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I know the question pops up frequently: just how do I eat healthy with a chronic illness? And then the follow-up question that becomes even more overwhelming than the first: what does it actually mean to eat healthy with a chronic illness?
Even though my food choice has been one of the most significant turning points in my health (yes, you can read that line again), it hasn’t always been easy to know what to eat. Like most people who have an autoimmune disease, my food is limited and I’m labeled with almost every “free” you can think of: gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, corn-syrup-free, and I’m sure there’s more that I could add to the list. My husband has had to adopt an equally complex diet that’s similar to mine, but in many ways, more restrictive because of his own unique health needs. There are times when I become completely overwhelmed by our list of “don’ts” that I don’t know what’s even a go-ahead for us to cook.
That’s why I feel completely blessed that we have recently been gifted with Sun Basket from my husband, Michael’s school. Three nights a week, we have Sun Basket’s meals that are at least 70% organic and 100% GMO-free and already pre-selected meals by the people who know our food needs the best- us. We’ve selected the Paleo diet since it fits with most of our food restrictions, but Sun Basket helps you to tailor fit the experience by allowing you to choose from foods from other menu selections as well including: Gluten-free, Vegetarian, and Lean and Clean (Lean and Clean’s menu is healthy, but not as restrictive as some of the other menus). Also to my knowledge, they offer a family meal that’s catered towards healthy eating, but in a way that’s kid-friendly.
What Does Healthy Eating Look Like For Your Chronic Illness?
Healthy eating for your chronic illness can look very different from person to person depending on what illness you have and what unique nutritional needs you require. That’s why I really love that Sun Basket has different diet plans that can fit different unique nutritional needs while maintaining a majority of organic ingredients with Sun Basket’s own ambitious plan to move to a 100% organic ingredient menu. Which of course is good for whatever medical conditions you happen to have since pesticides are not beneficial to anyone and are less nutrient dense given that chemically treated soil contains less beneficial minerals than organic soil. And I don’t know about you, but when I eat my broccoli, I want to know that I’m feeding myself with the utmost amount of nutrients. Otherwise, what’s the point?
So one of the first steps to eating healthy meals with a chronic illness is determining exactly what your dietary restrictions and needs are. Like I mentioned before, I’m about everything “free” you can think of and I have to keep to a low glutamate diet (glutamate is an amino acid found in the body) since my glutamate levels were the highest one of my doctors has ever seen and raising my glutamate levels by eating high glutamate containing foods only increases my neurological issues. Instead, I need healthy fats like avocados, ghee, coconut oils and the like to help my brain and I have also found through trial and error I do much better health-wise if I consume large portions of veggies. If you need help finding out which diet plan works for you, you may want to try an elimination diet where you eat a fairly bland diet and then reintroduce new foods slowly and gradually to see if your body responds positively or negatively.
How Do You Eat Healthy on a Regular Basis?
I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, you know that day where everyone’s getting fueled to begin anew by jotting down motivational goals that wane after about a month. So how do you make goals stick, especially in regards to eating healthy?
Set yourself up for success and not failure. Eight years ago, I decided I wanted to drastically change my diet by cutting out all “fake” sugars as well as regular cane sugar in general. I’ve kept to my New Year’s goal because I overhauled my side of the pantry to exclude the pesky ingredients I was trying to avoid and by including sweeteners I was allowing myself to have: raw honey, xylitol (should be used in moderation though), and raw agave. I also had to give myself a major re-shift in my thinking by telling myself that my chronic illness (which had become disabling at this point) would only become worse if I fueled my body with sugary foods. I had to give myself a “why” to keep myself going each day forward with this new, healthy diet of mind. Those two things together set me up for a resolution that continues to last.
That’s another reason why I really enjoy Sun Basket: by placing these pre-packaged ingredients in your fridge, you’re setting yourself up for the success of eating healthy because you will already have the answer to what’s for dinner tonight? And you know that dinner will be a healthy meal and not the frozen pizza with the freezer burned pepperoni and faux shredded cheese.
Right now, Sun Basket is offering a whopping $40 off of your first order. So you can try them for a trial period and see how it fits into your lifestyle with the perk of having a decent percentage shaved off of your first purchase. Just click on the link that says “Healthy Holiday Sale” right by my signature to get the discount.
Every single picture on this post was from our meals from Sun Basket. Keep in mind that I was taking these photos at night when lighting is an issue, and unfortunately, using flash on food usually creates this gross glare that looks anything but appetizing to the eye. So if there are some photos that are a little grainy, forgive me. Just know that they were all tasty, but I think my favorite, as well as Michael’s, was the Halibut with the capers. There was just something about the pan-fried almond crust covering the halibut with its tantalizing lemon caper sauce.
Sorry, I think I was drooling a little.
How have you found ways to eat healthy meals and maintain your healthy eating patterns?