💀 Don’t Diet in Winter: Why

It’s been at the top New Year’s Resolutions for at least the past 50 years: “lose weight” or “improve diet.”

At first glance, these goals seem health-promoting and socially acceptable. What usually follows though is a rather rigid set of rules around eating: what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, what to avoid. This is popularly referred to as a diet and, it’s the worst. Especially during winter. Here’s why:

What’s wrong with dieting?

Anyone who has followed these rule-bound ways of eating will probably tell you two things: yes, they are losing weight and how many days left until they can come off of the diet. This points to a few problems with a restrictive diet:

1. The most popular diets are built primarily on deprivation. And absolutes. There is solemnity to the rules, as if divinely written onto tablets like the 10 Commandments rather than one person’s opinion written on paper. As long as you follow the rules of the diet, you’re a saint. Otherwise, you are one of them, the sinners and failures of the world.

2. Diets are often crazy-making in all their rules and even choosing the right diet (as many are contradictory). Is it okay to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice per day or should you be grain-free? Is the paleo diet better than a vegan one? Confusion abounds before even starting.

3. It’s not intuitive or customized at all. For example, most diet books will tell you to eat something specific, like half of grapefruit with a piece of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter for breakfast. It completely ignores the fact that you might be on a medication with which grapefruit interferes, that one of your kids is allergic to peanut butter, and that you are gluten-sensitive. So, is that a “healthy” breakfast? Maybe for someone else, but not for you. Following the diet’s recommendations might just cause more issues than it solves. Also, it usually encourages using willpower to deal with cravings rather than learning how to sate them.

4. We are often dieting for the wrong reasons. We think being thinner or leaner will automatically improve our lives, but we haven’t even addressed our thoughts or the areas of life we want to improve and how to get ourselves to step into the next version of ourselves. Confidence can, and does, come from many other aspects of life that don’t involve squeezing yourself into a smaller size.

5. Lastly, they are not sustainable. Diets don’t work. Once our days of waiting for the 3-day raw juice cleanse or 30-day paleo diet have come to an end, we often slip right back into our bad habits of late-night snacking, sweet treats, having “cheat meals”, or rationalizing stress-induced overeating.

What’s wrong with dieting during winter?

This has got to be one of the absolute worst times to introduce a cold, low-fat, crash diet.

Among the many mistakes of dieting discussed above, the added the layer of this season can cause things to go south pretty quickly.

From an Ayurvedic perspective (here’s a primer), there’s an ancient, time-tested and rather intuitive way of eating and caring for your body in each season.

If we look at what the earth produces in each season, it gives us a clue as to what we should be eating to maximize our health. Spring is a wonderful time to have salads, greens, berries and sprouts. Summer is when we can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables being offered by our gardens and farmers markets. Fall and winter is when the squashes of the season, nuts, meat or plant-based proteins, hearty grains, and root vegetables are best. Cooked, warming foods are key during this cold and dry season.

People generally, in their quest to cut calories, often decimate the fat in the diet. On the face of it, this change makes sense – fat has more than twice the amount of calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein. However, what is often not taken into account is that during the winter season, our bodies need healthy fats to help protect our skin and lubricate our joints.

This is simultaneously an old and new way of looking at how best to fuel our bodies with nutrition. Though we all often act like every day of the year is the same, especially with foods being available year-round in grocery stores and our with temperature-controlled environments, the fact is that we need to live in concert with winter.

The antidote to winter’s cold and dryness is eating warm, nourishing, oily foods. That’s why you’ll find you’ll find the recipes for meals and beverages that support your body’s detoxification processes in our Express Detox: Winter Edition masterclass.

In the Client Spotlight with Teresa Curtiss! 🎉

How did this program change things for you?

This program was a game changer for me. I knew I had food sensitivities and thought I had cut all of them out of my diet, but yet I was still sick. I learned that I had a reaction to some of the healthy things I was eating daily [emphasis added]. I finally have a list of foods to stay away from, no more guessing at what might be the issue. I stay clear of these, plus some additional food intolerances, and I feel great. 

What surprises and new strengths have you gotten from this experience?

