Well, here is another long overdue post. I am apparently not good at balancing everything else in life and blogging too. :/ But I am not giving up! I just may have to be more realistic about the amount of posts I crank out for this thing 😉
We are currently on a pretty strict healing diet, and that is a topic that I have been asked about over and over by many different people. Now, this was not a diet we started in order to lose weight, although that has been a welcome fringe benefit. Nearly two years ago, we started seeing a new doctor (who we LOVE), and he was able to pinpoint the root causes of a myriad of health issues that each of us had been dealing with for quite some time—for me, they were things that had been eating away at my health for many years. In addition to prescribing some potent whole food supplements, he recommended strongly that we avoid certain foods—quite a number of them—in order to facilitate the healing process and enable us to get well faster. Much of our problem issues were related to fungal and parasitic infections, along with some viruses here and there. Those things thrive on certain foods, and if you continue to feed them those foods, they will continue to grow and that is not what you want when you are trying to rid your body of them. The foods we were eating were also causing stress on our immune system, and continuing to eat that way was definitely not going to aid us in getting back to health. I had done quite a bit of research on this doctor and his methods before we made that first appointment, so I knew going in that we would have to give up some of our favorite foods, at least for awhile. But we sat down ahead of time and determined that it was something we would do, to get better as quickly as possible. It has not been easy, and there have been times we have all been whiny and grumbly about it, and there have even been times I have been reduced to tears over the whole thing. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat because of the results we have seen, and because of the good it has done for our bodies. And our doctor assures us that once we have completely healed, we will be able to go back to eating some of those foods again, in moderation of course 😉 So that gives us something to look forward to!
Today I am going to share our healing diet–what it looks like and what it entails–and tomorrow, I will talk about how we make it work. Here is the list of things that we cannot/don’t eat, and why:
1. Processed Foods – This includes almost anything from a box or package, foods that are pre-made or premixed, and anything artificial or altered. Fake food (which is what processed food IS) leads to all sorts of medical/health problems, and was likely the cause of a lot of our issues to begin with. When you fill your body with substances that it doesn’t recognize (man-made products, artificial sweeteners and colors, stuff that has chemicals in it or has been chemically altered), it doesn’t function properly. First of all, fake food doesn’t give you real nutrients because it either has none, or because they are in a form that your body cannot recognize and use. Second of all, when your body is overloaded with all that fake stuff, some of it can end up hanging out in your blood and tissues as free radicals that distract and hinder your body’s normal cellular functions and processes. When cells cannot function properly, your body’s immunity is compromised, and that makes you much more susceptible to illnesses and autoimmune disorders, among other things. Fake food is bad news, and unfortunately it’s normal fare for most families in America. Processed foods are hard to give up because they are convenience foods—something that our hurry-up society craves—but it’s necessary to kick them to the curb for healing, and living a healthy life in general. We had already cut almost all processed food out of our diet a few years ago, so we were well on our way with this step. To see more about specific things we don’t eat that generally fall into this category, you can check out my post on “Foods” We Avoid. We won’t be eating processed foods ever again.
2. Refined Sugars – This one was really hard at first because, well, we like sweets. But I have learned to make some awesome sweets with unrefined sugars. We can have raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, and other unrefined sweeteners. I have learned to sub these for sugar in some of our favorite recipes, and I have found some new recipes we love, so all in all, we really haven’t felt deprived. I have actually come to really dislike regular sugar-laden foods and much prefer my real food sweets instead. We use Stevia powder to sweeten our coffee, and occasionally other things too. NuNaturals is our favorite brand because it doesn’t have that funky aftertaste that other Stevia powders have. Refined sugars are another thing we will continue to avoid in the future. We won’t be quite as “Nazi-ish” about it as we are now, but refined sugar is another kind of processed food, and it lowers your body’s immunity significantly. Often, things that are made with refined sugars also contain lots of other junk, like artificial colors and shortening (think birthday cakes and cupcakes) so that makes them that much worse.
