Our bodies are really pretty amazing. We don’t realize it a lot of the time but they really are. We throw a ton of stress at them in various forms and they do the best they can to adapt. Over time though, that stress can become too much of a burden and symptoms in various forms start showing. A lot of these symptoms take years to really show themselves. Or, we just get so used to experiencing something that it just becomes “normal.”
I actually already wrote about this but I wanted to revisit it and share some information about what steps you might consider taking if you do decide you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
Just because something keeps happening, doesn’t mean it’s normal or that
it should continue to happen. Our bodies communicate to us through these various symptoms. They’re like a check engine light. Often what we do to avoid the unpleasant symptoms we experience is take medication to quiet that symptom. But if your car’s check engine light comes on you don’t just take it somewhere to get the light put out; the mechanic figures out what is causing the light to turn on and then fixes that.
We take pills to stop the inflammatory process so that our joints and muscles won’t hurt instead of figuring out why they hurt. We take acid blockers to stop the production of acid in the stomach, instead of looking into why that acid is entering the esophagus in the first place. We take medication to drive down cholesterol instead of digging deeper to learn why the cholesterol has gone up in the first place.
Our bodies are trying to survive so they are going to do what needs to be done to make that happen. When we just try to quiet symptoms and never look deeper to discover the root issue, it becomes like symptom whack-a-mole.
Cholesterol starts to rise – whack! Bop that baby back down with a statin.
Muscles get stiff and sore – whack! More medication.
Acid reflux? – whack!
You get the picture. And let me say that I am not anti-medication. There are certainly times when medicines are needed, absolutely. But so often our bodies are just trying to send a message and we are not listening. If we did listen more carefully, we could try to address these issues in other ways that might help to get to the root issue, or at least closer to it.
Changing your diet isn’t necessarily a cure-all for the issues you may be dealing with. We are so complex and our health is affected by many different elements and circumstances. BUT you really can enhance your own body’s ability to heal itself by removing the dietary offenders and increasing the good stuff. This is the first step in bringing your body back into balance (which is what our bodies are always trying to achieve).
Here are 10 signs that you need a healing diet:
- You’ve been trying to lose weight for years with no meaningful or sustained success
- You have a known autoimmune disease. Our bodies are not supposed to attack themselves. Many times there is a connection between autoimmune diseases and intestinal permeability, aka “leaky gut.”
- You’ve been diagnosed with IBS, IBD, or any other digestive condition. Or you just have chronic constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and/or gas
- You frequently get sick
- You feel depressed, moody, anxious, and/or irritable
- You have low energy and are easily fatigued
- You joints and/or muscles are stiff and sore
- You have heart disease or are at high risk for it
- You have diabetes or are pre-diabetic
- You’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or other hormonal imbalances
Now, what would a healing diet look like for these conditions?
That’s going to depend because everybody is different and we all have different needs. But all of these are signs that your body is experiencing unchecked inflammation.
A healing diet, in essence, would remove inflammatory foods that are probably exacerbating your symptoms and would promote healing foods that allow your body to ramp up its own anti-inflammatory processes.
The complicated part is that one food could be really healthy for one person but then could cause distress in another person. For this reason it can be really helpful to work with a practitioner who can help you identify what your particular symptoms might be or have a food sensitivity test done to get a better idea of what is problematic for you.
But let’s say you’re reading this and thinking that all sounds very overwhelming. You can start small, by removing the most common offenders and going from there.
When someone has a compromised gut (as is likely the case with all of those 10 conditions – you don’t actually have to have obvious digestive symptoms), certain foods are going to add fuel to the fire. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have them ever again, it just means you probably need to remove them for a time to allow healing to happen.
The most common offenders and the first things you should consider eliminating for 4-6 weeks are gluten-containing grains, corn (in ALL its many forms), dairy, all soy (like corn, it’s everywhere), all refined sugar, and all refined oils.
Now if all of that still seems too overwhelming, start even smaller. Gluten and dairy are the top two sources of food sensitivities and can be a great starting point.
Taking baby steps into a healing diet might look something like this:
- You commit to going gluten and dairy free for 1 month to see how your body responds.
- Your diet consists of quality sources of food:
- Proteins: meat, fish, other seafood, eggs (wild caught, grass-fed if possible)
- Vegetables: eat a variety of colorful vegetables. Focus on getting leafy greens in every day
- Good quality fats: extra virgin olive oil and olives, grass-fed butter or ghee, virgin coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil,
- Some nuts and seeds: raw or dry-roasted macadamia, pecans, almonds, and walnuts and seeds like hemp, chia, pumpkin, and ground flax.
- Fresh fruit: depends on your blood sugar health but prioritize lower sugar fruits like berries of all types. Apples, pears, melons, oranges, and peaches are decent options as well.
- Throw in some healing foods: lemons, turmeric, fresh ginger, raw apple cider vinegar, bone broth and/or grass-fed beef collagen or gelatin
And here’s an example of what you might eat in a day:
- Breakfast: 2-3 egg and veggie scramble with ½ an avocado
- Lunch: Salad with salmon or canned sardines or mackerel, pumpkin seeds, olives, avocado, lots of leafy greens (dark ones are best!), leftover roasted butternut squash cubes, and a dressing made with extra virgin olive oil, raw ACV, and a tiny bit of raw honey (or a Primal Kitchen dressing)
- Dinner: slow cooked grass-fed chuck roast with carrots, red or green cabbage, onion, garlic, a bunch of fresh herbs, and bone broth.
- Snack ideas: macadamia nuts, ½ cup berries topped with full fat coconut cream (from a can), spoonful of coconut butter, golden milk (warm coconut milk blended with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, coconut oil, and collagen peptides
Those symptoms I mentioned before are your body’s way of saying it needs some attention and care. In making the choice to remove those offending foods and fill up on the good ones is the first step toward bringing your body back into balance.
Plan your meals around whole foods and know that making that conscious choice to pass up some of the foods that you may have normally eaten or that everyone around you is eating is a form of self-care and future you is going to thank current you!