Not a sacrifice: Fozeai Rana-Fahy eats more Asian and Middle Eastern dishes which are not often laden with dairy and can be accompanied by rice instead of bread. *MCT photo
Not a sacrifice: Fozeai Rana-Fahy eats more Asian and Middle Eastern dishes which are not often laden with dairy and can be accompanied by rice instead of bread. *MCT photo

FRIDAY, AUGUST 17: In the first part of my article I described the impact my chronic sinus issues had on my energy and concentration levels at work and at home. 

Following discussions with friends, meetings with professionals in the field and my own research, I started to reassess my approach to nutrition. My symptoms suggested that I had a sensitivity to dairy and gluten.  

As a result my family and I have incorporated some changes to our diet which have had a profound effect on our health.

This has included giving up dairy and gluten and significantly reducing our consumption of sugar.

This may sound like a tortuous idea to some but in practice has proven to be much easier than expected.

Within one month, the impact on my health was quite staggering.

Gone were the headaches, congestion, colds and constant need for medication.

My energy levels are now in full force. I have a sharper, clearer mind at work. When I finish my day at work, I still have a great store of energy to play and look after my young brood. 

My husband who was cautiously cynical about this new approach to nutrition was so impressed by the change in my health within this short period of time that he too was convinced to join me a good way along this enhanced path of nutrition.

As a parent, lawyer and politician, his life is as hectic as mine.

As a result of these nutritional changes, his health and energy levels have increased dramatically allowing him to function more productively in his busy life. 

What, you ask, does a day in the life of a gluten and dairy free person look like?

Instead of cereal with milk I can have gluten free cereal with almond milk or gluten free toast with almond butter and fresh fruit.

I still love a fry up at the weekends- with gluten free bread. During the day I snack on nuts and seeds (which help regulate sugar highs and lows) with fresh and dried fruit.

There are also a host of ‘whole food’ snacks on the market which contain dates, dried fruit and nuts which are a tasty alternative to that brownie fix.

For lunch I eat mainly soups, salads and sushi.  Going for business lunches is also not as daunting as you would think.

I just avoid the bread bowl, pasta dishes, burgers and dishes covered with sauces. For a ‘pick me up’ I’ll often have a fresh vegetable/fruit juice. I still have my daily hit of caffeine but with almond milk instead of regular milk. 

For dinner, I will eat anything from vegetables, fish, chicken or lamb, with salads, rice, potato, rice/quinoa pasta or rice noodles.

For someone who adores food, I have not found this way of eating to be a sacrifice at all. 

What it has done is focus my mind to the types of cuisine which favour this type of diet.

For example, I eat more Asian and Middle Eastern dishes which are not often laden with dairy and which you can accompany with rice instead of bread.

I have also found that as a result I am paying far more attention to my eastern roots, which advocate using food as medicine (e.g. the use of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, etc., to address common ailments and help promote a strong immune system).

Will I be able to sustain this new approach to eating? Feeling this great is exactly the impetus I need when I am tempted to stray.

But I am a firm believer of not denying myself great pleasures and, with a young family; I also have to be practical.

So I do have the occasional burger with the works and a sinful dessert. I enjoy them more as a result.

A rethink about nutrition has made my family and I healthier and has helped us to achieve greater balance in our busy lives.

When you are tired, stressed, run down and struggling to meet the pressures of work and home life, a great evening with friends, shopping trip or massage may well help. But sometimes, what is really required is a 360 review of your health with the help of a professional. Putting dairy and gluten free diets aside, even small adjustments in your approach to nutrition can enhance your life.

Fozeia Rana-Fahy is an associate at law firm, MJM Limited. She can be contacted on 294-3612 or e-mail: frana-fahy@mjm.bm.