Should you Expand your Restricted Diet?

This article was inspired by an interesting conversation with a lady that I met at a party. She was restricting corn and wanted my opinion about reintroducing it.

We talked about the impact the restriction has had on her life. Many food ingredients are made from corn, so she had reduced processed foods and was making meals at home. She discovered that she loved cooking! The homemade diet helped her to lose weight and feel healthier. Overall, the restriction had a positive impact, so she decided to continue with it.

How is the restriction impacting your life?

If you are struggling with this dilemma, ask yourself how the restriction is impacting your life. Here are a few questions to think about. Do you…

  • … enjoy eating?
  • … eat a reasonable variety of healthy foods?
  • … feel comfortable in food-related social situations?
  • … have the time (and desire) to prepare special food?
  • …. have the money (if the restricted diet is more expensive)?
  • …. minimize the impact of your restriction on other people (e.g. someone that cooks for you)?

If you answered “no” to all or most of these questions, you may want to try expanding your diet. If the restrictions have not had a negative impact, there’s no reason to change.

What is a reasonable variety?

This question often comes up. For example, a client may be worried that they are only eating 4 or 5 different vegetables. However, that’s more than most people, and their diet is likely healthier than the average diet. Dietary variety is ideal (for enjoyment and to get a wide range of nutrients), but it is not essential. Consider the typical diet a few generations ago. I live in the Canadian prairies and typical foods were root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnips), beef, chicken, bread, coffee, milk, and cheese. There was not much variation from day to day.  My great grandfather ate mainly turnips for a few months after laying claim to a new homestead. His dad left him and a brother and went back and get the rest of the family. Toward the end, all they had left were turnips (needless to say, my great-grandfather never ate another turnip).

In summary, a repetitive diet is not ideal, but many generations lived quite well with it. The important question is how it affects your life (refer to the questions above).

Is it a good time in your life to expand your diet?

Expanding your diet can be scary because you are stepping out of your comfort zone and risking increased symptoms. Preparing new foods can take time and energy. Consider the impact before taking on this challenge.

If you decide to expand your diet, read 7 Tips to Expand a Limited Diet.

Need help expanding your diet? I can help you develop a step-by-step expansion plan and support you through the process.

4 comments on “Should you Expand your Restricted Diet?
  1. Dan says:

    Can you e-mail me when you have written that article.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read somewhere that it is better to start with cooked fruits and vegetables-not raw. Is this true?

    • Wendy says:

      This is a complex answer and I’m hoping to write an article on it this spring, but I’ll give a summary here. Many people that have inhaled allergies (particularly to pollens, dust, etc.) also get itching/tingling/swelling in their mouth or throat when they eat certain raw fruit or vegetables. Their body is reacting to an allergenic protein in the pollen, but the fruit or vegetable has a similar protein, so it also causes a reaction. Fortunately, the protein in the fruit or vegetable breaks down with heat, so it is okay when cooked

      Coming back to your questions – I would start with the raw fruit or vegetable, but if it does not go well, try it cooked.

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