Did you know that your body is a lot smarter than you think?
I have always been a person who listened to my gut, but I haven’t always been good at paying attention to what messages my body was telling me. Did you know that gas, bloating, pain, fatigue, or indigestion after a meal is not normal? Well, they actually are normal because that a majority of people experience them on a regular basis. But they aren’t normal, meaning our bodies are trying to tell us something is not right when we have one of those reactions.
As a culture we are so used to popping antacids after every meal or getting sleepy after we eat pasta, bread or potatoes.
It wasn’t until I did an elimination diet that I learned what foods my body was reacting to. There are different levels of elimination diets; the basic one is removing one food source (gluten or dairy) for 4-6 weeks and paying attention to if you feel any different when you add it in. The next level of elimination diet would be Whole30 or a similar food plan where they remove all processed foods, added sugar, legumes, and grains for 30 days. After that time you slowly reintroduce food to see how you feel. The next level up from that is the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet, which removes even more food for 6+ weeks. The AIP diet removes the same things as the other diets but is even stricter with removing foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body such as nuts, seeds, eggs, and nightshades.
Doing any one of these diets can be extremely beneficial for learning your body and what it can tolerate. It isn’t until we remove an offending food for a while and add it back in that we can notice a difference.
Think of lying on a bed nails. This will not be a comfortable sensation, but it won’t be that bad. Now remove all but one and the pain of the one is much more intensified than when it was spread out even though there were many more nails poking your skin. This is how food is in our bodies. When we constantly consume a food that our body disagrees with we may overall feel sluggish or have pain but we don’t notice it until we stop it for a while and then try to add it back into what we eat. If it’s a food that our body disagrees with, we will experience a heightened response to that food.
My best example for listening to my body and learning about food reactions happened when I reintroduced tomatoes after doing a diet similar to AIP. Let me tell you, I love tomatoes! I was craving salsa like you wouldn’t believe and was so excited to eat homemade pasta sauce! On the day I decided to re-introduce tomatoes I couldn’t believe what happened. I followed the protocol of eating tomatoes in different forms every time I ate on re-introduction day. Each time I ate I was suddenly nauseous, but I was fully in denial that my favorite food would disagree with my body. I kept eating these red, juicy gifts from above and continued to be nauseous every time. The next morning I woke up and had an inflammatory response that was unimaginable. I literally couldn’t get out of bed! My body ached down to the inner part of my bones. It was incredible and very sad. Reflecting back I realize I wasn’t picking up on the signal my body was sending me the day before.
Not every food is this extreme, but it is something I would have never understood without experiencing it myself. When I was in treatment for Lyme I would eat tomatoes on a regular basis because salsa and Mexican food were some of the only things I could tolerate around my nausea. Looking back, I wonder if some of my symptoms with Lyme were exacerbated because of this food choice.
Now that I've learned to keep tomatoes out of my diet I rarely experience pain in my body! It's incredible the effect food has on how we feel.
Have you ever done an elimination diet? What were your experiences? Did you learn anything about your body or what it was telling you? What foods disagree with you in your body?
If you are interested in learning what your body is trying to tell you I'd love to walk the path of an elimination diet with you. Please contact me. You decide which level of eliminating food fits best for you and we will walk this journey together. These diets are very powerful and a helpful way for us to learn our bodies!