Small Dietary Changes Can Make a Big Difference
A few months ago, I enrolled in two online courses: a naturopath nutritional course and a master herbalist course. I hoped to gain knowledge about living a more holistic lifestyle. I’ve always believed that adopting a more healthy lifestyle can provide long-lasting benefits for anyone living with chronic health issues.
I’ve managed to eat a balanced and healthy diet since I was in my late teens or early 20s. My aunt used to call me “salad boy” because I would get a huge salad every time we went out to dinner or get most of my meal from the salad bar. I love all vegetables.
I made various changes to how I ate over the years as I learned more about food. My children adopted many of my dietary habits. There’s nothing worse than getting and staying sick, especially if food can help alleviate some of the problems associated with chronic illness.
‘Tis the season
As healthy as my diet is, I occasionally give in to things that I usually enjoy in moderation. I also give in to things that I should avoid altogether. For example, I’m a big ice cream person. I have to eat a bowl or two before bedtime. I rationalize my guilty pleasure by telling my wife and kids that it helps me sleep better. They know I’m making excuses and laugh about it. Their laughter is priceless.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to one of the warehouse clubs to do some shopping. In a moment of weakness, my primitive self convinced my logical self to purchase a pre-sliced marble and banana nut cake. I convinced myself that the cake would be better than ice cream, so I bought it.
Over the next few days, I happily indulged in a slice of cake for breakfast with almond milk or tea. I also had a slice before bedtime with a glass of almond milk. It took a few days for me to realize that my body was unaccustomed to that amount of sugar and other highly processed ingredients. I could feel my body declining and growing lethargic.
When you have pulmonary sarcoidosis, you become in tune with your breathing and breathing patterns. I noticed that my breathing was becoming labored. Additionally, all of the processed sugar was disrupting my sleep pattern. I also wasn’t taking into consideration the other kinds of sugars that I may have been consuming throughout the day.
I told my wife to take the remaining slices of cake to work and give them to her co-workers. I failed the test but learned the lesson.
Eat the rainbow
During the holidays, everyone will more than likely fall off the health wagon. But as the saying goes, everything in moderation. This time of year, I usually treat myself to cognac and beer. This year, however, I think I’ll change things up and go with wines for their health benefits.
My wife and I have already discussed our holiday menus. We agreed on making some changes to get all of us back on the right track. Following are some things to consider when it comes to healthy eating during the holidays:
- Phytonutrients: Plants contain plenty of natural chemicals called phytochemicals, which aid in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Foods that contain phytonutrients include fruits, vegetables, teas, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. The more colorful they are, the better.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants may prevent or delay certain types of cell damage. Not getting enough antioxidants can cause “oxidative stress,” which can result in cell damage.
- Superfoods: Superfoods are nutritionally dense and good for your health. Superfoods are rich in antioxidants and include blueberries, salmon, kale, acai, and many other foods that are full of vitamins.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of spring water, as opposed to purified water, and remember to get some exercise.
I’ve made some significant changes to my diet that I believe have helped me overcome some of my health issues. I believe that sharing this information can help others. Changing your eating habits isn’t as bad as it may seem. It’s fun once you start feeling better, both physically and mentally, so why not give it a try?
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.