I have my health back. I’m starting to enjoy food again instead of dreading eating and getting sick. I was just sticking with the same items that I thought were safe, not wanting to try new recipes.

My diet has opened up to more options now that I know what to avoid. I’m surprised at how much more variety of foods I can eat now. Even though there are quite a few foods I need to steer clear of (for now), I still have more options than I did before. I’ve just recently gone back to recipes in my cookbooks that I loved in the past, but thought they were making me sick. I can eat them again with no issues.

What is the thing you benefited from and/or enjoyed the most so far?

Getting my health back!

I had hoped to find out all the foods I had a food sensitivity to and to relieve my symptoms. I didn’t know I could feel this good again! It’s wonderful to be able to consistently feel good and not have to worry about my symptoms interfering with my day and holding me back from the things I want to accomplish.

I really appreciate our time together and definitely hope to stay in touch (I just referred someone to you last week).

Thanks,

Teresa Curtiss


Imagine something ‘healthy’ you eat almost everyday – like a banana or maybe some kale – and it actually being the culprit behind your symptoms! This is one of the reasons why it’s important to assess for food sensitivities and intolerances – a problem food could be flying beneath the radar because it’s a ‘health food’. Luckily, Teresa has figured out some of the major ones and her symptoms have improved! Could identifying potential food sensitivities do the same for you? Find out here and schedule a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started!

Your Guide to ‘Good’ Grief 😭

There is a terrible thing that awaits us all. Anyone fortunate to live long enough and be born into a loving family, have meaningful life experiences, and to deeply love others will, in fact, know the anguish and suffering of loss.

Grief is a strong, oftentimes overwhelming, emotion of deep sorrow. At the root of grief is a sense of loss – whether it’s the death of someone they love, a divorce or fracture of an important relationship, a miscarriage, or a terrible diagnosis (loss of health, staring death in the face). What’s left? The abrupt, raw wound is the tremendous absence felt from a loved one’s physical death, or the end of a dream about living ‘happily ever after’.

While we aim mostly to look on the bright side of life (also, an excellent Monty Python Life of Brian song), when someone close to us recently passed, we knew it was time to address the part of life that is The Suck – the 50% that isn’t ‘good’ but is the price we all pay for being here in life. When you’re feeling zombiefied by grief here are some Q+A’s and ways to help you cope:

Do I have to go through grief? Can’t I just skip it somehow? There’s got be a ‘hack’ for this…

The importance of participating in your grief and actually feeling your emotions is that it 1. allows healing to occur and 2. doesn’t compound the issue by adding on over-eating, over-drinking, or over-whatever-short-term-pleasure-actually-hurts-you-in-the-long-run.

It’s a choice: willingly enter the heart-rending, swamp of difficult emotions knowing it’s part of your path forward to healing OR try to avoid and numb-out with food, work, or alcohol only to STILL have to go through the swamp AND now there’s extra weight or a burdened liver carried on with you.

How long does grief last?

Grief is tricky. You might think to yourself “oh, I haven’t cried the past two days, I guess I’m moving on to the next stage to get out of this mess”…but NOPE, grief will pop up out of nowhere and sock you in the nose. It could be song you hear while driving in the car, a phrase you heard your loved one say, a random memory, even an annoying commercial…and you’ll find yourself in tears once again. Expect the unexpected.

Grief isn’t linear and it’s not just five stages. You’ll likely bounce from denial to regret, confusion to despair, anger to bargaining, trying to accept to depression…over the course of months or even a single day. Grief is not a race you can run and be done with. Accepting that simple fact will probably do more for your mental health than trying to force your way through it.

As Dodinsky said, “Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow – it is not a permanent rest stop.” Onto entering the ‘sad swamp’ and tips to guide you through your grief:

1. Listen to your favorite sad songs. Our brain thumbed through some old CD racks in a dusty corner of our hippocampus and served up a song we hadn’t heard since 2002 – Do you Realize by the Flaming Lips. We were promptly reduced to tears. Very apropos; thanks brain.

2. Allow yourself to cry. You’re not a robot and neither are we. “Tears have a wisdom all their own…They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.” – F. Alexander Magoun

3. Hydrate. It’s time to take very basic care of your physical body right now. There’s a good chance that in this stage you’ll feel like you’re plodding through heavy storm clouds. Don’t forget that you’ll need to replenish your body with water on a regular basis; set alarms if you need to.

