Lately I feel like my head is spinning! Even for me as the Nutritional Therapist I feel overwhelmed with all of the different therapeutic diets. For the last few months I have been taking a Bioindividual Nutrition Training Program with Julie Matthews (Certified Nutrition Consultant and Founder of Nourishing Hope) to become more mastered in Special Diets. Working again with a Functional Medicine Doctor has certainly required me to become more knowledgeable in many of these therapeutic diets, as well as many others, as I am being presented with many clients with complex and challenging health conditions.
I have been delving deep into many Special Diets: Gluten-Free/Casein-Free (GF/CF), Elimination Diets, The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS), Feingold, Failsafe, Low Oxalate, Body Ecology Diet and other Yeast-Free Diets, Low FODMAP, Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, Ketogenic Diet, Low Histamine Diet, Low Amylose, SIBO/SIFO and on and on.
The benefit of all of this is that there is a "diet" for whatever ails you and we really can use food therapeutically to help improve many conditions. The drawback is that it seems like it is all too much. As Marc David, Founder and Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating posted, "Nutritional Confusion is the New Eating Disorder." I would agree with this bold statement. So many people are confused, conflicted and inundated with nutritional information. For many people eating has become restrictive, limiting and stressful. It seems like diets are being handed out like prescriptions, just like medicine. It feels as if we have lost the nourishment in the world of nutrition.
But that is where I come in! It is my goal to make food nourishing, varied, enjoyable and pleasurable. I do my best to take a nutritional approach and then customize it for the individual I am working with. Beyond your health condition or diagnosis and lab results, I must consider your lifestyle, your body type (metabolic and Ayuervedic), your nutritional biochemistry and your emotional relationship to food. There is much to consider when choosing a nutritional path for someone and it can take me 2 hours to create a program. But a program is just that. It is a guideline, one that is meant to be tried and experimented with, one that is meant to change over time. I encourage people to open the door, let their intuition guide them, to see how they feel after they eat something, to trust their body to give them feedback as to what works and doesn't.
In all of the nutritional overwhelm we need to find the pleasure and joy even in a diet that feels like those very ingredients have been removed. If food is meant to nourish us, energize us and make us feel our very best then we must approach it with love and understanding. We must approach it from a gentler place than one of rules, black and white thinking or an all or nothing mentality. Approaching food in this way doesn't allow us to heal the body anyway!
Instead of calling them Therapeutic Diets lets refer to them as Healing Nourishment. Instead of restrictive lets experiment and instead of stressing lets take a deep breath and relax into the journey. Together lets take the overwhelm out and approach food with love.
Yours in health & vitality,