I woke up the day after Thanksgiving feeling like I got hit by a truck.
I had decided it would be a cool idea to try a few different desserts at Thanksgiving dinner. No, not raw, paleo, vegan or gluten-free desserts as you might expect. We’re talking about normal style desserts here. Since I usually stay away from gluten, sugar and dairy as much as possible, eating these desserts was kind of an assault on my body. For some reason, though, I just had a “whatevs” attitude about it that day.
The next day, I woke up feeling exhausted, with a pounding headache – my brain felt like it was sifting through a thick layer of fog. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a pot of coffee to balance myself out. I looked in the mirror, and I had what Annemarie Colbin calls “Sugar Face” – tired looking skin, baggy eyes – I pretty much looked like a disaster. I felt moody and lethargic. My level of creative inspiration was at an all time low.
And it was AWESOME.
It reminded me why I do what I do. It reminded me why I’m so obsessed with self care and nutrition on a daily basis. It reminded me of how amazing I actually feel when I wake up on most days. It renewed my purpose in my work, and it renewed my dedication to feeling vibrant and clear and showing up as a more stellar version of myself.
It reminded me that food actually DOES affect the way we feel, the way we look and the way we live.
I admit, sometimes I just live in my little holistic health bubble and I forget there’s any other way. I often take my health and vitality for granted, and sometimes it takes this kind of thing to remind me of how awful it feels when I do have a sugar crash or a stomach ache or super low energy because of food. I don’t look at these things as mistakes. I look at them as research (which is way more fun).
My friend Megan posted something today saying that she had been dairy free for a long time, and after eating ice cream, her leg broke out in hives. Although it’s totally not cool or fun to get hives, she gained knowledge from it – she’s now certain that dairy isn’t something she wants to consume.
Another friend told me last night that after years of being gluten-free, she started experimenting with gluten again. “My body felt completely awful for days.” Now she knows. It renewed her commitment to feeling good.
FYI – I’m not suggesting that someone who is managing a disease or condition through nutrition should “do research” and pound their systems with unfavorable foods. For some people, having certain foods can be quite damaging. So be smart, my friends.
On the other end of the spectrum, I believe a lot of people don’t even KNOW how good they can actually feel. Lots of people who have never experimented with cutting out certain foods/substances say they feel “fine” because they aren’t getting sick, but they are constantly self-medicating through food, caffeine, sugar, drugs and alcohol just to maintain a state of feeling baseline OK. I used to be this way. I thought I felt “good,” but it wasn’t until I started experimenting with cleaning up my life that I realized there were levels of feeling amazing I didn’t know existed.
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t have time to feel like shit on a regular basis. This research reminds me why I choose treat myself with respect with everything I put in my mouth…so I can actually feel good enough to show up in the world and attempt to do revolutionary things.
After eating the holiday foods for a couple of days I drank a green smoothie and felt like I was dancing on a rainbow of ecstasy.
So the research was a good call, and now I’m gonna head back to a Whole30 way of eating for now. I feel so good when I follow that plan, it’s borderline inappropriate.
So let’s hear it. What kind of “research” have you done that renewed your dedication to taking care of yourself?