We’ve all been there: you’ve got a full plate of commitments, stresses, and responsibilities that’s already hard to keep in balance, when you start to notice that something feels off, physically. Perhaps it’s stomach pains/gas/bloating after eating, or extreme lethargy, or an increase in headaches. Maybe you just got over a cold and never felt like you recovered.
But beneath all the uncertainty, you know one thing’s for sure- you ain’t feelin’ good homie.
And finding the answer to your problem can feel very overwhelming and hopeless all at the same time, leaving you stuck in the mud and possibly spinning tires.
If you’re a vegan feeling sick…
Throw on top of the pile the added bonus of being vegan, and well, it’s like you have a whole new set of problems. Because a “sick vegan” represents a red flag in our society, and even when the majority of the population may be sick + over-medicated for their “health”, public opinion (or even your own family) can unfortunately plant seeds of doubt.
So when something feels “off”, it’s only natural that we start questioning.“Is this the right diet for me? Am I doing the right thing?” and above all “what now?”
I think this is a natural response and honestly, not something you should beat yourself up over. That being said, I’m not one of those vegans who thinks that you have to run screaming back to animal products if you notice you consistently aren’t feeling well. I’ve read plenty of stories of people who HAVE done that, but I’m curious to know how many of these people had support? How many of these former vegans tried reevaluating what they were consuming on a daily basis?
And how many of them were eating a healthy vegan diet to begin with?
An important step…
When it comes to your health, if you’re not an advocate for yourself, no one else will be.
Therefor, it’s important that you become a detective, working closely with your body to discover what’s really going on under the surface.
You may also choose to work with a medical professional (which to be clear, is a good idea if you can find one that focuses on whole body/nutrition and not just prescriptions). But be warned: while it’s possible to find a doctor that supports veganism, I think it’s safe to say that (at this point in time) most doctors are going to encourage working animal products back in. I’m hoping that this will change in the near future, as public opinion shifts and people become more aware of the benefits of following a healthy plant-based diet.
So, what’s the best way for you to be a detective? Start a food journal.
Now I know what you’re thinking (in fact, I think I just heard an entire class echo groans of disapproval): NO. Just no.
But I want to point out that while you may THINK you know what you’re eating, you probably don’t realize exactly how much of certain food items you’re actually consuming on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. And there’s nothing better than seeing solid evidence of what your fueling your body with– it’s this information that’s going to give you the clues you need to solve your own personal case.
This process may seems very elementary my dear Watson, but it’s worth the challenge.
All you have to do is grab a cheap notebook to get started, and keep track of your meal breakdowns. This means that you’ll be recording the ingredients of each dish, plus your liquids, to see if a pattern develops over time. For processed foods that have a lot of ingredients, saving the packaging and placing it in your food journal is a shortcut you can take (if you don’t want to get a hand cramp copying it over).
Because I feel so strongly about this vital step, I’ll be releasing a printable food journal in the near future, to help you accomplish this stress-free. Woo hoo! Until then, using a cheap notebook will suffice.
Why this matters
At this point, you may be asking yourself whether or not you really (really!?) need to put this kind of effort in. I mean, can’t you just go to the doctor and see what they have to say anyway? What if this doesn’t have to do with food at all, and you have #allthediseases and you’re going to die, like, NOW.
Well, I’ll tell you why.
This matters because you’ll be collecting DATA. This data can be used for your own personal use, OR can help your doctor assess your health quicker than if she had to start from scratch. The reason you get a million and one questions when going to the doc is because they are doing their own detective work, ruling out certain conditions and drawing conclusions based on the answers you provide.
Can you imagine how much MORE helpful it would be if you showed up with an entire notebook of EXACTLY what you’ve been consuming, giving your doctor personal data that would help them help you? It sounds like a win-win to me.
Lastly, by doing this important step, you will be able to see if you need to make dietary adjustments at home. You may even start to suspect that certain foods could be throwing your system out of balance, such as excess processed foods, high-histamine foods, or even soy (if you’re a heavy soy consumer).
By having the data, you’ll be able to catch things that otherwise may go unnoticed. And that is the FIRST STEP when it comes to evaluating where we’re at on our journey. In the coming weeks, I’ll be providing more important info + steps you can take to reboot your health and get you back to feeling top notch.
Thank you for taking the time for your health and happiness!