As I reached for the last bite of cake from my son’s third birthday I thought about how my body felt since having a few days where our family “cheated” on our daily foods. Three days have passed with more lax foods in my life. Our cheating usually consists of a hamburger, pizza, mac & cheese, grilled cheese, pancake, or biscuits. The kids love pancakes and pizza so, being a parent, that’s what we tend to gravitate towards. Since eating these things, my body doesn’t feel as energetic, it’s been harder to wake up, it’s more difficult to focus on tasks of the day and process what’s next on the agenda. My oldest has had a few more temper tantrums and has been a little harder than usual to reign in with simple expectations. As important as it is to be strict with our diet, it’s just as important to have times where we can be less strict. It’s good for the brain, and it’s also great for the kids to know on special occasions you get special things. It’s a great addition to special occasions, and it’s also short-lived so it gives us a brief timeline so the cheat days don’t get excessive.
My family’s basic dietary guidelines for everyday life are no gluten, dairy, sugar or processed foods. We take breaks on birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. Most people would look at this as extreme, but the reward of a healthy functioning body is so worth it for my family and me. It’s also a great way to teach our kids how to use foods to their advantage. When we tell the little ones we are eating clean they now expect not to ask for certain things, but they know that they can expect to have those treats in the future.
A great example of why it’s important to eat with health in mind is maintaining health through cold and flu season. When the public is sick, we as a family tend to be immune to most ailments. When we do “catch” something, we are extra cautious of what goes into the body, really focusing on added supplementation so we can allow the immune system to do its job. Eating clean doesn’t guarantee immunity, but it does guarantee that your immune system has the best chance to win a fight. No matter your condition of health, your health ailments, or how old or young you are, clean eating allows all of your organ systems to function easier—not just your immune system. Your digestion is easier, your liver converts and detoxifies efficiently, your brain has a greater ability to communicate to your body, your energy increases because it is not being regularly wasted, your pain decreases because your body is less inflamed, your rest and repair mechanisms work better when you sleep, and your joints and muscles don’t hurt! When your body gets simple foods, you work more efficiently. Stressful events in your everyday life are more easily absorbed and you are happier overall. Your body adapts easier so you don’t “stress” about every and all negative events that happen to you, all because you intentionally chose what to put in your body.
By taking charge of what goes into your body every meal, day, week, month, year, you will allow your body to last longer and be more fruitful to use. Eating clean is foundational for getting to choose what you do as you age. You are literally writing the future of your body with every meal. Short-term dietary fads can help in losing weight or feeling slightly better, but life has so much more to offer than just settling for symptom reduction—go for the whole shebang! Go for having a healthier body so you can play with your great-grandkids, travel and walk around Europe at 90, and be independent into your elder years. So don’t look at the short term, look at the long term. You have control of your health once! Don’t lose it. Have standards in all aspects of your life so you can make progress that is noticeable by you and everyone around you.
Dr. John Palmer
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