No gluten, no sugar, no dairy…no freakin’ way.

Via on Jun 5, 2010

…Or so I thought.

She pricked my finger and said the results would be back in about a week—results that would forever change what I eat and how I think about food.

About year ago I went to a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) because I was having digestive issues. Since then, because I tend to over-share my personal experiences with family, friends and yoga students, I discovered that many people have digestive issues, but do not talk about it.

Why not? Well, simply put, digestive issues usually involve being bloated, farting and pooping. Not topics that typically rate highly in day-to-day conversations—except poo, which may be a regular topic of discussion if you are in a home with a newborn/infant or you have a toddler who is experimenting with potty-training.

So, back to my life changing appointment. My ND tells me that I have to cleanse my GI (aka gastro intestinal) tract. I have to partake in an elimination diet.

She proceeds to tell me that I cannot eat wheat, gluten, sugar, dairy or eggs.

What?! Seriously!? I break down into what Oprah calls the ugly cry. In between my sobs, I am asking the ND questions about what I can eat. As she is talking I am in a daze, barely hearing her words because my mind is spinning and I am thinking over and over again—how will this be possible for a carb-heavy, cheese and ice cream lovin’ gal like myself?

Without going into too much of the drama, and there was plenty of it, I can tell you that discovering my food sensitivities was one of the best things I did for my body and my mind (yoga would be the number one best thing). Case in point—last weekend I went off my healthy eating plan, consuming what seemed like tons of non-gluten-free bread, dairy and sugar.

Did I regret it? Yes, yes I did. Not only did my stomach ache, but my mind wasn’t clear, I was irritable and tired. My bad food choices contributed to my inability to enjoy the day. It was a lovely outside…and I was inside because I didn’t feel well.

Stomach issues and fatigue are two major complaints related to food sensitivity. When we neglect to eat foods that are good for our body and aren’t digesting our food well, we may be subjecting ourselves to more serious illnesses by not choosing foods that strengthen our immune system.

Does this apply to me?

If you do not want to go to a ND to get a food panel test done to determine what foods you may be sensitive to, you can keep a personal food journal to see which foods aggravate your GI system. While you experiment with your food choices and notice how they make you feel, you will learn what is best for your body and get to know your body more accurately.

As you plan your daily menu, you may want to include the following nine “super foods”: berries, kiwis, sweet potatoes, broccoli, beans, quinoa, avocados and nuts—which are all delicious and free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar.

A final thought about food choices—choosing organic is something we should consider before putting food in our mouth and into our body—if you have seen Food, Inc. or a similar food documentary, you probably already know this. If you haven’t, and you eat chicken or anything made with corn, you’ll want to.

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If you need to limit your organic food purchases due to financial constraints, you might find the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides helpful to educate yourself on how to affordably decrease your pesticide consumption.

One of my yoga teachers, Govinda Kai, wrote an article about The Art of Truly Joyful Eating.  When we think about food primarily as a way of nourishing our body and mind and we are truly aware of what and why we put certain foods in our body, we are practicing Ahimsa—the first Yama of Ashtanga Yoga—or non-harming. When we eat foods that continually create distress in our body, we are harming our body.

Make the choice to be kind to your body—you won’t regret it!

About Maureen Miller

Maureen is a yoga teacher, life/health coach and an aspiring writer. She teaches yoga and leads a yoga teacher training/develop your yoga practice program for students who want to learn more about integrating the body, mind and spirit. Maureen believes when we find balance in all areas of our lives, we live in alignment with our core values and we can live a life filled with intention and purpose.  As a yoga teacher and life/health coach, it is her intention to be with students/coaches on their journey as they investigate decisions that brought them to where they are today, examine options toward change and make choices to break through current challenges.  You can find Maureen on Facebook, Twitter and at her website: Living Life, Making Choices.

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19 Responses to “No gluten, no sugar, no dairy…no freakin’ way.”

  1. Linda Bimbo says:

    It is amazing how what we put into us makes a huge difference. I used to drink diet coke – a lot! An ND suggested that stopping would address some of my concerns (headaches, fatigue, feeling poorly) and how I feel. So I stopped – cold turkey. I went through significant withdrawals and began to feel better. But I missed diet coke. So having been free for 6 weeks I drank one. I was so sick! I have not had diet anything or ingested any of the artificial sweetners in any food/drink since that time (7 yrs ago). Thanks for sharing your journey, Maureen!

