To Expand or Not to Expand – that is the question

Here are two questions to help you decide if it is a good time to expand your diet. If you decide that it is not a good time, we can focus on Living Well with a Restricted Diet. Another option is to delay your support time until you are ready.

It might not be a good time if:

  • You are changing medications, supplements or other treatments.
  • Your disease is unstable.
  • You are experiencing significant food fears and frustrations. For example, if you are constantly researching or thinking about what you should eat at upcoming meals, I can help you with these challenges before starting food reintroduction. Your food reintroduction journey will be much easier if we address these concerns first.

Common reasons include – better nutrition, pleasure, convenience, eating out, etc.   Sometimes clients want to expand their diet because they think they should – so they have a more “normal diet.” However, a restricted diet can still be nutritious.

How much variety is “enough”?  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 the previous generations primarily ate what they could farm. Typical foods were root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnips), beef, chicken, bread, coffee, milk, and cheese. There was very little day-to-day variation. My great-grandfather survived on turnips for a few weeks after leaving the United States. They claimed a homestead, and his dad left him and his brother and went back to the United States to get the rest of the family. Toward the end, the only food left was turnips (understandably, 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.