During my journey healing from Lyme Disease, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), and multiple food sensitivities, I tried sooo many healing diets, and often tried combining multiple healing diets at once. Some of these included: GAPS, low FODMAP, Paleo AIP, Paleo, low mold diet, low carb diet, ketogenic diet, low histamine diet, low salicylates, low oxalates, low lectin, etc. After trying all of these diets and numerous healing protocols, you can imagine why we (my multiple practitioners and I) were wondering how it could be I wasn’t progressing the way we would have expected! If you’re in this place, I’m certain you know the struggle.
There were a few times along the way where there were about only 3-5 foods I tolerated. Now, I eat a wide variety of foods I both enjoy and that make me feel great! I am happy AND healthy!! I want to share with you some of my thoughts about how to both cope with multiple food sensitivities and to achieve the healing and freedom you desire!
1- Ask, “Is it really the food?”
Right up front I want to be bold and ask you to get real honest and curious. I want you to ask yourself whether you’re really sensitive to these foods or whether you’re avoiding them because you’ve heard or believe they’re “bad”, they’re not part of the “diet” you’re following, they don’t fit the “rules” you or someone else has set for you, you’re concerned they will cause you to gain weight, or something else along these unnecessarily restrictive guidelines.
I know along my journey of following so many different healing protocols, I would sometimes restrict foods simply because one of the diets had told me to do so. Even after a period of time spent making those choices out of self-love and then determining they weren’t making the changes I desired, I continued to follow the rules unnecessarily sometimes. Often, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. So be honest and get curious. Ask yourself whether you really have sensitivities to all of the foods you’re eliminating and whether there is a specific reason you’re making this choice out of self-love.
2- Choose love.
If there is a true sensitivity to specific foods right now, does it feel like self-care/self-love to allow some space from those foods while undergoing a healing protocol? If not, are you ready and willing to shift your thoughts and apply love through this season? Learn how to do this in my course, POWER Statements.
3- Have an attitude of gratitude.
I also encourage you to consider the ways in which you can feel grateful for the knowledge you have about your situation and the opportunity to heal.
And in this temporary season, what foods make you feel great? What do you truly enjoy eating? What makes you feel happy and healthy? Put your focus on these things and have an immense attitude of gratitude for them? Give thanks for this abundance in your life!
This is a significant shift from the scarcity mindset we can sometimes adopt when we feel limited by food sensitivities. Again, learn more in POWER Statements.
4- Enjoy the heck out of the food you’re eating.
Get creative. Try new foods. Try combining foods in new ways. Eat foods you truly enjoy!
5- Lower your inflammation bucket.
If we think of inflammation as filling a bucket, when it starts to spill over we tend to experience the symptoms of inflammation in a much more profound way. These symptoms can come in many ways and one of them is food sensitivities.
Many, many things can contribute to inflammation. It’s not ALL ABOUT THE FOOD. Poor sleep habits, stress, over-exercise, under-eating, over-eating, past or current trauma, environmental toxins, gut dysbiosis, negative thinking, strained relationships, etc. are all examples of things that can fill our inflammation bucket. Foods that we ARE sensitive to will, of course, add to this bucket, as can other foods that tend to be pro-inflammatory for humans (e.g. industrial seed oils/vegetable oils, excess grains, potentially dairy for many, excess sugar, highly processed foods, etc.).
The good news is that we can make significant changes in our inflammation bucket and sometimes they can happen rather quickly. This goes in both directions. If our bucket is full or near full, the smallest amount of additional inflammation can cause us significantly increased symptoms. However, if we can make even small shifts in one or more of the areas causing us inflammation, we can begin draining our bucket a bit. The lower the bucket gets, often the fewer and less intense the symptoms we experience will be.
I personally found that when I was ready for it, fasting was an incredible way to lower my inflammation bucket. It gave my system a break from digestion, rest from various compounds found in most (even healthy) foods that were triggering more inflammation for me, and more time and energy for my body to focus on detox. When my body wasn’t ready for fasting, fasting actually triggered more stress and, therefore, more inflammation for me. It was important to support my body appropriately until it was ready for fasting.
Wondering about how to figure all of this out for yourself? Let’s book a complimentary discovery session!
6- Believe you are healing.
Imagine your body healing itself through your love and support! Visualize yourself as if you are already tolerating more foods again. Really FEEL and experience your visualization: What are you wearing? Who are you with? Where are you eating? What are the sights and smells around you? What’s the temperature like? How does your food smell, look, and taste? What are the textures like? Really immerse yourself in the experience!
Learn more about the power of using visualization in POWER Statements.
7- Be in tune with your body, but stop body checking.
When we have been dealing with chronic illness or multiple sensitivities for any length of time, we often begin checking for the symptoms. When they are present, we also often let them dictate “how we feel.” We may allow them to set our mood (through our thoughts about them) and often our expectations for what will happen next.
