Diet choices – are you making the right one?

by Monique Jhingon

About 15 years ago, when I was struggling with some really frustrating health issues that I was not able to resolve through conventional medicine, I turned to nutrition to find answers. I had always been interested in food and ate what I considered a fairly healthy diet. Despite this my body wasn’t cooperating: my skin was breaking out, my digestive system was out of order, I was fatigued all the time and I felt “toxic”.

My natural response was to try and cleanse and detox my system, which I did through adopting a purely raw, vegan diet for a period of time. I don’t deny that it felt really clean, light and healthy to eat a colourful plant-based diet. After the initial “honeymoon” period, however, I noticed my digestive system had become worse, I had lost more weight than I could afford to and I started noticing other symptoms, like feeling light-headed and dizzy.

In hindsight, the toxicity I was feeling was due to an inflammatory response triggered by gut issues. If I had to do it all again, knowing what I know now, I would most certainly not choose a vegan diet to try and quench the internal inflammation. The diet I was eating may have been loaded with minerals and vitamins and other plant-based nutrients, but it was also full of problematic plant proteins and fibres that further irritated my gut lining, fuelled the inflammation and interfered with my ability to absorb vital nutrients.

Why am I telling you this? 

Because I see too many people blindly jumping on the latest diet trends without any regard for their bio-individual needs. Which is fine when you are just playing around with your diet to try and optimise your performance, lose some weight and you have no health issues as such. But when you are feeling flat, fat, unfocused, fatigued, you have been diagnosed with a health condition or are dealing with other, mysterious symptoms you may end up making things worse.

I know it’s compelling to shift your diet based on a trending documentary that touts the enormous health benefits of eating a certain way, trending articles that speak about this wonderful new “fix-all” diet approach, or a friend’s amazing weight loss results. You could get lucky. But what 15 years of studying nutrition and working with clients has shown me is that resolving health challenges more often than not requires a very systematic and personalised approach that takes into account your unique health history, your current health status, your age, gender, genetics, environment, and lifestyle.

Here’s what I urge you to consider:

Make well-informed decisions about what to eat. We’re talking health here: your ability to live a long and illness-free life because of choices that you make today. Therefore, would you not want to base your decisions on facts and consider all the angles? Approach documentaries and articles and success stories with an open yet critical mind and question what you hear. Just because someone says something is true, it does not have to be so, in general or for you in particular. 

  • Reading and analysing scientific studies and reviewing all the evidence is time consuming and you may therefore need to rely on people to do it for you. Find reliable and reputable resources that provide reviews that are as unbiased as possible and that acknowledge the importance of bio-individuality. Question those that have a one-fit-for-all approach; there is no such thing. 
  • Despite modern technology and all the recent scientific advances, we are still are far from knowing it all. New body parts and signalling pathways are still being discovered and we are only beginning to understand the role of the microbiome in health and disease, just to name an example. Staying abreast of what we do know is key but simultaneously developing a deep sense of awareness and an ability to tune in to your body and read its signs and signals is going to be the most important success factor in optimising your health. 
  • Whatever your chosen diet approach, quality matters. Certain things are bad across the board and those include processed, refined foods and sugar. Aim for a whole food diet, animal protein from sustainably and humanely raised, grass-fed, and free-range animals, poultry and eggs, wild and sustainably caught fish, organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also, don’t overeat: our bodies are simply not made for that. 
  • Diet matters. But so do many other things such as movement, a positive mindset, joy, inner balance, love and relationships, rest, a connection to a higher power. True health and wellness require a holistic approach so make sure you periodically examine all these areas in your life and address any imbalances. 

I recognise that nutrition can be quite confusing. There are such diametrically opposing views out there and how do you figure out what is right for you? If you are struggling to make sense of it all, to resolve health challenges or to optimise your health consider having a chat with me to see if I can help. You can set that up by booking a free nutrition breakthrough session on my website.  Be well.

You can read more on her website and sign up for a free Nutrition Breakthrough Session here: www.moniquejhingon.com

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