Let’s think… is there ONE FOOD you cannot give up? What is it? If not – that is OK also. But this is actually a REAL question (not a stuck on an island meme) on my intake form.
Why is that a real question?
This often (99% of the time) leads me in the direction of a REALLY problematic food or category of foods in the person’s life. It’s true. This particular food is almost ALWAYS the prevalent food that comes in on their food journal as well, and the one food that is the BIGGEST fight/struggle to let go of for the client. It’s the one thing that they will then immediately say that they want to reintroduce later on after they feel better.
But again – it’s THE THING that is causing the problem to begin with.
What problems do we see with these foods?
1- Inflammation – generally this food is causing a lot of inflammation. The nature of this food is causing damage/sensitivity and/or becomes an immune response agent as it leaks from the gut. The immune system has learned that this thing comes in all the time and causes an issue for this person and it launches a response.
2- Food sensitivity– this is a reaction to the food or a component of the food. This leads eventually to break down in the digestive tract, and immune reactions through the body, as well as other annoying symptoms. When this food/group of foods is removed, the person feels better immediately. In addition, MANY of their annoying symptoms cease right away.
3- Nutrient gaps – when we repetitively eat foods (which are generally the foods we don’t want to let go of) we don’t eat other foods with different nutrient values. So we only get those same handful of nutrients daily, vs getting a full range and variety that come from eating different foods. When we start developing deficiency from lack of nutrients we develop ADDITIONAL symptoms or health issues we didn’t have before. Check out some ways to overcome repetitive eating here.
What can we do about this?
1- Food elimination – If you have one, or a few, of the foods that you thought of when I asked the question at the beginning of the post, start by eliminating them and see how you feel. Have some of your symptoms gone away? (check out this post about hidden sensitivities). This is the first thing I would suggest as an NTP as well. And as I always do say to my clients, we see how it goes, if it isn’t changing anything and it’s a food with good nutrient value, we may be able to reintroduce it over time.
2- Reduce the food – this is something that is more appealing to you and less appealing to the practitioner as it’s much harder to notice changes if it is a problematic food and still part of the diet. However, eliminating and then reintroducing is very similar, however, at that point you have come to a conclusion that food is not a likely suspect (and as I said that rarely ever happens). I would say this option is only OK if you really do slowly reduce until it is no longer part of the diet at all in am elimination effort.
3- Find a new lovely substitution – the great news is that most of the foods that are issues are easily replaced and forgotten about over time. You will find new, amazing, whole food options that will help you forget all about that food that was really causing you so much discomfort.
So if you are working with me, or you are trying things on your own at home, don’t resist that food elimination. Even after you know (now), you may want to resist and deny that it could ever be a real possibility that food is a problem, but for your health (and your little one’s health) it’s time to just let go and stop trying to find a way to still get it into the diet. Sometimes we have to let go.