Tips for Mindful Eating
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Mindset is key when changing your eating habits. Read these 10 tips to help you unleash the healing powers of food.
The first thing I did when I was diagnosed with MS was re-vamp my diet, and it was the best decision I have made. Upon some research and consult from my doctors, I decided to eliminate refined sugar, gluten, dairy, hydrogenated oils, soy products, corn products, and processed foods. I also keep eggs, grains, natural sweeteners, and nightshade veggies to a minimum; I eat organic; and am very selective when choosing fish and meats that I eat. Since I have changed my eating habits, my symptoms have been much less intense. I almost immediately started to notice a difference in my energy levels, numbness, heat intolerance, strength, and headaches. (HAPPY DANCE)
The first couple weeks was hard. I've dieted before, but nothing like this. I love food. I loved (past tense) a juicy hamburger and french fries, breaded chicken, chips, ice cream, pastries, oooh and cheesy garlic bread (ok sorry, not helping). I was feeling pretty deprived until I started to discover the rewards of eating healthy. Now, I have accepted this as my norm and I am A-OK with it. The cravings are not so loud anymore and I've developed a new appreciation for food (real food). It is truly amazing the healing power it has.
Because I know how hard it can be to change your eating habits (especially when it is so drastic), I have put together some tips that have helped me succeed. I hope it can help you too!
1. Educate yourself.
Use what you learn about foods as your motivation. When you eat broccoli, imagine it releasing molecules that protect your cells from damage and that prevent inflammation. When you eat sugar, imagine it feeding that bad bacteria in your gut (no bueno). The more you know, the more determined you will be (post coming soon with info and great resources).
2. Plan a start date and stick to it.
As I mentioned, the first couple weeks are the hardest. Preparation makes it much easier. In the days leading upto your start date, create a meal plan and experiment with some new recipes to replace cravings that you anticipate having. Do your shopping ahead of time and have meals and snacks ready and accessible. It may also be wise to choose to start on a weekend that you don't have a lot going on, so you dont get tempted to cheat right off the bat.
3. Go all-in
This might go agaist what some people might think or say; but in my opinion, cold turkey is best. Commit yourself and try not to cheat. The more you cheat, the less likely you will notice improvements in how you feel. If you're not feeling the rewards of your diet change, the less likely you will continue with it. Even allowing yourself that "one bite" will open up the doors to more cheating. #behaviorscience You also need to be careful of no-no foods sneaking into your body. Be sure to always read labels. Corn and sugar have many names- if you are eating anything pre-packaged, they are likely an ingredient. Hydrogonated oils are in practically everything too. That's why it's always best to eat fresh and homemade.
4. Plan and prep your meals ahead of time.
Fast food and processed foods are really tempting when you are in a hurry and are having all the cravings under the sun. Make your meals convenient by setting time aside for planning and prepping meals ahead of time. Anticipate your cravings and prepare snacks and meals that you think will help satisfy those cravings. Having meals and snacks ready is a game changer. (Meal Plans coming soon)
5. Pack food for when you're on the go.
This is a biggie. No matter where I go, I pack a little cooler of food just in case. Sometimes, you just dont know where the day will take you. All I know is you don't want it to take you to a fast food restaurant or to that French Onion dip with potato chips. (Snack Hack post coming soon)
6. Have fun and get creative!
Find creative ways to eat your leafy greens and sulfur rich foods. Switch it up. Make it pretty. Have fun. It might take some experimenting in the kitchen at first, but you will quickly discover your favorite go-to recipes that you'll end up loving. (Stay tuned for recipes)
7. Keep it simple
If you're not the creative type in the kitchen or you're not feeling upto cooking, grab a plate full of raw veggies. Eating healthy doesn't have to be complicated. One of my favorite, simple, go-to meals is turkey rolled up in some lettuce, and a heaping side of raw veggies (whatever I have on hand). Easy peasy! (Quick and simple meal menu coming soon)
8. Be Open-Minded.
Try new things. Eat sardines! Get used to loving fresh, raw foods.Try not to get caught up on what you can't eat or the fact that replacement foods dont taste the same. Focus on all the amazing foods that are nourishing your body. It is MAGICAL! Know that this IS a challenge, but guess what? You CAN do it and your body will thank you. >>>Mindset is key!<<<
9. Keep yourself accountable.
I personally like to keep a food journal. I write down what I eat each day and any symptoms I experienced. It's just another way to be mindful of what I am putting in my body. If I am feeling crummy, I'll reflect on my choices for the day. It may also help to join an accountability group or a challenge with a friend. Make it fun. Share recipes. Message me, and I'd be happy to help with getting an accountability group started!
10. Last, but definitely not least: be gracious to yourself.
This is a lifestyle change and it can be hard at first. Don't strive for perfection, just do the best you can. If you slip up, counteract it with a nice big salad for your next meal. Forgive yourself. Keep going. Be patient. The body needs time to heal, but it also needs positive thoughts. Tell yourself you can do it. Imagine your body healing. Reward yourself. Fight to stay in a positive mindset. Eventually, you will feel so much better to the point where that pizza will actually look un-appetizing to you.