There’s a fine line between eating the right foods and eating healthy foods. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, meat-lover, or like to follow any other type of diet, it’s important to eat the right foods rather than eating things dubbed as “healthy food.” Speaking from experience, I’ve been a sufferer of digestive issues since I was in 8th grade. Having been to doctors countless times, undergone testing, and trying elimination diets, I found it hard to narrow down what really throws my body off. And now, even knowing some foods that cause my discomfort, it’s hard to constantly stay away from these foods having grown up eating them.
Prior to becoming a vegetarian, I was under the impression that not eating meat would make me healthier and more fit. I was quite mistaken. The first week of being a vegetarian I cut out coffee, chocolate, and meat; all cold turkey. Lets just say I was a less than pleasant person that first week. Then came the binge of pizza, pastas, veggies, and all potato foods since I didn’t plan ahead. For about 7 months I lived off that because, at the time, I believed those were the “right foods” for a vegetarian to eat. Of course, I was dead-wrong. Not only was I gaining weight from all the excess carbs I was not nourishing my body with what it really needed. I then started experiencing a severe increase in the stomach issues I had already been dealing with for years So, I went to see some doctors who said they had no idea what the issue was and as I waited months to be seen by specialists I started taking matters into my own hands. First, came the diary-free diet which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Working 8 hours a day, with a 45 minute break, and an almost two-hour commute daily made it very hard to pack healthy foods. To my surprise, all the snack bars and most on-the-go foods had either wheat and some sort of dairy product in them or sometimes even both.
Luckily, I realized dairy was not my issue. So then I tried the elimination diet – eliminating all wheat out of my diet and trying gluten-free products. After eating several GF products I was feeling totally worse. I was getting weak-long non-stop stomach aches accompanied by chills and sweating. It was a nightmare. I then tried what I call healthy eating. I tried to eat salad and veggies most of the days, eliminating dressings and sugars from my diet. It was very hard but I was also very strict with it. I didn’t eat that much dairy and I stayed away from gluten most days. Now, still trying to navigate my body in the right direction, I’ve found an eating lifestyle that works a little better for me. My intake is salads, fruits, all different veggies, and light carbs. I try to avoid food that is hard on my digestive system such as breads, pastas, rice, corn-based food, heavily seasoned foods, foods heavily saturated with sugar, fried food, and Xanthum-Gum. Yes, Xanthum-Gum which is extremely hard to digest and found in most ice creams, veggie burgers, salad dressings, and breads.
When we think of healthy eating, at times we envision something that’s not fast food. However, things such as reduced fat salad dressing or fat-free potato chips are not “healthy.” At least not in excess. If you go to your local supermarket and read the back of a jar of anything you’ll be amazed at what is in it. Half the things you can’t even pronounce. Are these ingredients something you really want to put into your body? If I have to look up the definition of an ingredient it’s safe to say I shouldn’t be so willing to consume it.
Whether you suffer of stomach issues, want to eat better, want to lose weight, or keep something from your day to day diet, it’s important to read labels, do research on additives, put your body first, and figure out what eating the right foods means for you.
Jennifer Quaglio is an actress and writer, lover of animals and yoga, and vegetarian. She loves nature, the moon, and trying new recipes from Pinterest.