I just read this article from Elephant Journal – it’s by Terri Tremblett and in it she discusses her struggles with multiple food allergies. My gluten and egg sensitivities aren’t *nearly as severe as her situation, but they’ve caused me to look at my diet in a new way, nonetheless.
Cutting out eggs and gluten has often been annoying, to say the least. I mean come on, can’t a girl eat an omelet without it being a big thing? But seriously folks, cutting eggs and gluten out of my diet has really shown me that it’s not just about eating foods that are supposedly “healthy” – it’s about finding out what foods work for our own bodies.
There are a million diets out there, all claiming to be magical health panaceas. Whether it’s a diet that’s low-fat, low-carbs, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, raw…etc….no single diet is right for everyone. If we want to feel our best and help our bodies to function optimally, we need to have enough awareness of our bodies to understand how they’re impacted by different foods. Of course, I think everyone can benefit from making the switch to whole foods…but the particular mix of whole foods will vary from person to person. Eggs, for example, are a perfectly healthy whole food and they provide health benefits to a lot of people – but given my unique makeup, they’re not a good choice for me right now.
AND…the right diet will vary throughout a person’s lifetime. I really hope I can add eggs and, to a lesser extent, gluten back to my diet. For several reasons, I don’t necessarily plan to make gluten a regular part of my diet. But it would be nice to just be able to go to a bakery every once in a while and get a cupcake without having to call ahead and play my least favorite game – Twenty Questions of Gluten Cross-Contamination. Hopefully those foods will be better choices for me again but right now, the best thing I can do for my body is to avoid them.
As things change in our lives – like our age, where we live, our activity level, our relationships, our stress level, etc. – our dietary needs change, as well. It’s important to be aware of that fact and to resist the temptation to guilt-trip ourselves if we find we can no longer stick to whatever we’ve deemed to be the “perfect” diet. I was vegetarian for four years but, because my blood sugar is quite low, I eventually realized it would benefit me to add some meat (ethically sourced, of course) back into my diet.
It was the right decision for me. Vegetarian sources of protein – like grains and legumes – are also fairly high in carbs and didn’t always help me stabilize my erratic blood sugar. I found that a little chicken or fish helped keep my sugar from spiking and crashing and helped my energy level to stay more even throughout the day. Had I guilt-tripped myself about not remaining a vegetarian, I probably wouldn’t have been making the right decision for my body (although I’m sure others with blood sugar issues have had different experiences). I have a great deal of respect for those who chose a meat-free diet, though – it can be an excellent choice and it certainly resonated with me for a number of reasons.
So my point is this – like Teri Tremblett’s article points out, food allergies can be a *major pain in the ass. But the silver lining is that they can help up to be more in tune with our bodies and to deepen our understanding of how food impacts our health.