My Diet: What On Earth Do You Eat?

Hands down, one of the most common questions I get is WHAT DO YOU EAT?  And the question is often asked in a voice of desperation, with a furrowed brow and erratic arm gestures, which I appreciate, given my Italian heritage. As mentioned in my welcome post, at the onset of these health discoveries in 2013, I was in such bad GI and thyroid condition and it was unknown whether I had an autoimmune disease or not, I was instructed to give up everything I had ever loved. What qualifies as everything I have ever loved? Welp. Probably everything you have ever loved: grains, dairy, refined sugar, soy, beans, nuts, eggs, and 18 other random things (avocados, bananas, garlic, vanilla, etc) my body was intolerant to (per blood test), you know, just in case it wasn't challenging enough already. Wait, did you say SUGAR? Oh, and no alcohol. Or antibiotics. Or NSAIDs. So, just when you thought you could cope-mechanism your way through it - think again!

{ insert Kim Kardashian's ugly cry face on repeat for one solid year } 

Since I already sense the labels forming, let's start with what I'm not: a vegan, a paleo diet person, a nazi raw foodist, SCD follower, a fruititarian, gluten free for the fun of it, or a chef. But I'm somewhere in the middle of all of it.  What I am: a girl who grew up with an Italian grandma and a mother who regularly made strawberry shortcake for dinner (haaaaaaay, the strawberries were from our garden so it was healthy), a girl who absolutely loves food but could barely boil pasta until four years ago and has been known to polish off about three boxes of ice cream a week. A girl who had to suddenly, drastically change her life - and diet - and had no clue how to do it. And I say all that solely to further my point - if I can make changes, so can you.

WHAT I DO EAT: Whole foods, with some exceptions. If you're still determined to slap a label on me, it would be Whole Foodist. If it exists in nature, I likely eat it. But I believe the quality of what we eat is equally as important as what we eat. We eat what our animals eat. We consume the chemicals our produce is coated in. Only organic, grass fed or pastured meat and eggs. Organic fruits and veggies, local if possible. Occasionally, I eat quinoa (actually not a grain, a seed) and now eat sprouted nuts and seeds and am able to tolerate that. Potatoes and other carb sources are fine like coconut flour, arrowroot or tapioca starch occasionally. Sweeteners? I will use maple syrup, coconut sugar, or brown rice syrup as a sweetener if baking. Lots of healthy fats and oils- coconut for cooking or olive for salads.

I also focus on only buying BPA free cans, eating out of glass instead of plastic and reducing my overall toxin exposure in all aspects of life. 

And yes, there was a big improvement in my life after ditching processed foods, refined sugar, and chemicals.

WHAT I DON'T EAT: Anything from a box or a bag (unless it has minimal ingredients, zero fillers, dyes, additives or preservatives). Frozen meals. Alcohol. Sodas or fruit juices. Candy. Coffee. Vegetable oils. Diary - unfortunately that includes grassfed butter - which I do advocate and believe is quite healthy - but I cannot tolerate dairy. Beans and legumes. All grains - I know what you're thinking - grains are a "whole food" - they are in fact called, whole grains. That's true. "And what of beans?" you say, "don't they like, cure cancer?" Maybe, but it depends on who you're talking to. And right now you're talking to me - and for me they are either counterproductive to healing (high in phytic acid, inflammatory, damaging to the gut) or lack nutritional benefit (rice, etc). Plus, my immune system is still a wreck and lymphocytes elevated, so I need to continue to avoid triggers like gluten/dairy.

Eating out? I do not eat at restaurants unless traveling or if I am extremely confident that the food can be prepared correctly. The only "fast food" I will eat is Chipotle -  because they list all of their ingredients, and their meat is antibiotic/hormone free and also humanely raised.

Currently, I'm about two years into my health journey and my diet has morphed from what it was originally - it is less strict in some ways but more so in others. Based on the discovery that I have SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) which is now understood to be the cause of about 80% of IBS cases, I more closely follow a low FODMAP (fructose) diet. This is the most effective diet in treating not only SIBO patients but all IBS patients across the board. There is also a lot of research being done by Dr. Siebecker in regards to a SIBO specific diet, which combines the principles of SCD and FODMAP diets.

All that being said, I would NEVER go back to the Standard American Diet even if they told me I could - just based on what I've learned about diet/nutrition and the ability it has to heal or harm us. But, for now focus on whole foods lower in fructose - which unfortunately cuts out some veggies, fruits and all fibrous foods. This is obviously not ideal for other aspects of health, but is necessary for me at this moment. I am currently under the care of a west coast Dr. who will eventually treat my SIBO, but we have other things to work on before we can tackle that. 

I'll keep ya posted as things change!

Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation.