Nowadays food and dietary choices are a topic so extensive and complicated that it becomes exhausting to discuss it with some people. My intention with this text is to simplify it based on my experience and from what I’ve been studying and experimenting in these last few years.
I was born from normal delivery, and I was breastfed up to 1 year old, which would typically mean that I would be “protected” from some health issues, since the normal delivery process is very beneficial as it allows for exposure to bacteria in the mother’s vaginal canal, and breast milk is the best and most complete food for the formation of a healthy baby with a strong and balanced immune system.
However, despite all of this, my childhood was one of many allergies (weather, dust, carpets, mites, mold and fungi), fevers, and earaches; and this resulted in medicine, vaccines and multiple rounds of antibiotics being a regular part of my first 3 years of life. And without knowing, this weakened significantly my intestinal flora (currently understood to be our second brain), and today I understand that the child that couldn’t focus too much on one thing, that was very anxious and insecure that I was probably got originated in this phase of my life.
I now see that all of the health-related issues I went through were essential for me to follow this path of searching to improve my health, to find my purpose, and to share this knowledge with others. My biggest motivation now is to share that the cure for all of these issues is rooted in the food and lifestyle choices we bring to our lives!
My journey with food started when I stopped eating meat at age 18. At that moment I felt a huge change in my body; my digestion improved, the bloating I felt, and the feeling of heaviness after meals were much better; however, seeking to compensate for the absence of meat in my diet, I increased my consumption of processed flours, refined sugars, and dairy products.
Over time all the gains that I experienced by not eating meat ended up being reversed by the food I was eating instead. When I turned 25 years old, I had an extreme case of colitis, which went on for almost 2 years until I discovered that it came because I was lactose intolerant. At that moment I made the decision to take care of my health and really change my lifestyle, even though I didn’t really know exactly what to do about it …
My first step was to eliminate milk and all dairy products from my diet; followed that came the elimination of gluten, soft drinks, refined sugar, and a significant reduction of alcoholic beverages and processed products. At that time I also started consulting with a nutritionist who, not only helped me very much, but also became a great friend (Gabriella Pereira from @nutrihome); and with her help my health improved significantly. Together with this nutritional transformation, I began exercising every day, and the combination of these two things led to an amazing impact in my well-being and overall health.
Over the following years I went on a journey that taught me a lot about the importance of habits, rituals, and conscious eating. I also learned that all these different factors are connected and are part of a greater system we need to keep in balance. I tried different types of dietary philosophies until I discovered that my body responds best to a plant based diet, without any kind of processed food (here I am talking about eating vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, meaning real food!).
Adopting this diet was the best decision both for my physical and mental health, because the diet that we adopt is decisive in regulating hormonal balance, stress management, and in the way our body produces and consumes energy. These variables, in turn, end up dictating much of our health, and are responsible for whether we are healthy or sick; whether we feel strong or weak; and also our mental state.
Becoming Vegan was my answer. I think you have to adopt the diet philosophy that makes the most sense to you, to your reality, and to what your body needs to thrive. This decision is in the hands of each of us, and is taken daily in our choices and habits.
I believe that with the amount of information we have access to nowadays (good and bad) we end up getting lost. Most important, however, is knowing that different things work for each one of us, and that’s why it’s so important to know yourself, listen to what your body is asking for. There is no magic formula, the answers are not ready and written on the pages of books, on websites or on the words of other people and gurus. The answer lies within each of us and so it is essential that we take the time to experiment and get to know ourselves.
What I do know that works for everyone is what I recommend to you: Create a routine, schedule your week, think and prepare your meals. Stay away from foods that are not real and that are processed. Move daily, hydrate yourself, sleep early and be quiet for a minute, at least, every day. Take the time to get to know yourself better and learn what food and lifestyle work for you!