Personal Health Intiative Training

The smallest things…

When you start cleaning up your diet, you can see how certain foods and chemicals affect your body. For example, if I eat or drink a lot of “diet” products that have aspartame, or sugar alcohols in them, I get bloated and have a lot of gas. Although there are still a few processed foods I am eating now, I am sticking with more simple foods for the next 18 weeks. I have tried to cut back on the amount of sugar-free gum I chew or I chew gum that does not have aspartame in it.

Aspartame has been shown to cause cravings in people who consume a lot of it. Although it is found in a lot of diet products, it has the opposite effect of what it is supposed to achieve. Pay attention…if you find yourself more hungry after you drink a Diet Coke or chew a lot of gum, the culprit could be aspartame. A better choice for a calorie free sweetener is stevia…which can go by many brand names. Aspartame can also cause headaches if you consume too much. (Probably because you are drinking diet coke instead of just plain water).

I also am watching my sodium intake. Many processed foods have a lot of sodium in them which adds to the sodium that is already in the natural foods you eat. The other night I had movie theater popcorn as my treat meal and I found that as soon as I ate it, I had a major headache. It lasted through the next day. All that salt went straight to my head! When I was not eating healthy, I probably would not have noticed this and attributed it to something else.

Another food that I have cut back on is bread. I don’t know if it is the gluten (the “glue.” for lack of a better word, that holds food products together, giving the breads and grains the elasticity to the dough, helping it to rise, keeping its shape and giving the final product that chewy texture.) in the bread or something else but if I eat too much of it, I always feel bloated. Since I have cut back on the processed grains, I have become leaner. My mid-section is a weak area, and it seems to flatten out when I don’t eat a lot of bread. I eat more brown rice, quinoa, and gluten-free bread and limit the processed bread to once or twice a week.

I have been adding more green vegetables such as broccoli, green beans and spinach which seems to help regulate my digestion. If you find that you always feel bloated or  have a lot of headaches, try to eliminate something from your diet. If that does not work, try something else. You will be surprised how your body reacts and changes to the smallest things.

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