Over the last couple weeks I took part in a "Heal Your Gut" bootcamp Facebook group. Through the week I learned a lot about digestion, how and why my gut is unhealthy, and the beginnings of how to heal it. Lydia, the leader/teacher of the group, has enlightened me to many new ideas about how my digestion affects the rest of my body, and what kinds of foods and medicines may be reponsible for my aches and pains. You can read more at her blog Divine Health from the Inside Out.
There is so much I never knew about this subject and so much I still have to learn. From what I can tell, at the most basic, one of the biggest and most damaging reasons for my GI troubles are antibiotics I took when I was young (sometimes I would have 4-5 courses in a year), and a highly processed diet. In any case, an elimination diet is suggested to help me discern which foods are likely causing pain and inflammation. Two to four weeks of only a handful of foods is daunting!
What I've notice about myself is that I like to jump into a new diet/food regimen with both feet and then after a week I find myself giving up. Because I acted on a whim I fail to stick it out in the long run. Ugh! I hope to break this cycle and my plan is to spend an appropriate amount of time researching and preparing before I begin an elimination diet. Beginning in January, after all the holidays and temptation that I may or may not be able to resist, I will do the Whole30 elimination diet. My hope is that this will give me a good basis to start figuring out what is going on in my body.
So what am I doing now? I decided that since I've got a few months before I start the Whole 30 I am going to really work hard to eat healthy foods and eliminate bad foods from my diet so that the elimination diet isn't so sudden and difficult to adapt to. I would like to "crowd out" the bad (processed, sugary, fried, heartburn inducing) foods as I add good, whole, healthy foods to my diet. Obviously this takes planning and preparation, which can sometimes prove to be difficult. I've made a template for myself for now and it looks like this: Breakfast -- Sandwich with eggs, thin slice cheese, light + fiber english muffn, handful of spinach OR a smoothie with lots of greens and fruit; Lunch -- Big Salad with seeds, nuts, dried fruit; Dinner -- Beans, any way, any form, just get them in! Plus a serving of cooked veggies. This is loosely based on a Dr. Fuhrman style menu, getting as much greens and beans in as I can.
I think overall the most important goal is to eat whole, real foods that heal instead of hurt. I'm still learning which foods fit this criteria, and, which ones really fit that bill for me in particular. I'm sure my understanding of which foods those are will change as I go along this journey but I look forward to becoming more and more healthy.