How to Eat for a Better Night's Sleep (And Better Health)
Kat Kinsman opens up about her personal health struggles and how changing the way she eats has made all the difference.
Cooking Light's 30th anniversary celebration was recently held at the Museum of Food and Drink in Brooklyn, New York. The event was sponsored by Chobani and focused largely around food and how it plays a crucial role in defining our health.
Kat Kinsman, senior food and drinks editor at Extra Crispy, spoke at the event about how food has changed her sleep and overall wellbeing. She said, "I felt awful for all of 2016. My stomach hurt all the time, and I felt bloated and nauseated. I had stabbing pain to the point where I was curled up in my seat all the time at work, and I was constantly working from home because I felt like trash.”
Her initial thought was, "Well, I'm getting older and this is just the consequence of the life I live (as a food writer)", but then a series of medical tests proved otherwise: Kinsman had endometriosis and SIBO, or an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. She had to go on a hefty dose of antibiotics, undergo endometriosis surgery, and start a regimented paleo diet.
Seemingly overnight, her world changed. Kinsman said, "When you love food, and your whole community is around food, and eating, and drinking, and suddenly you can't have dairy, legumes, or even balsamic vinegar, you feel isolated." Kinsman started working with a nutritionist to help her navigate the struggle, and the pieces eventually clicked.
Kinsman said, "Ditching dairy has helped me so much. I don't get reflux nearly as much, and I also rarely if ever drink wine these days. I also have cut way down on sugar, so there aren't weird spikes. I'll get it in the form of frozen cherries, which have a really low glycemic index. I also put a drop or two of ashwagandha or valerian into my seltzer at night and it helps me sleep."
Kinsman says she uses sleep as her health barometer. "Everything goes into that—what I’m eating, how I’m feeling. If I can wake up in the morning and I’ve gotten enough sleep, there's a palpable difference in how I feel, how I can do my job, how I can be a friend, how I can be a wife, and how I can be a dog mom. Everything feeds into that, and if I feed my rest that’s the healthiest me I can be."
Kinsman says she needs to go back for more tests, but her condition is "definitely improving". She says, "I am a different person than I was a year ago."