In today’s episode, we’ll talk about healing diet and intuitive eating
In the world of natural health and functional medicine, we often use healing diet and restrictive diet that remove one or more foods from one’s diet, for a period of time, as a method to help patients and clients recover or manage their health conditions. Can healing diet and Intuitive eating be combined? That’s the question I will attempt to answer.
Now forewarning, there’s not a definite answer to the question but instead lots of greys and self-reflection…. let’s start with a story.
My healing diet journey as a health practitioner
I’m a health care professional trained in using food as a way of healing the physical body. Healing diet, restrictive, and elimination food protocol are what I studied for years yet today I very seldom recommend it. Why?
I have seen and experienced many situations that healing diets, restrictive diets, and elimination food protocols actually caused more collateral damages than benefits to the treated health condition. Furthermore, in most clinical cases what really was causing the health issue had nothing to do with food. So, why obsess about food?
If I can, I’d like to take you back in 2015…
Carole AIP diet
I was sitting in my clinic office talking to a patient seeking help with rheumatoid arthritis. She was in the middle of a major flare-up. All joints in her lower body were painfully swollen and she was in a 9/10 pain level. She wanted me to examine her AIP (auto-immune protocol) dietary protocol & supplement protocol and advise her on what she was doing wrong so she could get over the massive flare-up… she was desperately looking for me to find what she was doing wrong.
I read all her testing reports, looked over her medications, supplement and food journals. She was doing everything perfectly… she was eating on point and has been for months. I couldn’t find anything wrong with her diet or supplement or medication.
Then while looking at her, a little voice in my head told me to ask her about her husband…. with hesitation I did. “How your is husband doing, Carole?”
She crumbled on the seat in tears… and she cried for a solid 10 minutes barely taking a breath.
Her husband had asked her for a divorce 4 weeks earlier. Her flare-up was triggered by the divorce NOT the food… when she finally was able to breathe and talk, the first thing that came out of her mouth was: “So Stephanie, what can I do with my diet to help myself through this situation?”
“Carole, this is not about the food… you need help emotionally. This situation is very traumatic to you now and your body is flaring up because of it.”
“No… I know it’s what I’m doing with my food. It’s always the food. I’m not trying hard enough. I need to work harder.”
Health is far beyond just food
The truth was her health issue was in part related to food but only a small percentage. The most prevalent trigger was emotional, not physical. Just like for Carole our health is beyond diet and the sum of many elements like emotional well-being, relationship, mental health, sleep, movement, stress, inflammation, toxic exposure, …
In some ways, being obsessed with food prevents us from taking a deeper and wider look at our health. Often choosing to stay obsessed with food as the solution to our health issues keeps us away from healing.
Using healing diet and intuitive eating
“It’s not about the food: It’s about the relationship to healing.”
– Jessica Flannigan, author of the Loving Diet
In this episode of the Going Beyond The Food Show, we welcome Jessica Flanigan, Clinical Nutritionist, Co-Founder of The Institute of Spiritual Coaching and the author of the first mind-body book about Autoimmune Disease, The Loving Diet.
Jessica has spent the last six years of her clinical nutrition practice focusing on working with clients in Autoimmune Paleo, but has since moved on to more advanced functional medicine-based gut restoration applications to remove restriction from her client’s protocols and work with clients struggling with disordered eating with her program, Transformational Eating™.
I encountered Jessica’s work while doing research for this podcast episode while reading her article The Silent truth about AIP, Restrictive Diet and disordered eating. I had to have her on the podcast to share her clinical observation.
What you’ll learn listening to this episode:
- The article that Jessica wrote that sent the AIP community in shock
- The link between restrictive diet and disordered eating behaviors
- Orthorexia: What is it and how it’s linked to AIP protocol
- The danger of self-diagnosis
- What you are likely missing in your protocol and why food alone isn’t working.
Are you ready to use healing diet while eating intuitively?
Let’s reflect on your journey with healing diets. Are you currently participating in healing your health using food or are you wanting to use food to support your health? If so, how do you answer these questions:
- What’s my ‘why’ for using food for my health? My secret WHY? Is it weight loss or healing? Is it healing so I can finally lose weight?
- Have I looked at my health situation from all angles
- 4 bodies: Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and last Physical.
- Do I really like this food? Am I forcing myself to eat food I do not enjoy because it’s good for me?
- Do I have any feelings of guilt or diet mentality around this food choice?
- Did I allow my nutrition knowledge to guide this choice for my health without sacrificing pleasure?
- Am I putting pressure on myself to be a ‘perfect’ healing diet participant?
- Is this choice coming from a place of self-care or self-control?
These are the same questions I ask myself as a practitioner when assessing a client’s ability to use food for healing their health. It will usually take 12-18 months of solid intuitive eating living before one is able to approach food with restriction without triggering diet mindset.
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