The “Me” Diet

Eating has become a complicated thing. Eating with food intolerances is even more complicated.

The GAPS diet, the Paleo and Primal diets, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the Starch Solution, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, vegan, low carb, eating for your blood type….the list goes on and on…

I actually found myself in an argument one day in an online forum over a diet. I had posted something about my dental issues and my newly diagnosed ulcerative colitis diagnosis that I was trying to deal with and someone replied back that I had to do the Specific Carbohydrate Diet all the way, 100 % or I would continue to forever have issues the rest of my life.

I have tried many of those diets or variations of those diets the past few years in attempts to stabilize my GI issues, address my dental issues, improve my skin, etc… And the end result, some improvement but really, trying to follow a strict diet can make a person crazy!

I do live with food intolerances. I can read my body. Last night after eating something I normally don’t eat, I said to my husband, “My shoulder hurts from something I ate.” He looked at me like I was crazy, but honestly, that is a reaction I experience. Basically, I know that portion size, the time I eat, and processed food are things that I need to really pay attention to. Most boxed and bagged foods are not good for anyone.

So, I am choosing to live the “Me” diet-eating what I know makes me feel the best. Gluten free whole foods, not gluten-free sugar filled boxed and bagged snack food. Very, very, very little sugar. (Sugar is awful. It gives me adult acne (yuck) and makes me more prone to illness). Eat lots of veggies, mostly cooked, some fruit, enough protein but not too much. I’m not a meat fan but I do like chicken and grass-fed ground beef and occasional salmon but that’s the extent of my meat. Some eggs. I bake with coconut flour or buckwheat flour. Very, very, very little dairy beyond occasional cheese because my stomach can not tolerate it. Almond milk. Nuts and nut butter but eating a jar of nutbutter in a week…probably not a good idea…Oops! Occasional dark chocolate. Coffee…the verdict is still out…some days I can tolerate it, others, not so much! Green tea….love it! Lots of water and water with lemon and dandelion tea. Homemade bone broth. Some beans, soaked overnight. Same with oats. For snacks, I do like Kind squares and Larabars. And that’s about what I eat.

Eat what you like, in moderation. Find out what works and does not work for you. Do not obsess over following any one diet. Do your best when you eat out or find yourself in social settings where food is involved.

Food is energy….don’t let it become a source of negative energy.

me diet

Over-thinking Food

There’s a term for being obsessed with healthy eating. It’s orthorexia. While I don’t think I fit the criteria for that diagnosis, I do think I have teetered on food obsession. When I was in high school, I struggled with this yo-yo cycle of overeating then having days not eating much to make up for it. I’m not sure why weight and food have to be such an issue for people. Why do we put so much value on how we look? The world is screaming at us with the “perfect” self-image. Stand in line at the grocery store and scan the covers of the glossy magazines…weight loss foods and diets, new exercises to try, and models in skimpy clothing.

I tried a pretzel and Diet Mountain Dew diet while in high school because my friend wanted to lose weight. We both lost weight, but of course, our nutritional intakes weren’t that great. As an adult, I have tried to eat healthy, but I ate a pretty typical American diet high in carbs, sugar, pizza, soda pop, and fast food. Illness has a way of changing life habits and perspectives, though.

Since I first became ill in 2010 with my GI issues, I have been on numerous diets. Some have been at my own discretion while others have been at the discretion of a nutritionist. I have been on the GAPS diet and the Paleo diet. I remain on a gluten-free diet. I have several food intolerances. It’s aggravating. Sometimes, I just want to eat peanut butter. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes I have reactions, sometimes I don’t. It’s strange…I can eat quinoa one day, no issue. I can eat it another day and have achy shoulders. I ate tuna salad one day from my favorite organic, gluten-free bakery and eatery…no reaction. I made tuna patties at home…raging reaction with congestion, inflamed lips, and skin that peeled around my mouth for a whole week.

I have kept food diaries and logs. I have used My Fitness Pal. I have done smoothies for breakfast. I have juiced. I have done no chocolate diets. I have restricted caffeine. I have done no sugar diets. I think I think about food way too much.

To tell you the truth, I felt the best on the GAPS diet. My skin was awesome and clear, but I was also sleeping a lot during this period and had a relatively low stress period in my life, so that could definitely contribute to my overall health. I felt relatively good on the Paleo diet if I steered clear of too many coconut and almond flour based items and Paleo treats.

But honestly, I’m tired of all these restrictions. I continue to remain gluten-free. I let my guard down around the holidays and when on vacation. I’ll eat gluten-free goodies and drink chai tea lattes with almond milk. And, then my skin breaks out. My stomach hurts. I have brain fog. And I’m grouchy.

I can whine and complain. I wish that I was a little thinner like I was just a few years ago. I wish I could eat anything I wanted like my friends. Then one day, the lyrics from the Casting Crowns song “All I’ve Ever Wanted”…really spoke to me…it was like I was being convicted… “I was chasing healing when I’d been made well. I was fighting battles when You conquered Hell.” WOW…these lyrics immediately spoke to me.

What am I chasing? I don’t want to be focused on food all the time. I don’t want it to consume me so much. It’s exhausting. I want to be healthy. To feel good holistically…physically, spiritually, mentally…everything. Besides, I am so much healthier than I was just a few years ago.

I realize that I am over thinking food. I make things so complicated at times. I know the basics of good health, and I know the basics of what makes my body feel good. These things are ….drink lots of water, eat chicken, eat lots of veggies (preferably cooked), eat a good breakfast, control portions, limit sugar to very little, don’t drink coffee (whining at this one…), sleep enough, take time to pray, to exercise, to write, to laugh, to learn, to dream….To be confident and determined that I can overcome these issues. To trust the one who holds my hand.

The Lord is my portion