Since my diagnosis years ago, like most people with a food intolerance, I have gone down the food sensitivity wormhole. Ever in search of the illusive “optimal health,” I have begun several unfinished food allergy elimination diets, lived strictly by the laws of the paleo caveman, and even plunged myself into full-swing vegan mode.
Have I found the answer. Not yet, but I have learned a bit along the way.
First and foremost, stick to what you know. If there is one certainty I always come back to it is that no one person, no matter how popular their expertise, will ever have all of my answers. But I do know that for whatever reasons, besides my laundry list of reactions to gluten and dairy, quinoa disagrees with me, my body cannot process brown rice, raw garlic kicks congestion’s butt, cacao keeps me healthy, L-lyseine combats viruses, and I can process white rice quite well. When I tried going from paleo to vegan eight months ago, I was listening to the recipes and recommendations of The Crazy Sexy Diet’s Kris Carr and eating lots of quinoa and brown rice which totally disagree with me. And when I was strictly following a paleo diet, I was eating animal protein and loads of fat at every meal and wondering why my digestive system was off and my tongue not lush and berry colored. What I am learning is that if I truly want to adhere to a mostly animal protein free diet because of my own beliefs for the planet and my own health, then it requires quite a lot of work to keep things in balance. I must take iron and Omega-3. And I must make sure I still ingest enough protein each day. And sometimes, when I am craving it, I must eat beef, chicken or fish.
Second, stop being so scared because of what the experts are saying. If you had candida or a parasite, you would know. I have wasted too much effort checking my tongue in the mirror convincing myself that it’s lack of plump reddish pink meant I MUST have candida. But guess what, when I went from paleo to vegan, and thus from a nearly 0 carb diet to one rich in gluten-free grains like white rice, and in smoothies full of natural sugars like berries and fruits, my tongue got better! Alas, I did not have candida. The fatigue was simply a part of life, that’s why most people caffeinate. And the digestive disharmony, because I was eating nothing but rich, fatty foods. And the sulfur taste I would get in my esophagus that always convinced me I was hungry or had major digestive issues, resolved quickly with a diet that is mostly plant based. Even when I’m starving now, no fire in my tummy and ill-tasting monster begging to be fed.
Finally, moderation, moderation, moderation. A brilliant lady who helped push me over the edge to after one failed attempt, try another go of leaving my old caveman behind in favor of a tree-hugging sometimes-vegan is Isabel Foxen Duke. She works with clients to help end unhealthy relationships with food. I learned about Isabel from some of my favorite health gurus (none of whom I follow the advice of 100%) and on her Stop Fighting Food site, watching her free videos raised a veil for me. I was following a multitude of paleo cookbook authors/health gurus on Instagram, and what I realized was that none of them actually looked in a way that I wanted to. I actually preferred my own body and fitness level to theirs. And they WERE binging. Even though 99.9% of the time they appeared SO perfect and disciplined on Instagram, they were occasionally honest about their binge eating, and when they binged it seemed worse than any entire bag of chips I had ever devoured, or entire pizza, or full bottle of wine. What I realized was that everything I have learned and continue to learn about health and diet is a suggestion, but implementation is up to me. And thus moderating it to fit my body and life is also my own free willing to do.