Make Real Food

On a Journey to Love Myself and (the food in) the World Around Me.

Fighting Autoimmune with Food

by Chelsea @ Make Real Food on April 5, 2013, 3 comments

The questions I get asked most frequently are about my food choices are:  ‘Why do you eat that?’ ‘Why don’t you eat this?’ ‘WHAT is that?’  A lot of times we want our food choices to fit into neat little boxes – ones that we can smack a label on to describe every delicate detail of what you do or don’t eat, or what you do and don’t do with your life.

I tried this for a while.  I tried to fit myself into a number of different labels.  But the problem was, not any one label made me 100% feel good.  Emotionally, or Physically.  There were foods out of each that I enjoyed eating, and that my body reacted well to.  But, I felt stuck by my metaphorical box that I put around my food choices.  I felt guilty eating certain items, because they ‘didn’t fit in my box’, and I forced myself to eat items that I didn’t like the taste of, or the way my body felt when I ate them, because they were ‘a part of my box’.

So I threw out the boxes.  And stomped on them.  And took them to the trash recycling bin.

And suddenly I began to feel good.  About my food choices and about the way they made my body, mind and soul feel.

So what DO I eat?  The answer is broad and colorful, a huge, vast list full of amazing things.  In fact, I eat a larger variety of foods now than I ever did before.

But it wasn’t always this way.  I remember the first few days months year I would just stand at my pantry or fridge and have no clue what to cook.  I would walk through the grocery store with no idea what to buy, or what to eat.  My meals were one at a time.  I couldn’t think much further past that at first.  But now I am in a groove.  And it feels amazing.  And my body is finally healing because it is being nourished with foods it needs and loves.

So that is why I am writing again.  Over this journey the past two years I have relied so heavily on other people’s blog posts.  I don’t know how I would have ever done this before the Internet.  I feel as if it’s my time to give back, to help others realize they can eat foods that make them feel good, too.

With that said – it doesn’t not matter to me what you eat.  Devout carnivore?  Bring it on.  Die hard vegan?  Awesome!  Junk Food maniac? Fantastic! You can have whatever food choices you want.  I will respect your food choices, and I ask you respect mine, and others around you.  Iencourage you to try new things, and I think you will feel awesome if you eat less process foods, and more real foods.  But I will not ever judge you for your food choices.  Please, eat what makes you feel good, mind, body and soul.

I do not ever focus on foods that I choose not to eat.  It’s overwhelming.  I always look at all of the foods that I can eat.  But, to help you understand, I’d like to tell you about the foods that I don’t eat, and why I don’t eat them.

This is just me.  My body.  In fact, my Husband even eats (slightly) different  basic foods.  No two people are alike, (hence the throwing away of the boxes).  I ENCOURAGE YOU to find food choices that work for your body.  No matter what they are.  Make them whole foods.  Make them delicious.  And make sure you feel good eating them. 

* Any time I am trying a new food, or eliminating a new food, I always do it for a week.  Seven days.  If I feel better about my choice, I continue it.  If I don’t, I stop.  You can do anything for seven days.  

Foods I avoid:

  • Meat, of any kind.  This was a personal choice.  My husband and I gave up eating meat as an experiment during a time in our lives that we felt as if we had little control over anything.  We did it for seven days, and haven’t missed it a second past.  Neither of us ever wanted it again.  I can’t say that about very many of my food choices.
  • Eggs.  This one I’m a bit looser about.  I don’t eat eggs ‘straight’ (i.e. – scrambled, etc), but I do not nitpick them out of every item I eat.  I know a lot of baked goods I consume have eggs in them.  I try to avoid them, but I don’t sweat about it. When I cook at home, I don’t use eggs. My husband, on the other hand, loves omelets, and still eats them. 
  • Dairy.  This one was very tough for me.  I had have a love affair with cheese.  But, the truth is, when I was really honest with myself, I felt a million times better when I wasn’t eating it.  So I phased it out slowly.  And I do occasionally still eat it.  But in small quantities.  Any my stomach usually pays the bill when I do. My husband, on the other hand, still eats a good bit of dairy, and feels fine doing so.
  • Processed Sugars.  I have always had a problem with my blood sugar yo-yoing.  It reacts harshly to sugars.  For years, I thought this was all sugars, and avoid all things sweetened – artificially or naturally.  But, through the ‘eat what makes ME feel good’ changes, I’ve discovered that natural sugars do not affect my blood sugar nearly as harshly as artificial sugars.  So, artificial sugars are out (HFCS, table sugar, splenda, etc).  Anything natural is in.  (fruits, maple syrup, honey, etc)
  • Anything highly processed.  This is no type of intolerance; this is just a personal choice.  Our bodies use food as fuel.  I like to give my body the highest grade fuel possible – foods at their purest, most natural state.  This isn’t to say I don’t occasionally have something highly processed.  This is a lifestyle choice, not an ultimatum. 
  • Gluten (wheat, barley, rye).  I came to this one kicking and screaming.  I told myself I would not eliminate a food just because it was a ‘fad’ to do so. I made every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t, wouldn’t, and shouldn’t.  In all seriousness – a true gluten intolerance – especially for people with Celiacs – can be a life or death issue. And then my autoimmune markers came back positive.  And so did my mothers.  And my naturopath explained to me that my numbers indicated my body did not process gluten.  I still resisted, because my Celiac markers were negative.  But I said I’d give it a week.  Gluten is in SERIOUSLY everything.  And at the end of the week first 48 hours, I felt a million times better.  Consequently, I have kept this change.  It requires the most creativity, and it is the newest change for me.  But I’m working on it.  And my immune system loves me for it.

…Hence why I don’t usually list the foods I choose not to eat.   Because the list, at first glance, is a tad depressing.  But the truth is, it isn’t at all.  Each of these foods, for me, is a victory.  It’s a step in the right direction away from my dependence on prescription medications, and away from a myriad of health problems and towards a healthy body, mind and soul.

Just remember – this is a journey, not a race to the finish line. 

Come join me on my journey, even if you don’t change a single part of your permanent life.  Come learn about new foods, new techniques, or simply learn to love yourself. 

 

– Chelsea

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3 thoughts on “Fighting Autoimmune with Food

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