You know those messages you get from your body when you're eating? Wow, this is so nourishing. Or oh no, that shouldn't have entered my mouth! These messages begin from the dialogue between your brain and stomach through the hormones ghrelin and leptin. But that inner knowing of what foods your body tends to like, where does that stem from?
Epigenetics, the study of changes in our gene expression, have the answers to the question above. This topic re-entered my life as I began listening to The Model Health Podcast about a year ago. Multiple factors effect epigenetics: The environment you're in, the foods you eat, your thoughts, your physical activity, and of course your medical history. The inner knowing of the foods most suitable for your body come from your genes!
This inner knowing is the reason for my lifestyle, and it's stupidly simple. Listen. Take notes. Apply. Watch the results. As someone who enjoys the scientific explanation for nearly everything, it's like an experiment (what better experiment that yourself...right?!). Recently, I've realized it's the reason I'm alive and sane today. Here's the spiel:
The vegan lifestyle found me about eight years ago. After watching documentaries and doing research, I woke up one day and said 'today is the day.' Back then (and even now) the vegan conversion was real! You know what I'm talking about. The aggressive vegans that will preach to you all day about veganism and will tell you how you're dying and dragging all the animals with you to your grave. That was me, ever so slightly. It came in waves. The last time (the final time) the wave rose again was when I met my husband, my soul mate, my twin flame. This man was born and raised in the south...need I say more?! When we were dating, I'd put my veganism aside and cook him a meat dish. The wave rose even higher. Babe finally said something, and reminded me that a lifestyle change cannot be forced on anyone.
There was a change...not a good one
Research has shown that it takes a woman a minimum of a year to fully recover from giving birth. After birthing our child into this world, I honestly struggled to be myself again. I continued to take prenatal vitamins postpartum, as advised. Six months passed by. Nine months. And I was still feeling off. Being in tune with your body is a distinct feeling. I brushed it aside, because there were other things important besides my well-being (or so I thought...this should NEVER be done, ever). I consulted my mom, a nurse practitioner, and she always reminds me of the nutrients that a baby needs to grow healthy (thanks mom!!). And I thought..well if they're important for a newborn, shouldn't mom's be more proactive about such nutrients as well? Mothers, especially first time moms, give so much of themselves to others and neglect taking care of themselves. You can't serve with an empty cup, someone once said. Make sure you fill up your own cup.
Wake up call
The first time I had fish since being vegan, my brain lit up like I had two fold serving of hemp seeds! When there is a lack of fats in the body, the body cannot function, especially cognitively. Fatigue, issues with memory, changes in mood, etc are body signs of a deficiency in dietary fat.
As a vegan, it's very easy to depend on supplements to meet dietary needs.
Supplements are there to supplement your lifestyle.
Supplements are supplementary. Period.
Unfortunately due to my financial situation at the time, I couldn't afford to purchase my green supplements and all the nuts and seeds I would have liked. So I did what I knew best. Going back to nature, finding the exact nutrients in my supplements naturally provided for us.
Your adaptability will determine the progression your growth; and in this instance, your quality of life. Embodying a belief or lifestyle should never hinder that process. If it is, reassess your goals in life and create a path to follow through, in good health and in good spirit.
p.s. - you don't have the time to formulate a proper meal plan, consult a holistic nutritionist or holistic dietitian. Ideally, if you don't have time to do something that will benefit you, outsource it.