In the past couple of years I’ve worked with quite a few clients that are afraid of eating food. They are often riddled with anxiousness and feeling unsettled about what they can eat, and if they do eat something, how it will affect them.
Many of these folks started on the path to food neuroses by removing entire categories of food from their daily diet.
They took out rice, wheat, corn, barley, and oats, and began eating a Paleo diet. And, from there they dove headfirst into an autoimmune paleo diet, and then finally found some relief in a ketogenic diet…
Only now, they cannot seem to process any other type of food without it having a negative reaction in their physical body and in thier mind.
These people are trapped and have lost their freedom around food choices.
I understand that removing specific foods from the diet for a period of time can be highly beneficial for improving health, but I think we’ve gone off the deep end.
This gut-wrenching phenomenon isn’t just in the high protein and high fat world.
Many years prior to this, I’ve seen the opposite side of the spectrum with people who cut out meat, dairy and eggs, and start developing sensitivities to food and then take hordes of supplements to make up for their vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Something is amiss here.
Restrictive dieting should be a short-term solution to help rebalance the body, not a long-term lifestyle that eventually disrupts the body and leaves it unable to process wholesome foods.
A healthy human microbiome relies on a diverse diet. “The more diverse the diet, the more diverse the microbiome and the more adaptable it will be to perturbations.“
For those of you (like myself) that don’t know what a “perturbation” is, it is anxiety and mental uneasiness. I looked it up. And, it makes perfect sense.
Food should bring us joy, and be a pleasurable experience. It should NOT be a scary nightmare!
I recently attended a wedding where one of the guests informed me that she had already eaten before arriving to the venue because she knew she wouldn’t be able to eat any of the catered food.
Part of building community is about breaking bread (so to speak) with each other.
It seems our restrictive dieting habits have also restricted our relationships with the people in our lives and in our communities.
According to ancient healing wisdom, our internal environment mirrors our external environment, and vice versa.
If we are intentionally limiting the microbiome community inside our body, we will also limit the community outside of our body. This inevitably creates an uneasy and anxious human experience.
So what can be done about this neurosis we’ve created around food?
Most people don’t want to hear this, but I tell them anyway; the food that they are afraid of most, is the food they need to put back into their diet.
Whether it’s meat, wheat, dairy, soy, cruciferous vegetables, potatoes, or fat – it needs to go into their pie-hole, and into their digestive system to start diversifying their microbiome again.
I’m not talking about eating peanuts if you have a diagnosed peanut allergy. I’m not trying to kill people here!
I’m talking about all of those various little “sensitivities” that people say are stopping them from eating specific foods.
Open up your body and mind and diversify your microbiome.
Whether it’s grain and starches that feed the body the glucose it needs, or meat and fat, to give the body the strength and warmth it needs, a more diverse diet has got to come back to the table.
And, when I say “diverse diet” I’m talking about wholesome, organic, naturally raised, local, seasonal, and lovingly prepared foods from ALL categories – vegetable, fruit, grains, beans, animal, and funghi.
Don’t be afraid.
Take a deep breath, relax, sit down to the table, and start eating food again.
Andrea Beaman is a internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching individuals and health practitioners how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.