by Tiffany Stuart
After years of struggling with a host of unpleasant symptoms, I discovered the healing power of whole foods. Research and personal trial and error has taught me that one of the best things I can do for my body and mind is to honor it with a sound foundation. One of the pillars of this foundation is whole foods.
I came to this conclusion after a personal struggle with my hormonal health and inflammation, which lasted for the better part of two years. As far as I knew, I was a generally healthy thirty-something mom of one, navigating family life and schedules with my other half, nothing too abnormal. During this time, I ate a typical American diet which included fast food. I grew up on a diet of processed food, so I didn’t even question it.
After months of suffering from chronic sinus infections, mood fluctuations, weight gain, body aches, brain fog, fatigue, and skin rashes, I knew I needed to change something. I was left confused after receiving a clean bill of health from my doctor. I needed to find a real solution. I started to learn about the many way’s inflammation appear in the body. I also learned how environmental factors affect our hormones and how whole foods can help with both these problems.
The research all had the same conclusion -- processed foods, unnatural products, and both environmental and lifestyle-related choices were putting undue stress on the body on a cellular level. This imbalance of unpaired molecules is the result from stressors we’ve come to see as normal, such as chronic psychological stress, environmental toxins, the absence of antioxidant-rich foods, and lack of sleep, can lead to oxidative stress on cells and ultimately DNA damage.
I needed to overhaul my entire lifestyle because my health depended on it. I slowly started incorporating more whole foods into my family’s diet. I loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables and cut out processed food. I also began eating cruciferous vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods to help get a hold on my hormonal and inflammation issues. Furthermore, I switched to a diet that was about 99% vegan, with the vast majority of foods being whole. Some of my favorite whole foods include broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, red cabbage, and berries of all kinds. The more colorful, the better!
I also drink simple antioxidant-rich teas such as matcha and cascara fruit tea. Adding powdered amla berries to my smoothies and drinks is another simple way to fight free radicals. When it comes to inflammation specifically, I opt for turmeric every time. A great way to incorporate this natural remedy into my everyday life is by using the powdered turmeric spice, warmed nut milk, black pepper to increase bioavailability, and a bit of stevia at night or during the day.
I also made it a point to reduce my environmental, lifestyle, and mental stressors. I purged my chemical-laden beauty and cleaning product routine, opting for more natural options. I quickly saw an improvement in my skin health and a reduction of irritations and surface inflammation.
After about a year eating a primarily vegan, whole food diet, I found out I was pregnant for the second time. This came as a total shock as I had almost given up on the possibility of becoming pregnant after the hormonal issues started. While they did show major signs of improvement during the journey, this positive news confirmed the healing powers of all that I had done.
Since, becoming a family of four, we have kept our commitment to a whole food centered diet. We always strive to keep our ratio of whole foods and plants at 85% per week. Today, I use my story, research, and new outlook on life to help others understand how much power they have over their own health. While there are some ailments that need additional intervention, the power of a whole food diet is undeniable. Each meal we eat has the power to stress or heal. It is up to us to make the choice.