March is nutrition month! And, this year’s theme is to take the fight out of food. I think this is probably THE best topic we have had for nutrition month because there has been no time like the present, where so many people are struggling with their food decisions.
Do you ever get frustrated by food and nutrition? Maybe you can’t figure out why you feel bloated after eating certain foods or are unsure about which foods are best for a particular health condition. These “food fights” represent times when you struggle with yourself or others about what to eat.
When all you want to do is get control of your digestion and how you feel, it is completely understandable that you would be willing to try absolutely anything to feel better. Being a dietitian living with celiac disease, I have personally experienced the “fight with food” when it comes to my own food choices and every single one of my clients has also experienced the “fight with food too.” I really do get it. Trust me, I do.
Eating should be joyful, not a source of frustration and confusion. Do any of these comments or situations sound familiar?
- “I just ate something and I know it was gluten free, but now I feel bloated.”
- “I don’t understand why I am gaining all this weight on the gluten free diet. I need to lose weight!”
- “I am still SO tired. I have no energy. I thought my gluten free diet was suppose to make me feel better.”
- “I was told that I need to eliminate (insert food list) these foods. But, now, with my gluten free diet, I am at a loss of what to eat and feel just as bad, if not worse.”
- “I’ve just been diagnosed with celiac disease and I feel overwhelmed.”
- “I keep hearing that I should eliminate grains, beans, legumes, dairy. Well, what is LEFT to eat? Do I need to avoid those foods now too?”
- “Food makes me scared. I used to love food and now it causes me anxiety and worry.”
- “I don’t want to go out and eat anymore, because I’m scared I will be ‘glutened.”
- “I still feel unwell. In order to heal the gut, I heard I should do the ketogenic diet.”
- “I’m making two different meals at mealtime. One regular for the family, and then gluten free for me. But, I can’t keep up. It’s so stressful, but I don’t know what to do.”
- “My friend told me no one can digest dairy. Dairy is meant for baby cows only and that I shouldn’t be consuming it. Do I need to be dairy free too?”
- “I’m so confused, I have read so many things online and have no idea what I SHOULD eat to get rid of my digestive woes!”
- “I’m constipated on my gluten free diet. My friend said she started taking (insert supplement) to improve constipation, should I do that?”
- “I heard I can take a gluten enzyme and eat regular gluten containing foods, is that right?”
- “Someone told me that even though I am celiac, I can eat gluten when I go to Italy.”
- “I’m so scared to go out and eat because I don’t know how I will feel after or if I will make it home in time for the bathroom.”
- “I don’t know how to prepare quick and delicious tasting gluten free foods. I’m in a food rut.”
Let’s bring back the joy to eating. If you still aren’t feeling well on the gluten free diet, here are three tips for you.
1. Spot the problem: Define what’s causing your fight with food first.
- Have you just been diagnosed with celiac disease?
- Are you struggling with continuing digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, or intestinal pain while on your gluten free diet?
- Are you gaining weight on the gluten free diet (when you don’t need to gain any weight)?
2. Get the facts. Use facts from credible sources to decide what needs to be done to solve the problem.
- If you haven’t yet, visit your doctor first to get a diagnosis or to get some blood work done, if needed. Or, work with a dietitian who can communicate with your doctor to help you get back on the road to health. If you are experiencing digestive issues, get in touch with a dietitian that is knowledgable in the gluten free diet.
- Use a Registered Dietitian when it comes to nutrition
- Visit credible websites/sources when it comes to the gluten free diet:
3. Seek support:
- Get support from your registered dietitian to ensure your diet meets your nutrition needs and, most importantly, makes it practical and enjoyable for you to succeed in the long term.
- Surround yourself with people who have positive influences (versus hinder or cause stress) over you.
- Get in touch with advocacy groups associated with your condition (some noted above) that put you in touch with others who are going through the same thing as you.
- Celiac Scene BC is a great resource too!
Do you want to learn more? There are over 50 Dietitians providing free resources for nutrition month over at Nutrition Academy. Sign up and learn more!