Category Archives: sometimes food

Been Gluten-ed? Helping Your Body Recover From Food Abuse

The amount of allergies people are uncovering are increasing by the day. As I move into my early thirties, I can name at least 20-30% of my close friends with newly discovered intolerances  as of their late twenties onwards. Our bodies are changing, we’re realising more about our tolerances while how food is being treated and produced is dropping in standard. This means that our bodies can either cut those culprit foods out altogether or suffer the consequences.

In my house, between my boyfriend and I, we are mostly dairy-free and gluten-free. We use almond milk, dairy free spreads and the likes of Kelkin breads and snacks. It works really well until we get a little lazy…

Popping into town in a super tired mood, I start throwing back the coffee. “Three shots please” is my exhausted and lazy response to the barista as I part with over 4 euros for that taste of naughty heaven. Once I’ve broken the caffeine ban I’ve put on myself, I start to think “those donuts look mighty nice” as I ask the sweet lady at Rolling Donut to get me a three pack so I can share with some colleagues. Fast forward to the late afternoon and I’m experiencing cramps with intermittent periods of bathroom breaks. Itching starts on my skin with blotches of redness over-shadowed only by my regret at having been such an eejit. All of this follows with Phil reminding me that I am of course, an eejit for putting that upon myself.

I’d like to say this has happened only once but that would be a blatant lie. I’ve had this experience a few times and I fear that it could happen again some other time. What I can count on is my self-control, self-awareness and of course, the feeling of a full belly of gluten-free snacks.

Perhaps it’s happened to you? If so, there are ways of making it better faster.

*Drink LOTS of water. Flush out that system, clear it of that poison that’s traveling through your body and wash it away.

*Do some meditation or have a hot bath – relax! If suffering from the likes of IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) or as mentioned above, you’ve had your tummy attacked by those harsh foods, then chilling out can help. I suffered with major pains earlier this year and did ten minutes of meditation a day to help it. The meditation relaxes your body which relaxes your stomach and oesophageal region therefore allowing food to pass more easily – the same applies to a relaxing hot bath (if you find them relaxing).

*Eat simple foods. Raspberries are rich in fibre and will help your stomach. Moreover, fruits in general (with their skin) are going to help to pass the culprits. Hot water and lemon, herbal teas and vegetables in general are a great choice too.

*If there have been a number of possible slips that have impacted your body, that’s fair enough. In order to avoid the same pain the next time, keep a habit journal. Jot down what you’ve eaten, how you’re feeling and most importantly, your SUCCESSES! When things go super well with your diet, what happens? Celebrate what works and allow that positive reinforcement to spur you on to keep going on the healthy path you’re carving out for yourself.

We all have our slips, it’s about how we bounce back and learn from it.

*These are tips based on my own intolerances and experiences having ruled out Coeliac disease by a medical professional. If you are concerned about any particular reactions to food, I recommend visiting your GP.

Quitting Sugar: Four Days In With Achy Legs

Waking up in the middle of the night, all I could focus on were the severe pains in my muscles. I straightened out my legs as much as I could so that I could try to relieve it and get some sleep. Turning to my boyfriend at four in the morning, I tried to come up with what it might be. Shin splints? Well no, I had’t been to the gym in a few days. Dehydration? Maybe. But well, I never really drank that much water anyway.

Then, alarm bells started to ring.

The next morning, I searched for the withdrawals symptoms of processed sugar on my phone. There it was as clear as day “muscle aches” are a common effect. This is the result of your body reacting to the change in diet. For me personally, it was a massive change when I took a close look at the amount of sugar in at least 40% of what I was consuming.

Four full days of no sugar and other feelings included headaches, flu-like symptoms and moodiness. When co-insided with a change in overall consumption (including milky large coffees for me), I had the urge to eat loads. As a food lover, I do intake large meals anyway. So, multiply a normal diet by two and you’ve got what I have been eating. Surprisingly, in spite of the massive intake of food, I’ve lost weight. In less than a week, my stomach feels flatter and I feel lighter in general.

They say that when it comes to your body and keeping it a healthy weight, it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise. This has certainly proven true for me and without even stepping on a scales.

