I thought I had my healthy diet all figured out.
Vegetarianism was my eating style of choice.
For me, this choice lasted for twenty five years. After a long struggle with debilitating IBS, I discovered that I had a sensitivity to corn, and was gluten intolerant.
And then my body let me know that my vegetarian diet wasn’t working for me anymore – I started craving meat for the first time in my life.
After that I started eating what I would call more or less a traditional foods diet, based on the Weston A Price Foundation guidelines for eating. Along with the many fermented foods I was eating, I included local, farm raised meat and raw dairy in my diet.
Then last year I developed an ulcer, and had to cut way, way back on (acidic) fermented foods. And I realized that dairy seemed to be the biggest problem in making the ulcer worse instead of better, so I cut out all cow dairy.
My ulcer seems to have mostly healed and I have started incorporating – occasionally – some of my cherished sour foods back into my diet.
Lately, though, I have noticed that something is not quite right.
Something I’m eating is causing me to have some gastrointestinal distress along with generalized inflammation.
I can tell it’s caused by food, and despite my best efforts to keep a food journal, I have not been able to pinpoint the cause of these problems.
In doing a bit of research, I stumbled across a very interesting article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, aka, The Paleo Mom.
Backing this up with evidence-based scientific research, she explains that when you are gluten intolerant, the gluten-sensors in your bodies can identify several other foods as “gluten-like” and cause your body to react to them – even though they aren’t gluten. It’s called cross-reactivity.
Could cross-reactivity be the missing piece of the puzzle for me? I’m not sure, but will do some experimenting.
Meanwhile – while I have been looking into the Low-Fodmap diet, the Autoimmune Protocol diet, and the Paleo diet – my father, following a recent heart attack, has received guidance to follow the Mayo Clinic’s plant based diet.
My initial reaction to this sudden confusion around which way of eating is “healthy” has been frustration.
I know everyone is different and may require different diets, but still, how can two opposite diets both work? Doesn’t there have to be some commonality?
In the midst of my transition to a gluten-free diet, I mentioned to a friend how odd it seemed to me that people could adopt vastly different diets – such as Paleo and Raw Vegan – and achieve the same results of improved health.
She pointed out that any move away from the Standard American Diet would probably improve anyone’s health, and this excellent point has stuck with me.
While I totally accept that with our different ancestries, biologies, and lifestyles, different diets may be required for different people, I can’t help wanting to identify the commonality of what is healthy between these diets, and find the overlaps.
I haven’t sat down yet to compile this list of good foods.
But one thing I know is this: they are all vegetables.
4 thoughts on “Food Issues: A Quest for a Healthy Diet”
I love your point about moving away from the standard American diet- perhaps that is the commonality? I recently went plant based and have never felt more joyful about eating. But like you, I still have questions. Many friends and relatives swear by the paleo diet. Admittedly, when I tried the paleo diet I was less puffy and more toned but didn’t feel like my overall health was thriving. On a plant based diet I have boundless energy and an effortless glow. I didn’t realize how much anxiety I had towards food (i.e. meat being undercooked, dairy giving me acne) that has dissipated now. Wish you luck on your quest and let’s keep eating our vegetables.
Here’s to feeling joyful (and less anxious) about food!
I love the things you are writing about. Real life. I wonder what percentage of the population is having some type of intestinal challenges with food and/or liquid. I was in a heath food store and the lady there said digestion and sleep issues are #1 thing customers are seeking relief from. I just lately have noticed changes in my digestion or lack of it, and now a loss of appetite.
Thank you for these posts.
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 at 7:01 AM
Hi there, D! Yes, real life, indeed! I have noticed that many (most?) of us who have environmental sensitivities also have gut sensitivities. Makes me wonder which came first and if one is the root cause of the other!