Health Reasons for Eating Healthy

We all know we should be eating healthier.

It seems every other day there’s some new information about what we should eat, how much, and why.  There are books, magazines, TV shows and thousands of websites devoted to healthy eating.

What’s even more interesting is how a lot of what “they” are learning and sharing with us, other countries have always known and eaten accordingly.  The way our country ate sixty years ago was thought to be unhealthy.  So margarine was discovered.  All those low-fat items created for our heart health turned out to be bad for us.  Now, we can use real butter in moderation and be healthier.  But I’m climbing on my soap box and that’s another post.  Just go read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  You’ll see what I mean.

I decided to try being vegetarian mostly because I wanted to lose weight. I realized I didn’t know a single overweight vegetarian.  As I educated myself on what being vegetarian meant, I discovered the vegan lifestyle.  I read Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  While teaching me how to eat, it opened my eyes to the meat industry.  It’s horrifying!  This animal lover was in tears reading about the abuse and torture our “food” suffers before being slaughtered.  And if that doesn’t bother you, then the disgusting, unsanitary and not-to-mention illegal ways our “food” is processed will.

Okay, there I go again, changing the subject.

So, we know there are health reasons for eating healthy.  It seems we only hear about those with heart disease and diabetes, or more recently food allergies.  But what about autoimmune diseases?

Four years ago I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism. My doctor seems to have forgotten to tell me it was an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid.  I only recently discovered that important tidbit while reading Living Well with Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism by Mary Shomon.

I’ve since been devouring all information I can find about controlling it, or at least the symptoms, with alternative therapies:  yoga, journaling, prayer, acupuncture, vitamin and herbal supplements, etc.  And, you guessed it, diet.

It appears my desire to go vegan is supported by the diet recommendations from various sources.  Dr. Andrew Weil has been a trusted medical advisor for many years and has written several books.   Last night, I was researching supplements and found I should be eating an anti-inflammatory diet which includes eliminating milk, milk products and that evil butter substitute, margarine.  No big deal because I haven’t bought margarine for years.

Though I’ve been working on eliminating dairy, it’s been hard.  I love my lattes!  Soy lattes just don’t taste the same.  (Insert whiny voice)  But for the sake of my body, I will do it.

Isn’t it funny how we decide to eat healthy to lose weight then discover we have a true health issue and we’re spurred to action by more than just a desire to fit into that little black dress two sizes smaller? Eating healthy becomes a more noble reason when we know it can increase our quality of life.  It becomes less about looking great and much more about feeling great.

Notice I said less.  I still want to look sexy at the pool next summer and now I have good reason that could happen.

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