On my last trip in November, it felt like my body broke. I was coughing, stuffy, couldn’t sleep, but always tired, and, strangest of all, my gums were bleeding, like non-stop. It was creepy and worrisome to say the least. Travel puts a toll on our bodies, but usually I handle things much better.
Once I returned to New Jersey, most things went back to normal. My cold went away. My dentist told me that five years is too long for any human adult to go without a teeth cleaning, especially when you have fantastic dental insurance, and really what the hell is wrong with me? I don’t know.
I felt better, but I still didn’t feel quite right. Even a few weeks ago, I had a sore throat that was attributed to a viral infection and, thankfully, not strep throat. My lymph glands were swollen, too. And according to Dr. Google, I was dying. Or, possibly, I was already dead. Not sure.
A few years ago, I went to an Ayurvedic doctor when a recurring health issue wouldn’t go away and I spent way too much time at doctors’ offices that just kept prescribing antibiotics. At a certain point, the antibiotics just aren’t working and all you’re doing is killing your resistance to any new, future strains. I am not a fan.
What my Ayurvedic doctor taught me is that diet is critical to your health. When I sat down in her office the first time, she rattled of a list of foods that I couldn’t eat: cheese, fermented foods, acidic foods, sugar, alcohol, coffee, so on, and so forth. It was as if she were reading directly from my food journal.
“But, that’s basically my diet,” I whimpered.
As a type A, virgo, yadda yadda who loves boundaries and parameters, once given a rule, I will follow it to an obsessive degree. I did not eat any of those things for roughly a year and, wouldn’t you know, I felt better. No more issues.
So this time, I thought back to any changes I made to my diet over the past few months. As I’ve continued to work on weightlifting and building muscle, I’ve turned to protein powders as a supplement to my vegetarian diet which, by default, doesn’t provide the most ample amount of protein, mostly because I fail to meal plan and can’t be bothered.
I know my body isn’t a huge fan of overdosing on dairy, whether that be in the form of delicious cheeses or whey or cream or milk, so I generally opt towards vegan options. Vegan + protein (typically) = soy, I learned.
Soy can be a complex beast. The more soy I ate over the past few weeks, which was a lot, the more things felt off. So I decided to cut back, switch to pea/rice proteins, eat less pre-made foods (as convenient as that is) and focus more on cooking for myself.
Of course, I’m feeling better. Which, I often just attribute to eating healthier and fresher foods overall, but I’m inclined to see the correlation between soy and general yuckiness in my body.
The relationship we have with our bodies is an ever-evolving and growing thing. When I was younger, I felt like I was perpetually fighting with my body. Then, I nearly ignored it, so the relationship was practically non-existent.
Now, it feels more like a conversation. The more I tweak things and pay attention to how they make me feel, the better I understand what works best for me and learn to stand up for those needs, even when it can feel awkward (out to dinner with friends, for example) or even when it’s time to test the latest set of rules to see if there’s something that would work better.
In the meantime, moderation is king queen.