BY KUDI MARADZIKA
Help, I've fallen off the clean eating bandwagon yet again!...I was doing so well too! Let me explain what happened...
Growing up with crazy allergies and eczema,I was carted from one skin specialist to another in the hopes of finding a solution to what my mother dubbed 'problem skin'. As I grew older and read more, I did a trial and error and realized who the culprits were.
I developed a love-hate relationship with certain foods as a result. Dairy, processed stuff with MSG and sugar to be exact. No 1 inflammation and allergy causing foods that would make me break out in a heartbeat.
Being careful about what I put in my mouth became a way of life which was often misunderstood.
But life happens, deadlines need to be met, sometimes, you don't get to the shops in time and other times you're just, well, lazy.
That's when the bad habits creep up.
This is exactly what happened last week Wednesday. it was a busy work week day with a day long event and constant running up and down. When lunchtime came I didn't hesitate to get a grilled cheese sandwich. Usually when I have had plenty of sleep and my body is equal parts rested and hydrated, this hardly affects me. Perhaps a little belly ache but nothing major. Today wasn't the case.
My face immediately flared up. I ignored it and stayed on my feet, resting only at 2 am when I got back home. The next day instead of catching up on sleep I lay awake in bed unable to sleep, possibly because of the few tequila shots I had at the wrap party! Consequently I only slept 10 hours in two days which is 6 hours short of the ideal.
The next day I continued as normal and went straight to the gym for an intense 44 minute HIIT session. Immediately after I drove to a travel clinic to get vaccines for my upcoming trip to Nigeria.
You're probably guessing that this is a recipe for disaster. You're right.
Now at this point I am not only physically exhausted and have a deficit in sleep hours. I've also been eating all the inflammation causing foods I usually don't. From full milk in my third cup of coffee to a whole packet of Jolly Ranchers, I was running on sugar, exhaustion, coffee and dairy.
Needless to say I paid the price. Saturday afternoon I took a nap and woke up with a splitting headache. That evening I had a fever and didn't sleep much. I woke up Sunday morning with a fine red rash on one arm. To note, I haven't had a skin allergy in years...this was serious!
I thought I'd sleep it off but when I woke up on Monday morning I was not only super feverish but my face was swollen and I looked crazy, like Patient Zero in a Michael Crichton book.
What the actual f*&k was going on?! 😭 😳
The doctor didn't know what it was either but figured it was a reaction to the vaccines. A reaction only 1/1000 people experience. Instead of feeling special, I felt like a freak. She asked if I had been getting enough sleep and rest and I guiltily shook my head. Of course not.
It all made sense why I felt this way. I had lost my balance.
But because I'm writing this in bed trying to get it back we can all be rest assured that I'll find it again soon as will you. Here's a rehash of things I really should know to do more of by now.
Ariana Huffington is really onto something you guys. Sleep is the cornerstone of everything. From recovery to your body to getting your immune system back on track. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation is no joke, nor does it mean you're incredibly busy and productive. It just makes you're body is out of whack. You're grumpy, more likely to reach for that Steers burger and more likely to snack on sugary things to pep up your energy reserves.
Be nice to your gut and by that I mean your bioflora which makes up a large part of your digestive system and you as a person. It's also your first line of defense in keeping your immune system strong. Sure you take probiotics all the time, but eating well also involves cutting out sugar, coffee, dairy, processed foods and gluten.
'Yikes! That's extreme' you say? Lol, I can hear you all roll your eyes but hear me out. The foods I just mentioned when consumed in large amounts can cause leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky guy syndrome causes inflammation which cause bloating, swelling, puffiness and various other conditions that manifest anywhere from the scale of eczema to lupus. Foods such as fermented dairy (goats cheese), bone broth, steamed broccoli, butternut, green leafy vegetables, garlic, oily fish loaded with Omega 3,6 and 9, coconut oil and citrus are the BOMB when it comes to getting your gut back on bioflora fleek.
How is this related to vaccines? Well stocking up on the above reduces your body's inflammatory responses to diseases and improves your auto immune functions. Think this doesn't relate to you? If you're always tired or get migraines often, you may have leaky gut syndrome so consider the above additions to your diet.
Also stay away from antibiotics when you can. They're basically napalm for your bioflora. If you have to take antibiotics take them with probiotics as well.
I know right, 'duh!' but in as much as it's always advised you'd be surprised just how little water the average person drinks...myself included. Usually its because its not always very clear just how much water we should drink? Bottom line we need water to keep supple, sexy and young. Even more so when you exercise.
Green tea without sugar and herbal tea totally count in your intake. Fill up your BPA free bottle regularly and you should be drinking the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
When in doubt, look at your pee. If its too dark you definitely need to drink more, if your pee is basically filtered water and is crystal clear you may need to ease up on the hydration, drinking too much water can also be bad for you.
As a child your first instinct when you aren't okay is to call your mom. One of the things I miss the most about adulting is the fact that I don't stay close to my mom. Nostalgia and sentimentality aside, science says speaking to your mom actually makes you feel better, well that's something anyone could have told you! Mommy!!!
Lastly the best way to get balance back is unplug. Take a break from your gym routine and don't feel bad. Detox from social media for a week. Stay indoors and recharge.
Switch your phone off and unplug. Whatever you decide to do don't feel bad about it. There's a lot of things that desperately need your f%&cks and taking care of yourself first is defini one of them.