Regain vitality with the right diet
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
In this case study, I’m using us as the guinea pigs….me (Sue) and my husband (Rod).
Back in 2006, we ate what would be considered a healthy diet, interspersed with rubbish food, particularly during and after a wine or beer…or three.
We decided to extend our annual post-Christmas-New Year’s three-month detox into a 12-month healthy eating and drinking program. After a few months, we decided not to go back to our old ways as we felt great and we couldn’t see the point of feeling less.
Over a period of two years we gradually made the transition to a diet that is gluten free, dairy free, alcohol free, caffeine free, additives free and relatively sugar free (still some fruit).
Sound radical? Actually, it wasn’t too bad. No alcohol was easy, we’d go for a walk instead, or chillax with a glass of mineral water and a twist of lemon. Gluten and dairy were reasonably easy as there are many excellent yummy substitutes available. Caffeine was replaced with decaffeinated coffee or dandelion, with coconut or almond milk, or Rooibos tea.
The tough one was sugar, especially yummy gluten and dairy free chocolates and cakes, which was particularly amplified when we were stressed. But we found that the trick was not to feel guilty if we waivered, because we felt that created more damage to our bodies than the occasional lapse.
We also needed to find ways to deal with issues when feeling stressed, particularly with money or business issues. To do so, we’d approach it with the mindset of ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen? The answer would invariably be, ‘we could live in a tent, but we’d still be happy’, and the ‘issue’ would dissipate, as would our need for the wrong food choices.
Other techniques included gentle breath meditation, or simply sitting quietly in a chair and focusing on various areas of the body and the stress would melt away.
As we’ve progressed we continue to make minor adjustments to foods that don’t feel right for us. And as our diet becomes more refined, we are more sensitive to the effects of foods on our bodies. And that’s really neat.
About two years after we started, our gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and food additive free lifestyle had become totally natural; we didn’t crave any of these substances.
One day we bumped into a friend we hadn’t seen for about three years who lived in a different town. She looked us up and down and said, “Oh my God, what have you guys been doing, you both look amazing and younger than the last time I saw you”. Now that felt good.
She invited us to her wedding where there were others that we hadn’t seen for three years (due to moving away) and they all said similar things. It happens regularly.
We think we look pretty awesome for our ages. Hey, we’re no longer spring chickens, but I’m certainly not an old boiler and Rod isn’t the ‘old man’ (except he is a bit of a rooster)!
We are a lot more vital, feel heaps younger than we did over a decade ago, dance (sometimes around the lounge room), walk in nature, exercise, and can even give some of our adult kids a ‘run for their money’ so to speak.
We work long hours and are together for much of those, laugh a lot and wouldn’t have it any other way. We are more open and connect and meet all sorts of interesting people when we’re out and about. We love life and life loves us back.
The catalyst for many of the wonderful changes in our life was our commitment to a healthy, nutritious diet…the foundation to vitality.
Hey it wasn’t plain sailing, particularly with dropping sugar, and we can really relate to struggles with food as we have both experienced them throughout our lives.
We are by no means perfect and if we eat something that doesn’t suit our bodies by mistake or choice, boy we really pay for it with lethargy, bloating, headaches, aches and rashes.
So, we get back on track and soon feel amazing again. Here’s to anti-aging!