Written by: Kayla Bittner, SCNM 1st Year Medical Student
In our current time, we’re privileged with the power of choice. We have the opportunity to shop at a wide variety of grocery stores, farmers markets, local co-ops and health food stores. We have more options than we’ve ever had, in support of every eating style – standard american, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, dairy-free, vegetarian, low-carb, high-fat, low-fodmap, keto – and the list goes on.
However, 10-15 years ago, we didn’t have these options. We had one type of gluten-free bread available at your local health food store. Restaurants didn’t have special gluten-free menus. Ordering a meal out without “bread” was considered a “pain” and servers didn’t express concern or compassion. For those avoiding dairy, it meant going without yogurt and cheese, and pretending that it didn’t matter.
We are privileged to live in a world that’s become so in-tune with the various eating styles, food allergies, food intolerances and sensitivities, because it’s given life back to so many people who enjoy cooking, baking and eating in a way that makes them feel good – and there shouldn’t be any shame in that.
The hardest part isn’t finding specific foods or brands in your local grocery store, or finding recipes amongst the millions of food blogs, cookbooks and recipe sites, it’s actually finding the foods that WORK for your body, rather than work against it.
You may be wondering – how do I know if food works for me? What if I don’t have any known food allergies, and don’t have any digestive issues after eating? I’m here to tell you that there’s so much more to it than that.
At Living Wellness Medical Center, our doctors uncover the foods that work for you, through a variety of tools:
- Food Intolerance Testing
- Stool Analysis
- Elimination Diets (With Reintroductions)
- Food Journaling
And most importantly, through listening to you, the one consuming the foods on a regular basis. By combining the above various methods of testing, they’re able to help you uncover what food are helping your body get out of an inflammatory state, and into a state of healing and nourishment.
Food Intolerance Testing
Although testing seems to be the most accurate way to get detailed information about your body, food intolerance testing should only be used as a means to support or complement other hypothesis. Through our IgG Food Sensitivity panel, our doctors will test up to 100+ of the most common foods to see what foods elicit a reaction in your body. This is done through blood work, and will give you a better indication of what foods you need to avoid (for the time being).
Stool Testing can be a helpful model for uncovering how your body’s processing the nutrients you’re consuming. With 75% of your stools comprised of water, the rest is a mixture of dead bacteria, proteins and fibers. These can be an indicators of how well you’re digesting food particles, how hydrated you are, and how your internal GI environment is functioning.
Are your stools floating? Are your stools oily, greasy or black? Are your stools pellet-like? Are your stools liquid? Are you not going to the bathroom? These are all things that our doctors take into account when considering whether a stool analysis is right for you.
Even though this is usually everyone’s least favorite (hello, brunch without waffles and happy hour without beer), it’s some of the most trustworthy due to the phased approach our doctors take. By removing potentially problematic foods in a phased and calculated manner, our doctors can walk you through an elimination diet that will ultimately, help you figure out how you’re feeling after you consume a particular food, and can discuss the “whys’ with you thereafter. Don’t worry – the elimination diet is only short-lived, and isn’t meant to “restrict” past the test period. You may be surprised at how amazing you feel once you eliminate certain foods (that you’re probably eating every day). Our doctors will take you through a gut-healing program to help heal your gut, with the intention of reintroducing foods later on down the road.
Being in tune with your body, and having the ability to listen and learn is highly underrated. Although doctors are extensively trained to help you, they’re not living in your body every day of your life. No one is feeling the signs of you overeating eggs, except you. No one is feeling the sluggish feeling you get after eating a mid-day sandwich, except you. No one is feeling the side effects of your nightly glass of wine, except you. Food journaling can be an immensely helpful tool in figuring out how you’re feeling at different times of the time, in the context of everyday life. This approach takes into account many lifestyle factors that you might never have paid attention to. Bringing awareness to our everyday actions is sometimes the key to healing. According to this article, forming new habits can take up to two months, depending on the individual person, which means that the things we’re eating, drinking, doing and believing affect us on a repeated basis.
So, what’s next. Well, take inventory of how you’re feeling. Are you feeling tired, fatigued, sluggish, constipated, digestively unwell, bloated, water-logged, uncomfortably full, irritable, anxious, depressed and/or intuitively “off?” If so, it may be time for you to see a professional that can help you find a way of eating that works for you, that makes you feel alive, and that contributes to your goals.
At Living Wellness Medical Center, our doctors offer FREE, 10-minute new patient consultations for those with questions, complaints or concerns that they’re hoping to address. Call our office to setup a free consultation today at 1-480-588-6856.
Eating is how we supply our bodies with the energy and nutrients needed to carry out our everyday responsibilities. Think of your body as a “vehicle.” When we feed our car bad “fuel,” or fuel that doesn’t work for us (ie. putting diesel in a regular car), our “vehicles” won’t operate how they’re supposed to.
Getting to the root of the problem is a key principle in Naturopathic medicine, and something that we strongly believe is key to healing. In a world full of options to support all different styles of eating, the hardest part isn’t finding foods to replace your beloved morning bowl of granola, weekly pizza outing or mid-day sugary coffee drink, it’s finding nutrient-dense foods to replace your old favorites, that work with your body not against it.