In my quest for my own health and well-being over the years, I have used myself to experiment with different diets, supplements, foods, and exercises. Don’t worry, no one is mistreating me in these experiments. In fact, most of these trials are fun and educational for me, and are helping me make sense of the incredible amount of sometimes contradictory nutritional information.
I’ve already done quite a bit of research. For example, as a vegetarian, I felt often weak and without energy, and I even started dreaming about tired, hungry wolves. The next day, I tore into a juicy hamburger and felt incredibly energized and powerful afterward. On my version of the low-carb diet, higher protein diet, I felt more grounded, but my body also felt thicker. I noticed that I was ravenous an hour after eating a small bowl of cut, fresh fruit for breakfast, but discovered that an egg atop a piece of gluten-free, brown rice bread at 7 a.m. sustained me until about 11. After researching natural remedies for constipation, I began drinking 2 glasses of room temperature water in the morning upon waking, an hour before eating breakfast, which has helped keep me regular. My doctor prescribed iron supplements to combat borderline anemia, but found that I got the same effect by adding foods with the necessary vitamins and minerals into my diet.
I read or heard about these different diets and health practices in books, in class, from friends, doctors, on the internet, or on T.V. However, the only way I knew whether they worked for my body was only by experimenting on myself and noting carefully how I felt before, during, and after each trial. I, then, discarded or added these practices or foods to my daily or weekly rituals based on my experience.
My inner-rat is still alive and kicking as I tweak my daily health regimen. As I age–gracefully and stylishly, of course–I will continue to modify my nutrition and daily rituals to suit my body’s ever-changing needs. Things I learn in my health coaching program, or interesting suggestions from books, articles, and speakers are constantly being filed away in my brain’s “To Try in The Near Future” box. As long as I am realistic about my abilities and limitations, these experiments are fun, create new challenges and experiences, and prevent boredom with my usual health routine.
Do you have some nutritional or self-care experiments you want to try? Maybe it’s as simple as waking up earlier to sneak in 20 minutes of exercise before work? Or maybe something as exotic as Thai massage, or as pampering as a lymphatic drainage massage? Or maybe you’d like to try a non-artificial sweetener, or play in the kitchen with a new vegetable or grain? Whatever you choose to do, have fun, and keep the following in mind:
- Remember that your goal is always your health and well-being.
- Accept who and how you are at this moment. Be aware of your current mental and physical limitations. Your body’s needs and tolerance level as a 20-year-old were most likely different from what they are now as a 30, 50, or 70-year-old.
- Have a support system. Inform your family and/or friends about your health experiment. Ask for your doctor’s opinions, or talk to your holistic health coach.
- Keep a list of things you want to try or have tried. Note the effects on your body.
- Always remember that YOU and your intuition are the authorities when it comes to your body. If something is feeling not-quite-right to you, listen to yourself. No matter how many scientists, doctors, or nutritionists say something is good for you, YOU are the expert on how that activity, food, or supplement affects your body.
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