I was asked this great question recently that I want to answer here for everyone. I will start with a simple answer. After all, there is just too much dietary advice going around and way too many diets to count so why add to the confusion, right?
As you know if you know me by now, I like to keep it simple when it comes to food and eating. But for those of you who do want the more specific answer, I will be getting to that answer too.
The short answer to this question is that I do not know what is right for you as an individual and neither does anyone else.
I can’t tell you how much harm has been done to people when prescribed diets by very well meaning, brilliant and informed holistic practitioners or medical professionals at times. I work with clients every day in recovery from diets and dieting.
So any time I get asked a question about what to eat or about diets I simply must tell you my opinion about even talking about food beyond my basic food guidelines which can be found in my book- Eat Like A Goddess and in previous blog posts.
God help us.
We are the most over-informed and over-weight nation on earth! We are chronically dieting and wondering what to eat while staying totally confused and often very unhealthy binging on junk foods. If you’ve ever travelled you have noticed the size of grocery stores in other western nations. Not so gigantic often, eh? Now compare that to our general grocery stores like say, a Safeway. I mean what is actually in there right? In nutrition school we used to say stick to the outer edge of those big box grocery stores- just do this one thing and you won’t need a trendy new diet book!
Here is what WORKS and my real answer to the question: should you eat gluten and dairy.
Eat for your body type, your needs and for your health.
Don’t eat for stress, anxiety, for a restrictive diet for weight loss, comfort, reward or emotional reasons.
Heal the deeper issues that effect whole body- mind-spirit health.
How does this look?
Listen to your body. Heal your stress and allow emotions.
In order to listen to our bodies we often need to uncover food sensitivities as well as our “emotional sensitivities” if you will.
Many of us have a few primary food sensitivities, not true food allergens like the famous peanut or shellfish severe reaction many of us think of when we think of food allergens or sensitivities. The problem today is with our digestive health often and not just the foods we are eating. This can be due to over use of antibiotics, eating poorly for too many years, too much sugar and processed food, drugs and alcohol over-use, stress and other reasons. All of this contributes to digestive health.
Many people will benefit greatly from doing a food elimination to find out what they may be reacting to. This is truly the only way to really know what you can or can’t eat.
However, in my experience sticking to a true food elimination is a big challenge for so many people. Often the very foods we are sensitive to are the ones we crave and are addicted to both psychologically and physiologically.
When food is comfort, reward, or a release from anxiety or has a subconscious need we may struggle with doing a food elimination trial or giving up the offending food.
This is the real issue with food- our emotional need for it often. There is no will power strong enough to overcome that.
The only cure is to address the emotional need. When this happens my clients take off weight very quickly if needed, and heal other chronic health issues every time with no exception. It is only at this point that they can listen deeply to their own bodies and start to find what they need to get into balance with health. Once the emotional need is addressed I can direct clients to incredibly powerful healing diets from alkaline to the GAPS diet if need be or a food elimination and they can do it without struggle.
So can you eat gluten and dairy?
I don’t know. Can you not eat it? Does that feel like an impossibility? Do you struggle to do an elimination diet for several weeks? If so, I would say that there may be an emotional need (an addictive need) for the food that should be addressed. The truth is that if you had asked me 8 years ago I would have said unequivocally to give up both gluten and dairy for better health and weight loss.
I now know that this is often not the place to start and some people can in fact eat raw, grass fed organic dairy and even sprouted wheat or soured (fermented) wheat. Quality and source matter. Some people can eat wheat or cow dairy and be perfectly healthy. Others cannot. I do believe this is becoming rarer and rarer however as time goes on due to GMO wheat causing many problems but I don’t even want to answer that for anyone else.
We must all develop our own internal guidance and be our own gurus with health. That is where our true power lies. Maybe the real question is: what serves me best right now?
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve worked with someone where they just needed to express something that had been suppressed, cry, get pissed off, or address an emotion- any emotion and a food craving went away.
We feel deprived not because we need the ice cream but because we need to feel loved, wanted, seen, heard, understood or forgiven and to heal.
Often the foods we love the most are the ones we are most addicted, or sensitive to. We don’t have to give them up, but address our true “hunger” and deprivation within. Then for the first time, we are at true choice with food and the only question becomes what serves me, instead of what soothes me.