This week I’d like to share with you about the power of your food. I love working with people on the topic of nutrition and assessing what they’re eating, but more importantly discussing what things can be added in to support them and move their health in the direction they’d like it to go.
One of my favourite cases showing how much our food impacts our health involves a women in her early forties, whom I will call Diana. Upon coming in for her initial visit Diana’s health concerns included terrible headaches especially the week before her period, excessive bloating and gas on a daily basis that comes on soon after eating first food of the day and lasts throughout the whole day, intense irritability and lack of control of emotions with limited patience especially leading up to her menstrual period along with a general sensation of not feeling like herself anymore.
At our first visit we discussed the effect of food on health and decided to explore if food was the main factor contributing to her health concerns.
There are a few ways to uncover food sensitivities. You can do so using a finger prick blood sample, which gets sent away to an external lab to be analyzed. Another option is to use electro-dermal screening (EDS). This is a test I do in office. For more information on this type of testing see my previous blog titled “Electrodermal Screening“.
In this specific case we used an elimination diet to help us pin-point the specific foods that weren’t supporting Diana’s health at this time.
An elimination diet works by spending an set amount of time avoiding a list of foods that are the most common irritants to the body. After this “elimination” phase those foods are added back into the diet one-by-one. Doing the reintroduction in the slow methodical manner allows the patient to clearly see if a food is still negatively impacting their health and how it’s doing it (ie. Digestive upset, congestion, headaches, fatigue..).
Since our food is the only thing our body has to build all components of us it makes sense that food sensitivity reactions can appear as many different symptoms beyond digestive upset.
Diana was strongly motivated to get her health back on track and she was very dedicated to doing the elimination diet as best as she could. I’ve seen over and over, the patient’s who are the most diligent with their eating when doing the elimination diet experience the most benefit.
While in the elimination phase of the diet Diana noticed complete relief of her daily gas and bloating. Her headaches had become a rare occurrence and she now wakes up feeling good and ready to tackle her day.
She noted that her moods before her period were not as severe as they used to be, which was a great improvement and at a visit a couple months later she commented that she no longer experienced any mood changes at all before her period. She found that she was able to handle and deal with life’s stressors much more easily now.
As Diana introduced the foods back into her diet she had some interesting and definitive results. She was able to pin point that diary was one of her biggest offenders and it was the cause of her excess gas and bloating and congestion. Dairy is one that can also have dramatic affects on the functioning of the hormone system. Diana found wheat was a tough one for her to digest as well and she felt much better energy when she avoided this grain.
Diana reintroduced all other foods back into her diet with ease and continues to be headache and gas free, while maintaining stable moods and emotions.
As you can see from this example our food choices can be playing a major part in how we feel on a day to day basis and by uncovering our food sensitivities and knowing what foods to take out of our diet for a period of time can result in dramatic improvements in health.
I’d love to support you on your own food journey!
Written by Jennifer Kaster B.Sc., N.D.
Pictures courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/