I’ve kept to a tightly restricted diet the last several weeks, with an occasional “just gotta have it” with coffee and chocolate. With that and some prudent experimentation, I’m narrowing in on a lifestyle plan that works for me.
Caffeine, even just one serving, leads to a sore throat. The same is true with chocolate. When consumed together, they’re much worse: more like discomfort² than discomfort x2. I’m finding this to be true with other irritants (citrus fruits, greasy food, other acidic foods), too. Any two together are a recipe for pain.
To my surprise, dairy is not a key irritant. And the occasional side of bacon with my pancakes is totally fine. Acidity and Scovilles are the worst offenders. If I can commit to a life-long diet that minimizes these two things, and is high in fiber and lean protein, the occasional splurge (a cup of coffee or a brownie) should be no big deal.
I’ll admit I’m amazed how much better I feel now that I’m paying attention to what I eat and how my body responds. I have far more energy than before – and I’m keenly aware of the kinds of foods that make me feel sluggish, achy, and ill. Eliminating the vast majority of processed foods from my diet has made a huge difference in that area.
Eating when I’m hungry (about every 2.5 – 3.0 hours) keeps my stomach acid down, maintains my energy throughout the day, and helps me avoid unhealthy snacks and overeating.
The less processed sugar I consume, the better everything tastes. Fruits and veggies are now way more satisfying than empty carbs, and most prepared sweets (baked goods, etc.) taste too sugary. I also have fewer cravings.
It seems, eating the right foods reinforces good dietary habits. This is 180° from where I was only three months ago.
I’d encourage anyone suffering from chronic pain to consider talking with an R.D. or other medical professional to determine if diet might not be a contributor.
I’ve also jumped onboard with the “Buddha” bowl concept: it gives me a way to manage portions, nutritional requirements, and flavor that’s super-simple, delicious, and full of variety.
I’ve found two excellent cookbooks for those interested in learning more about the bowl approach to eating: