As a professional belly dancer here in Orlando, FL I have had to change the way I think about nutrition, especially within the last 12 months after being diagnosed with IC. IC is a bladder disease that is becoming more and more common in women in their 20’s here in the USA and is, in a nutshell, the sensitivity to processed, hormone-filled, antibiotic-ridden, “foods” that irritate one’s bladder. Talking about nutrition for Professional Belly Dancers is something that will benefit us all in knowing.
So if you are wondering what my last year of research about food, nutrition, and how your body can benefit from these, read these 6 facts I learned while finding ways to better care for my body as a professional belly dancer below!
1. Feed your body often and on a regular schedule
This is one that old-school minds have a hard time with. It has been proven again and again, that if you eat 6 balanced meals a day rather than 3, or skipping meals, and etc… that your metabolism experiences a major boost. Your body will feel fueled all day instead of experiencing low energy at some point, and your body gains a more regular digestive schedule.
The goal would be to eat every 3 hours. My metabolism is nuts, so I eat every 2 or 3 hours. kEPP IN MIND, I am not a nutritionist, and everyone’s metabolism is different, so consult with a doctor as to how much you should be consuming calorie-wise and at what times to help your body digest food at its best. My typical day is broken down like this:
- 5:30 am breakfast
- 9:00 am vegan protein shake
- 11:30 am lunch
- 3:30 pm healthy fruit/nut snack
- 5:30 pm dinner
- 7:30 pm snack
I never starve myself ( skipping meals makes me hangry), the body is consistently being fueled, and the metabolism is very high due to this. When I have periods of less dance activity, I do need to add some cardio to my regimen in order to maintain my weight personally.
2. Forget carbs and fat and calories…. READ INGREDIENTS!
Sure that coca cola has zero carbs, zero sugars, and no calories, but what is in it? Is it good for you? Can your body process this, and what nutritional value does it have if any then?
Processed foods are everywhere at the grocery store. In fact over 95% of the foods at the grocery store are highly processed, nutrition depleted, chemically engineered (to taste good), sugar filled “foods” made to fool you into thinking it is actually food. We live in a society with a sugar addiction, and that is precisely what the drug and food companies want!
I do not care about calories or any of that junk anymore. What matter now is how pure the food item is. If the ingredients have words I can actually pronounce like, eggs, milk, coconut cream, and etc… then that is a food that your body can digest properly. If the ingredients are a bunch of crazy chemicals and highly refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, aspertame, and etc… beware! Your body has no clue how to process these man made items, and many of these binders and chemicals are what stick to your body and the reason why you have a few extra pounds that never seem to go away.
3. Drink Veggie and Fruit Shakes
At least once a day, make one of your snacks a raw veggie and organic fruit shake. This has been amazing for my health and energy these past few months since trying it. By consuming vegetables raw, none of the nutrients are lost like with cooked vegetables, and you ensure that you get your daily dose of fruits and veggies in an easy-to-digest form for your body. The natural sugars get me hyped up and help cleanse the body.
4. Know Where your food comes from
Do you know where your beef, pork, chicken, and milk come from? Do you know the processes these things undergo before they reach the consumer? I highly recommend you watch Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, read about the current food production crisis, and then read about the cancer rates in countries with more vegetarian diets compared to the U.S. and see what the food industry does not want you to know! I am serious! I am a Latin woman who has always loved meat and dairy, but now that I am discovering where this comes from, how it is made, and what is put into it…I am now a pescetarian and even am reducing fish slowly. Do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to research at least one of the major foods groups your consume.
5. Meat is not your Best and Only Source of Protein!
There are amazing superfoods out there with more protein per serving than animal proteins such as Goji Berries, Quinoa, edamame, bee pollen (5-7 times more protein than beef), chia seeds, and of course tofu, beans, and lentils amongst many others. In order to build muscle and burn fat, you need to consume enough protein to make it happy. i highly recommend you try vegan protein options that are so much better for your stomach and the environment.
6. Sick? Skip the pills!
Vitamin C is a huge immune booster as many people know but what If you could have it without all of the toxins and chemicals used in making capsules and over-the-counter medication? Enter the goji berry, eating organic oranges, actually going out into the sunlight, and getting a dose of vitamin D as well, and you will be good in no time. The body can heal itself quite well, it is just that people are not educated on nutrition these days and believe all the misleading food labels.
Feed your body natural, wholesome, nutrient-packed foods, and you will rarely get a sick day.
I hope these nutritional tips help you as a professional belly dancer, or even in just your regular job. In two to three weeks you should feel a big change in your energy level and digestion.
It wasn’t until I began eating more unprocessed foods that I was finally able to manage my IC better, get rid of my mini love handles, and perform at my best. I sincerely hope that you find value in this information. Learning about Nutrition for Professional Belly Dancers is so beneficial.
To learn more about me and my career visit my ABOUT page. I hope to connect with you soon!