These past three blogs have been all about me and my struggles with food and getting to the bottom of the bloating and discomfort. (Click here if you need to catch up *Part I* *Part II* *Part III*) Now, it’s time to focus the attention back towards you, my readers. It’s important to keep in mind that what worked for me might not be the correct answer for you. No one diet (simply meaning the food your body intakes) fits all. Everyone’s genetic makeup is different, meaning that the diet that works really well for your best friend might not be the best option for you. For me, I thought pushing the supplements, probiotics, and other vitamins would be the answer to my health. However, I was wrong and am so glad I did some testing to find out what was going on with my gut specifically. For someone else, some of the same supplements I took might be enough to enhancing their digestion. Everyone is different and everyone thrives off of a slightly different regimen.
That being said, the only way to truly know which foods will improve your life and which will undermine it is through testing. Finding a holistic, functional medicine doctor might be one of the best investments you can make in yourself. (If you're in Chicago, I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Gina Sirchio.) I can’t recommend it enough. My current doctor is in the process of helping me change my life for the better. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to perform at my highest level and heal my gut. Every aspect of my life has slowly improved since this past round of testing. If you want to become a better athlete, or simply hope to improve the quality of your day-to-day life, understanding your body and how it functions is key. I simply believe the best way to accomplish this is through functional testing.
While this would be my go-to way of gaining insight about your own, unique body, I understand that it is not cheap. I did not do all of my tests at once. I had rounds of testing done over a few years; some of them yielded helpful results, others not as much. But I was still learning about my body--an area there is always room to improve in. I recommend going about it the same way, especially if you have experienced moments in the past where you didn’t feel healthy, but might’ve been told you were. Start slow. Get one round of testing done. See what you can glean from the results. Alter what you need to. Continue living your life while listening to the insight your body is giving you. Remember that receiving answers from the testing isn’t the end of the journey; it’s the start. From that moment on, you will need to work everyday, making conscious decisions regarding the food you eat. But, like I said earlier, it is all an investment. And, if you’re going to be investing in something, why not let it be yourself?
What I most want you guys to take away from these blogs is to become attuned to your body. Never write off a sign your body gives you. If something feels off, pay attention to it. If you aren’t able to sleep as well as you’d like, or if you are more lethargic than normal; if you’ve been experiencing regular gut abnormalities, or if your “Buddha belly” begins making irregular, painful appearances, listen to your body. Just like a child cries when something is wrong or they are hurt, your body is trying to get your attention. These reactions are your body telling you it is injured. Please, do not ignore them, thinking that you can continue living your life as though the pain and discomfort aren’t there. If I hadn’t persisted, convinced something more was wrong within my body, I might not have ever found the relief I now have. I want you to be able to find the same reprieve from whatever may be causing pain in your life. So, begin focussing yourself inward, listening to the things your body is telling you.
With that said, please check out these quick, healthy snacks from Chef Katie Simmons. Her food is so delicious and has helped me so much over the years!
Quick, Healthy Workout Snacks by Chef Katie Simmons
As Andrea has talked about in her blog series, finding healthy, satisfying snacks for her diet has been a challenge. Healthy snacks for ANYONE can be a challenge. Most of the convenient bars and granola treats we want to grab are often loaded with refined sugars, oils, and other empty calories. Add to that a list of the most allergens to avoid, and it can seem daunting to find something gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, and dairy-free…without just eating salad and apples. Here are some of my favorite go-to healthy snacks. These will keep you energized for any of Andrea’s brutal workouts, while also keep your tummy happy:
Almond Butter Peach Tortilla Corn tortillas cook quickly right on the stove top. I love cooking them right over the open flame, getting a little bit of char and some nice crunchy texture. Then, I’ll smear on some roasted almond butter and a few slices of ripe peach for a pop of sweetness. You can change the fruit according to whatever you have on hand and what’s in season. Sliced pears, bananas, and plums are all delicious.
Celery Tahini “Ants on a Log It’s time to re-work the classic ants on a long theme with a peanut-free touch. Whenever I’m cooking for families dealing with nut allergies, seeds became a healthy substitution for nuts. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds, so it’s nut-free. Use roasted tahini for the most flavor. Currants (which are kind of like small raisins) add some extra sweetness and energy for that quick workout.
Jicama Chips with Hummus Let’s face it, we all love chips. There’s something about that crunchy texture is highly-addictive. But chips are loaded with empty calories from oil. Plus, no one wants to share the cable machine after you left your greasy chip-hands mark all over the handles. Have you ever made jicama chips? Jicama is a root found often in Mexican and Latin American cuisine. It’s easy to peel and then slice into chips. Use it as a dip for hummus, smear on some guacamole, or layer up with tuna poke for a fancy open-face snack.
4. PBJ Chewy Oat Bites
Oats are naturally gluten-free and loaded with healthy fiber and protein. They make an easy, gluten-free breakfast in place of wheat. I like to use them as a base for energy balls, like these PB and J bites. I make a big batch and then store them in the freezer. I’ll just pop a few in my gym bag…or my chef bag. My favorite is to pack these when I go hiking or running long distances. I pack them frozen, and they start to cool off after an hour – making the perfect cool, sweet energy treat.
More healthy tips and recipes from Chef Katie at Plants-Rule: https://www.plants-rule.com/recipes-1/
For info about Chef Katie’s personal chef services, including weekly meal deliveries and special events: https://www.chefkatiesimmons.com/services/