Are You Stuck in a Food Rut? Here’s Why You Need to Switch It Up.
It happens to the best of us. You finally figure out a healthy meal or snack that you love (whether for taste, ease or convenience) – and it quickly becomes your “go to” food. So you eat it over and over (and over) again.
Maybe it’s a green smoothie for breakfast, every day. Or sweet potatoes as your healthy starch, with every meal. Or cauliflower as your side dish, with every dinner. And I won’t even mention that little square of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate as a late night, every night treat.
Because therein lies the problem. These nutritionally-dense, healthy foods get you thinking “heck, if it’s good for me, I might as well have more of it!”
Getting stuck in the food rut
When I first went gluten-free I remember substituting almond flour for wheat flour in everything. I hadn’t yet figured out the nuances of gluten-free baking flours, so almond flour became my easy “go to.” Almond flour pancakes. Almond flour cookies. Almond flour macaroons. You name it, I was eating almond flour.
That is, until I accidentally OD’d on so much on almond flour that my body revolted by giving me a previously nonexistent food sensitivity to anything almonds. The mere sight of them virtually gave me hives. Which wasn’t pretty. So I promptly removed all almonds from my diet and 6 months later my body’s alert system simmered back down.
Same was true for my lemon water habit in the morning – to detox, alkalize my body and improve digestion. Because that morning lemon water routine quickly turned into morning + lunch + dinner. I was having lemon water all – the – time.
The result? Not only was I racing to go to the bathroom every waking minute (never ideal), but my already sensitive gut started to feel heartburn and increased sensitivity – even when I wasn’t eating. So I laid off the lemons. And sure enough, my body returned to normal.
Too much of a good thing
Mother nature has a built in device to help us with overdoing it – a little something called seasons. But another little thing, called globalization, has flung seasonal eating right out the window. We now have access to virtually all fruits and vegetables, any time of the year, imported from foreign countries.
Which is great when you’re craving a bowl of fresh, juicy strawberries in the middle of a nor’easter blizzard! But it also unwittingly contributes to our food rut.
If you have food sensitivities or allergies, you have to pay even closer attention to this. Once you start removing ingredients from your food repertoire, your narrower options will have you reaching for the same alternatives. Again and again.
And too much of any one food item can alter your delicate balance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
For instance, spinach is healthy. But spinach every day might increase your level of oxalic acid, contributing to kidney stones. Almonds are healthy in small amounts. But with everyday nut and flour use, almonds become pro-inflammatory in the body and can create gastrointestinal problems. Cauliflower is a great veggie. But eaten in large quantities everyday, it may impact iodine absorption and thyroid function.
I think you get the picture. Spinach, almonds and cauliflower are all good, healthy foods, when eaten in moderation. But when you find yourself habitually eating the same food, each and every day, that’s when you need to switch it up.
Instead of spinach in your smoothie opt for kale or swiss chard. And if you’re constantly reaching for sweet potatoes you might want to give butternut squash a try. There are so many delicious foods with amazing nutrient profiles, try not to play favorites next time you hit up your local farmer’s market or supermarket.
In fact, reach for that odd-looking, lonesome vegetable you’ve never cooked before. You’ll not only vary your nutrient intake, you’ll also be inspired to create a fabulous new dish!
What are the healthy foods you find yourself reaching for time and again? Need help with an alternative for them? Pop it in the comments below and I’ll help you out!