A few years ago, I was so frustrated and angry because I knew I was eating healthy. I knew I was eating healthier than anyone else. I know I was doing all the ‘right’ things.
I was eating vegan, gluten-free, no processed foods, green smoothie everyday, salads round the clock, making raw food creations, sprouting everything in sight, taking supplements and superfoods.
And yet, I was still sick – and I was getting worse.
And I hear the same story from everyone I talk to – they’re eating healthy, they’re doing all the wellness stuff that the gurus tell us we should do.
That’s what’s so infuriating and frustrating – you’re eating well! You’re trying gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free, cutting out caffeine, you’re spending tons of money on supplements and superfoods and vitamins and herbs and organic. You’re exercising and trying every diet and wellness trick you come across, you’re doing green smoothies.
So why don’t you feel better?
You’re not eating the RIGHT food.
By right, I don’t mean morally or according to one particular diet or philosophy of eating – I mean right for YOU and your body, at this point in time.
There’s a huge difference between eating WELL and eating RIGHT.
And that big difference is YOU!
This is where your diet needs to become really personalised for you – you have to figure out what foods your body loves right now, and what foods are triggers that are setting it off.
For me, I have a tendency towards dampness issues, so green smoothies are literally one of the worst things I could do – but everyone was saying how magical they were that I didn’t realise it.
For some people with autoimmune conditions, citrus makes it worse – so the whole lemon water thing they tell you to do every morning is a terrible idea!
For some people FODMAP’s are a problem, turning super health foods like avocado and onion into real problems.
Some people don’t go well with nightshades (tomatoes, potato, eggplant, peppers etc), especially autoimmune, and won’t improve until they’re removed.
Many people can’t tolerate eggs, which for the rest of us are an incredibly healthy, nutrient dense food.
And let’s not forget the food sensitivities that leaky gut causes, which are completely individual and could be anything. (When you have leaky gut, food molecules escape from the holes in the gut wall into the blood stream, the immune system thinks it’s a foreign invader and attacks the food molecules, which causes food sensitivities).
You’d be surprised the difference removing just a few foods that are triggering your body can make.
So it sounds complicated, but really it’s about knowing what the health issues are that you’re dealing with (autoimmune? other diseases? gut issues? SIBO? candida?) and then LISTENING to and OBSERVING your body.
Those two things – LISTENING to and OBSERVING – are your two greatest tools in figuring all this out.
Practice this by taking a minute to close your eyes, get still and quiet, breathe deeply and just feel into your body, noticing any discomfort, pain or symptoms that are there. OBSERVE.
One way I recommend to do this is by keeping a food journal and writing down everything you eat and how it makes you feel, noting any symptoms at all. It’s simple, free and it works.
You’ll be able to start making connections you couldn’t previously see.
Eating a super simple diet, like an elimination diet, also makes this a lot easier because there are less variables (different ingredients) to make sense of and you will notice things much much easier.
Of course, it really helps to do this with someone, and talking it out will help you go even deeper into making connections you sometimes can’t see yourself because your too close to it, and this is something I do in my coaching program which you can learn more about here.
The other thing that’s really important is to recognise when what you’re doing isn’t working.
I know for me, I got so far down the path of eating vegan, more raw foods, dehydrating, sprouting, smoothies etc that I really didn’t see that it actually wasn’t working for me.
I kept thinking well once I get more strict, or more raw, or this other superfood then it will get better. But years were passing and I wasn’t getting better because it wasn’t the right way of eating for me.
I had tunnel vision that this was the only way to get healthy that I must be missing something and doing something wrong, but really I just wasn’t eating foods that were healing to the gut and right for me.
I think the wellness world has gotten really caught up in one particular way of eating, which is raw foods, cleansing, plant-based, raw desserts etc which are perfect for healing some illnesses (e.g. cancer) but the opposite of perfect for healing the gut and some other illness (eg. hormones, psychological illnesses).
Obviously there’s more to healing your body and gut than just removing a few foods that are triggering you, it takes a whole plan (it’s so much more than just going gluten-free!). The secret sauce to healing: doing everything at the same time!
So eating the ‘right’ (for you) diet, removing the food triggers, adding gut healing foods, rebuilding the gut bacteria, repairing the gut lining, detoxing, and dealing with emotions and stress. You’ve probably doing one or two of these things, but the key is to do it all at once. Not doing one of these parts will block you healing.
Just because it’s popular and trendy, and some guru is telling you it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it’s right for YOU, my precious little snowflake.