Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Let's Talk Food

Over the past couple of months I have been getting quite a few questions about food and my diet, and it's WIAW so let's talk food shall we?!

If you have been following along than you know that I struggled with stomach problems for the better part of last year. And for about 5 months, while waiting to have a scope done, I worked with a nutritionist and followed a strict Elimination Diet. The elimination diet was a way for me to manage my stomach and address any potential food allergies while I waited for more definitive answers. The scope revealed a Hiatal Hernia, which makes you more susceptible to acid reflux, but no serious food allergies.
Food from my recent trip to Vancouver

Since my scope last fall I have added all of the eliminated foods back into my regular diet. And here is what I have learned...

1. The majority of my stomach problems are Stress Related.
I think eating a lot of bad things can obviously irritate your stomach, especially if you have an allergy, but for me most of my stomach problems stem from stress. Last year was an extremely stressful year. And I believe that, more than anything else, contributed to my stomach problems. It has been especially apparent this year, when stress has ebbed and flowed, and stomach problems have coincided.

2. Elimination Diets Work
While the elimination diet can feel restrictive it does eliminate the vast majority of stomach irritants from your routine. And regardless of source of your stomach issues I think it would have an impact. In the end I was not diagnosed with a food allergy, so eliminating those foods was not necessary from that stand point. But last year I was not in a position to lower my stress levels either, so modifying my diet helped me ensure that I was doing everything in my power to alleviate symptoms and give my stomach a chance to heal.

3. I can Eat Anything in Moderation
I had gotten to the point last fall, where if my Gastro Doc said I had to continue to eat the way I was, I would have been okay with it. I discovered a lot of great recipes and I found a lot of gluten-free and dairy-free options. (I actually still eat a lot of them in my regular diet because I like the way they taste). And I was just happy to be feeling good.

That being said Cheese is good! Wine is good! Candy is yummy! And I really like Chicken Wings and Pizza. So I was not sad to be reintroduced to my old friends! I can't eat them in excess, but all foods are A-okay in moderation.

4. Eating Intuitively Works Best for Me
I think as adults our feelings about food can become a little convoluted. And I will freely admit that I struggled for a long time with my relationship with food. Either eating too much and using it as comfort. Or trying to be too restrictive to lose weight or to focus on athletic performance. Neither is healthy or sustainable. So at this point I don't really fuss that much about what I eat. I don't count calories. I don't track macros. I don't follow a meal plan. And nothing is off limits.

I have spent a lot time over the past couple of years trying LABEL my diet and to fit into a prescribed bubble. I have tried a lot of things - vegetarian, paleo, pescatarian, gluten-free, vegan - and everything in between. But to be honest I feel most balanced, happy, and healthy when I eat intuitively. And my happy-healthy-intuitive diet generally means focusing on...

Eating whole-foods, 70% of which is plant-based, but does include some meat and limited diary, all while enjoying treats and delicious-ness when my body and soul craves it

It is not complicated.  There is no real label for this. And while I know very little about nutrition, I know that this is what works best for me. I will continue to strive to learn more and incorporate healthy changes as my journey progresses. But I will strive to do all of that free from dietary labels.

Kinda boring, and maybe not the answer some folks were looking for, but that's kind of it.

Do you follow a specific diet? Do you have any food-related questions for me?

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