When you have food sensitivities, expanding a limited diet can seem overwhelming, but there is hope! A slow & steady approach makes it much easier.
Start by working toward a calm mindset.
A mindful approach does not cure food sensitivities, but it is the foundation for progress and positive changes. Read Minimize Food Sensitivity through Mindful Habits, for more information.
Let go of extreme internet information.
The internet is full of conflicting theories for curing difficult symptoms, and the opinions are often extreme and toxic. Too much internet research can create anxiety. Limit your research and ignore radical opinions.
Traditional food challenges often don’t work.
A traditional food challenge is where you introduce a food in gradually larger quantities over a short period of time (e.g. 2- 4 days). If you are symptom-free, the food is “safe”. This works well if food is the only trigger and food triggers are consistent. Unfortunately, many people have a variety of food and non-food triggers and their food triggers are inconsistent. In this case, traditional challenges don’t work, because symptoms may be related to the challenge food or another trigger. A different approach is needed for these clients.
Introduce new foods on a rotation.
If you to react to a food after eating it a few days in a row, try a rotation food reintroduction. For example, introduce a ¼ cup of blueberries twice a week, rather than a full cup everyday. I’ve worked with many clients that successfully introduce a variety of new foods if they don’t eat them every day.
Specific foods may not be the cause of your symptoms.
Of all the possible symptom triggers, food is the easiest to track. We know exactly what we eat and drink. Therefore, it is often the trigger that people focus on. Most symptoms are a combination of internal and external triggers.
- external triggers – food, inhaled substances (pollen, dust, perfume, chemicals, etc.), air temperature, movement, etc.
- internal triggers – hormonal changes, disease status, body chemicals, etc.
When symptoms occur, a common thought is “What food caused this?”. Sometimes it is not food.
You need to eat, even though it causes symptoms.
This sounds harsh, but you need food to nourish your body. Your health will further deteriorate if you stop eating. A friend of mine with severe Crohn’s disease experienced pain with each meal. When her disease flared up and her digestive system was inflamed, eating was painful (no matter what she ate). She used to say, “most people live to eat, but I have to eat to live”.
Need help expanding your diet? I can help you develop a step-by-step expansion plan and support you through the process.