The heat brought back some memories. How often do you experience these recollections of the past through your senses? I had mine some weeks ago and it made me experience a vivid memory of an event that took place 11 years ago. 11 years!
It was in the middle of June, a very hot Berlin summer, when I experienced for the first time in my life a cold sensation in some of my extremities. My hands and feet suddenly went numb and I could feel a shivering cold invading my body to the point where I lost all sense of feeling. A very awkward sensation. On that exact day, I experienced the symptoms of an autoimmune disease called “Raynaud syndrome”. Instead of panicking, my first reaction was to seek guidance. I wanted to understand from a professional point of view, a specialist’s point of view, what could be happening to me internally. So, as soon as I arrived at my apartment that evening, I searched on Google for all the nearest rheumatologists in my neighborhood and made a list of the calls I had to make the next day.
At that point, I was only aware of the physical symptoms that come along with every disease we have, but I was clueless about what could be the root of my discomfort. And it was exactly that that I was trying to establish. Identifying the roots of the problem is key in guiding us on how to proceed in order to make our discomforts reversible. They are the key pieces of the puzzle that provide balance and enable us to see the big picture. They connect the whole and allow its energy to flow steadily and strongly. When you know the trigger(s), you control the situation, and you can move forward step by step, feeling the change, feeling yourself getting better, and leaving behind the uncertainty and fogginess of your state of health. In this way, you can concentrate on how to predetermine the steps you are going to take towards developing a close relationship with your body, and the space where you know what to offer it, when, and how much, without losing the reigns. But, how do you get to this point?
Determine your symptoms
Look closely and observe what is happening to you. Describe what you are feeling and experiencing. Write it down in the most detailed possible way. By doing that, you are putting into concrete words what you are going through.
Describe your daily meals
Food is a key factor in our state of health. Make a list of all the foods you eat in each meal and how you vary them during the week. Being conscious of what you give your body every day will guide you on what could be interfering with your health or triggering the symptoms. Don’t forget to include the types of beverages you drink too.
Before you come to conclusions, read a good number of sources, that is, if you want to give it a try by yourself before consulting a nutritionist. Nowadays, it is hard to distinguish which source is a serious, neutral, and reliable one. Tip: the ones that publish ALL the data, including age, gender, and state of health before, during and after the research are usually the ones worth reading and paying attention to.
Experiment with food
It’s overwhelming and ambiguous to go through all the data trying to establish what is happening to you concretely, especially if you do not know where to begin looking or what you are looking for. I’ve been there too. Therefore, after having read several sources and accumulated enough recommendations, begin with the easiest part: cut out the most “obvious” food group from your diet.
The procedure of cleaning the bod of any particular food element takes 2 to 3 weeks, more or less. The body needs between 5 to 21 days to expel the last residue of the food. After the initial period of time is over, nurture your body for 2 to 4 weeks without the chosen food group. During this time it is highly advisable to keep a food diary.
*If you decide to do this, please and please again experiment with one food group at a time. Do NOT cut out more than two from your diet, otherwise, you are going to have great difficulty establishing which one could be the trigger of your health issue.
Keep a food diary
When experimenting, keep a food diary to be able to write down how you react to change, what you notice, how you feel, if there is any improvement, etc. All this data will allow you to take the next step more confidently and to be the most objective when it comes to what to do next. Experimenting is not mainly about getting rid of the symptoms; it has more to do with getting to know your body and to establishing a very close relationship with it. It will give you the freedom in the future to offer your body whatever you want, knowing with more certainty what could be the outcome of each action.
Introduce food into your diet again
After you finish the period of cutting out the food group and leaving your body clean of it, re-introduce it into your diet. This would take place in week number 6 to 7, more or less. Keep on recording every reaction, feeling, change, etc. that you experience during this part of the process. All information is essential when establishing nutritional parameters that nourish us and provide us with what we need. It is also crucial when we want to determine the type of exceptions we will make with the food groups to which our body does not react very well.
Buy quality food
Choosing to eat organic and local produce is about eating foods without pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. It is also about supporting the local producer, being environmental, and eating seasonally, and the best thing of all is that these foods contain the highest amounts of vitamins, minerals, and freshness of all. These kinds of foods will allow you to detoxify your body, regulate its functions, and nurture you in the most desirable way.
Food is not the only root or trigger of your symptoms. If you live under a lot of stress or emotional pressure, this state can induce a constant weakness of the immune system and as a result, the body might begin to digest, absorb or metabolize nutrients incorrectly. The reason for that is that stressors greatly influence our gastrointestinal functionality and sleep stability.
On one hand, biological energy is based on the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) system. When we do not eat natural and wholesome nutrients, the bioavailability is either going to waste or it is going to alter. Having constant and high levels of stress means ATP levels drop, inhibiting the proper usage of this energy currency and, therefore, many cellular processes are directly affected. On the other hand, the production of hormonal and enzymatic functions can be altered by the constant flow of cortisol in our body. This can lead to an increase of hepatic glycogenesis, suppression of protein synthesis, and it also has an anti-insulin action in peripheral tissues, thus providing the energy needed for coping with prolonged, stressful circumstances.
The most serious health cost in its broadest sense is a lowered quality of life during sleep deprivation. Sleep loss results in chronic excessive fatigue and sleepiness, sagging motivation for work, and poor job performance leading to frustrations and conflicts with other workers.
Lack of physical activity can lead to the reduction of cell activity, altering and disturbing the performance and vital functions of the body, systems or organ functions, such as the brain, heart, lipid oxidation, carbohydrate oxidation, fibrinolysis, immune system, muscle strength, bone strength, aerobic fitness and work endurance.
When we have a physical symptom, one of the last sources we think could help us is food. We tend to think that food is the problem, but actually it is another symptom. The combination of lack of physical activity and sleep, high levels of stress, and poor dietary habits contribute to the development of diseases. All of these combined are the actual roots of our problems. Changes in our diet, in other words food, do contribute to an improvement because by taking out the kind of food our body cannot process right now for x or y reason, we are giving it time to recover and heal.
After the time period is over, and health has been regulated, most of the time we can re-introduce the food groups we ruled out to give the body space to gain the ability to function normally again.