Finding the Gift in Illness and the Power in Healthy Nutrition.
By Susan Kingston, Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
With spring finally being in sight, I felt a good topic to write about in this month’s newsletter would be renewal. Spring is a great time to reset and rejuvenate, to spark health, vitality and creativity!
When a person has health challenges, it can be difficult to see hope in sight, just as in the dead of winter it is hard to see that the life filled vibrancy, smells and colours of flowers and grass and trees will spring up and renew themselves again. But they do; and we can renew ourselves as well and harness the power of spring energy to help us.
Sickness can give us the opportunity to reset and change those things that drain our energy and take our vitality, replacing them with decisions that are empowering and habits that support health and wellness. It is a great juncture to re-invent ourselves, find more spark and purpose in life and take hold of the reins going forward.
Disease is an interesting word. When you break it down it really means unease or unpleasantness…instead of being in a state of ease, the body is in a state of dis-ease. Dis-ease can show up in many forms; intestinal disorders, neurological disorders, auto-immune issues, rheumatic pain and inflammation, cardiovascular issues, emotional disorders, mental disorders, cancer, and more.
We hope to never be in a state of disease, but in reality, many people are, and they wonder why? How? How did I get here? How can I feel better? How can my body feel well, and how can it come back to a state of balance and function properly again? How can I have quality of life again?
Often people don’t use preventative measures, or ask questions about how to avoid disease, until the body is yelling loudly enough that it can’t be ignored. Many times people ignore the small signs the body gives us, the little complaints such as indigestion on and off, or sore joints, or headaches, sinus troubles, allergies, or regular irritability or bouts of insomnia ; because it is inconvenient or difficult to make changes, or they just aren’t sure of what steps to take.
So when disease manifests itself and is diagnosed, the shock can give a person the spark they need to reset their health through their own efforts. This is how sickness and disease can be the greatest gift of all for some people, changing their views and their priorities and inspiring a re-inventing of themselves; a deep transformation and new union with oneself giving them a second chance at happiness and peace through lifestyle changes and a sense of responsibility and control over their life choices. This sense of peace can spill over into all of their relationships and bring great healing to a person’s soul. This is the time people often start asking questions and start waking up to the power within themselves to regenerate vitality and take control of their own health.
One of the places that we can make the biggest impact on our health is through what we eat and don’t eat. Being careful about our choices is fundamental to basic health. Avoiding foods that are processed and laden with sugar and chemicals, genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides or contaminated with hormones or antibiotics is the start. This means- first thing- do no harm. Also, what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another. In fact, when it comes to food, one person’s medicine can be like another’s poison. Be careful about following trends that say, ” This is for everybody! “
There can be hidden offenders in foods that some people cannot tolerate or that aggravate symptoms such as FODMAPS, Histamine, Oxalic Acid, Lectins or Nightshades. It can get confusing, but the best way is to just start by removing the main offenders and you will begin to see improvements which will encourage you to keep going and search deeper, seeking out guidance from a professional if necessary. Learning what works for you involves clearing out the most common food offenders for a period of time so your body can clean up and sensitize itself. Then, when you are feeling better,adding certain foods back slowly and listening carefully to your body now that is not weighed down and feeling foggy and it can give you more direct feedback. The easiest way to remove foods that harm is to crowd them out with delicious foods that heal, such as foods rich in healthy fats, omega 3 (avocados, nuts, wild caught fish, organic eggs), healthy proteins (Fish, seafood, eggs, organic chicken, grass fed beef, legumes), low glycemic foods and anti-oxidant rich fruits such as berries, and an abundance of fresh organic local vegetables. Again this is subject to individuality, but a good basic start for most!
Today, I will share a mini clean eating outline to begin the process of renewal, and a recipe to try! From time to time, if you refer to the CHI Blog, I will share a small informative blog on certain essential nutrients with supportive recipes.
Renewal – Nutrition for Spring
What to Include:
- Filtered Water 8-10 cups – add a squeeze of lemon if you like
- All Vegetables
Raw, steamed, juiced, stir-fried, grilled or in home-made soups.
- All Fruit
Fruit is a source of natural sugar so should be limited to 1-2 servings daily.
- Gluten-free grains & cereals (whole grain)
Brown rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
Navy, kidney, adzuki, lentils, black beans, split peas, lima, red beans, chickpeas.
- Nuts & Seeds
Soak raw nuts and seeds overnight in filtered water to remove enzyme inhibitors and increase digestibility. Soaked nuts and seeds may then be dried in your oven at a low temp (190F) for a few hours. Once dry, store in fridge in airtight container.
- Nut Milks
Almond, flax, coconut and hemp milk are also good alternatives to cow and goat dairy.
- Animal Protein
Eggs, wild fish, poultry, grass fed beef, lamb, raw goat cheese, yogurt.
Choose organic to avoid hormones and antibiotics.
Options include: raw honey, pure maple syrup.
Cold pressed olive oil, avocado oil and butter.
What to Avoid:
Sucrose, maltose, lactose, glucose, mannitol, galactose, date sugar, turbinado sugar, high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, white/brown sugar, artificial sweetener and aspartame.
Dried, candied fruit.
Coffee and black tea should be avoided. Green and white teas may be included for their antioxidant value. If you are currently a coffee drinker, reduce your consumption gradually in order to avoid a withdrawal headache.
- Alcohol & Carbonated Beverages
Carbon dioxide interferes with oxygen delivery via red blood cells. Phosphoric acid acidifies the body. Pop also creates a potassium imbalance and leaches calcium from your bones as well as interfering with digestion by reducing hydrochloric acid. Carbonated water can be enjoyed on occasion. Kombucha is a nice alternative to soda and beer.
- Cow and Goat Dairy Caveat
Butter is usually well tolerated and can also be used for cooking.
Avoid processed dairy. Margarine should be avoided.
- Breads & Baked Goods, Pasta
Turns to sugar and feeds the wrong kind of bacteria in our guts.
- Peanuts and Pistachios
High potential for mold. Other nuts may be enjoyed in moderation if they are well tolerated.
Whole wheat, kamut, spelt, rye, barley, etc. Gluten-free grains may be enjoyed in moderation.
Avoid vinegar in pickles, sauerkraut, condiments, olives, salad dressings. Vinegar feeds the wrong bacteria in our guts. Lactic acid fermented pickles and vegetables are beneficial to build the right kind of bacteria in our guts. Apple cider vinegar is allowable as it is a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria.
- MSG and other chemicals or preservatives
Found in bouillon cubes, condiments, sauces, salad dressings etc.
Try this Delicious Strawberry Kiwi Salad!
About the Author
Susan Kingston studied at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and graduated with honours receiving a Certification of Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She is a member of the Naturothérapeutes du Quebec. She specializes in nutrition, supporting people in bringing their body back into balance to overcome health challenges and optimize their health. Susan is the mother of 2 daughters and lives with her husband in Mont-Tremblant Quebec.