We all want to be able to play with our pets, friends, kids or grandkids, right? In this article, I’m going to share with you three of the most powerful hacks that I’ve learned over the years to transform your health and your life.
Hack #1: The Power of Journaling
You’ve all heard the cliché “you are what you eat,” and in some ways it’s true! Here is a short example…A farmer sprinkled paprika on his chickens’ feed, and the yolks came out red. This was not a problem for the farm-to-table chef; in fact, they did it on purpose. But it clearly demonstrates how frequently and grossly we overlook the impact our diets (often highly processed) have on our health since the effects may sometimes be less obvious.
It is for this reason I have kept two types of food journals. One is a retrospective journal, meaning a record of adverse reactions or symptoms to something I ate. Usually the cause ended up being a poor food choice, but sometimes it was what I thought was a good choice at the time. Symptoms, such as increased fatigue or sluggishness, typically occurred up to 24 hours later, maybe a bit longer. Other times it could be a matter of months before an intolerance was noticed.
Tip: This type of journaling I did by sending a quick email to myself that I could easily reference later. It helped me to make better decisions the next time about what to eat.
The second type of journal is a proactive journal, inspired by The Wahl’s Protocol, which you can find in bookstores. Here I logged systematically what I ate every day and went in-depth on how I felt each day, quickly noticing higher levels of positive changes and more easily picking out the negative reactions to certain foods. This could include physical manifestations, mental clarity, or even moods and cravings. This was majorly helpful in reducing unwanted symptoms and the need for intervention.
Over a lifetime, your body will require varying degrees of specific vitamins, minerals and so forth. And because of these changes, you can develop an intolerance to certain foods and even spices or ingredients in processed or boxed foods as an adult. The symptoms may be apparent right away, like GI issues, or you could experience an accumulation effect where the occurrence or worsening of symptoms of an existing physical or mental health condition present. So, it’s worth gaining clarity around what your current needs are and checking in with those needs regularly to better manage your quality of life.
Tip: Some notes are better than none, so don’t be discouraged if you forget to log. The more you do it, the more likely you are to see patterns and the easier it will become!
Hack #2: The Whole-Person Approach
With a new sense of clarity, you can begin to customize a whole-person approach to your specific needs, both genetically and lifestyle based. Nutrition absolutely has to be semi-customized. Blanket recommendations are meant to be guidelines, but mainly are marketing tactics and, as you’ve probably recognized, a moving target. These are recommendations that the government and food or supplement companies can’t make for you because they don’t know you!
This is very empowering because you get to own the trajectory of your health and how you feel each day! The more you practice this approach, the less you’ll fall victim to those marketing tactics designed to get you to buy a product.
The foods you thought were healthy may disagree with you, like when I learned that I am mildly sensitive to the protein casein. Here I thought “protein is good,” but it goes deeper than that, as with most subjects in life. So, I encourage you to keep leveling-up your knowledge base as it relates to understanding how your body functions optimally when you put certain foods in it; kind of like your car requiring a certain type of fuel.
Tip: There are now at-home test kits where you can gain insight into your food sensitivities. Also consider consulting, even just annually, with a holistic nutritionist or an acupuncture specialist who is trained to take into account your whole person, major past and recent factors (that you may have overlooked), as well as lifestyle and goals.
Hack #3: Awareness & Connections
Honing your awareness to the cues of your body is a practice and a process, and one that you will get better at over time. But I guarantee that you will unlock optimal living if you do this well.
Recognizing bio feedback and changes in your body, mental state and emotional balance will require intentional focus, and the journaling can prompt you to tune in to these shifts. As you chart the patterns, you will make connections that you didn’t know where there.
Inflammation is the source of many of the problems in the body, but it’s often hard to recognize. However, once you do, you can easily see how eating problematic foods can lead to discomfort or disease. You can also reverse discomfort and disease by overhauling your nutrition habits.
I myself have been able to mitigate restless legs and neuropathy symptoms by tuning into my body and foods that aggravate my nerves. I also eat to support my nervous system and brain health since I am prone to symptoms like anxiety and depression.
If you take away one thing, I want it to be this: Have the mindset to challenge the norm, the popular, the convenient or the easy. Pick just one of these and do it for seven days, and then 30, and so on. If you do, you’ll find your tribe and new habits that make it just as easy to eat and experience the extraordinary life you deserve! +