Our bodies tell us more than we think. Often, when we are thinking of embarking on a healthy, whole foods journey, we’re getting cues from our intuition telling us that something is wrong.
What if you don’t feel very intuitive about your body yet? What signs should you look for?
As a clinician, patients book appointments with me often because of one or more of the symptoms below. I encourage you to ask yourself if these describe you, and if so, to start thinking about what steps you need to take now to begin your good food journey.
6 signs your body is telling you that you need real, whole foods nourishment:
1. You have aches and pains - Unexplained aches and pains can be a sign that your body is inflamed. Inflammation is caused by highly processed foods, foods high in sugar and foods containing unhealthy fats (trans fats and hydrogenated oils are some examples). Even some foods that we normally think are healthy can cause inflammation! If you are not nourishing your body with healthy whole foods, you may develop inflammation and even body pain because of this. (For future: link to common foods that may cause inflammation that you wouldn’t necessarily think of.)
2. Hair loss - Hair loss can be due to a multitude of things, eating poorly is one of them. Hair growth requires a variety of vitamins and minerals, all of which can be found in a healthy balanced diet. When you eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, you are more likely to get all of the important vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
3. Change in hormones - For women, our cycles are regulated by a complex set of interactions. Hormones like progesterone and estrogen work in sync to control our cycles. When we eat poorly, overeat or under eat, all of these can disrupt our cycles.
For example, eating too many unhealthy food can lead to excess estrogen which will disrupt our cycle and cause irregular or heavier bleeding. Under-eating does the opposite, decreasing the amount of estrogen in the body and slowing or stopping our periods all together.
Similarly in men, hormonal changes can occur ultimately due to a bad diet. Belly fat in men, which often accumulates due to unhealthy food choices over the years, leads to estrogen dominance and the symptoms associated with that (lower sex drive etc).
4. Body shape changes – Do you notice areas of your body with excess fat? While a large part of our body shape is determined by genetics, excess collection of fat can also be a true signal that our body isn’t being properly nourished. For example, when we eat sugary, highly processed or refined foods, we experience spikes in our blood sugar. The spikes in blood sugar can lead to an abnormal or unhealthy insulin response which can cause our body to store fat when we don’t really need to store that fat! Often-times, switching to a plant-based whole foods diet like Food for Fuel will make those problem areas disappear.
5. Fatigue - Food is energy. When we are nourishing our body with good food, our cells literally have the best fuel to thrive. Healthy cells mean healthy muscles, bones, blood and all of your body parts! I like to think of our bodies like cars. You can have an old beater car, fuel it with crappy gasoline and neglect the need for oil changes and maintenance. What will happen? That car is going to be rusty, slow and noisy as it slowly falls apart. OR you can have a shiny beautiful car that you tend to regularly, filling it with high quality gas, maintain all of its moving parts. As you know, this car with run smoothly, cause few problems and be truly a joy to drive. Good Fuel = Good Feelings!
6. Poor Moods - Moods are affected my many things including, but not limited to: sleep quality, stressors, habits, prior experiences, physiological activities stemming from our hormones and neurotransmitters. While food isn’t the only fix for a bad mood, we can absolutely enhance our moods with clean eating.
For example, think of those energy crashes you can experience in the afternoon or after eating a sugary snack. You get these intial spikes from unhealthy foods, then a crash afterwards because your blood sugar is trying to balance itself back out from the huge upswing.
Simply changing to a whole foods plant based diet without the sugar that is in junk foods and highly refined carbs can eradicate these crashes. In addition, healthy foods are full of the nutrients that our body needs to produce the neurotransmitters that help control our mood.
You don’t have to be specific about the foods either! The goal is to eat an array of plants, nuts, healthy proteins and healthy fats and your brain and ultimately mood will glow.
Did you find that your body is giving you one or more of these signals? Take some time this week to really listen to your body and make a plan to check in with yourself.
In food and fun,
p.s. Already know you need some nourishment? Check out Food for Fuel - my signature program that helps you heal, nourish, fuel and connect!