4. Read mournful poems. In our brief research, we found a plethora of poems for every occasion of loss. Heartbreak over a romance ending? The loss of a parent, sibling, or child? Check out poets from Robert Frost and W.H. Auden to Rumi. In some ways it’s really comforting to know others have been through what you’re going through since time immemorial.

5. Eat comfort food. Not too much. Try to get a plant in there every once in awhile. This is a paraphrase/ parody of Michael Pollan’s rules for eating, but seriously, food is an important part of our culture and our memories. Making your Italian nonna’s meatball recipe, with extra cheese, might just be one of the most nourishing meals for your aching soul. Maybe it’s the candy bar you and your bestie shared back in elementary school days. Go for a bit of comfort food and maybe add in a vegetable somewhere in your day.

6. Let yourself sleep. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning, looking at photographs of your loved one or watching Netflix might be exactly what is needed for a night or two, but if your kids are still waking up at 7am to go to school, the 4 hours of sleep you got probably won’t be enough to help you mentally, or physically, get through the day. Being sleep deprived + a bundle of raw nerves = more easily cracking the emotional wound wider or snapping at others. Be gentle with yourself and allow extra time for sleep and rest.

7. Anchor yourself in nature. The lovely person we, and the world lost last week, had an amazing garden. Each family member took time meandering around the yard, or sitting in her favorite outdoor chair, and observing the life that she had engendered and mothered. Hiking or walking in a local park can be a soothing, if temporary, balm for grief. Nature helps to ground us all and reminds us that, while none of us can escape the seasons of life, can anticipate and try to work within them.

8. To work or not to work? That’s a good question. Only you’ll be able to answer it for yourself. Some people go right back into work because they feel they can’t take time off; others might use it to distract from the pain. One of our missions in life is to help others heal and have whole, healthy lives so, for us, working our ‘magic’ in coaching clients is rather cathartic. It’s an anti-dote to the external circumstance outside of our control: we may not be able to help the recently deceased but we *can* help the living.

9. Beware the second arrow. One of the teachings of stoicism (and Buddhism) is to not suffer twice. The first arrow – death, heartbreak, illness- causes pain and is often outside of our control. The second arrow – anger, regret, anxiety – causes suffering and this is a choice. Mindset work and challenging typical stories “if I had one more day with her” actually can help a lot here.

10. Clean. Or don’t. This is another tricky situation. While most of us feel better in a freshly tidied up and vacuumed environment, this may not be a time where even any cleaning gets done. While we were spending 13-hour-days in the ICU last week, all we could really do when back at home was to try to make a quick meal and load/unload the dishwasher. That was enough. Now, especially with needing to declutter and maintain the home of the person we lost, on top of our own, the balance needs to shift. It’s a season. Bottom line: if it makes you feel better to exert some control over your environment, clean til your heart’s content; if you are super-fatigued and burnt out, give yourself a few days without cleaning (or ask a friend/hire someone).

11. Let friends and family help you. Many of us Americans are taught to be independent, individualistic and self-reliant. An additional layer to those in the helping professions is that often they have the hardest time accepting help. And so it is with us. Some of your friends will jump right in with emotional and tangible support. They will offer or insist upon providing: homemade soup and cookies, gift cards for meal delivery from your favorite restaurant, tactical decluttering or clearing out of the deceased’s house. Other friends will probably flounder a bit with the “right thing to say” or how to support you. That’s okay, you’ll probably need to think of an option – “hey, I could really use a hike and a hug. Let’s meet next week” or “can you tell me what steps you took to clean out your aunt’s house when she died?”

12. Get in touch with a bereavement counselor or therapist. People who are trained to be great listeners can help you tell the story of what has happened, explore the complexity of your grieving feelings, and offer a hand to help you back up to face a new reality after loss.

You’re not alone. We all enter the sad swamp at various times in our lives. Take care of yourself, ask for help (professional, if needed), and we’ll all float on alright.

