Healthy From The Inside Out, Vol. 1- What happened When I Started Eating Clean & Eliminating Sugar
Hokay, hello, lovely people! It feels good to be writing. I've had so much inspiration and so many ideas spiraling around in my brain the last couple days, it felt like I was going to explode! In a good way, of course. Anyways, today I want to talk about healthy eating and my experience with changing my diet so far. Truthfully, I haven't done anything too crazy, but I'm making small changes each day that are helping me build a perfectly suited healthy lifestyle. Here's how-
Before I dive in too deep, I want to point out that people tend to have this misconception of vegetarian/veganism- that if you cut meat and dairy out of your diet, you only eat all the green & super healthy foods. Green drinks for breakfast and kale salads for lunch and dinner. Sigh, if only it were that easy! The reality is that when I first tried committing to a vegan lifestyle, I had days where I sat down at night and realized that the only things I ate all day were doritos and oreos (yep, both vegan). Put shortly, I'm living proof that a vegan lifestyle does not by definition mean a healthy lifestyle.
As you can imagine, my digestive system didn't quite agree with my new "diet" of chips, cookies and the occasional pasta dish. It made that fact known by protesting and leaving me feeling uncomfortably bloated quite often. This was motivation enough for me to do some research, and over the last couple months, begin a gut-healing journey to become the healthiest version of myself. I've had ups and downs, good days and tough days, but overall, I am feeling so damn GOOD since I started to eat more clean and eliminate processed foods & added sugars from my diet. As with most things, it was an adjustment at first and required putting some thought into my meals each day, but it quickly started becoming second nature! And I've been so happy with the way I feel -both inside and out- that I started to document my progress and share these personal learnings with you guys. It makes me so stoked that you're here to learn more about this process! However, please keep in mind that what works for me may NOT be what your body needs! (It's always a good idea to consult with your doctor before eliminating meat, dairy, gluten, etc from your diet.)
Now, when I say the word "detox," I don't mean that I spent 3 weeks living on juiced celery (although fresh celery juice is one of the best things you could start your day with). In fact, detoxing is as simple as adding in more whole foods to your diet, rather than eliminating everything else. All I did was become more conscious of the foods I chose to eat (more greens) and the few things I avoided (sugar, caffeine and processed foods). Still, I won't deny that the first couple weeks of this lifestyle change was...interesting and a little stressful. Although the changes I made felt fairly simple, my body had unconsciously grown accustomed to a certain amount of sugar intake. And the first thing that happened once my body realized things were changing was, of course, acne. What I thought I had rid myself of since high school came roaring back, and quickly. UGH. Did you know that certain areas of your face can directly correlate with the health of your internal organs? It made perfect sense for me to learn the targeted areas of my breakouts were all associated with my stomach, intestines & digestive health.
I also experienced a serious decrease in energy. It was similar to the crash after a sugar high, only it lasted for about two weeks. For two weeks, it felt like I was dragging my feet and stuck in a foggy haze. This was my body detoxing from all of the sugar and caffeine I abruptly cut out of my diet and it felt like the longest weeks of my life (I know, I'm dramatic). But really, it didn't feel good.
The Transition & The Comeback
To battle the side effects of detoxing, I gave my body all of the nourishment it needed. I made sure to do the following
I drank a LOT of water - it's SO important to stay hydrated!
Rested when I was tired instead of pushing myself like I normally would
Stayed committed to only investing in healthy food options at the grocery store
Above all, I remembered to be kind to myself during this transition. It became a lot easier once I stopped getting angry at my complexion and asking myself why I didn't cut out the junk sooner.
It's not an overnight process! I had to accept that challenges will arise through the transition, and continue to give myself daily reminders that the struggles are going flourish into something wonderful and worth it- so accept them! What happened after a few dedicated weeks of this lifestyle/diet change? My skin cleared up, my energy returned (and then some), the foggy veil was lifted and I started to feel vibrant!
Good Foods For Detoxing
Our bodies are literally made up of what we eat. So, it's important to be aware of the things we're feeding it! Sticking to mainly whole foods will limit the build up of toxins in our bodies and help fight off sickness and disease in the long run. When you decide to create a healthier path for yourself, any whole food is a good decision (these include fruits, veggies and grains), but during my own experience, I found the following foods to be especially good and easily accessible-
Quinoa- quinoa is so versatile! I can think of 10 different bowls and combinations using quinoa and my favorite veggies right off the top of my head. Bonus- 1 cup of quinoa is 8 grams of protein!
Asparagus- I LOVE roasted asparagus on wraps, sandwiches or even in salads
Beets- I don't normally like beets, but there's something sweetly delicious about adding beets to your juice
Blueberries- I eat them by the handful but they also make a cool addition to smoothies
Cucumbers- Add them to salads, sandwiches or your juices. Or just slice and enjoy with a dressing of choice!
Any greens- steam to add to sandwiches or just enjoy as a salad
Oats- Make an awesome granola using oats, honey, nuts and your favorite dried fruits. Try your version of overnight oats for breakfast, or simply add them to your smoothie to make it more filling!
How Do I Feel Now?
Since eliminating processed foods & sugars and adding more whole foods & grains to my diet, I feel brand new! Here's how:
My motivation has soared- since my energy level is higher than ever, I've become a dedicated workaholic (in a good way)! I have been super productive since I stopped putting things off until "tomorrow."
I stopped getting random stomach aches- I used to wake up in the morning often with an unsettled, bloated stomach. And while we're on the topic, I would also feel groggy and super tired. Since cutting out the junk, I wake up feeling bright & refreshed, and I can't remember the last time I had a tummy ache!
Feeling light and generally happier- knowing that I'm consciously doing my best to put only good things into my body is a really, really good feeling.
My skin has cleared up and become more clear and glowing than it's ever been before!
Nourishing our bodies with a healthy and balanced diet will keep us feeling good from the inside out. I will of course continue to document this gut-healing journey I'm on, and keep you guys updated with any changes I experience (good or bad). But, I also want to take a second to emphasize that just because I've eliminated added sugars from my diet as much as possible, DOES NOT mean I can't enjoy the good stuff! If you're on a similar path, don't forget about the most important thing- balance, y'all. I still eat dessert, I just do it a little more mindfully. You'd be surprised how easy it is to find sweet treats that aren't loaded with unnatural sugars!
If you have questions about my journey so far or want to chat about your own experiences with eliminating processed foods, sugars, even meat or dairy from your diet, I'd love to hear from you! Comment below :)
Sending you all love
Kimber is a fellow soul searcher, yoga instructor, and proud dog mama. She invites you along her own journey to wellness and hopes to inspire people to be the healthiest & happiest version of themselves every day!