The Unintended Side Effects of Good Nutrition

About six months ago, my family committed to eating more whole foods and cutting out most of our processed foods.  Gluten was also cut out from the majority of our meals.  The main purpose was to be healthier and the measurement was through weight loss.  Little did I know it would have a greater effect on my personal health.

nutrient rich fuel

Nutrient rich fuel.

It’s been so long now that I have a hard time remembering what our diet was like prior to our change.  Most dinners were pasta and bread based.  Our vegetables all came out of a can (and some still do).  Red meat and pork were the top proteins in our diet.  We had a diet full of great Southern cooking from my wife.

I knew we needed a change, but I didn’t know what the change needed to be.  While searching, I came across Mike Dolce and The Dolce Diet while listening to a podcast.  Mike works with MMA fighters on their training nutrition.  His philosophy is to use nutrient rich whole foods to fuel his fighters.  His logic sounded solid, so I looked up his book and started using some of his easy recipes.

Not only were his recipes pretty good and easy to prepare, they worked.  I personally cut a quick 15 pounds and my energy levels boosted.  I started to see the side effects of good nutrition working throughout my life.  A little bit of vanity (wanting to lose weight) had led to many other pleasant and unexpected gains.

More Energy

For many years, I would wake up, head in to work and feel sluggish.  After the first rush of getting into the office had worn off around 10:00 am, I would go run some work related errands and take a 20 minute nap in my car.  My productivity was good, but not where it needed to be to run my company.

With a healthier diet, I don’t have to worry about energy crashes.  I have a steady and abundant level of energy throughout the day.  I don’t have cravings for doughnuts or Bojangles like I did in the past.  A bowl of oatmeal around 11:00 am keeps me going all the way until dinner.  My mind is clear and I can easily make decisions.

Along with work, I’m more likely to get outside at home and play around with the kids.  On nice days, we may go out and toss the baseball or play with the dog.  With summer approaching, we’ll be at the lake water skiing and tubing.  I’ll have ample energy to keep up with them.

Stronger Immune System

I’ve never been a sickly guy, but at least twice a year I would come down with some type of infection.  Mostly ear infections that would lay me up for a couple of days and then I would be back to normal.  With the diet change, I haven’t run in to an infection.

While I had a minor upper respiratory issue in March, it was quickly handled without prescription medication.  Within 24 hours, I was back to myself.  I can’t prove it, but the week leading up to the respiratory issue, I had added back a good bit of white bread and pasta to our meals.  I’m not sure if this had any negative effect on my health.

No More Allergies 

Growing up, I always was sneezing in the spring and had suffered from seasonal allergies.  My parents went as far as getting me tested for the specific allergies.  For a while, I was taking daily shots to help my allergies.  The main culprit was pollen.

Living in South Carolina, pollen is a part of Spring life.  You can drive down the interstate in April and see a haze of yellow on a bad pollen day.  My Springs have been spent with sneezing, runny nose and head congestion.  This year has been different.  The pollen numbers are the same and to most people, it’s been worse.  For me, I haven’t had any real allergic effects from the pollen.  It’s almost like my allergies are gone.  I don’t have the scientific proof to show that my allergies are gone due to my diet, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Eating healthy has had many benefits on my life.  While I regret not knowing all of the benefits sooner, I’m grateful to be able to pass them on to my kids.  Not only have I lost some weight and look healthier, I’ve gained the other unexpected benefits that come along with a healthy diet.

If you’ve changed your diet and seen results that were pleasantly unexpected, let me know in the comments.  It may be something others want to try too,