As 2016 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on all the changes that have occurred in my life this past year, which there have been plenty. I moved, shifted careers, and sadly, my sister-in-law passed away from cancer. This year, I learned that this really is the only life we have. I realized that I should stop living the life I thought I should have and instead start living the life I wanted. So I stopped daydreaming and talking and finally took the steps to change my lifestyle. This has been a stressful, uncertain, yet exciting year for me. Although I am still figuring things out, I have learned some health and life tips that I wanted to share with you.
Sleep is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself. When you sleep well, you feel better, life seems better, you are less irritable, you have the energy to eat well and exercise, you are happier, etc. We all know what we should do and not do to sleep better and I am probably the worst one to give advice on this subject because I am likely to wake up at 3 am and not be able to go to sleep again until 6 am. However, find what works for you and stick to that routine. Before you go to sleep, try yoga stretches, turn all electronics off an hour ahead, don’t drink wine for a couple of hours before, read a book, take a bath with lavender essential oil….
Cooking your own food with real ingredients can help improve your health and ease your digestive issues. If you do not like cooking or do not have time to cook, try to at least replace one meal a day with a home cooked meal. Hopefully you will like it and see the benefits and try to add even more home cooked meals to your diet. If not, buy fruits, veggies, and healthy prepared meals as much as you can. Some options are to make chia puddings in the evening and grab it for breakfast the next day, learn to love your crockpot, and take leftovers from dinner for lunch. Another option is meal prepping. Spend a few hours one weekend day cooking for the week, portion out your foods in containers and you are set for the week. If you are not sure why this is important, take the ingredient list from your favorite processed foods and Google what the chemicals can be used for, other than food. I am a firm believer that processed food has a role in the increase of digestive issues, allergies, food intolerances, and chronic diseases.
Less is More:
I have been working on reducing stress in my life and focusing on what is truly important to me. As I have found that decreasing stress has helped me manage my life better, as well as my symptoms from fructose malabsorption, I have expanded my focus to my STUFF. I notice that when my house is messy, things are lying round, and I cannot find what I am looking for, I become edgy and stressed. By reducing what I have and instead keeping what I need and what makes me happy, I have less to clean, to put away, and it is easier for me to find things. As a result, I am calmer and more content.
Try New Things:
This year I have learned to compost (okay not hard to do but still something I had to learn), pot a plant (again, not hard yet…), make my own sourdough starter and bread, as well as how to live a more zero waste, eco friendly life. These are all things I have wanted to do for years but kept pushing off until one day. This year I decided that it was time to get out of my rut, get off my butt, and that it was finally the day. It has been a lot of fun and although they are small things, they have improved my life and have given me more confidence. Next stop, starting a vegetable garden this spring. Wish me luck!
Take Care of Yourself:
One of my mottos is Trust Your Gut. Is that ironic coming from someone who has issues with their gut? : ) This motto was an extremely important one for me to hold on to this year. Some people in my life questioned the changes I made and still question ones I am currently making. It was and continues to be crucial that I trust what I know I need to do to make myself happy and live the life I want even if it does not fit societal norms or expectations people had/have for me. The only way I will be able to live my life and not have regrets at the end is if, as I continue to be kind to and love those in my life, I listen to myself, take care of myself, and block out the noise.
The Low FODMAP Diet is Not a Forever Diet:
And on a completely digestive topic, I have heard nutritionists say and read articles by Monash University that the low FODMAP diet is not a forever diet. I can happily say that over these past years of being on the low FODMAP diet, I have found this to be true. I find the better and healthier I eat, the more I can tolerate formerly taboo foods. This has made my food options much more expansive than it used to be. I need to listen to my body, cannot eat everything, and have to be mindful of my portions, however I have more flexibility than I used to have which is a wonderful thing.
I wish you all a wonderful 2017!
Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash