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Learning to Respect My Body

It seems that everything delicious to eat is bad for you. Whether that be foods like chips, candy, chocolate, cake, etc., whenever I eat sugary or salty snacks, I will indeed have a bad reaction a few hours later. It's maddening. Sometimes the reaction is immediate. But I can understand why this is so.

Eating processed foods leads to reactions

Many packaged and processed foods are made in factories where there are usually added syrups, preservatives, and flavors designed to make us come back for more. Well, this is my experience anyway. Perhaps it is just a case of me being weak-willed.

I say understandable because, in my experience, anything I have ever had that contains artificial coloring and flavoring typically isn't agreeable with me and my body. Usually, after eating processed foods, my eyes stream and swell up, and rashes appear all over my body.

Reasons why I continued eating poorly

I have known that my body doesn't handle processed foods well since I was in my early 20s, though I did not do much to change my eating behavior. Anyone reading this article would probably think, "why wouldn't you change your diet if you knew it led to these allergic reactions?"

It's a valid question. And I think there are a couple of reasons for this. The first reason is laziness. I was quite a fussy eater as a young man, so I became lazy about my food choices. For example, if it meant buying myself some vegetable soup or a salad, I would often opt for a hamburger, fries, and milkshake instead. This gave me instant gratification. I was overfed and undernourished.

Secondly, when I was younger, my body could handle eating bad foods better than it can now. So, although I would inevitably end up paying the price for eating all these sorts of foods, my body tended to heal more quickly when I was younger, so it continued to fuel my laziness in changing my eating habits. It was a vicious cycle.

These foods eventually took their toll on my body

It wasn't until my mid-30s that I needed to make some urgent changes. When I think back to how I looked in my 30s, it astonishes me. I was overweight and was ashen-colored in appearance. Oddly, I looked older than I am now. I am now in my mid-40s.

My eczema and asthma were off-the-charts bad, and I seemed to be allergic to anything and everything. I had been patch-tested as a teenager at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I knew I was allergic to foods like tomatoes, peppers, anything dairy, including eggs, yeast.

From ignoring my body to listening to it

But the older me had to notice now what my body was trying to tell me. It was "screaming" at me to make the changes, and I had been ignoring it for years. I could no longer ignore them as my allergies began to affect my personal life. It was affecting my working life and my sleeping habits.

I did take action to change my diet habits and cut out those foods causing such bad allergic reactions, but how I wished I had taken this action at least 10 years ago. I guess we live, and we learn.

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