Autumn is a time where long summer days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and the leaves on the trees are changing to all kinds of beautiful colors. Autumn is the season of transition. For kids, they transition from the freedoms of summer to going back to school; everyone is getting ready for winter while the birds transition from North to South. As this time of transition comes upon us, every year I take this time to reflect on myself and the past year that I have experienced.
The major transitions in my life for this past year have been mainly health oriented. The dictionary term for transition is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. This statement can be manifested into multiple meanings and different situations. Most recently the biggest transition for me was, changing my diet.
For patients that have come to our office, when you have your initial consultation, at the end, you are usually given a suggested Bland Diet that explains about the foods that can cause an inflammatory response in the body as well as suggesting to avoid processed foods, and cook from home. It is also separated into different food categories and each category has a list of foods that are okay to eat and not okay. When I explain what the Bland Diet I get a lot of people thinking, “ Oh God, this means I can’t eat anything now doesn’t it?” Although this Diet may seem intimidating, I will show you the reasoning and tools to help you transition from Bland to Blandtastic! (alright, that sounded better in my head).
When I first began the Bland Diet (yes, I gave up and had to retry more than once), I was too gung-hoe about the whole thing. I went straight to eating salads, raw veggies, and a couple times, nearly starved myself because I was so lost on what to eat. I had purged my pantry, and then restocked it with the same crappy junk foods (mostly cookies and other sweets) and then filled it with healthy stuff, (which I am getting better at these days). The best thing about the Bland Diet sheet is that you do have a list of foods that are okay and not okay, which is really helpful. On the other hand, though it tends to be a little bit of a cliff hanger because it is open for interpretation as to how to prepare foods and how to create your own recipes “great so I have this list, now what?”.
For many health conditions, diet is the leading cause of negative symptoms. Therefore it is crucial to take under consideration that a change of diet is needed to make yourself feel better. Some of the content we advise in the Bland Diet is staying away from processed food. Mono Sodium Glutamate or MSG for short is a food additive that is spiked in many processed foods, the best thing is, this toxic salt makes you want to eat more, as if we don’t have that problem already! And while we are at it, what does GMO even mean? Well GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. The American food industry is so lazy that we don’t want to even grow food the way its suppose to be grown anymore, so we clone crops and mix and match other crops’ DNA (like mixing DNA of a banana and putting it in a potato) so that pests like bugs won’t “contaminate” the food, sounds great right? Nope. We don’t have to worry about bugs getting into our food supplies.
Although GMO gene splicing does its job for keeping bugs away it also creates a toxic chemical reaction for our bodies. Even pesticides don’t want any part of this chemical bath. If you could imagine that animals, bugs, and bacteria don’t want to eat it…then why should we?
When it comes to spicy and sweet foods, we would rather have you look at more local food and limiting your sugar. Depending on your climate, there are foods you can eat and foods that just don’t make sense to eat. For example, in Washington state we are notorious for being the most rainy state. Most tropical fruits such as papaya, mangos and pineapple are cooling fruits that come from tropical hot places (like East Asia or South America), will decrease your temperature. In order to maintain a normal temperature to keep you warm during this cold season, it doesn’t make sense to eat these fruits that will decrease your temperature which will result in you getting a cold or flu. Spicy foods, make you sweat and perspire, and in countries like India when its hot most of the year, or Thailand, you need to sweat to keep yourself cool and balance the system, here in Washington, not so much. Eat the foods that are in season to maintain this balance.
On the topic of fruit, although it is so delicious to eat, its a good idea to know how much sugar each fruit contains. You should also know that eating fruit at night before bedtime disrupts the digestive system and causes imbalance in the body. Its as if you had some sort of energy drink and you are attempting to go to sleep, usually doesn’t work out very well, the sugar gets metabolized into energy making you want to burn that energy.
America is well known for its over consumption of meat. Ribs, burgers, nuggets, steaks, wings of all different kinds of animals are all rich in purine, and high in cholesterol. Not only that but red meat specifically is hard for the stomach to digest. It takes around 2 days for meat to fully digest in your stomach and intestines which can cause a back up in your intestinal pluming.
When looking at the bland diet, it can be hard to brain storm recipes or meals that accommodate to the Bland Diet and that fully satisfy your taste buds. But In the information age we live in, there are so many resources to look into that can encourage you to look at recipes that pertain to the bland diet. For example, Zucchini is on the OK list, you can find a recipe to make zucchini soup! Sweet potatoes are OK, make mashed sweet potatoes. Paleo/ Vegan/ Vegetarian dishes are always best to look up and if you like meat, be sure to buy organic farm raised animal meat, like chickens and add to the Paleo/ Vegan/ Vegetarian dish. Allrecipes.com, Pinterest, cook books are great resources for recipes and inspiration. Make a list of all the food that you like from the Bland Diet and mix and match.
As the holiday season gets closer, food can be the bane of your digestive system. Be sure to watch your portion sizes, enjoy good tasting food, and try making food as a gift versus buying from the store, it adds that from the heart quality to this holiday season. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, make this transitional season enlightening.