Diet. The word itself is enough to induce feelings of dread. Many of us associate the word diet with reduced calories, bland food, and feeling miserable. The truth is that the word diet quite simply refers to “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eat”. Key words here: “Habitually eat”.
Now, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease; I explicitly recall asking my doctor the following: “If I eat a healthier diet will it make me feel better”? His answer was straight-forward and to the point. His answer was no. At the time of my diagnosis I was 17 and my diet “habitually” consisted of foods that had empty calories; or more aptly put, most of my calories came from food containing little to no nutritional value. I ate greasy and fatty fast food, food that often came out of boxes like instant mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, and a lot of food that could be cooked in a microwave like frozen pizzas pockets, or frozen dinners. These were the kinds of foods that were fueling my existence. MY EXISTENCE. Now tell me again how what I put in my body has zero impact on how I feel? It can’t. I’m no medical doctor, but I promise you that it just can’t. The worst part of all of this? To this very day; twenty years later, those being diagnosed are STILL being told that what they eat DOES NOT MATTER. This blows my mind, and not in a good way.
Being a fitness competitor has shown me the absolute power of nutrition. Sure we train hard, do our cardio and, lift weights, but none of that would matter if we didn’t eat the right diet. Anyone that has tried to get ready for a fitness competition while not sticking to their diet knows that the phrase “you can’t out train a bad diet” is more than true. What you look like on that stage is greatly impacted by what you do (or more often) do not eat, and one meal can be the difference between winning and losing a competition. So I ask you to consider this: If nutrition has the power to change how you look on the outside, imagine the kind of power it has to change how you look on the inside.
As a holistic nutritionist I know that a healthy diet is only one component to your overall well-being, but I can tell you that it’s an absolutely critical one. It is my opinion that the importance of diet needs to be clearly communicated to the recently diagnosed and I will never stop advocating for the significance that diet has in managing symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. When I look back to the time I was diagnosed, I often think about what I know now and what I wish I knew then. Well, if I could rewind the hands of time and tell that 17 year-old girl just one thing? I would tell her that diet does matter, it matters so very much. Nutrition literally has the power to heal you or create further disease, and don’t ever allow anyone to convince you otherwise.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Subscribe at the bottom of this page for upcoming posts on an in depth look at my diet. For a sneak peak into what diet I like to follow right now click here