Food & the Highly Sensitive Woman
As part of my enhanced Self-Care Regime, I've been paying more attention to what I put in my body - in other words, what I eat.
Being Highly Senstive what I put in my body has a huge impact on my mood and energy levels. I've known for a long time that eating too many wheat or dairy products leaves me feeling bloated, tired and even nauseous. Before having children, I saw a nutritionist who helped me get in the best possible shape to conceive. I felt really fit and healthy then, but after having children it's been a different story! My love of food and cooking has fallen by the wayside after a few too many occasions when my hours slaving in the kitchen have been rewarded by tantrums from my children. 'How dare you cook that when you know I hate it'! was one of the memorable phrases I had screamed at me from a hungry child writhing on the floor. Quite soul destroying, especially when chicken nuggets and pasta always go down so well. Recently though, things have been changing in our household. I've steeled myself against the odd extreme response, reasoning that it's more important to teach my girls healthy eating habits. If they don't eat dinner one night, they'll just wake up starving the next morning... My newly purchased blender has been working overtime and in the past week I must have eaten enough Kale to fill a football stadium! My recent food resolve has come about from research I've been doing into the Highly Sensitive Person and diet (and by 'diet' I mean food, not weight loss)!
The scientist, Thomas Boyce, thinks that sensitivity evolved so that we could use it to sense all the good things in very good environments and take full advantage of them, and react strongly to bad environments so that we would be more careful in them. If you translate this theory to diet, it makes sense that the Highly Sensitive body will thrive if given the right types of nourishing food, but will be more prone to digestive problems if the wrong type of food is eaten. A healthy diet is important for everyone, but even more so for the Highly Sensitive Person.
Top Tips to Improve Your Highly Sensitive Diet:
- Highly Sensitive People need to eat regularly to keep their sugar levels balanced - a protein-based snack, like a small handfull of nuts, every 2 hours will help with this.
- Choose more natural foods over highly processed foods - the less additives the better.
- Limit or avoid stimulants such as caffeine and chocolate.
- Eat more vegetables! Add them to juices, smoothies, soups, stews, salads, snack on carrot sticks and hummus. They're loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and are grounding and balancing for the Highly Sensitive tummy. Make veggies the main part of your meal.
- If you eat red meat, make sure it's grass-fed.
- Steer clear of extreme diets and detox regimes - our highly sensitive bodies don't respond well to the added strain these put on our organs.
- Listen to your gut! If something doesn't agree with it you can be sure it'll let you know. You just need to be prepared to listen to it.
The best advice I've read on changing your diet is not to get overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once. Great news for us Highly Sensitive types who specialise in overwhem! Just pick one thing and try that for a week. I bet your body will thank you for it!
Have you struggled with food sensitivities as a Highly Sensitive Person? Or maybe you'd like to share your favourite green juice recipe. I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Now, I'm off to make myself a green juice...