This is part 2 of my three part series on my approach to nutritional medicine. In Part 1, I discussed eating real food as a simple place to start to create a strong foundation for health.
Part 2: Observe how foods affect your body
Sometimes, even real foods can cause issues.
I started eating soy foods as a teenager because of the strong media message that soy was healthy. In my early 20’s, I developed digestive issues, which if I had gone to a doctor would have been diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. It wasn’t until I started doing my own research that I learned that soy is a common allergen. I decided to do a trial of eliminating my daily tofu stir-frys. Almost immediately, I noticed that I no longer had the painful gas and bloating I had been experiencing. I continued eliminating soy from my diet and my digestive issue resolved.
I am thankful that I had access to this information before I started on the path of gastroenterologists and medication. In my case, making a simple change in my diet was the solution to my digestive issue.
The solution is not always as simple as eliminating one food. In my case, this wasn’t the end of all of my health issues either. But it was the start of an understanding of a connection between the symptoms I experienced and the food I was eating. I started to observe how foods affected my body and started to trust my body to give me feedback. It was a truly powerful connection that has really informed how I work with my patients today.
Over and over again, I have seen in my practice how changing the diet to real food can affect health in a positive way. My patients notice a positive change in their health including: increased energy, decreased pain and headaches, more balanced hormones, increased fertility, less PMS, improved digestion, and clearer skin, among so many other benefits.
At the same time, we are unique individuals with unique nutritional needs. There isn’t one diet that is right for all people. And some foods just don’t work for everyone.
We need to to pay attention to our body for direct feedback on what foods work for us. And since our bodies change, the foods that work best for our bodies might change over time too.
In my practice, I guide my patients to observe their body’s feedback to the foods they are eating.
Sometimes I support my patients by having them keep a food journal and sometimes I guide them on an elimination diet. Some common foods that we take a look at include: dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, eggs, soy, grains, nuts, seeds, nightshade family vegetables, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and other foods depending on the health issue.
Some common health issues that may be affected by a food sensitivity include: digestion issues, skin disorders, low energy, insomnia, headaches and migraine, chronic pain, hormonal imbalance, anxiety, depression, and many more health issues.
If a food causes a negative response in the body, we eliminate it from the diet for a period of time. During that time we support the body to strengthen and heal through healing foods, acupuncture, and sometimes herbs. After a designated period of time, we test the food to see if the body responds in the same way. Many times, we can clear a food sensitivity once the body has had an opportunity to heal. Sometimes a food is just not a good fit for the person’s body and they will need to eliminate it from their diet entirely.
As for myself, I decided to stay away from most conventional soy products because I am no longer convinced they are as healthy as I used to believe. I am now able to eat small amounts of traditional fermented soy products like unpasteurized miso, soy sauce and tamari with no digestive issues.
If you suspect a food sensitivity or if you are interested in getting support with a health issue that might be affected by your diet, I would be happy to guide you in this process. Feel free to call or email my office for a free 15 minute consultation to learn more.
Stay tuned! In Part 3 of this series, I will discuss the Chinese Medicine approach to using food as medicine to heal and balance the body.