Part Deuce: Stool Chart & Everyone’s Poop Questions 🚽

Believe it or not, this photo of our Bristol Stool Chart was inspired by a failed recipe (we’ll let you guess which :D) and it provides a visual representation of what types of poop humans can produce. There’s also so much more to cover but keep this image in mind as we answer some common questions.

Why should we care about our bowel movements? Why are poops important to learn about?

Paying attention to what we eat and drink is important for everything from athletic performance to increasing our natural energy levels, giving our bodies the nutrients it needs, and more. On the other ‘side’, feces can give clues to your doctor or dietitian about the quality of your diet and underlying health issues such as digestive problems (IBS, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and more), microbiome bacterial or viral infections, colon cancer, and more.

As Sir Francis Bacon said, knowledge is power. The more you identify, catalogue, and understand the difference between healthy poos and unhealthy poos, the quicker you can make necessary changes to improve your health. You might want to make adjustments to your diet to help with constipation or diarrhea, identify foods in your diet that cause your stool to be difficult to pass or to float, or to make a visit to see your doctor if there’s a problem.

What are the types of poop on the Bristol Stool Chart?

Poo Types
1: hard, rabbit-like pellets that are hard to expel
2: a contiguous piece but lumpy and still a bit hard
3: a smoother sausage-like poop with cracks
4: sausage or snake-like, smooth and soft with the texture or firmness of nut butter
5: soft pieces, clearly separated
6: mushy stool, ragged edges, not well-defined
7: entirely liquid stool

Do girls poop?

Yes, girls poop. So do the Kardashians and other celebrities, your parents, the pope and the president. No one is too important or special not to poop.

Why is my poop red/green/black?

You might have red poop because of something as innocuous as eating beets or even food coloring. The worst scenario is if your poop is red because of blood. This can be the result of a bleeding ulcer or hemorrhoids, for example.

Green poop, or yellowish-green stool, is usually associated with food moving too quickly through your intestines with the yellowish-green bile not being fully catalyzed by enzymes in the gut that turn it brown. Other causes of green stool are: infections, digestive issues (e.g. IBS, celiac disease), food coloring, or a diet high in dark-green leafy vegetable such as kale, spinach, or collard greens.

Black, tarry stools can signal a real issue in your body, including internal bleeding. You’ll likely need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are pregnant, stool changes can occur that have them looking very dark brown or nearly black. So can iron tablets and folic acid supplements. You’ll want check with your doctor to ensure your stool changes are safe. Remember that food dyes can also lead to black poop.

What if my stool is white or pale?

Pale poop can be a result of a liver or gallbladder issue. The liver might not be producing enough bile, there could be a blockage in the hepatic ducts or common bile ducts. Diseases of the liver (such as cirrhosis and hepatitis) and gallbladder (e.g. gallstones) are typically implicated. Other reasons for pale stool could include pancreatic issues, celiac disease, intestinal parasites, cystic fibrosis, and more.

How long should my poops be?

Continue reading

Recipe: DIY Iced Coffee 🧋

While winter calls for heated beverages to help warm us up, the spring and summer seasons invite a certain coolness to our drinks – whether they be tea, alcohol, or coffee. Get your ice cubes ready for DIY Iced Coffee!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Ingredients

1.5 cups of room-temperature or refrigerated coffee (ideally mold- and mycotoxin-free coffee; we use Purity Coffee – get 10% off at checkout with code “OneBite”)

1.5 cups of ice

1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (or dairy, if preferred)

Optional extras: sweetener (e.g. maple syrup, stevia, sugar), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, collagen, or a sprinkle of cardamom

Instructions

Brew coffee and allow to cool. Pour non-dairy milk and ice into an insulated mug or glass and add coffee. Stir and combine other optional extras as desired. Enjoy!

