Strategies on a Healing Diet
Some days ago I wrote a post about elimination diets, and why they in some cases are a good road to healing.
If we are on such a diet, it is very helpful to have some strategies. Many of these strategies are helpful also for anyone who is trying to eat in a way that feels really good in their bodies, regardless if it's a specific diet or not.
Here are some strategies that I have found very supportive in my periods on healing diets:
Meal prep! Every time you cook food, try to cook a lot of food. It's quite a minimal difference in the effort to make 5 litres of stew compared to making 1 litre of stew - or to fry 500 g of meat instead of 100 g. The extra food can then be frozen in portions or kept in the fridge - supplying you with easily accessible food at all times. This makes it easier to keep to your healing diet - also when you're short on time or low on energy
Freeze food This goes together with prepping foods. It is very helpful to always have a few meals ready in the freezer - for those unexpected Monday evenings with an empty fridge and energy on zero.
Stocking up on food Fill your pantries and freezer with whole foods! Some helpful things to buy a lot of once you buy it are frozen meat and vegetables, bulk items like coconut oil and coconut milk, and dry foods that are included in your diet. This will help you avoid a situation where you have nothing at home that you can eat while sticking to your elimination diet.
Create strategies before you need them It is good to go through different situations and kinds of days in your head and find strategies for situations that could create a challenge. For example: What kind of food could you order in a restaurant? What food can you easily get in most supermarkets, for a quick lunch on the go? What food can you eat at a party - or maybe you want to have some ideas for dishes you can bring to a party if your diet is very restrictive? If you find it difficult to find answers to these question, working with a health coach can be of great support.
Always keep a snack with you Always keep some elimination diet approved food in your bag - I like to call it "emergency food". This could be for example nuts or dried meat - depending on what kind of elimination diet you're on.
The social dilemma The most common issue people face when going on a healing diet is how to approach social situations. This is no wonder - we are social creatures, and sharing food has been an important social pilar for as long as we have been humans. I will not pretend like this is not a hard nut to crack - it is, and we need to acknowledge that. But, as I mentioned in the post, embarking on a healing diet journey should like all other effective healing come from it being an act of love towards oneself. And we all know that taking loving care of ourselves is the cornerstone of any healthy relationships. The people who love and care for us will understand that this is something we need and want to do for our health and wellbeing - and if they don't, we might want to reassess how we engage in those relationships, or whether we should engage in them at all.
Acknowledge our emotions Last but not least, embarking on a healing diet journey that includes eliminating certain foods (if so only for a period) can awaken an immense amount of grief. Foods we love are not only nutrition - they are comfort, pleasure, and culture. It is important to acknowledge this grief and find ways of processing it. Here, again, is why it's so important to take these kinds of decisions based on love for oneself, not based on purging or control. If the intention to do changes comes out of love and care for ourselves, we can find the comfort and motivation needed to say goodbye to the foods we believe might be causing us harm. In the name of our love for ourselves, we will also find other things that can give us comfort and pleasure - but without distressing our bodies.
Do you have any other strategies that have been helpful to you on a healing diet? I would love to hear about it in the comments!