Fresh Veg and Salad – This is a hard one. I love salad. And salad and fresh vegetables are teeming with all kinds of vitamins and minerals your body needs. So why, when your body is in crisis, wouldn’t you just shovel fresh vegetables in by the fistful?
Digestion. You’re just not equipped to do a very good job right now of effectively digesting foods that are complex, and raw veggies are super complex. That’s what makes them so great.
So think of what a shock to your system it is when you eat a delicious salad, filled with all kinds of different kinds of veg. Your stomach acids aren’t able to break it down so the mass goes to your intestines, where the same thing happens as outlined with the grains, along with swelling and gas discomfort.
Do No Harm. Try to put out of your mind how you “should” be eating salads every day. Instead, think about how to be kind to your body and instead opt for one kind of vegetable. Today, make it carrots. And eat only a few and chew each bite very, very well to give your stomach a fighting chance. Tomorrow, make it a little celery. After your belly heals, you’ll be able to eat salads like nobody’s business.
Being intentional and careful with their fresh food choices is how a person with a chronic illness helps their body instead of shocks their body. They actually get the nutrients out of their fresh veg instead of losing them to inflammation.
Juicing – When you juice, you’re stripping away all the fiber and leaving the vitamins. In theory, it seems like drinking a bunch of fresh vegetable and fruit juice every day would really give your body a great boost of wellness, and indeed there are people who believe everyone should be drinking the majority of their foods. People use juicing in cleanses all the time for this very reason – all the nutrients without the bulk of the whole food getting in the way. Depending on the types of juices, they can clean out their intestines and other organs, get rid of toxins and parasites and even give you a “high” feeling. And for all of those reasons, you should mostly stay away from juices until you are really ready to commit to some kind of short cleanse and do it with intention.
If you’re chronically ill, the last thing you want to do is start a cleanse, which will send your system into shock, which will cause inflammation. And if you’re doing it for the nutrients, if you can’t digest more than one vegetable at a time, how do you think your body will react when you give it two delicious cups worth of 14 fruits and vegetables at once? That’s a whole lot of digestive enzymes you need in your stomach to digest them that you just don’t have. But also, your body is treating fruits as if they are straight sugars, and sugars cause inflammation in a person with a chronic illness. Too much, and you get a flare-up.
There is a safe amount of fresh juice for you right now and that is about (or less than) 1/4 cup per day. If you eat it on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before a protein meal, take small sips, hold them in your mouth and chew with your saliva for a few moments before swallowing, you’ll probably be fine and get the benefits of the juice. More than that will probably be hard for your body.
Keep in mind that the more types of foods you put in one juice drink, the harder it will be for your body. Think of it as drinking your salad. So, where a juice of carrot and celery is wonderful and your body says thank you, a juice of carrot, celery, apple, beet, and kale right now might make you very sad for the next 24 hours. After the first few months of juicing, after sleeping well, after your cells are healing, after your energy has picked up, after, after, after, try some carrot, apple, celery with a few springs of parsley and a tiny bit of ginger and see how you do.
Smoothies – When you make a smoothie, you’re pre-breaking down (pre-digesting) that fiber and making it easier to digest, keeping the foods whole, plus you’re probably adding in boosters like protein, whey, flax or hemp for extra goodness.
As stated earlier, too many types of vegetables and fruits at once will wreak havoc on your system. If you miss smoothies, stick with two fruits and only drink about 1/4 cup per day. Leave out all the boosters. Your body can’t get the nutrients out of the boosters and they act like anti-nutrients in your body right now. Plus, most of them are made from grains. Anything that sits around in your stomach or intestines waiting to be digested for a long time takes energy away from the vital healing work your body should be doing.
Nuts and Seeds – Some people with a chronic condition have an incredibly hard time digesting nuts and seeds because of the phytic acid. The same with legumes. It’s very important to figure out if these foods are hard for you right now or not so you can eliminate them from your diet if they are causing you harm. If they aren’t causing you harm, they are a great source of nutrition. Try them soaked and sprouted.
To find out if they cause you problems, simply don’t eat any nuts, seeds or legumes for one week. Beginning the next week, add one item, like almonds, back into your diet. If you have no distress, it’s pretty safe to say you are ok with almonds. In a few days, move on to the next food, adding in each one to see how you feel.
A few things to keep in mind – you might be tempted to think that “just a little discomfort is worth it” because you really like legumes and who cares if you have a little tummy ache and some gas? Please remember that whatever nutritional value you think you are getting, you are not. In you, right now, they are an anti-nutrient and robbing you of whatever good you are trying to accomplish at this point in time. They are causing you to have an energy deficit and making your time of healing even longer.
When it comes to nuts and seeds, stay away from roasted and salted. The oils they use to roast them cause inflammation and the extra table salt isn’t helpful to your system. Especially all oil made from soy which is very hard to find non-modified. GMO foods are simply poison to your body and should always be avoided in whole and oil forms.
If the first time you reintroduce nuts or seeds you get a strong reaction, I would leave them alone for now. If you get merely a mild reaction, try the the soaking or sprouting method before eating them. If you still get even a mild reaction, I recommend you leave them alone for now.
I know these are big changes. It’s going to be an adjustment. If you can think of your food as medicine or fuel for your body machine, it might help.
Maybe your affirmation could be something like – I’m thankful my body can use the foods I give it towards healing and wellness.