Looking online for health advice, you’ll no doubt come across thousands, possibly millions, of posts and books with titles such as “Heal With Food”, “Foods That Heal”, and “I Healed My (fill in with illness name) With Food”. While these titles may seem encouraging, is it really possible to heal ourselves with food? Does food have the power to heal?
Many of us turn to alternative diets after experiencing disappointment with standard healthcare options. I know. That’s why I did. But, when some people choose these diets, over conventional medical treatments, things can get downright dangerous.
Food, alone, does not have the power to heal.
That being said, I will agree that a bad diet will make you sick. I will also agree that a healthy diet is a necessary component to experience better health. But, how do you know what a healthy diet consists of? Now, this is where things start to get sticky. Is it really necessary to go on a strict elimination diet?
A healthy diet may be different for each person. Whereas one person may have to give up wheat and gluten because they have celiac disease, another person may have to reduce or eliminate sugar because of diabetes. To make a group of people give up foods they don’t need to, because of ones who do have to, is just unnecessary. When we tell an entire group of people to eliminate a slew of foods, to heal many different personalized symptoms, I worry that we’re creating the idea that particular foods are evil for everyone. This is simply not the case. I worry about exactly what messages we’re putting out there.
The source of my worry on this issue is reflected in a few comments I received on some of my older posts. One woman commented, “I understand why people would do elimination diets because they keep you from getting an autoimmune disease”. I just about fell out of my chair. Another woman wrote, “I saw you healed your lupus just by changing your diet. I’m thinking about stopping all of my meds and just going on the AIP.” Without knowing what meds she was on, and for what medical problems, I would have to seriously discourage dropping them for an elimination diet alone. Were these comments a result of my writings? Had any of us bloggers ever thought about readers misunderstanding our message? I hadn’t. But, I do now.
In the last few months, I’ve been on a learning journey. I’ve put myself out there, to really talk to different people in my community, and even in other countries. Also, I’ve had in-depth discussions with conventional medical doctors and scientific researchers, to help me discover the limitations of their practice, patient struggles , and the lack of valid scientific studies in nutrition and alternative medicine. Instead of staying in my safe internet community, I’ve travelled outside to talk to a wide range of people about their troubles, illnesses, and challenges. These conversations have completely opened me up to a new level of understanding.
So, let’s get back to those misunderstandings about elimination diets and healing. First, no diet has the power to prevent you from getting an autoimmune disease, or any other disease for that matter. That’s not what these diets are created to do. Second, you should NEVER forgo standard medical treatment, including medication, for a nutritional program or alternative health “cure”. Autoimmune disease, in particular, is not a disease that can be cured. Anyone who says they can cure autoimmune disease with their program is a straight up liar. What you should be striving for is a major reduction of symptoms or remission. Sometimes, but not always, certain people with particular autoimmune disease can obtain remission without medication. This, however, is rare. Some people, like me, move in and out of remission routinely throughout their lifetime. I can never be truly sure of why I went into remission this time; but, I am sure that it wasn’t the elimination diet that did it. Personally, I think it had more to do with balanced exercise and stress management. That’s just speculation, though. In looking through my health history, my doctor and I discovered I had been in and out of remission over several years. All of the other times I went into remission, I was not on an elimination diet.
What I’m hearing from most people is that they feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the online messages regarding diet and nutrition. Most know they should, and want to eat healthier. But, we’ve made the internet a very uncomfortable place for them. We haven’t considered others’ religious beliefs, moral beliefs, health motivations, or limitations, in our healing dietary protocols. If you’re not a bacon eating, fat chugging, sugar eschewing being, you’re not cool. That’s the message we’re putting out there. I will not longer be a part of that message. Maybe that makes me uncool. And, I’m cool with that.
The real key to better health and healing is really very simple….eat healthy, balanced meals, get some exercise, practice stress management, and get enough sleep. I have nothing to sell you here. I’m not pushing my latest book, or the hottest product. This is just the reality of how simple better health is to attain.
Truth is, good health is obtained through a healthy lifestyle. However, it is never guaranteed. No one can ever ensure you will never get sick, or heal from a particular illness. Some of us are ticking health time bombs; and, no amount of broccoli will ever heal us completely. But, together, we can clean up our diets and lifestyles, in a welcoming and comforting way. We’ll take it slowly. Even if you feel you can’t change very much, I encourage you to stick around. Use the tips you can, forget about the rest. If you don’t eat meat, for religious or moral reasons, I’ll be adding some yummy vegan recipes just for you. If you can’t give up that morning cup of coffee, no need to worry…..I won’t judge ( I’m actually the same way!). If you live in a country without access to many of the ingredients touted in popular food blogs, I be posting many real food international recipes, with ingredients you can readily locate.
In order to make this change to my blog, I need your help. I would love and appreciate if you could leave a comment with your biggest challenges when changing your diet to healthy eating. I also would like to know what tools you need to help you to make healthier choices. I don’t want to discuss symptoms or anything related to your specific illness. I am not a doctor. You should be discussing those things with a medical doctor only. I just want to know what overwhelms you, and how I can help you with that.
I’m so excited about being able to reach out to all of you. Let’s have some fun!
Here’s a fun video I put together to go with this post: