You Don't Understand Unless You've Experienced It
I've seen some well intended themes with blog posts and social media shares from other bloggers/health professionals I greatly admire. The theme is that your body can process everything and there is never a need to eliminate certain foods (think gluten, grains and dairy). For a long time, I would have 100% completely agreed.
But here's the thing, unless you've experiences health issues, you don't understand. You are never going to get what it's like to walk in the shoes of someone who feels miserable 99% of the time because of their digestive issues.
There's a time and a place for everything, including following a gut healing protocol.
Personally, while I was recovering from years of yo-yo dieting, my digestion (while not normal per say) was not bad enough for me to need to change my diet. For years I tolerated foods like gluten, grains and dairy just fine. There was never a need for me to eliminate them.
But things changed. I am not sure why my body changed, maybe it's from getting off birth control, or an exposure to something, whatever it was...something changed. Foods I had been able to tolerate for years gave me unbearable pain. I am not talking about the occasional bloat, gassy day or random day of constipation. I'm talking about constant, never-going-away issues that only resided once I followed a gut healing protocol.
Here's where I think everyone can agree: you reallyyyyyyyyy should work with someone to figure this out. The majority of the time, eliminating food groups is simply not necessary (at least for the long haul).
Maybe after a counseling session we discover you are eating a lot of sugar-free gums and sugar substitutes, a simple solution to fix your gut health is to eliminate these. Maybe you're consuming too many FODMAPs in one sitting and we simply need to help you understand which foods have these and a way to better balance them. Maybe you're not eating enough fiber. Or too much. Or not enough water. Or too much cold water. Maybe you're eating too many raw vegetables and you need to include more cooked veggies in your life. Maybe you just need to space your meals farther apart and eat more at mealtime (especially more fats) in order to do this. Maybe your simply not chewing your foods enough or eating in a rushed or stress environment.
But maybe, you're doing of all this. And maybe we do, at least for a period of time, need to eliminate foods like gluten, grains and dairy- and just see how you feel. Maybe all you need to do is simply swap to full fat dairy or choose fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir) or raw, unpasteurized dairy (which contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes to help you break down the milk). Or maybe you do best without it. Maybe gluten or grains or legumes are just to hard on your digestive system, and with time you can introduce them back, or even try them soaked and sprouted to see if that helps. But maybe you do best without this, too. I always tell my clients that's its all about experimentation. We never know 100% what's going to work and what's not, but my goal is to help you find a way of eating that makes you feel amazing.
Personally, I found that dairy and I get along really well. Especially raw dairy cheese and raw whole milk, grass fed butter and fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir). Eliminating gluten and grains except for rice, has been extremely helpful, which I didn't anticipate. I've tried in the past with no difference, which goes to show our bodies are ever evolving and we just need to do as they ask. I plan on reintroducing soaked and sprouted grains and the occasional foods containing gluten because I don't believe in being dogmatic with food. But I doubt it will be in my diet on a daily basis any time soon while I heal my gut and other autoimmune issues. I've personally chosen at this time to not do any food sensitivity testing, because in my opinion, food sensitivities are a sign of something larger at play. I felt for me, improving my health and digestion through evolving my eating habits was what was best for me. And I've never felt better.
Make no mistake there is 100% a body-mind connection. One of the main principles of our practice is focusing on managing stress, self love and body acceptance. It is absolutely true that your mind is powerful enough to influence what you can and cannot tolerate. But it's not fair to say that everyone can eat everything, all the time. Some of us have slowed migrating motor complexes, or altered gut microbiome and even damage to the intestinal wall (probably all three of these). For some reason, some of us truly cannot just everything. (Side note: I am not talking about the gastroparesis that can occur from recovering from an eating disorder, in these cases giving your body time to learn to process foods truly is all you need. I am talking about years of IBS and other gut issues like leaky gut, bacterial overgrowth, etc)
Experimenting with your diet doesn't mean you are creating food rules, it means you are trying to find what makes you feel beautiful, radiant and energized. I believe food has the power to make us feel this way. If you don't feel this way the majority of the time I encourage you to find a dietitian (or hey work with me!) to help you get there. I've been on both sides and I can tell you, it's worth finding out what works for you because feeling amazing...is freaking amazing.