HORMONE SERIES | My Thoughts on Diet
When you first begin your hormone healing journey, you will undoubtedly find numerous posts detailing the foods you need to eliminate, the cleanses you need to begin, and the various supplements that you immediately need to purchase. There is wisdom to some of this advice and some of it is garbage. The Internet in a nutshell really. Heck, even I started this journal talking about diet! And I truly believe that small dietary tweaks can result in big changes to our overall health. Because there are changes to be made. Your current diet and lifestyle is likely not serving you. But when it comes to diet, it is important to be mindful, not militant. After all, it’s just food! I’m not going to tell you that you can live off of carbs, sugar, and processed foods and have glowing, perfect skin or PMS-free periods, but I am going to ask you to loosen up a little. Trust your intuition. Load up on veggies and then work from there to thoughtfully incorporate grains, quality protein, and healthy fat. And re-evaluate from time to time to ensure you aren’t accidentally favoring grains or meat at every meal (Sarah Britton wrote a great post on this topic). And that’s it.
But what about food sensitivities?
There is no place where trusting your intuition is more important than with food sensitivities. Simply because eliminating various food groups worked for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for you. And that’s okay. I suggest keeping a food journal for 3 to 5 days to see if any noticeable digestive complaints or skin issues jump out at you after eating certain foods. If your intuition is telling you that dairy or eggs or soy is causing problems for you then eliminate it for 3 weeks before reintroducing it to your diet. Then you will have your personal answer.
But what about gluten, dairy, and sugar?
Gluten, conventional dairy, and sugar can be inflammatory foods. But by cleaning up your diet to focus on whole foods and veggies you will be repairing your gut, which will allow you to more easily indulge in gluten and dairy from time to time without issue. That’s right. A sprinkle of cheese here and there is fine. In the book “New Health Rules,” Dr. Frank Lipman asks you to think about dairy like a condiment and that’s fantastic advice. Don’t make an entire meal based on milk and cheese, but don’t be afraid of a dollop of organic sour cream. If you are going to have bread or cheese, make sure it’s the best quality bread and cheese you can find. Ditch the Kraft singles, and spoil yourself with a small amount of your favorite cheese or cream or whatever gets you excited! This is even true for sugar. It’s okay to celebrate and have dessert. But do your best to avoid sneaky sugar in cereal, condiments, yogurt, and just about everything else. I advise you to be skeptical when it comes to packaged foods.
This post is not meant to add more confusion or give you license to live off of cheeseburgers – it’s meant to lift some of that pressure and guilt. In my experience, if you believe that eating dairy will cause you to break out, then it will. Thoughts become things. The stress we place on ourselves about our food choices will ultimately manifest in the very thing we are desperately trying to avoid. Perhaps most importantly, rigid food rules do not come from a place of love. They come from a place of fear and only perpetuate our feelings of low self-worth. Ditch the restrictive rules, tap into your intuition, and eat in a way that works for you (regardless of what the Internet says)!