Having no food rules and eating intuitively sounds FAB, but can you really do that when you need to follow dietary restrictions for food allergies, intolerances or other medically necessary conditions? In this blog post we'll be answering just that!
Do You Need Dietary Restrictions?
My entire nutrition philosophy is centered around having no food rules, but, I'm also a dietitian and realize that there are instances where some people may need to avoid eating certain foods. Some of these include:
The first important point to ask yourself (and your medical team!) is: Is this restriction necessary? I hate to say it, but it's not uncommon for dietary restrictions to be thrown around like candy these days. Be sure to get yourself a concrete answer if a total dietary restriction is needed.
If you have a sensitivity or intolerance, most people can tolerate a certain amount of the food they're needing to avoid. A food allergy is different, because this involves the immune system.
At Home Food Sensitivity Tests
Okay, so... You think you miiiiight have a food sensitivity or intolerance.. what do you do? I really, really would advise you to NOT take one of those oh-so popular at home food sensitivity tests. Why? Because there are no validated test to diagnose food sensitivities.
I found this article all about food sensitivity tests and their pitfalls, be sure to give it a read if you have taken or have thought about taking one of these tests! The best thing to do is to talk to a Registered Dietitian for specific advice. You really don't want to go cutting things out of your diet that you don't need to. This can lead to unnecessary food fear and possible nutrient deficiencies.
How To Eat Intuitively With Dietary Restrictions
Say you DO go through the whole process and find out that, yes, you DO need to avoid certain things in your diet for medical reasons. Can you still eat intuitively?! My answer is 100% yes.
Living with no food rules isn't just about eating whatever your little heart desires. It's about finding that balance between the brain and the body. For instance, if you have to be gluten free because you have celiac disease, it's still possible to have no food rules.
There is literally nothing stopping you from diving into a place of gluten laden pasta. You CAN. But, do you want to? What would the result of that be? Would your tummy be in a tangle? Would you be running to the bathroom every 5 seconds? Think about this piece, then make your decision. Rather than just simply saying "Waaaah, I can't have gluten." Which is only going to make you want that food even more. The body wants what it thinks it can't have!
I recently listened to a fab podcast all about intuitive eating a food allergies/intolerance/sensitivities and medically necessary diets on the podcast RD Real Talk. Highly recommend giving this a listen! It explains this concept super well.
So, to sum it up. You CAN have no food rules, while still having... food rules? There is no one stopping you from grabbing a spoon and diving into a pint of ice cream if you have a milk protein allergy. There are no rules, you could do it. But that brain piece can come out and say "Hmmm, let's think about this for a second. How would this turn out? Is that going to feel good?"
Luckily, today there are SO many alternatives- like dairy-free ice cream, gluten-free pasta, etc. That can make living with dietary restrictions easier!
Also, remember what we said earlier. There if it is a sensitivity or intolerance, you likely have a certain amount of the food that you can tolerate. So if there is an ice cream place on vaycay that looks amaaaaze and you want a lick of your hubby's- you might be fine. Be sure to get in-tune with your body to know this. Again, working with a Registered Dietitian can help!
I hope you found this post super helpful. If you want to learn more about living with no food rules you can download a copy of my free e-book, The Ultimate 5 Step Guide To Food Freedom!
Leave a comment with your thoughts! Have you or someone you know taken an at home food sensitivity test? Let me know about the experience!
Happy food rule breaking!
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