Gut health: are you intolerant?

For me, my gut has been a source of much grief over the past few years, and it was really only upon starting to see my naturopath that I really got any answers and relief. The gut is really the window to optimal health, and by giving our bodies the food it needs and thrives on, our health too will flourish. One of the complaints I had initially was the constant bloating. It was debilitating, and there didn’t seem to be any resolve from anywhere. That’s when my naturopath put me on a detox. But it was more than that, it was an elimination diet.

Basically an elimination diet is one where you eliminate potential common intolerance’s for 6-8 weeks (or more) and then slowly reintroduce them one by one to see if your body has any reactions to them. Generally the diet will eliminate wheat, dairy, coffee, refined sugar, processed meat, and other processed foods. Then, after the 6 weeks is up, each potential intolerance is re-added into the diet to see if there are any reactions.

What I found was that gluten and wheat are a big intolerance for me, so I cut them out-cold turkey, and what I found was that everything improved, including things that I didn’t think needed improving, like my energy levels, sleep, and general feeling of vitality. So that was about 2 years ago, and since then I have generally avoided gluten, occasionally I will have bread, but I know my level-the amount I can have before I start feeling bloated. Please remember here, there is a big difference between an allergy and an intolerance: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Food_allergy_and_intolerance

The reason I bring this up now, is due to my holiday. Over the last 2 weeks I have been incredibly indulgent with food, eating what I want, when I want, in the quantity I want, and this morning I am paying. I woke up feeling horribly bloated, ill and had a headache. And of course, I know exactly why. I have been almost living on bread. I’ve been consuming at least 1/2 a loaf of freshly bake bread everyday while in Margaret River, eating it with dukkah, dips, spreads, and in sandwiches. And I’m really regretting it this morning.

The reason I want to point this out and share this with you, is the lesson I have learnt. Food is such an integral part of our lives. It dictates our health and well-being. But food is so much more than just eating. It is an experience, it is shared with loved ones, it helps to create memories, it is a huge part of our lives. However, because food dictates and influences our health, its not something we can let our guard down on. Our diet’s are not something wee should do on weekdays or just for a short time, the food choices we make everyday will influence our health in the future, so much so that the food we eat can change how long we live for.

For me, this experience has reminded me why I study nutrition, and why I need to eat good quality food that nourishes my body all the time-not just when I feel like it! If you would like to do an elimination diet, book an appointment with your local naturopath or dietitian, and if you want more information on the elimination diet I did, see the metagenics website: http://www.metagenics.com.au/why-natural-medicine/detox, and remember, I am not yet qualified, so always see your health care provider prior to undertaking any new diet 🙂

Happy eating!

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