It’s vitally important to get all the nutrition you can when chronically ill. What if you’re just not hungry? Whether it’s the medication or the illness, I’m going through this issue right now with Lupus. Once I realized I was literally forcing myself to eat, I decided to make some changes. Here’s what I do to make sure I get all the nutrition I need, whether I’m hungry or not.
When I do eat, I make it count.
I concentrate on eating nutrient dense food, rather than empty calories. If I were to eat mostly junk food, I’d have no room for the real food my chronic illness necessitates. Whether you’re sick or not, it’s best to make every calorie you consume count. After all, food is not designed to entertain you, it’s designed to keep you healthy. The exhilarating flavor of whole foods, fresh fruits and veggies is just a side benefit.
I educate myself.
Rather than letting the big food industries tell me what I should be eating, I do independent research. So far, that research indicates that a plant based diet, free of GMO’s, preservatives, pesticides and other chemicals is the way to go. I doubt that will change any time soon. It’s hard to argue with the fact that natural food is the best thing for us.
If I can’t eat my vitamins, I drink them.
When my appetite diminishes, liquids are easier to swallow than solids. I juice and make a lot of vitamin and mineral rich smoothies to be sure I’m getting optimum nutrition. It’s pretty easy to add greens and nuts to either, in order to up the nutritional value. Plus, I’m not forcing myself to eat. Making nutrient dense homemade soup is another way to do this. I skip most canned soups and “nutritional” drinks as they are highly processed.
Chronic illness can deplete you of necessary vitamins. When my tests show deficiencies, I use supplements as a quick fix, then add foods high in those nutrients to my diet for the long term. Swallowing pills or liquid vitamins is easier for me than eating solid food when appetite decreases. It’s not a long term solution. Still, it helps boost nutrition levels on bad days.
I care about my health.
One benefit of having a chronic illness is that it promotes awareness. In other words, it’s a wake up call. Since becoming ill, I’ve noticed that I pay more attention to my health than most healthy people. When my appetite decreases, I’m even more careful. I take the time to know what’s in each and every thing that goes into my mouth. That way, I can choose quality above quantity when I’m just not that hungry.
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