I started this blog to share my food and learning adventures with fellow travellers who are also interested in beautiful, passionate, life-long relationships with food. There will be no food excluded, this blog is not a single-diet one nor will it ever be. This blog is for lovers of food, whether you prefer Keto, Vegetarian, Vegan, Low Carb, High Protein, you name it. This platform is for people who love food, want to learn more about food and to appreciate the diversity in food culture and selection that we have. I am not a diet pusher, I am a ‘why pusher’. If you understand why you have chosen to eat in the style you have, it becomes more beautiful because eating to your personal preference creates a huge amount of happiness and reduces stress.
As much as I am pro-food, I wanted to share my story with you to show you that food is a personal experience for every single human, and that there is no such thing as “the best” diet. Until we can say that all humans are genetically and unequivocally identical in every way, shape and form, we will never have one. What we can have, is the best diet for our own bodies.
Long Story, Short
I recall as a kid not touching my vegetables. This scenario may seem familiar to many. There were some household favourites like peas and corn that usually came with a roast that were consumed happily but anything else that was dark green was a waste of space on my sectional kiddie plate. Fast forward to today, I am sitting here on my laptop about to tell you that my childhood self may have predicted a relationship that I never thought was possible. Everyone told me vegetables were good for me because of vitamins and nutrients etc. But what I never realised was my experience when eating them and even touching them was different to most others.
Living with Inflammation
To give you some context, I have been living with moderate to severe eczema for my entire life. I currently have three different types in various trigger locations on my body, which has migrated from scalp all the way down to the Independent Republic of Phalange (I consider my toes a republic because they just react differently to all my other sites). Eczema is an inflammatory condition that is visible on the skin and is usually associated with other inflammatory conditions such as Asthma and Hay Fever, both of which I am a 3rd Dan Black Belt in. It not only looks a bit awkward but can be extremely painful daily. I often describe hand eczema as having hundreds of paper cuts on your hands, so whenever you wash them or touch anything it's like a symphony of stinging.
The advantage of having a skin condition (never thought I’d ever pair eczema with the word ‘advantage’) is that you can almost immediately tell if your body is adverse to something. I first noticed this in my early twenties when I developed contact dermatitis, this is a type of eczema that occurs just from skin contact. This alarmed me because what I was touching was something I was taught my body absolutely required: vegetables. Over the years it got worse and I couldn’t even touch potatoes or even cucumbers and celery. Needless to say I was in denial for years because how can you not eat vegetables right?
The last 24 months have been extremely stressful for my inflammation. The whole body eczema has impacted my ability to recover from training, from stress, from work fatigue and I often find myself needing 3-4 days off completely to sleep. How does a skin condition impact on your ability to recover? Refer to this post on the Insta feed for some side info.
The Results-based Approach
Working with a professional now, we are finally trying to understand what my body is doing in response to the foods I eat. Using trial and error, elimination methods, extensive measurement and KPI tracking we are beginning to get a picture of just what my body needs and does. We have noticed enough red flags over the past weeks that suggest that I may be “allergic” not to some, but almost all vegetables including tubers (my most glorious potato..how tragic!). This does not mean I will never eat them again! This just means that if I can identify the severity of potential triggers, I can manage my outbreaks better and understand where they may be coming from. Let’s face it, to live a life without any sort of potato is not a life lived!
This brings me to today, as I recline on my chaise, embarking on Day 3 of a ‘carnivore’ style plan to assess whether my inflammation reduces (while quietly resenting the fact that I can’t eat any of the baked cheesecake I made for my husband’s birthday), I am feeling somewhat grateful for the opportunity I have to perform these experiments, as well as the time I am able to dedicate to researching the cause and effect so I can unleash some more experience into the universe to learn from.
Diets are a great learning tool. Understanding your ‘why’ is important but remember your ‘why’ may be largely different to someone else’s. Food choices are personal and preferential.
After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.