Does Food Really Matter?
There are hundreds of memes about how frustrating it is when nutrition is recommended as a way to help chronic illness. I talk about nutrition a lot on my social media, and some people get outright angry when nutrition is suggested as a means toward reducing SOME symptoms of narcolepsy.
As someone with narcolepsy, I remember days when I was too tired to eat, let alone think about what I was eating. Being told food matters can be hard to hear. How can something so simple help with something as complicated as a chronic illness?
What I put in my body matters
So why am I talking about it? Because anything that goes into our body 3 times a day can make a difference. Both because we are human and because we have narcolepsy.
I love finding energy! I like looking for energy in my body, in the areas that have nothing to do with my narcolepsy. Since narcolepsy is impossible to cure, it can be discouraging to take that on. However, taking a look at nutrition and how it affects everybody is TOTALLY POSSIBLE, so why not start there?
What is the standard American diet?
Let’s take a look at the symptoms of eating a standard American diet, often referred to as SAD. A standard American diet typically consists of the following:1,2
- Processed food
- Excess sodium
- Saturated fat
- Refined grains or grains that lack fiber
The standard American diet often lacks nutrients such as vitamin D and iodine, just to name a few. These nutrients fuel our bodies and help us function optimally.2
Interestingly enough, many symptoms of eating the SAD are also symptoms of narcolepsy. For example:
Healthy replacements for the standard American diet
So changing what we put in our body can make a difference, or at the very least not add fuel to the flame. Simply replacing food in the standard American diet with healthier options can make a difference.
Some ways to incorporate healthier options are:
- Using Stevia or monk fruit in place of sugar
- Eating more whole grains
- Choosing healthy fats such as avocados and olives
- Eating nuts and seeds like almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds
- More veggies
- Choosing quality meat
On top of this, in my experience, many people with narcolepsy have reported extra benefits from following specific diets such as keto, Mediterranean, or simply low carb.
A step worth taking
To sum a lot of this up, I believe that any step we take away from the standard American diet is a step worth taking. I find hope in the idea that even though we can’t cure narcolepsy, we can impact it greatly by choosing what we put in our bodies.
Have you found that what you eat makes a difference in how you feel? Have you made any changes to your diet to help manage your narcolepsy symptoms? We would love to know more about your experience. Share with us in the comments below!
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