When it comes to cutting out anything, it’s best to do it in a sane and healthy way. Snacking on sweet bars with the likes of dates has worked well. Naked do a range that can be reasonably priced (depending on where you go) and they go nicely with a cup of tea. Be mindful that these do contain a bit of sugar (Read here). Other options include having some fruit and getting that fructose kick or alternatively, having a cheat day. Give yourself a reward but remember that once you’ve had it, getting back on track is imperative. I have a Milka bar in my fridge which I’ve sad I can have next week after I’ve gone ten days without sugar. I don’t see it as falling off the wagon but rather, admitting I want a little cheat and then getting back to it again.

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The most important point to note is that your mind will tell you to have some sugar. It does after all love you and wants to see you happy (which chocolate can do). Don’t be fooled though. Write yourself notes, keep chocolate out of reach and communicate with those around you when it comes to your journey so they can support you.

Keep posted in the coming days for further developments.

Sugar, Caffeine And Gluten; Oh my! Detox Time.

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I’m doing ‘no sugar November” , a friend said as I visited her earlier this week. Apparently, for the fact that December is likely to become a sugar-fest for most, cutting it out in the month of November is a smart move. It will allow your body to have a break and get all that processed (but tasty) nonsense out of the body. I wrote about the foods that affect your mental health, including sugar earlier last year (post here), so I’m well aware of its impact on the body and mind.

After clearing a bottle of vino, eating all the gluten-y cake I could find and consuming coffee in order to prop me back up after all the sluggishness, I reflected on the whole situation. My skin had been going crazy for a while, I felt tired in spite of getting at least 8 hours sleep per night and as for my bank balance? Well, we won’t discuss that.

Considering the cost of hot water and lemon versus a cappuccino and the sustenance of a toblerone versus a banana, I said I’d take a few days rest from that which I felt was affecting me so greatly. No caffeine meant closing my eyes through most of Dublin city centre which is so overtaken by coffee shops and suffering the perceived tiredness on the way to work. Preparing all my lunches in advance so there was no temptation to cheat with snacks has gotten to the point where my fridge is a lunchbox factory and well, my withdrawals feel like I’m coming off some heavy drug which is the main reason why I continue to be good for at least two more days.

So, what’s the point? They say life is short and you should do what makes you happy. Moreover, those people that tend to live well into old age seem to enjoy some niceties for themselves pretty often and in fact, vouch for this fact in those awkward online interviews. Treats are great but actually, there are many reasons for making small changes to your diet and lifestyle.

For me the main one is to remind myself that I can do it. There is no need to depend on any specific foods, substances or stimulants. In fact, I read recently that the impact sugar can have on your mind has been seen to be as addictive (if not more) than cocaine. This is a scary thought to think and enough to keep the end in mind.

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Developing better health in general means taking a long hard look at diet. If we consume junk then we’re going to feel like junk. It’s undeniable that sugar and sweets affect our outsides as I’m sure we are aware of the impact on our skin when we’ve been eating lots of rubbish food. Of course, it has a huge impact on our insides. As we can’t always get a good look inside, it’s best to presume that we feed it the best we can anyway.

Feeling like some new healthy habits? Whether it’s short-term or otherwise, here’s what’s worked for me.

*Keeping a diary. I’ve got a habit diary so when I am working on making a change, I write in it. Currently I’m working on two separate goals – cutting down on sugar and caffeine. Each day, I write my goals down and before I go to bed, I jot down what I’ve done well and what I’d like to improve on. This keeps the end in mind and reminds myself why I’m doing it.

*Getting prepared when it comes to food is the key to staying on track. In my case, avoiding sugar means I’m extra hungry. When I’d usually snack on chocolate, I need to have some other satisfying snacks nearby. Moreover, packing decent and healthy lunches means I fill myself up for my three meals and can work through those cravings. Know your plan and you’ve got a higher chance of success.

*Celebrate your good habits! I’ve made a deal with myself, that if I go without sugar and caffeine until Wednesday then I can have a decaf coffee or a Chai latte. It’s super motivating for me personally to have that kind of reward in place. Be sure to put something in place that will entice you. For some, it’s the pleasure of saying you’ve achieved it which is fantastic. For others (like me), it’s nice to know a treat is waiting at the other end.

Keep posted on my social media and blog for updates of healthy habits over the coming weeks.