The winter of 2011, I became allergic to, well, just about everything.
Well, not everything, but it sure felt like it.
Foods I had eaten for years suddenly felt like poison to my body. My weekly
sushi meals suddenly became a death trap, my fave veggies were no longer an
option and I ended up in the emergency room with anaphylactic reactions 19 times
in three months.
Safe to say I became a little scared of food. Most people think food allergies are sort of a ‘since birth’ sorta deal (if they even think about food allergies at all), but you can actually become allergic to something at any time. My life? Exhibit A.
I went from a girl who
could basically eat everything on a buffet to subsisting on a diet of beans and
rice. I dropped ten pounds and watched as my hair began to thin and fall out in
small clumps. It wasn’t that I didn’t want
to eat, I was just afraid to.
I developed something that is medically referred to as Selective Eating Disorder, a disorder that falls between an eating disorder and just being a picky eater. Finally, after a stint in the hospital, a halted period and blood tests that showed how severely I was lacking vitamins, I realized I had a problem and needed to change my ways.
Slowly but surely, I added
foods to my diet, with one exception: every ingredient listed on the package I
had to be able to find in a pure form in my kitchen. I made this rule for
myself so I could easily keep track of the ingredients and ease myself in to
foods once again.
In other words, I began ‘eating clean’, a term that basically means eating the purest, healthiest versions of foods you can. I limited processed foods (especially those produced in factories that use nuts, one of my many allergies). I started drinking fruit juices that only had the fruits listed as the ingredients (Naked O-J is probs one of my fave things in my fridge). I began purchasing organic and locally grown veggies and limited my wheat and gluten intake.
I soon found that my skin
and hair were both healthier. I had more energy. And I wasn’t afraid of what
would happen to me if I ate something because each ingredient on the package
was something I could identify and (most of the time, at least) pronounce. I know exactly what I’m
putting in my body. That’s a big deal!
Eating ‘clean’ has changed my life, one frozen grape for a sweet snack at a time (seriously, try them, they’re so good). Although studies have shown the benefits of eating purer, unprocessed foods, it wasn’t really a believer until I could feel the benefits and changes in my lifestyle.
My ‘clean’ food has given
me a clean slate, a fresh outlook on life and a happier tummy.
Clean eating may not be
for everyone, and that’s ok! Maybe try it out, ease yourself in to it, or just
simply substitute some foods for healthier options.
I mean I even have my
moments when I just need dirty food—well, not dirty, but whatever the food is, it’s certainly not clean. Like,
Oreos? I mean, how can you say no to Oreos? And I don’t question what’s in
McNuggets because I just really love them on a long road trip. But all in all,
the whole pure food thing has worked out pretty well.
While the expression goes “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you suddenly have it: turns out what I was missing was thick hair, better skin and more energy. Maybe you’re missing out, too.
BY KATE RADIN ON 7/14/2014 12:00:00 AM
POSTED IN eating, health, nutrition