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Eating: a pain in the ass?


Eating: a pain in the ass?

Val MacDonald

I had a client with me this week who told me that right now, eating was a pain in the ass. Due to the fact that she is following an elimination diet to recover from reactions to certain foods, she is having to reconfigure her whole way of eating.  Eating the way she had been eating was no longer serving her.  But the transition period she was in, where she needed to discover a new way of eating, she was finding difficult and not fun-a pain in the ass.

I remember going through this myself when I had to do an elimination diet for Candida, a condition of yeast overgrowth in the body.  I had to eliminate all sugars and yeast.  This meant no fruit, no dairy, no bread, no wine, no sweets.  It was extremely difficult and agonizing for me, as I was very much addicted to sugar and also I was an emotional eater, gaining a lot of comfort from my food in times of stress or self doubt. Yeah, it was a pain in the ass, I would have to say.

However, by following this elimination diet for three months, my health was transformed.   I was given a glimpse into what it was like to live with energy and a clear mind.  I finally knew what that felt like, after living in a fog for so long.  What a gift!  

After completing an elimination diet of any kind, normal protocol is to reintroduce the offending foods, one at a time, and to monitor how you feel after eating those foods.  This can be tricky business.  It took much experimenting with many energy crashes and gastrointestinal flare ups for me to understand what my body liked and what it did not.

I found it helpful to journal everything I ate as well as my moods, energy levels and various indicators of body comfort.  Going to a party early on in this stage, I remember having two glasses of wine and a piece of cake, and the next day feeling like I had been hit by a truck! OK, so next time have the wine OR the cake, I remember telling myself.

The beauty of going through this process, is that you really get to know your body well.  I have learned to listen to my body and the messages it gives me.  I understand that when I eat food that I have difficulties digesting, like cheese, that I will not be operating at my highest level the next day.  But that is my choice to make.  

The other beauty of going through this process is that you are introduced to new foods that taste amazing, that you may not have tried otherwise.  Who knew that I would end up loving quinoa, beets, and steel cut oats so much, and discover my own recipes for vinaigrette and pesto?  And that these foods gradually would take the place of all the foods that my body found challenging to process?

When all is said and done, once you begin to eat according to how your body wants to feel, you start to make better choices, on behalf of your body.  Your body thanks you with better health; more energy, clearer thinking, complete digestion and elimination, and more resistance to colds and flus.  You end up improving your relationship with your body and with food.

And eating isn't a pain in the ass anymore.