Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Changing Food Habits

Earlier in the month, I shared about why I chose to start eating clean as a way to be kinder to my body by not forcing it to digest foods it couldn’t actually tolerate. 

When we returned to Brisbane, I gave myself a couple weeks to get back into a routine of buying groceries and cooking again. Then, it was time to start putting my plan into action and start cleaning up my diet. 

I didn't want to completely eliminate all the foods I'm allergic to from my diet because I still wanted to be able to enjoy food when we go out, or have dinner at someone's house without causing too many inconveniences. I just had to be careful not to surpass my body's tolerance levels*. 

Plus, I'm pretty sure if I decided to quit all the offending foods cold turkey, I'd rebound back to eating them sooner or later. Changing food habits is a process that requires long-term commitment so I had to let it all happen slowly and naturally.

Aside from all the hidden ingredients in restaurant food, it's pretty easy to avoid all the major allergens. Things get a little more difficult when it comes to cooking at home because most of the food I'm used to cooking include at least one ingredient that I'm no longer supposed to eat. 

So over the past month, I've been taking small steps towards finding alternatives to most of my red meat and tomato-based recipes (both favourites in our home). I'm spending a lot of time scouring the internet for new recipes and a lot of time in the kitchen testing them out.

Along with changing the variety of food we get, we're being more conscious about where we get our foods. We now get about 90% of our produce from fresh food markets because their stock tends to be fresher and cheaper, and hopefully we'll start working more organic foods into our diet. 

I'm so thankful we have so many markets to choose from here in Brisbane! I found a live caterpillar in one of my veggies a while ago. It scared me half to death but that has to be a good sign my vegetables weren't covered in pesticides, right?
I'll be honest, sometimes it is downright tiring trying to plan ahead, because really, how many times a week can you eat chicken? And especially this week, I've been wondering if this change is actually helping my body because I've been coughing my lungs out and I don't feel like I'm healing any faster. But then there are days when I do slip up, and I feel the consequences almost immediately and that is enough to convince me that yes, I need to stick with this change.

*I have heard mixed reviews regarding training your body to build up tolerance for certain foods. The allergist I spoke with supports that idea while I have friends who warn that doing so causes inflammation in the gut. I need to learn more about all of this!

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