I just got some lab results back from a naturopathic doctor, who I scrimped and saved to see, considering I have no health insurance at the moment and had to pay for the whole thing out of pocket. And basically, the verdict is that the lack of variety in my diet is actually creating some of my food sensitivities. I don’t fully understand how this works, yet, from a medical perspective. But my most basic grasp of it is this: Your body freaks the f*** out when you keep feeding it the same stuff (over and over again).
And apparently, which I suppose I already suspected, food sensitivities are subject to change depending on eating habits, stress levels, seasonal changes, and hormones. Hmm, maybe that’s why when I’m PMSing, it seems like everything I put in my body triggers a reaction.
The main way I’ve seen this manifesting in my body over the years is that, like I said, I have a tendency to eat the same things day after variety-lacking day. I know it's not ideal; I’m just a creature of habit, I guess. And sooner or later, the food items I consume on a daily basis begin to—very noticeably and until now, inexplicably—bother me: searing headaches, upset stomach, bloating, and even swelling will occur, seemingly out of nowhere, when I eat the item in question. Oh yeah, and I break out, too.
For example, when I was working full-time as a production editor, I got in the habit of eating oatmeal every day for breakfast. It tasted good; it satisfied me; it made me feel healthy. Then, all of a sudden, I started reacting to it. I tried a handful more times to continue eating it in the mornings, and every time, the reaction got worse. So, I had to stop. This has happened to me countless times with various foods over the years—bananas, eggs, applesauce, peanut butter, almond butter, maple syrup, waffles (gluten-free), corn, risotto, and even, I must admit, Pamela’s dark chocolate cookies on a few select (and ultimately insignificant) occasions.
So what’s the answer here? I need to change it up! I guess there’s a reason why they say variety is the spice of life.
I haven’t had my official follow-up appointment with this doctor to discuss the best plan of action here. But he did send me some literature along with my results, and from what I’ve been reading, the healing process begins by eliminating each and every food that your body is in any way sensitive to (based on the test results, which I'll detail in a later post because it turns out my body is freaking out over a lot of foods these days!) for a period of three weeks to six months, depending on the degree of sensitivity. And then, as long as you don’t have an allergy to the food (sorry, dairy), you can reintroduce certain items to your diet, slowly and carefully. If you still react, you stay away. If you don’t, then you’re free to enjoy—just not every single day (duh!).
This makes sense to me, because in each of the aforementioned cases, I'd refrain from eating the reaction-triggering food for a period of time, and then, one day—like magic—I could eat it again, no problem.
I am highly intrigued by this notion of welcoming banned foods back into my dietary rotation, especially considering that I do not have a known allergy to wheat. I have yet to be tested for celiac disease, due once again to my lack of health insurance. Gluten absolutely bothers my body, though, and this recent set of blood tests has officially confirmed that I am wheat intolerant. And yet, could this whole lack-of-variety-triggering-food-sensitivities theory possibly mean that there is a chance I could one day eat wheat again? I don’t know. Better get that whole celiac thing checked out before I let myself dare to dream.
Then again, going gluten-free has dramatically improved my day-to-day life in a number of ways. I eat more healthfully, and I choose foods more consciously, which in turn, has helped me maintain my 40-pound weight loss. And my digestive difficulties have all but disappeared (eliminating dairy had a huge hand in that one, though). But man, life was just plain simpler when I didn’t have to worry about whether or not what was being put in front of me at a restaurant or in a friend’s kitchen contained wheat or gluten. Sorry to be going there, but it’s true.