Why Your Body Is Special: Biochemical Individuality
In case you aren’t the reading type, or my post is just too long (yeah, that happens a lot), I have started off my post today with a summary of the subject as presented by our newest Holistic Health Advocate: Urban Cave Baby! Enjoy. 🙂
When I first started seeking out nutrition advice after being diagnosed with celiac, a whole new world was opened up to me. A world of dietary restrictions, allergy-friendly diets and, most prominently, a long list of books and blogs that each claimed to have the dietary answer to chronic illness, weight gain, fatigue, allergies, ADHD, autism, PMS, cellulite, world hunger, and the infamous “muffin top”. I poured over each one, certain that this time I would find the key to long-lasting health and vitality.
My first big dietary commitment was, to be quite honest, one of convenience. I had been told that I was sensitive to a number of foods including dairy, eggs and honey. I found myself looking for a “Vegan” label on recipes and food products to make sure they didn’t have those ingredients. These searches led me to many realizations about Veganism that would derail me from my current train of thought, so I shall save that topic for another post. 😉 Anyway, after reading the book “Skinny Bitch”, I was convinced that this was going to save me. This was going to be how I would save my body from all the post-gluten damage and be healthy, energetic and “skinny” all at once for the first time ever.
Now, don’t be jealous, but my husband actually got on board and decided to give it a try. Giving up gluten had already helped him so much, he decided that it was worth a shot to try this out and see what happens. After reading a copy of “Skinny Bastard” (so nice of them to keep guys in the loop :P), we were on the same page and ready to tackle it head on! Karl was smart and eliminated a few things at a time until he was completely animal-free. I tried quitting cold-turkey but ended up chowing down on a few gluten-free, egg-laden donuts here and there. Soon, we were both eating gluten-free and on a “Vegan” diet (being a real Vegan and eating a “Vegan” diet are two completely different things, but again, I’ll save that for another post :)). At first, I was doing great! Getting rid of dairy seemed to be the last piece of the puzzle when it came to my pesky breakouts and stomach pains. But… then what?
Flash forward 3 years. We had both been eating exactly the same way: no gluten, no animal products, plant based, organic, whole foods. But our results couldn’t have been more different! Karl had dropped a ton of weight, gained energy and mental clarity and a newfound passion for raw foods, nutrition and the impact that food has on the body. I, on the other hand, was just as sluggish as ever, approaching the heaviest weight I had ever been, and was ready to give up. I was a more disciplined eater than anyone I had ever met, and for what? So that waitresses at restaurants can roll their eyes at me when I ask what’s in the salad dressing?
At this point, I was desperate. I tried juice cleanses, eating raw, working out like crazy, at times I basically starved myself to try and get just a couple of pounds off the scale. And guess what? I gained instead! If I had to hear one more personal trainer spout out “Less calories in than calories out is all there is to weigh loss!”, I was going to… well, do nothing. They were buff and they could easily defend themselves. I was overweight, weak and utterly defenseless against all the muscular people who were spreading ill-informed diet memes all over Instagram.
It was around that time that I started seeing a highly specialized holistic nutritionist in my area. It wasn’t all a great experience (a lot of money spent on a ridiculous amount of supplements and some just plain weirdness that led to me seeking help elsewhere), but they did reveal to me one of the most important discoveries in my healing journey: biochemical individuality. The idea that everyone’s body is different and responds differently to food and exercise. A lot of people are sick and overweight, but that doesn’t mean that they all have the same problem, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the same thing is going to heal them.
After discovering that my body’s primary issue was sugar handling (the body’s inability to properly metabolize sugar and carbohydrates), it suddenly made sense why my grain-heavy vegan diet and blood-sugar dipping and spiking juice cleanses and fasts weren’t doing anything for me. They were just exasperating the problem!
To top it off, there is a whole science dedicated to the different reactions certain blood types have towards different foods, exercise styles and stressors. The book “Eat Right for Your Type” was a great jumping off point, and lead me to discover a lot of what I had already witnessed: Karl’s blood type tended to do well on a vegetarian diet, mine did not. Some people swear by this science, but I stand by my revelation: there is no “one size fits all” to healing! Not even a “one size fits each blood type”. But every experience and piece of information that teaches me more about my body is always welcome. Even “Skinny Bitch” had some great nutritional insight, despite it not being the healing diet for my body right now.
So, after a long road of training my body to properly metabolize sugar, respectfully turning to animals for healing, and focusing on nourishing my body instead of starving it, I am now the healthiest I have ever been and the “skinniest” I have been in at least 5 years. As soon as I found the type of food my body needed, the weight really just melted off. Having a baby has certainly made it more difficult to keep it all up, but I am proud of myself for getting this far. I am 35 pounds lighter than I was at 6 weeks postpartum, and two pant sizes smaller than when I first became pregnant. I still have a long way to go to achieve optimal health, but to see how far I have come only spurs me on to keep learning, nourishing and rocking my new lifestyle.
So here is my bit of inspiration I would like to leave you with today: Would you like to finally find out how to be the healthiest version of yourself? You need to go look for it! No one pill, natural weight loss shake, exercise routine, cleanse, special diet, wrap or essential oil regemin will heal everyone. Educate yourself, try different things, keep track of how your body responds, get help from a holistic health professional, and don’t give up! Healing is possible, and it may be just around the corner. 🙂