3. Dairy Products (except for real butter—woo hoo!!) – This one has perhaps been the hardest of all because we are dairy lovers! We drank milk by the gallon, and ate loads of cheese, and one of my favorite foods is cream cheese. Also, my favorite kinds of foods are Mexican and Italian, and what is a key ingredient in both of those?? CHEESE! Yes, this has definitely been the most difficult. But we have managed. I have been so thankful that we have been able to keep butter in our diet. I’m not sure why that is OK, and other dairy is not, but I’m not going to argue!! We like almond milk, and use that for drinking and for recipes that call for milk. We are looking forward to eating some dairy products again one day soon, but we won’t eat them as much or as often as we used to.
4. Yeast – This one has also been another hard one, as it has meant pretty much giving up bread. We are allowed Ezekiel Bread, but we tried that once, and besides the fact that it costs an arm and half a leg, we did not care at all for it. Nathan really liked it toasted, so he finished off the loaf. I looked up bread recipes that didn’t require yeast, but decided that it was easier to just give it up altogether than to spend the time going to great lengths to try and make homemade yeast-free bread. We eat a lot of tortillas and cornbread instead.
5. Peanuts and Peanut Products – Oh, how I used to love peanut butter…often right from the jar, and in pretty much anything edible. We have switched to almond butter though, and have grown to like it just as well. It is more expensive, unfortunately, so we don’t eat it quite like we did the PB, although I have been known to grab a spoon and indulge on occasion 😉 Peanuts contain a toxic form of mold that cannot be completely eliminated by any known means. I am highly allergic to mold, and while I have never specifically had a peanut allergy, the mold in them negatively affects my body. Even for those who are not sensitive to molds, the toxins produced by peanut mold are carcinogenic and can cause liver inflammation, impairment, cancer and even failure. So as much as we have loved our PB in the past, we are giving this one up for good as well.
6. White Flour and White Rice – This one has been hard at times, but we have found that brown rice and brown rice pastas are really good. I have cheated on occasion and used white flour pasta for some meals, and made white flour biscuits (with unbleached all-purpose flour, which is at least a little better), but last time I saw the doc, he said NO white flour at all, at least for awhile. Even in small amounts, it was depleting my body of B Vitamins, which was putting a lot of stress on my heart. White flour (and white sugar, too) will do that, apparently. Scary stuff.
7. Tap Water – Yes, you read that right. This one mainly applies to me, although we are all avoiding it. Tap water contains a lot of chlorine and chemicals, and parasites (yep, you read that right too). If you read the information that the water dept. sends out, they always warn that tap water can be harmful to infants and children, elderly people, and anyone who is immuno-compromised. That pretty much sums up everyone who isn’t at their peak of health. Remember how our typical American diet of processed, fake foods and refined sugars compromises our immunity? That means if you eat that stuff on a regular basis, you fall into that last category. One of my main health issues was parasites that had taken over my body and damaged some of my major organs. Those parasites are called flukes and they are found in tap water everywhere. Not everyone is as susceptible to a widespread fluke infection as I am (my boys are not, thankfully), but for some reason my body does not get rid of them. And once they find their way in, they don’t come out without some force (found this out the hard way). I don’t drink any tap water anymore, and I even have to be very careful about eating produce that has been washed in tap water. We have a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system that gives us wonderfully clean drinking water, and I take my water with me wherever I go. I also have had trouble with chlorine poisoning, so last year, we got a whole house filter. It’s not a whole house RO system, but it takes the chlorine and lots of other junk out of the water we bathe in so that those toxins don’t seep through our skin and harm our bodies.
There’s a lot of stuff that falls into these categories because anything containing any of these things as ingredients is also something we must avoid. (We also cannot have mushrooms, because they feed fungus, but that hasn’t been a big deal.) Some people might look at this list and give up before they even start. But if you are really committed to healing your body, it is totally do-able, and we have made it work for almost 2 years. We have had layers of health issues to peel away and deal with, and compromised immune systems to build back up and heal, and that’s why we’re still doing this 2 years later. You can’t fix decades of damage overnight. But we have made HUGE progress and are so much healthier than we’ve been in a long time. It has definitely been worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. And it’s just a matter of time before we can eat some of our favorite recipes again! Tomorrow, I will talk about some of the struggles of the diet, and how we deal with those and make it work. I will also point to some of our favorite recipes that we eat regularly on our diet.
What about you? Are you considering a healing diet? Or are you in the middle of one? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, pitfalls and encouragements! Please share 🙂