With body checking, we scan our body for the symptoms we expect to have, based on previous experiences. We become highly alert to them. By looking for them, we are literally wiring our brain to form a direct connection from the trigger to the symptom. It becomes an easy pathway, primed for our future experiences.
Yes, it’s important to be in tune with our bodies and the experiences we are having. Our bodies are great communicators and we want to listen. However, our mind can play a HUGE role in how we react too. Rather than checking for each of the symptoms we often experience, can we check for the ways in which we’re feeling good in our bodies? Can we shift this intense awareness of every symptom instead to a beautiful awareness of things big and small for which we feel grateful? It’s important to begin to rewire our brain.
Learn more about how these types of shifts can be an incredible factor in our healing in POWER Statements.
8- Stop analyzing every food so critically.
I found when I got so caught up in trying to figure out why I was reacting to certain foods that I began to critically analyze each food. Did I react because it has too much of this compound? Did I react because it falls in this group of foods? This critical analysis was so closely tied to my body checking, that eventually it served me best to stop analyzing EVERYTHING so critically.
Sure, because I’m a geek, I did enjoy learning more about specific foods and various compounds, but it was also STRESSFUL to try to layer diet upon diet! I used certain methods to help take as much of the stress and deliberation out of it, so it could be more habitual with less critical analysis. Using lists and apps, I created my own safety list so I didn’t constantly have to be referencing various forms of information. This brings me to the next point, though.
9- Be safe, but don’t get stuck in fear!
Food sensitivities are no joke and they can cause some pretty significant and uncomfortable symptoms. But don’t get stuck in fear. The fear itself will hold you back from adding foods back into your diet. It can even cause you to become sensitive to more and more foods. Ensure your safety, but also release your fears. There’s a Chinese proverb that goes something like this: “It is better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude, than to eat the right food with the wrong attitude.” My mindset was CRITICAL in overcoming my food sensitivities. I teach why and how in POWER Statements.
10- Reintroduce foods.
We definitely want to experiment again with bringing foods back into rotation. However, its important to remember, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” It’s unlikely that by simply eliminating a food for a period of time without changing anything else we will be successful in reintroducing that food. We will likely need to look at one or more of the items discussed in #5 about lowering our inflammation buckets, to assess where change may be most effective, as well as determine which of the other tips in this post most require our attention. Certainly evaluating our gut and hormonal health, mineral balance, environmental triggers, and stress triggers in combination with mindset are among the top things I would suggest looking into.
11- Don’t rush.
Although I don’t want you to become stuck in an unnecessary restricted diet, it’s also important not to rush. If we try to reintroduce foods before making other changes or if we don’t commit to a long enough period of healing (it often doesn’t happen overnight or in one week; 30-60 days minimum is often needed), we are not likely to get the results we desire.
Just remember that as long as you’re not getting stuck in unnecessary fear and restriction, the changes you are making can be done out of self-love. One year from now you aren’t likely to regret having taken a few months to allow your body to heal! It may seem like a long time to commit at the start or in the midst of it, but looking back, you will realize it was such a small period of time in the big picture!
12- Focus on how you can support your body.
When we are struggling with any form of chronic illness or multiple sensitivities, it can be easy to lose trust in our bodies, especially when we don’t always understand the root cause of our symptoms. BUT – just like all other life – the first priority of our body is survival! Our bodies are doing everything they can to keep us healthy. Even the adaptations they make that result in symptoms are truly the efforts of our bodies to keep us safe and healthy. Let’s remember how hard our bodies are working FOR us each and every day! What we need to be asking is how we can SUPPORT it in its own healing efforts.
So often our mindset is one of fighting. We think of fighting gut infections, fighting the chronic illness we as “warriors” experience, eliminating the reactions we have to foods, etc. We can instead shift our focus to how to SUPPORT our body in returning to place of health and vitality. That’s where it desires to be too!
13- Love and accept your body in all phases.
Along the same lines as #12, it’s important to love and accept our body in all phases and seasons. It’s easy to become discouraged by the way we feel and to move into distrust and frustration. But, again, when we remember how hard our bodies are working for us, it can bring us back to place of love, acceptance, and compassion. From this place we can also ask, “What is this (symptom or illness) here to teach me?” Rather than be a victim to our experiences, we want to remain a student.
I could say so much more about these last 2 tips, but they could also be entire posts of their own, so I’ll leave it there for now. Making these mindset shifts were HUGE in my healing journey and that’s why I share how I did it in POWER Statements!
I hope you find these tips to be as helpful in your journey as they were for me. Are you experiencing food sensitivities? Which of these tips resonate most with you? What changes have you made that have helped you most?