For the last several years I’ve been trying to learn what it means to eat healthfully. Since high school, my main focus with food was maintaining a healthy weight (always a struggle for me). This year everything changed when I became a breastfeeding mom. Our son had a few episodes of projectile vomiting, but I had trouble connecting it to any specific foods I was eating. When he was four months old, his symptoms got much worse. I knew that however imperfect it was, my breast milk was still the best food for him, so I made a commitment to figure out what was going on and fix it. Since then, I’ve seen multiple doctors and nutrition consultants and keep coming back to the same root: We both have compromised gut health.
For the last four or five months I’ve been eliminating all the problematic foods from my diet. Whenever I start telling someone about all the foods I don’t eat, they invariably ask “what do you eat?” As I quickly discovered, there are endless options in meat, vegetables and fruits when you don’t base your meals around grains or dairy. Though I admit I had very strong dairy cravings for a while and went through an intense detox, losing 15 pounds in three weeks.
Here’s what I do eat: Eggs, seafood, meat, vegetables, and fruit with a little coconut (and coconut oil), raw honey, ghee, unrefined sea salt and real chocolate. I drink several mugs of bone broth and eat fermented foods every day (so easy to make, by the way). I do still have a little bit of sprouted grains (no more than 1 serving a day) and certain nuts every now and then.
And here’s how I feel: Instead of feeling like I’m missing something, I feel excited to try new foods and combinations of foods. I no longer have icicles for fingers and toes in the winter like I’ve had since I was a teenager. I have energy throughout the day. I sleep better at night. I feel thin (I wear a size 2 jeans now. Yes, you read that right!)
I soon found out that the foods I still eat (with the exception of those sprouted grains) fall under something called the Paleo diet. Both the baby and I have done very well for the last couple of months but have issues crop up whenever we eat food outside of home, so I am going to start the Whole30.
I’ve realized from all the research I’ve done and talking to nutritionists and doctors with different areas of expertise that there are many paths to getting control of your gut health (another option is GAPS) so you can thrive and be the healthiest version of you. You just have to find the one that works for you. If you’re up for a challenge, there is a Facebook support group for people starting the Whole30 on or around January 1, 2012. Hope to see you there!