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Man holding stomach beside food


A relative recently recounted to a few family members his struggles with his wife`s eating habits (we`ll call her Wife). Wife has had a myriad of health issues, including several operations, yet continuously chooses to act none-the-wiser regarding her nutritional discipline. Instead, she declares “Life is short. I may as well enjoy myself”, scoffs at wise food counsel and dashes supplements as well as medications to a corner of her home. Furthermore, Wife does this seemingly ignoring the plight of her sister (we’ll call her Sister), who lies paralyzed in a nursing home for the past three years, having suffered multiple strokes. One of Wife`s current health risks is high blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke. Wife also seems to be forgetting that her husband has supported her through all of her health woes and will be her caregiver for any future ones.

Sister is unable to eat any food, let alone that which may have contributed to her situation. Instead, she is being fed through a gastrointestinal tube for the past three years! I can hardly imagine not eating for three years or for the foreseeable future; yet this is her reality. Perhaps Sister would make different food choices over the years if she could do it again, to lessen the chances of having a stroke.

Wisdom in Food Choices

Though nothing in life is guaranteed, we should still ask ourselves whether we`re exercising the choices we still have with wisdom. The truth is that when making food choices, we each have different tastes, food tolerances, and levels of discipline. Yet so much of our health status depends on acknowledging those differences and being willing to cater to them. Allow us to explain…

People often utter such phrases as “Life is short. I may as well enjoy myself” to justify eating foods that do not agree with their bodies, emotions or mental health. Case in point, my beloved father sometimes responds to prompts to eat healthful foods with “So I’ll be a healthy corpse!”, the message being that he’s going to eventually die so why bother worrying about what he’s putting in his mouth?

Though these types of statements have a degree of validity, they’re problematic because they ignore and skip right over the issue of suffering, jumping instead to the ultimate fate of all human beings, which is death.

Pain and Discomfort

However, we urge you to consider for a moment the pain and discomfort that often accompanies poor diet.  As one who has suffered from arthritis and still do when I ignore my body’s food cues and signals, I can honestly say that quality of life is extremely important. So many of us sacrifice our quality of life for a moment of food pleasure, yet often justify the dietary transgression with a “Life is short”-type attitude. Last night, I decided to have some Peardrax soft drink which tastes so yummy. Well, in the middle of the night, my joints were stiff and painful from the sugar, which didn’t seem so palatable by then. It was a painful reminder and encouragement to myself which I now offer to you.

Similarly, YouTube influencer, Lydia Elise Millen, recently explained her body’s “awful” reactions to gluten (she did spare us the details), advising that she prefers to be at home if she transgresses, so that she can be “comfortably sick” [paraphrase], rather than in a public bathroom or other space. In the same vlog, she showed viewers her swollen abdomen as she had just eaten some gluten-filled bread. Clearly, she and I suffer inflammation and other reactions when we deliberately choose food unwisely. And we`re not alone. Many prefer to bury their heads in the sand, quietly or not so quietly, suffering after each eating session.

Taste Buds Should Not Rule

It begs the question of why our sense of taste is so often stronger than our sense of touch/feeling when it comes to food. We know that if we eat certain things, we’re going to suffer, yet we do it anyways. And truth be told, Lydia and I are blessed that our respective systems react relatively quickly allowing us to more easily know what triggered the reaction. So many other people are dealing with inflammation and/or actual diseases that are slow, silent killers. Thus their warning signals can go unnoticed for lengthy periods causing a lot of internal damage all the while.

There are many factors that influence our food choices, whether psychological, financial, social and cultural reasons. These factors are not necessarily easy to ignore or overcome, should they throw off our physiological and mental equilibriums. Nevertheless, here are a few tips that have worked for me in maintaining balance more often than not, whilst still having pleasurable experiences with food:

Tips Towards Healthy Food Choices

  1. Look for healthier alternatives and gradually work them into your diet plan. Here you may do your own research or use the help of various health professionals, such as a dietitian, allergy specialist, naturopath, etc.

2. Plan your meals rather than winging it. You’ll be more likely to stay within your diet restrictions. This is really more about making decisions ahead of time so that in a moment of weaknesses or craving, the decision has already been made.

3. Train your taste buds to like healthier food. For example, I have gotten use to and actually enjoy quinoa, which has less starch content than rice. You will better be able to accomplish this by focusing on and reminding yourself of the nutritional content of food or your negative past experiences with poor food choices. The more often you eat something without a negative reaction or with the knowledge that you are not harming your body or your mental state, the more likely you will eventually ‘like’ healthier foods or, at the very least, get used to them. You’ll also have increasing appreciation when not being or feeling unwell.

4. Have “treats” every so often, rather than frequently. In this regard, you may have to schedule those treats, especially when you’re first trying to make the change, so that you’re not having them too often. I have to admit that many times when I choose to indulge in a treat, fully intending to just satisfy the craving and not have another one for some time, another craving soon replaces the one that was supposedly just satisfied. That is when discipline has to step in and save me from my own devices and cravings <smile>.

5. Watch videos about meal preparation techniques. There is so much that can be learned from other people who not only disciplined and excel at food decision-making, but are also very organized. In this way, you`re not just making decisions, but implementing them proactively.

6. Hang out with other health-conscious people. People who have similar intolerances and health concerns can help us. My father often reminds me, “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”. Similarly, and as mentioned above, food choices have a social component. Thus, you`ll more likely to stay within your dietary restrictions as a lifestyle, rather than a temporary diet, if the people around you have a similar experience, understanding or conviction about food. As such, they will be better able to encourage you to pursue your health goals through wise food choices, rather than hinder or challenge you in that situation.

Eating crappy food isn’t a reward it’s a punishment. ~Drew Carey


Profile Photo Andrea P. Kelly is a Lawyer and Notary Public at  with practice focus in Estate Planning and Administration, including wills, estates, trusts and powers of attorney. Her battle and victory over rheumatoid arthritis using natural health alternatives was a pivotal, life changing experience. Andrea`s desire to help people find solutions to life`s problems, particularly those suffering from chronic illnesses, was birthed as Whereas she spent the first part of her career helping people to die well, she now wants to help people to live well.


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