shutterstock_136678967By Elena Lynch

Like most people, I used to think my eating habits were pretty good, but my so-called “healthy lifestyle” included products made with artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. I regularly ate foods that were fat-free, low-calorie, and had that coveted “all natural” label on the packaging. I also made the common mistake of reading the top portion of the nutrition facts label, but never reading the actual ingredients in a product.

About 10 years ago, I began to experience severe, chronic pain and inflammation. After many agonizing years, I was still unable to get any answers or relief despite the doctors I saw.

Frustrated, desperate, and exhausted from the pain, I had no choice but to continue to try and figure out what was wrong on my own. Deep down, I knew something in my life was causing these symptoms.

I began a habit of reading ingredient labels and learning about those ingredients. I learned these common products marketed as “healthy” and “all natural” were literally loaded with chemicals and fillers the body cannot use and can instead be causing harm.

It became clear to me that most of the chronic health issues people face today are caused by these ingredients, and most people have no idea. Many of our common ailments are both preventable and treatable with food. I know sometimes it feels as if we are a victim to our own body, when in fact, we are simply a victim to our dietary lifestyle and habits.

Eating healthy or unhealthy is a choice, but it isn’t easy. Some people want to eat better because they simply “want to.” Others are fighting for their lives and do not have that luxury. They MUST eat healthier, but are at the mercy of trusting a product’s packaging and misleading marketing.

This sad realization had a profound effect on me. I felt compelled to help others, so I recently started a website called WholesomeStyle.com to help people be in better control of their health through informed decisions with food and ingredients. My goal is to not eat perfect all the time, it is simply to be aware. It is all about being informed, having that choice, and taking responsibility and control over our health.

I was eventually able to determine what had caused me so much pain by keeping a food journal. In just two days time, it became clear what ingredient was causing my pain. I was amazed that something I was eating every day had such a profound effect on my life for so long. What I thought was a “health issue” was really just a side effect.

A food journal is an easy and very effective method if you are struggling with any type of health issue, including fatigue and depression. You will be shocked to see how quickly that correlation is revealed between what you eat, and how you feel.

Try writing down what you eat only when you feel a symptom. If you have multiple issues, make a list for each one and when you feel that specific symptom, write down the foods you ate within the hours just prior, only under that symptom. Be as specific as possible. Do this for one week and see what happens!

I am grateful for the pain and frustration I experienced since I feel like it will serve a purpose in helping others. Check back on October 6 to learn more food and ingredient information.

To read my full story, visit WholesomeStyle.com/about-me. For daily tips, healthy recipes, and information, find Wholesome Style on Facebook. I am not a health and nutrition professional.

 

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Elena Lynch runs WholesomeStyle.com, a health and wellness website, and also offers food consultation services. She can be reached at wholesomestyle@gmail.com

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