Dr. Doni, food sensitivity expert, shares tips to help you successfully eliminate the foods from your diet that are causing inflammation so that you can feel better sooner.
For some, the thought of living life without gluten and/or dairy (let alone other foods too), can feel like the worst idea ever.
But for most people, once they start eliminating the foods and finding new favorites to replace them, the benefits to their health far outweigh the challenge of making different food choices.
I’d like to share 5 success tips for those of you who are new to avoiding your food sensitivities, or have tried in the past but had a hard time making the changes.
1. Determine how you best integrate change.
Some people like to jump in and make changes quickly, while others are more successful by making small changes over time. Check in with yourself and notice how you’ve made other changes in your life.
Is it going to be better for you to gradually find replacements for the foods you usually choose over several weeks? Or would it work better to make these changes with the support of a friend? Would daily email tips help?
You may find The Stress Remedy book to be a helpful resource because it covers in depth information about how food sensitivities develop, a menu plan, recipes, and support for making changes at your speed.
2. Prepare for unwanted effects from making these changes.
While many people simply notice a decrease in whatever they had previously been experiencing…from headaches and bloating to sinus congestion and joint pain…some people can experience bloating, cravings, weight changes or even headaches as they eliminate foods.
The body can react to positive changes just as much as negative changes, so if you find that even if you are ready for a big change, your body may need for you to go more slowly, integrating change over time, allowing your systems to recalibrate, so to speak.
It can also be a matter of consistency over time, so that your body and all the messengers (hormones, neurotransmitters and cytokines) have a chance to adjust and send new signals.
3. Focus on healing your intestinal lining.
Keep in mind that the overall strategy here is to heal leaky gut.
Leaky gut is what is allowing foods to get through your intestinal lining to the area where you immune system is able to react to the foods. By healing leaky gut, food will no longer be able to leak through, and your immune system will not react.
Healing leaky gut takes time, but it is possible. Avoiding the foods that are triggering your immune system is the first step. You can then also add in nutrients, such as glutamine, as well as digestive enzymes and probiotics, to help speed up the process. Read more about healing leaky gut here. For a more complete view of leaky gut—what is is and what you can do about it, please see my series on leaky gut: http://bit.ly/Leaky-Gut-Series.
4. Be curious about how you will feel without these foods
This is not the sort of endeavor to take with specific expectations. I encourage you to enter this journey with curiosity—curiosity about how your body responds differently to different foods… and how you feel based on what you eat.
You might want to start by making a list of the symptoms you are experiencing now. You can also journal as you make changes to your diet. Notice symptoms that disappear or new symptoms that arise.
I often hear that as you eliminate the foods that cause inflammation, it becomes a lot easier to notice the symptoms that occur if/when you do get exposed to those foods.
5. Use resources to help get you through the transition and healing process.
There are many resources available on the internet and in stores. Here are a few of my favorites, including some that patients have shared:
- Starting out on a gluten-free quest
- Silvana’s Kitchen – Silvana is one of my patients who wrote a book and created a blog and magazine dedicated to helping others eat dairy and gluten free.
- Elana’s Pantry – Elana provides cookbooks and online recipes that are gluten free, dairy free, egg free and sugar free.
- CleanPlates.com – A cookbook with help finding restaurants that match your needs.
- The Hamptons CleanseTM which I designed as a 3-week program to support you with avoiding your food sensitivities while decreasing inflammation and healing leaky gut. Learn more here.
- Participate in my Empowering Wellness group on Facebook.
“Does this mean I can never eat a sandwich or ice cream again?”
The answer is yes, and no. While you definitely replace your usual sandwich with a gluten-free version with avocado instead of cheese…and you can replace your favorite ice cream with a coconut milk ice cream (which is amazingly delicious)…the real question is whether you will want to have your old favorite sandwich and ice cream once you find out how much better you can feel without them.
“Will I ever be able to eat these foods again?”
Yes, as you heal leaky gut, you may become less reactive to some foods, which is the goal. Then, you may very well be able to eat thosee foods you are currently sensitive to without feeling terrible and hopefully without re-triggering the vicious cycle of inflammation. That is to be determined because each person has a very unique set of stresses and abilities to heal.
Please do let me know what you discover along the way – post your comments below.
Success to you!