[[disclaimer: I am not an RD or any kind of certified health professional. My writings are my thoughts and opinions based on personal observation and experience.]]
In my recent interactions with friends and family members, I have come to realize something that seems somewhat strange to me. It is about how we view food intolerance and eating habits. Specifically, the difference between how health-nuts/foodies view them vs. how ‘normal’ people view them. And by ‘normal’ I mean those who don’t focus on food, but enjoy the foods they like without thinking too much about what they are eating. [[this is not meant to offend anyone, I was having trouble finding a good way to articulate this difference]]
The majority of people I know have favorite foods, and foods they are not particularly fond of – they don’t eat their food based on which vitamins it has, or what color it is. Some of these favorites may include large amounts of processed sugars, animal fats, and foods that many have an intolerance to such as gluten and dairy. I’ve seen statistics that say something like 60-75% of adults cannot properly digest dairy – yet I’m sure that hardly all of those adults cut out all lactose from their diet, or are even aware that they have digestion issues. And many don’t really notice, and don’t care – they are happy with their eating habits, and a little stomach-ache now and then isn’t a big deal.
Lately we hear more and more of people with food intolerance, sensitivities, allergies, and other special dietary restrictions. I have heard some people say that those who claim to have intolerance and sensitivities think that “the world is out to get them” or that it’s all psychological.
Sometimes I don’t know what to believe. I hear things that lead me to think that everyone has an intolerance or sensitivity, but some are more in tune with their bodies than others. I know that there are people with serious food intolerance issues that makes them unable to function at times. But I also hear things that lead me to believe that such intolerance does not have a significant effect on daily life unless we play them up, and make ourselves uncomfortable.
Yes, I know that modern medicine has advanced a great deal in the past few decades, and that we are now able to test for things like sensitivities and intolerance. But are these always serious issues? Or are they just things that will not really hurt us, and only cause mild discomfort.
So, why do some of us care so much now? And why do some not care at all? Why do some people work out even when they’re in pain, and pay little attention to injuries? Why do some people notice every little thing that happens with their bodies, and some are perfectly happy not to have to deal with any of it? [[yes, I know this is probably an exaggeration, I am by no means an expert on the subject]]
You may wonder why I’m writing this, and why I am writing it now. Since I’ve started reading blogs and writing my own, I’ve become more aware of my diet and overall nutrition. I pay more attention to getting necessary nutrients, and to the effects that certain foods have on the way I feel. For example, I’ve always known that onions upset my stomach – but for the longest time, I just left it at that. No onions, happy body. But now I’ve noticed other things about the way I feel after eating a variety of other foods, and how I feel without eating certain foods.
So what do I do? Do I go on, just steering clear of the few little things that make me uncomfortable and not worry about it? Or do I make it a point to figure out what causes my upset stomach, bloating, lethargy, and other emotional and physical changes. Is it worth it to get blood work or other tests done to confirm some of my suspicions? Is it worth it to perfectly fine tune my diet? Is it even realistic? I have no idea.
I sometimes wish I could go back to ‘not caring’ about what I ate – even though I know I am much healthier now, and doing great things for my body. But what about for my mind? I am not unhappy with my diet now, but am I better off just trying to stop worrying? Or will I be happier knowing what is causing my minor discomforts?
What is your take on how food affects the way we feel? — I’d love to hear your personal experiences, advice, anything you have to share on this topic.