting up an hour or so later? On the other hand, have you noticed that certain foods energize you, that your stomach feels light after eating them, yet satisfied?   I always yearn for lots of greens, raw or sautéd, and my stomach feels light after I eat them. When I eat meat in larger quantities, on the other hand, my stomach feels heavy and full. My husband says that cheese and wheat clog him up.  

mediterranean diet

You can learn to tune in to your body and understand which foods are beneficial for your particular digestive system. Science wished there were a one-kind-fits-all diet.  But that is just not so. Nature is complex, and we are complex.Think of extreme diets like that of the Masaai in Africa (beef, blood, milk) or the Inuit diet that consists mostly of fish and other marine protein. These peoples' stomachs would rebel if prescribed the Mediterranean Diet.  Yet, the Mediterranean Diet has been touted as the world's healthiest. I like it very much, but I come from Northern Europe and rye bread, sauerkraut, and butter all work well for my system, too.   Or how about the raw food diet (just another craze, we do need a balanced mix of raw and cooked foods), or the Paleo Diet, which often has been misconstrued to contain lots of meat (hunter-gatherers ate little meat and only perennial plants since there was no agriculture yet, ergo no annual grains).  And let's not forget veganism (beware - especially in childhood and adolescence we need protein to develop the brain).

paleo diet

It helps to understand your ethnic heritage, which can be a bit of challenge in this country when your heritage is something exotic like Irish-Italian, or Japanese-Spanish. Our digestive systems tune into the plants and animals in our particular geographic area over hundreds and even thousands of years. They even claim that our digestive systems haven't yet fully adapted to the annual grains our agriculture of the past 10,000 years has brought forth.

So lean in to your body, tune in, learn to read your digestive system's signals, - good and bad -, and let them tell you a story of what works for you, what makes you feel good, what energizes you.