All I can think about right now is food. Fortunately my cravings are for healthy food. I have come to recognize which foods work for me and which don’t. I have learned how important it is to pay attention to my body, and that includes my gut and its connection to my brain.
Living with multiple sclerosis, a disease in which the body is constantly fighting itself and causing inflammation, has taught me to not add fuel to the fire but to work hard to extinguish it.
I was very serious and strict about this for the first year and a half of being newly diagnosed, to the point where I was absolutely no fun to take out to dinner and even cooking at home, which I have always enjoyed, came to be nothing but stress. Different food for each member of the family is a pain! In my studies with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition I learned that there’s a name for this, and it’s orthorexia, “a disorder characterized by a morbid obsession with eating healthy foods only.” I didn’t go quite that far, but
I knew I had to stop that obsession, and I want to help you to eat well without getting stuck in this unhealthy drama too.
I still pay attention to eating an organic and anti-inflammatory diet as much as possible, and I love a “big salad…with lots of stuff in it” (yes, like Elaine from Seinfeld). My amazing husband knows that a giant bowl of greens and colorful veggies calms my hungry anger in a hurry, which makes the whole family happier. It’s awesome when our son wants to dig in too, knowing how good it is for his growing body and mind.
I do my produce shopping off of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists created by the Environmental Working Group(EWG), and I recommend you do the same to eat safely, not giving your body anything else to fight. Use your food to heal, not hurt!
Anyway, I went from baking my own bread and being the dessert person of my family to a 98% or so gluten- and dairy-free diet. I’ve never eaten red meat in my life and stopped eating fowl as a teenager, but I do love a beautiful piece of salmon or several/many pieces of sushi. Gettin’ my omega-3 brain food!
To stop the disordered mindset, I decided that since I am not allergic to anything I’ll have special-occasion treats. Not cheats! I really dislike that term.
This is not a test we’re taking or a game we’re playing, these are the lives we’re living. Let’s enjoy them in the happiest, healthiest way we can! And have some fun while we’re at it. 😉
I’ll have a little bite of cake and ice cream (maybe even a once-a-year slice of veggie pizza) at a birthday party of a loved one, or if I’m out to dinner on a rare kid-free date with my hubby I won’t freak out about the crunchies or soy sauce on my sushi. It makes me so very happy, and I know it won’t kill me* so I will celebrate! That said, I do know how to avoid those “naughty” bites and choose the “nice” treats. I can help you do that too.
Thank goodness for Pinterest and the many other people in the world that eat like I do to stay healthy. I’ve found delicious versions of pretty much all the foods I love but don’t include the dairy or gluten, both of which are highly inflammatory foods, and we don’t want that! If you love to cook and can get creative, check it out. Because you gotta eat, right? Making it both good for you and tasty? That’s a win-win!
When I need something healthy to keep me going I’m a big fan of hummus with cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, or gluten-free crackers. I also like it as a topping for a veggie burger. It’s a delicious plant-powered snack or side to add some protein to a meatless meal. Here’s the recipe that I’ve been making that my whole family loves. It’s really quick and easy, and I think you’ll enjoy it too. Try to use as many organic ingredients as possible.
Super Simple Hummus
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ c. olive oil
- 1/2 c. water
- 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 T tahini (optional, but I like Trader Joe’s organic)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- Put all ingredients into your food processor and blend until you’ve reached the desired texture.
- Time for a taste test. If you’re happy with it, you’re done. Enjoy!
- If you’re not quite satisfied you can get creative. This is a basic recipe, so can be adjusted to your liking with more or less garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper or a squirt of sriracha for some heat, a little more or less lemon, roasted red bell peppers…it’s up to you!
- Store in an airtight container (or two if you’re willing to share with a friend) in the fridge. I like to use the short, wide-mouth, pint-size mason jars for easy filling/dipping/scooping.
That’s not too hard, right? Making a few changes or additions to your diet can do wonders in improving the way you feel, both physically and mentally. Adding more organic veggies and fruit and plenty of water while ditching the junk can lead to a happy gut and a happy brain. It’s all connected!
So tell me, what do you crave? What food takes you from hangry to happy?
Let me know in the comments below. If you’re feeling like you could use some guidance in making appropriate food choices to help put out the fire, sign up for a FREE consultation and we’ll get to work.
Let’s get you well!
*If you have allergies or are unsure about what could be setting off your MS symptoms, see about getting tested before continuing with the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) way of eating. You can also work with me on an elimination diet to sort it all out!