I have read so much about the effect food has on one’s health, so much about the types of foods and the quantities of food and how to eat and be healthy, I have forgotten half of it. Nothing has left an impression, though I had been through many diets, like what happened to me lately.
Ever since I lost my Mom and have been living alone my diet has changed drastically. When my Mom was still alive, she used to have very little appetite and I used to bring so much food of such a variety to tempt her that I ended up eating most of it. Well I had excellent help with her nurse who usually ate the bulk of it. But still, I was eating quite a lot in an attempt to encourage my Mom to eat more.
Now that I am on my own, and I do not need to tempt anyone to eat, or ever cater to anyone’s taste, I find that the quality and quantity of food I am eating has changed drastically. Even the timing of having my meals has changed.
I am a naturally early riser (even though the pets wake me up at ungodly hours in the morning) so I usually have my breakfast pretty early. My taste has now changed to a breakfast of freshly pressed orange juice, a small sandwich of white cheese (or any other kind that is available) and maybe, if I feel like it, a mug of green tea with honey. By noon I could do with a snack, and find that most of the fridge is taken up with fruit, mostly from my garden. I have mangoes, pears, guava and figs, so I have a snack of any type of fruit I feel like having at the time.
My main meal is the midday one which could be at 3 pm or as late as 6 pm depending on when I feel hungry enough to eat. That is something else that has changed. We used to have very strict timing for all meals and even if you are not hungry you came to the table and ate because it is time; slaves to the clock. Now I only eat when I feel like it. By the evening I could have some more fruit, or more often than not nothing at all.
The effect this relaxed approach to food has had on me is nothing short of a miracle. I have been very systematically losing weight and have been feeling much better. My skin is getting clearer and my spirits are reviving. The extent of all that was very clearly demonstrated when I went out to lunch with friends and decided to pig-out, as the pictures of the junk food displayed were so tempting, I fell for that trick. I ordered and ate a full hamburger, with the works.
Not a thousand books could have convinced me of the effect of food on the human body and spirit as this one meal. After months of eating very healthy food, this one meal of junk food has come as a drastic shock to my system. No I did not suffer the usual upset stomach etc. but did suffer a horrible feeling of being bloated. When I slept that night I was plagued by nightmares, and the next morning I woke up very lethargic and quite depressed.
For the past few months I have been very aware of my moods and keep analyzing everything about them and my life – having no one else to look after turns you introspective – so I tried to analyze why I was in such a bad mood, why I was depressed and disgusted with my whole life when nothing has changed from yesterday when everything was great. Lo, and behold! The food. This realization did not improve my mood, but strangely enough digesting and getting rid of that food, did. Once it cleared my system my mood started getting better, lighter and I was getting back to an even keel, feeling my balance.
This experience is now making me understand why people become vegetarians. I had always thought of myself as a carnivore, I loved a good steak and absolutely adored the local charcoal grilled kofta, but the effect of that one burger had on my system is putting me off meat completely. At least I can still eat seafood, and maybe chicken, at least up till now. Yes food does seem to have a drastic effect on physical health as spiritual and mental well-being.