Recipe: Plant-based Taco Tuesday 🌮

You definitely don’t need it to be a Tuesday to enjoy these tasty tacos, but “Sunday Tacos” doesn’t exactly have the desired alliteration. We like to call these the Anytime Tacos – the ‘t’ sound is still in there and it’s much more freeing – but social convention is a powerful thing. Regardless, have this crunchy, delicious, and nutrient-dense meal whenever you’d like. Remember the “Got Milk” slogan? Well, this calcium-rich meal actually does a body good. Enjoy!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes, depending on number of condiments offered

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients

1 package of 12 hard taco shells (we used Siete grain-free ones)

1 head of lettuce, romaine or green leaf, chopped

1 can, 15oz of black beans and/or our cauliflower & walnut crumble recipe (if time allows)

1 tsp taco seasoning

2 tomatoes, diced

2 avocados, sliced

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jar of salsa to share

2 limes, sliced (optional)

Instructions

Rinse beans from a can and then put in a small pot over low heat. Add taco seasoning and stir; simmer for about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the tacos. While waiting, prep lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and limes. Follow directions on hard taco shell box for how long to heat them up in the oven (about 2-3 minutes). Plate tacos and allow each dinner guest or family member to decorate their own tacos with the condiments provided. Lime juice provides a nice splash of flavor and acidity to the meal. Your taste buds might just shout ¡olé!

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies 🍪

Do you miss chocolate chip peanut butter cookies? Well, with peanuts out-of-the-picture for many school kids (and adults), what can we do instead? Tahini to the rescue!

What is tahini? It’s sesame seed paste that is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and is reminiscent of peanut butter’s taste. With the 90% chocolate chunks and lower amount of maple syrup, this struck us a “healthy cookie” (i.e. not very sweet). Also, amaranth is a come-back grain (really a seed) after a rather sordid history of being banned because it was considered blasphemous (it also strengthened the people to fight against the invaders). Feel free to use chocolate with a lower percentage of cacao and a little more maple syrup, if desired, to fit your sweet tooth.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 11 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1/2 cup tahini

3 oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup amaranth flour (for extra protein; or use gluten-free flour of your choice)

3 tbsp gluten-free oats

1/3 cup maple syrup

1-2 tbsp water (if batter becomes too thick)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine tahini with maple syrup and vanilla. Then add in amaranth flour, gluten-free oats, cinnamon, and salt. Mix and then add chocolate chunks. If batter is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of water or maple syrup (for those who want this sweeter). Scoop onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 11 minutes. Cookies should be chewy and look underdone in the middle (they are vegan and perfectly safe to eat this way). Let set and cool for 10 minutes and then dig in!

Discover the Digestive ‘Galaxy’ 🌌

There is a whole world within us. Not only are we complex human beings in the way we think, feel, and interact – we contain a universe (of sorts) in our intestines. That’s right, the human microbiome contains an estimated 100 trillion microbes – most of which live in our gut (our largest organ, the skin, also contains a microbiome).

The microbiome influences our energy balance and metabolism (e.g. risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes), gut permeability (and whether one develops “leaky gut” syndrome and/or food sensitivities), immunity, and inflammation.

What influences the microbiome? Our diet, genetics, antibiotics, and probiotic foods being some of the most important aspects.

What to learn all about your digestive ‘galaxy’ and the common issues along the journey? Let’s start at the top and work our way down:

Day 2 and Day 3 are on the same YouTube channel. This is like a mini college course – Digestion 101 so feel free to take notes as you learn all about your digestive tract and ways to improve it #nerdoutwithme

BONUS: for additional information, support, and community – consider joining our Go with your Gut Facebook group

Health Trends & Predictions 🔮

We’ve been approached by a couple of companies this week to consult about health trends and the future of nutrition and wellness. Would you like to take a peek into the now and what’s to come? No crystal ball nor clairvoyance needed.

#1 – Personalized medicine and nutrition. We’re all so used to customizing our license plates, shoes, clothes and the like…and when it comes to health and dietary advice we know there’s no-one-size-fits-all. What works for a celebrity, your best friend, or even cousin may not work for you. We all want to know what we should be eating to best fuel our bodies for performance, heal our guts, and be genetically appropriate to help prevent cardiovascular disease or even improve our memory and brain health. Enter food sensitivity testing and DNA testing to fill a gap in the market that helps figure out the best foods to avoid, and incorporate, for your unique body.

#2 – CBD products. Many of us are interested to see what CBD can do for our pain, our poor sleep, and even to help with anxiety. From gummies to tinctures and pain patches, there’s a lot of research and people experimenting on themselves with these substances to alleviate health issues.

