I know this is going to ruffle feathers, and probably even piss some people off. That’s fine. It’s kind of what I excel at.
Before I dive real deep into this I want to review some language/terms, let’s start with eliminating versus limiting. Eliminating meaning you rarely to never have something, whereas limiting – while it sounds similar you moderate your intake of something you know is not super nutritious.
I am going to give you an example – I have eliminated soy, beans, onions, and garlic from my diet, because of the side effects I have when I eat them. I limit certain grains like white rice, and ice cream because they have little to no nutritional value. I CAN consume white rice and ice cream, but I am MINDFUL of the frequency and portions I have.
Are we seeing how these two things are different?
There’s a lot of bullshit out there about how terrible gluten, grains, and dairy, are for you. While there is a lot of BS, there are still people who need to not consume certain things, so let’s start there!!!
How do you know if you need to eliminate something?
Well, you probably feel like shit. Fatigue, nausea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, low energy/changes in energy level, changes in bowl habits – vacillating between constipation and/or diarrhea, unintentional weight loss. Or any combination of the symptoms above; HECK you may even be asymptomatic for some time.
Please notice that I mentioned nothing about bloggers, and instagram influencers …
So where should you start?
As a dietitian, I did things differently, that being said what I would recommend for someone else would be: start with your healthcare provider, and get blood work done, and get a baseline with your labs (if you don’t already have one established).
*Notice how I quantify my PERSONAL experience as just that.
Then, ask for a referral to see a Registered Dietitian (if your insurance indicates you need one), OR go to your Google Machine, and search for a REGISTERED DIETITIAN, many RDs now offer online/skype counseling and education, and many both bill insurances and offer payment plans for cash pay. So you can still have access to QUALITY information from the comfort of your own home.
And to say exactly where YOU should start, well I would say IT DEPENDS.
It would depend on your labs, and your symptoms, and what you and your RD/Healthcare Provider Discuss.
Let’s say you suspect you’re sensitive to gluten. You could elect to eliminate it, and reintroduce it. Remember, though, gluten is tricky – it can be in A LOT of things, so if you think you’ve eliminated it all and feel like crap, you’re either a) not sensitive to gluten, and it is something else, or b) you haven’t eliminated it fully, or c) both a & b.
This same applies for dairy, if you feel like it makes you feel like crap you can try eliminating it for a short time, and reintroduction in small amounts/different varieties.
What if you don’t feel shitty all of the time?!
Well, then why in the hell would you just be cutting foods with actual nutritional benefit out of your diet? Seriously.
If you don’t have any of the symptoms I mentioned above, why would you be eliminating things from you diet?!
NOW this isn’t to say there is not room for improvement in our diets!!!! But there is a BIG EFFING difference between improvement, and just not eating things you enjoy because you heard from someone like Dr. Oz or a blogger that things like grains and dairy are “bad”.
Pardon my language – but fuck that.
There is a difference between reducing, or eliminating your intake of skim strawberry flavored milk in favor of full fat, or 4% yogurt, and milk. *Because cow’s milk has way more nutritional value that almond/soy/coconut milk! (Or as I like to call it- non-dairy milk alternative).
I think we need to start improving our relationship with food overall, and in addition to this focus more on foods that are nutrient dense as being mainstays in our diets.
While I am SO happy there are so many delicious alternatives out there for people with food allergies & sensitivities- it is really important not to get trapped in the mindset of foods being “better”, or “bad”. A great example of this is grain free chips – it is so wonderful to me that there are more and more tasty alternatives for people who cannot tolerate gluten, or grains!! HOWEVER, please remember that CHIPS ARE CHIPS!!!
Yeah, you can absolutely make an argument about “mysterious ingredients” in Doritos versus “grain free” chips, BUT what nutrients do either give us?
Right – none. A handful of Doritos versus a handful of grain free chips are still chips – neither provide our bodies nutrition (but still taste f***ing delicious, so lets enjoy them in limited quantities)!
In closing, let’s aim to do better with our food:
1) Let’s focus on foods that provide nutritional value
2) Let’s evaluate how often we are eating foods that provide little or no nutritional value, and without being unkind to ourselves see if we can sub out foods that have less nutritional value with foods that have more
3) Let’s focus on improving quality -both in food choices and our self thoughts and not demonizing food, and more importantly ourselves
4) Eat the fucking chips y’all🤟🏼