Nutritionists “Cheat” Too!

Eating slip-ups. We all have ‘em. I have often had people tell me that I must be a perfect eater because of having my nutrition degree. Well I’m definitely not perfect. And sometimes I cheat.

And then sometimes I pay for it.

Last summer my husband, Doug, had his first colonoscopy. If you have ever had one, you know that you have a liquid diet for a day before the procedure and then you take strong laxatives to clear your digestive tract. By the time the procedure was over it had been almost two days since he had eaten real food and he was hungry! Doug was craving a Five Guys burger and fries and I definitely was not going to deny him that.

After we got home, I left him resting on the sofa and went to Five Guys. I ordered him a burger and fries and got myself a lettuce-wrapped burger, with no bun. Now Five Guys makes its fries from fresh cut potatoes and fries them in peanut oil. Just imagine my drive home with that bag of food. My mouth began watering as I smelled those piping hot fries.

Most of you know that I am highly sensitive to gluten, but I also have other food sensitivities. One of those sensitivities is to potatoes. I have been doing some intense healing recently with various supplements as well as allergy shots and have a goal to eliminate most of my sensitivities. About a week before, I had eaten a very small amount of homemade potato salad and did not feel any ill effects from that.

So….. after smelling the fries all the way home I told him that I would try one. He told me I could not eat just one (hmmm, isn’t that a commercial?). He was right. Well I had more than a few. Once I started eating them it was difficult to stop. They were so salty, hot and yummy.

I felt fine for about an hour. Then all of the muscles in my body began to ache and I also got a slight headache. Fry overload!:( I hurt all evening and much of the next day.

How many of you can relate to this event? The question is, what will I do to avoid this in the future? If you overeat or over-drink on occasion and want to avoid the negative symptoms associated with it, I have a few suggestions for all of us.

1.Write down what you ate, the circumstances surrounding it and the consequences. If you regularly overeat and do not want to, or often have intestinal or other symptoms after meals, then journaling your meals and symptoms is the first step to figuring out any commonalities. Knowledge is power! The first step to changing anything is understanding as much as you can about it.

2. If you had negative symptoms, but you can’t figure out a specific food, write down the whole meal as well as the previous meal before it in your journal. This was how I first discovered that I had sensitivities to both corn and soy in addition to gluten. I was eating various foods and was sure that I did not consume gluten. By reading labels and noting when I did and did not have symptoms, I found both of these additional food sensitivities.

3. Figure out if there was an emotional component. Do you overeat when you are tired, stressed or depressed? If so, then try and figure out a substitute to eating, such as taking a bath, taking a walk or other stress-relieving activity. If you always get a sweet snack in the middle of the afternoon at work, then be prepared and bring a healthy snack from home to eat at that time.

4.If you got negative physical symptoms, write them down to help you remember the pain. This may give you the incentive you need to avoid the food in the future. I had headaches and intestinal pain for a solid year before I discovered my gluten sensitivity. Once I gave up gluten and those symptoms went away, the memory of all the pain was enough for me to gladly give up all gluten-containing foods. I have not knowingly eaten any in over eight years. The negative symptoms I got the few times that I ate gluten by accident were enough to remind me of the need to vigilantly avoid these foods.

5. If you have mild symptoms and really enjoy the food, eliminate it totally for 1-2 months. Sometimes food sensitivities will go away if the food is avoided for a period of time. Then eat a small amount of the food after this elimination period, and note any symptoms that occur in your food journal. If there are none, you can add that food back in to your diet, but plan to eat it no more than once every four days. If you still have symptoms, eliminate for 3-6 months and test again. If you still have symptoms, then this is probably a permanent food sensitivity. I will test fries again, in a month or so, but only eat a small amount that we have cooked at home from fresh potatoes.

     6. Plan to “cheat”. If you have foods you really love and want to eat them occasionally, (and they don’t hurt your health) then eat them. Life is not all about deprivation. We should enjoy the foods that God has given us. On the other hand, if certain foods are detrimental to your health, such as gluten for me, then don’t cheat with those foods.

Postscript: It was a week after the first fry incident. We were on the road for a weekend getaway and Doug again got fresh, hot French fries. And I ate just one!

If you need help in determining the best foods for your body or if you have any food allergies or sensitivities, please contact me for a free 20-minute phone consultation. I would be pleased to help you.

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