#3 – Herbs & Botanical Medicine. Plants have been used to help our species deal with all sorts of maladies since time immemorial. During the Middle Ages, folk healers were called upon to help people in the community with their health issues. However, sharing generations of herbal knowledge was parti-cu-larly dangerous during this time as a church in power not only had strict roles for women, but also condemned the pagan practice of herbalism. This sent herbalism underground and it nearly died out. Fortunately some pioneers in the 1960’s and 70’s brought this ancient knowledge back into ‘mainstream’ attention. Depending on the plants used, and the knowledge of the herbalist, this can be an effective, low-cost option, and generally one without so many of the dangerous side effects mentioned in pharmaceutal drug ads.

#4 – Plant-based diets and Intuitive Eating. There are many specialty diets floating around these days: keto, gluten-free, low FODMAP, vegan, paleo…and interest in plant-based eating is growing. Whether for health, animal or environmental reasons, many people are looking to incorporate more plant-based meals. Meatless Mondays are a good start, if that’s something of interest to you. Intuitive eating, or mindful eating, really is different than just letting your inner two-year-old run your diet. It’s about paying attention to your thoughts and feelings around your meals and after. How do you feel physically after your meal? How full or stuffed are you and what does that feel like? Part of Intuitive Eating is about slowing down, which creates a little bit of tension in a world that seems to demand that we eat quickly while we do any other number of activities – including driving, working, or watching TV.

#5 – In, out, and all-around Health & Wellness Changes. A typical progression when making healthy changes is starting by changing what one is putting into their bodies – mainly their food and drink. After having spent time reading through ingredients lists on food, the next common change is that people will take a look at their personal care products and/or cosmetics – the ingredients put on the body (which, of course, get absorbed through the body’s largest organ, the skin). The next progression tends to look more at changing the environment closest to one’s individual bubble – such as the home – and then thinking more globally. This could initially look like changing the cleaning products used in the house and adjusting laundry detergents, fragrance sticks and plug-ins, or water quality. Thinking globally, one might start looking the company practices behind their favorite coffee, chocolate, and more to see if they value fair trade practices, organic or sustainable farming practices.

While some of these are certainly not new, they were definitely more fringe ideas back a decade or so ago. Which ones do you think will trend into the future? What are some other changes you anticipate seeing in health and wellness?

When Food is Foe 😈

It certainly is a frustration and a struggle when you suspect that the food you’ve been eating is somehow contributing to the trouble you’re having with your gut, brain, muscles and joints, or skin.

A short list of common symptoms related to food-induced inflammation can range from heartburn and stomach pain to bloating and diarrhea. It could manifest as headaches or migraines, loss of focus, anxiety and/or depression. The symptoms could show in your achy points or in your skin as rashes or breakouts.

Your Personalized Diet

Everyone needs to eat according to their own needs, preferences, and lifestyle. A diet that works for a celebrity, your best friend, and even your cousin may not be what creates health for YOU.

Truly personalized nutrition doesn’t just take into account your height and weight, age, ancestry, activity level, or food preferences and lifestyle, it also means finding out which foods are causing an inflammatory response in your body.

Gut Permeability aka “Leaky Gut”

Having a “leaky gut” was a condition once unbelieved but is now well-documented in scientific literature. When there’s a compromise or breach of the cells lining the gut, there is a potential for all sorts of maladies, including poor nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, and many symptoms throughout the body.

Inflammation: the Good AND Bad

Just like stress, inflammation isn’t all bad. When you get a cut, the area of the trauma will start to swell and redden as the immune and circulatory system rush to the scene to stop the bleeding, prevent infection, and start laying new skin structures. The problem is when stress, or in this case, inflammation becomes chronic. This situation can ignite a host of disorders including arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental issues.

How do you heal the painful symptoms associated with stepping on a nail? Sure, you could try covering it up, wrapping the area with pillowy gauze and taking aspirin, but you haven’t removed the root cause. So the first step to true, actual healing is to have the nail removed.

How might diet-induced inflammation show up for you? We’re all different so while soybean might cause one person a headache or migraine, for another it could cause joint pain or heartburn. Same with gluten, blueberries, or even green peppers.

