What You Eat Really Matters!

Last weekend I went to Costco to stock up on a few things. As a single person I don’t need to buy much in bulk but Costco is a great place to buy frozen fruit for smoothies. They sell large bags of strawberries, mixed berries, cherries, peaches, mangos and blueberries. The cost is significantly less than what you’ll find at your local grocery store. It’s also a great discounted source for nuts – almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc. If you do the math it’s worth the price of the membership for these items and several more like spinach, olive oil, almond butter, and a variety of produce.

Costco happened to be sampling beef jerky that day. I like jerky so I took the small piece of jerky, popped it in my mouth, and proceeded to shop. Within a matter of about 60 seconds my throat began to itch and feel thick, my eyes watered and my nose began running. I started coughing trying to clear my throat. I felt instantly congested. I was having an allergic reaction! To my knowledge, I have never had a food allergy or attack prior to this. I have an issue with gluten but my reaction to gluten is much different than this sudden allergic response. I quickly left the store, drank some ice water to soothe my throat and headed home to take a benadryl.  Fortunately, my reaction was not more severe. I did a little research on the jerky and really could not identify what the culprit was. The ingredients listed “seasonings” without specifying what exactly those were. I’ll be hesitant to try jerky again unless I know what is in it.

This served as a great reminder to me that what we eat really does matter! I find with students food is often the one area they just don’t want to hold accountable for their issues. If a tiny piece of beef jerky can have that much of a reaction on my body, how can we expect a day of eating greasy food or sweet treats won’t impact us?

Many struggle with feeling groggy in the morning or hit an afternoon slump, have restless sleep, struggle with brain fog, suffer with various joint pain or swelling, suffer through stomach distress, become irritable and more. All of these issues can be impacted by our diet. Seriously! What we eat and how we eat plays a big role in how we feel.

For years, we were told about the horrors of fat. As a result, food manufacturers offered fat-free versions of just about everything. To replace the fat and still have tasty items, sugar was added. Too much sugar consumption, however, can cause the roller coaster of our energy level, brain fog and irritability. among other issues. If you start reading ingredients, you’ll find sugar is added to just about everything! There is no nutritional benefit to sugar. We don’t need it and too much sugar becomes stored as fat. (Most of us don’t want that either!) And the irony is we do really need healthy fats in our diet!

It’s time we really start holding our diet accountable for how we feel. Relying heavily on caffeine, or a variety of pills is not fixing the problem – it’s only a temporary solution. To function properly our bodies need a good mixture of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and FAT! It’s time we stopped seeing fat as a bad word. We need fats to help our bodies absorb other nutrients and to help regulate our blood sugar. Healthy fats include nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, chia seeds, butter, and sunflower seeds to name a few.

If your dinner consists of a bag of popcorn and a glass of wine, or a leftover piece of cake or even a big bowl of pasta – your body is going to go through a serious sugar spike followed by a crash. Have the pasta but add in protein (shrimp or chicken) and fiber (vegetables) and healthy fat (a bit of olive oil). Your body will thank you! if you are suffering from any of the above mentioned issues, you owe it to yourself to look at what you eat. You could feel so much better just by making some changes to how and what you eat. Food is fuel and our body can only run well when we supply it with the right fuel!

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