Clients are often searching for the root cause of their food sensitivity, but the search often does more harm than good. The Calm Your Food Fears & Expand Your Diet workbook helps clients take a step back, look at the bigger picture and change the habits that contribute to their reactivity. These positive changes reduce symptoms and give clients a clear picture of the foods they truly need to avoid.
The wisdom in the private client articles have evolved through conversations with clients over many years. The self-reflection questions will help you apply these concepts to your life. During our video-conference appointments, we will discuss your insights and make a plan to change the patterns that contribute to your reactivity. I will support you through this life changing journey.
Clients can also access nineteen additional articles in Living Well with a Restricted Diet.
1) Mind-Body Connection
Your perceptions and relationship with food play a big part in how your body reacts to food.
Healing your relationship with food will increase your tolerance and substantially improve your quality of life. The goal of this program is for food to be an enjoyable part of your day, not a burden that dominates your life.
Janelle suffered from abdominal pain, aching joints and headaches. Her family doctor and the specialists did not know what was wrong. Her functional doctors had different opinions about the cause. She encountered many food restriction lists through her online research and became suspicious of her diet. When her symptoms flared-up, she would automatically assume it was something she ate. As her diet became more and more restricted, she noticed additional sensitivities. This negative spiral continued until Janelle was down to only a few foods. She was worried about poor nutrition and was tired of her bland, repetitive meals, but her symptoms flared-up when she tried to expand her diet.
Private Client Articles
- 1a) The Psychological Impact of Mysterious, Unexplained Symptoms
- 1b) Food Tolerance and Digestion are Optimal in the “Window of Tolerance”
- 1c) Intensified Physical Reactions to Food
- 1d) Increased Vulnerability to Food Sensitivity
- 1e) Your Perception of Food Can Change How Your Body Reacts
2) Change How You Respond to Symptoms
Learning to respond to your symptoms with a different mindset, will help keep you out of the fight-or-flight downward spiral.
When Janelle’s symptoms flared-up, she would get stuck in worrisome thoughts (How bad will it get? What food caused this? How can I heal my body? ) which led to impulsive changes (e.g. internet research, further diet restriction, etc.). She decided to change how she responded to her symptoms. When she noticed her symptoms starting, she focused on calming her mind and body. Additionally, she paused and observed her symptoms for a few days, which gave her a chance to make thoughtful changes. She still experienced flares, but the symptoms were manageable.
The following suggestions are not a substitute for your physician’s recommendations for treating symptoms (especially an epinephrine auto-injector).
Private Client Articles
- 2a) Observant-Responsive Mindset
- 2b) It May Not be a Food Reaction
- 2c) If it is a Food Reaction, It May Not Happen Again
- 2d) Symptoms vs. Normal Body Sensations
- 2e) Body Healing Visualizations and Affirmation
3) Calm Food Fears
When you search for answers to chronic health concerns, you will find negative food messages. These messages damage our relationship with food. Changing these perceptions will help you tolerate a greater variety of food.
Janelle had absorbed many negative food messages from her online research and discussions with doctors. She realized these messages had created fear and distrust of food. Learning that the restriction lists she was following were “educated guesses,” helped her to let go of these messages. Gradually, her fear started to loosen.
Private Client Articles:
- 3a) Consider Speaking to a Psychologist
- 3b) Rational & Irrational Fear
- 3c) Let Go of Negative Food Messages
- 3d) Reduce Your Search for Exact Answers
4) Practices to Feel Safe & Minimize Food Reactions
A daily practice will help you move out of fight-or-flight and into the window of tolerance. There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” practice. Read through the suggested practices and let me know which ones resonate with you. I will help you develop a specific plan and stick with it!
Daily practices also helped Janelle relax her fear and sensitivity to food. Her daily practice started with deep gentle breaths to settle her mind. She then recalled the delicious flavor and enjoyment of her summertime barbeques when she was younger. Next, she visualized the present moment, enjoying a similar barbeque with her children.
- 4a) Nurture an Observant-Responsive Mindset with Mindful Practices
- 4b) Self-Compassion Practice
- 4c) Positive Visualization
- 4d) Positive Affirmations
- 4e) Notice & Remember What is Going Well (Gratitude)
- 4d) Your Current Religious Traditions
5) Reintroduce Food
Clients have often gone through a vicious cycle of food restriction, leading to additional food sensitivities and further restriction. With food reintroduction, we are reversing this cycle!
Calmly responding to symptoms and minimizing her reactions through a daily practice allowed Janelle to successfully reintroduce food. She appreciated having a step-by-step plan, that was individualized to her needs. It was difficult to go slow because everything tasted so good! Over the next six months, Janelle reintroduced several foods and enjoyed her healthy, tasty new diet. Most importantly, she had a better relationship with food. She still had a few symptoms and had to avoid some foods, but her quality of life was much better.
Private Client Articles:
- 5a) To Expand or Not to Expand – that is the question
- 5b) Food Challenge or Gradual Reintroduction
- 5c) Challenges on Your Reintroduction Journey
Janelle was not an actual client. I’m using story-telling to communicate information.