Just because a food or diet is labeled as anti-inflammatory doesn’t mean it’s acting that way for you. In fact, surprisingly enough, we’ve had two clients in the past year for whom tumeric, a known anti-inflammatory, was actually INFLAMING them. One of the clients had been taking it everyday (!) in attempts to quell her joint pain.

The Multiple Problems with Elimination Diets

One of the keys in reducing diet-induced inflammation in the body is first identifying the foods that are causing the ‘fire’ in the body. Why not start with an elimination diet to try to improve migraines, autoimmune conditions or gut health? Why not try eliminating the most common allergens (e.g. wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, corn, and soy) or trying FODMAPs? While a particular food may relate to certain symptoms, it’s not necessarily the best course of action to subject clients to an elimination diet because they are difficult to sustain , are often inconclusive (do you have a mirgraine or heartburn because of the gluten or because you’ve been under stress or because of barometric pressure change in the weather?) and they don’t usually give the full relief clients need and desire.

1. They could miss a genetic component important for you to know and to share with your family. A good example of this would be a person who eliminates gluten from their diet and feels better. Unless they were tested for celiac disease, they wouldn’t know how stringently they might need to follow the gluten-free diet. Their relatives might also be unaware of how their expression of ‘silent celiac’ disease could be infertility, skin rashes, mouth sores, osteoporosis, and even lymphoma. 

2. Extra stress is another problem of elimination diets. They are frustrating and mentally demanding (trying to figure out a symptom’s cause might feel like a scene from A Beautiful Mind or this It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meme), time-consuming and perhaps most importantly – they are not as successful as testing. The reason for this is that as you eliminate or add in foods, you may not do so slowly or completely enough AND since the immune system is in a heightened state of alert still responding to the foods you haven’t eliminated, you’re likely not going to feel 100% or even 80% better. Instead of spending 6 or more months removing foods from your diet – not feeling sure that you’re even getting better, or not getting a 100% resolution- you may want to consider another process. With our protocol, we guide clients through step-by-step, starting with 10 days of their ‘safe’ foods and then systematically expanding their diet in a way that allows us to determine other food reactions and intolerances.

3. Elimination diets don’t necessarily ‘put out the fire.’ Because our genetics and environment can play a role and impact our abilities to deal with inflammation, you can’t just avoid foods that cause you problems. Our body’s response to stress plays a role too. The great part of knowing your food – and food chemical – sensitivities is that they give a wider, more accurate picture …when it comes to discovering that molds, yeast,  FD&C Blue #2, or benzoic acid are also causing issues, perhaps in your household environment or products. Once we remove the ‘known offenders’ in your diet (including supplements and hygiene products), the immune system starts to calm down and then we can safely start food reintroduction and see more clearly what causes your problematic symptoms. Otherwise, with elimination diets, you’re mainly just guessing about the foods, supplements, and hygiene/household products you’re using and whether or not they are ‘safe’ for you.

Supplements aren’t the Answer

“Can’t I just take extra probiotics, collagen, turmeric, or fiber to help my gut?” You could play the guessing game and potentially waste time and money in trying to find the perfect supplement (or twenty). Here’s the problem: you’ll likely not see a great benefit from them if you’re still eating foods that irritate your gut’s lining and that cause inflammation in the body. As mentioned before, you could be reactive to turmeric and therefore adding that supplement could be your personal kryptonite.  

Want a faster, better way to help your gut AND body heal?

Consider comprehensive food sensitivity testing. Why comprehensive? Because, for example, just looking at IgG levels doesn’t mean that the food is the problem necessarily; IgG can be elevated for a number of reasons. It’s more important to look at multiple markers of inflammation being released by a cell in response to a food – including cytokines, prostaglandins, histamine, leukotrienes, interleukins and more.

If you’re tired of feeling “gross”, being so bloated you look 5 months pregnant, and have stomach pains that distract you from fully participating in the life you want to live, or have other ‘unexplained’ symptoms that could be related to the foods you eat regularly, consider a comprehensive program that includes your test results and implementing the proper protocol with expert guidance and support.

Food sensitivity testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to help clients finally improve life-long symptoms and get back to engaging in life more fully. Interested to see if the testing is a good option for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call and let’s get your healthy journey started!

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