    • Thank you, Linda, for sharing your story. I truly appreciate comments on my posts – when we all share our stories, it enriches my original intention for the article.

  2. mareynolds says:

    Having discovered my food sensitivities about 4 years ago through testing my chiropractor offered, I too now understand it's one of the best discoveries I've made. (Yes, yoga is up there too!) I cleared excess Candida from my system and avoided foods I was sensitive to, including wheat, sugar, potatoes, and more. The question guiding my life, after the feeling the difference from clearing excess Candida was "How good can I feel?" After delving deeply into the blood type and genotype diets, I retreated from eating "by the book" (or "by the test") and notice more how what I eat makes me feel. My grocery cart is 80-90 percent fresh produce, organic when available. I feel better than ever and am undertaking yoga teacher training at the age of 57.

  3. spage says:

    I am new to avoiding/eliminating certain foods from my diet. I was also suggested by an ND to eliminate Candida from my diet due to years of “GI Issues” and as Maureen so eloquently put it… “bloating, farting and pooping”. I was initially very naive as to how “easy” this was going to be as I had started my elimination with eggs and egg products about 6 months prior. That went surprising smooth for me so when my ND “upped the ante” to include all sugar, sugar products, yeast and any and all products/food including yeast and yeast bi-products, I thought I can do this!!… Yikes… Big eye-opener for me…. Really hard to do when you live a lifestyle “on the run” and don’t cook much. Yeast is in everything! I thought I ate fairly healthy but most of that came from can, jar or bottle filled with chemicals and yeast /sugar bi-products. I had several “ugly crys” myself and wanted to give up but deep down I knew this was good for me and I was having periods of time of feeling better. I’m now 6+ months into and do feel GREAT. My yoga practice and personal life is also feeling the positive effects. I have been experimenting here and there with some of the “old” food I used to eat and I like to notice how my body reacts. A very interesting process and quite worth it the ride. I look at food a whole different way than I did almost a year ago.
    Thanks for your insight Maureen.

    • It certainly takes commitment and then we realize that it is not just about food – it's about transforming the way we look at so much about our lives…. thanks so much for sharing! xo

  4. [...] the questions that provide her a sense of my overall well-being.  This is what I like about Naturopathic Doctors, they treat the WHOLE person.  There is much wisdom when doctors take the time to ask pointed [...]

  5. Randall Smith says:

    I've been conscious about food since about 1998, when I stumbled into a job at a local natural foods co-op. I learned a lot about herbs, food combining, macrobiotics, etc. It changed the way I ate, and the way I felt after eating. I have been around the block as far as diets go, and the best yet for me has been the raw vegan diet. The downside? It is time consuming. Sprouting and dehydrating take some coordination and really good kitchen layout to make it easier. But I believe it is worth it. At present, I am a *conscious* omnivore with a bias for fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains/legumes/seeds from the bulk section, a good way to save $$. Thanks for your article, I'm sure it will open up a lot of possibilities and solutions for folks out there.

  6. Leah Shannon says:

    Hi! Oh seeing a naturopath has been one of the worst ….and BEST things that has ever happened to me! She told me the same thing, I was aghast, went ahead and did it and feel the best I have felt since I can remember. I felt so good I decided to share my journey and I post GF/DF and mostly sugar free recipes on my blog http://www.befullwell.com. I will print out this blog entry and give it to a client :)

  7. [...] A guilt-racked carnivore, I can go for a month without meat and it wouldn’t cost me a thought, but dairy is different. I’ve loved milk, cheese and all things dairy since I was a small child. There isn’t a cheddar [...]

  8. tnbroom says:

    so true, and on point. We have accepted the chemicalizing of our foodstuffs for 50 years, and now those of us old enough to have been eating that crap for 30-40 years are seeing the hormone-filled chickens come home to roost. I miss potatoes the most. Sugar was never my thing, and I can get good (monsanto-free, non gmo) bread and pasta outside the US when I have the pleasure of travel. [It's not the gluten --> it's the poison-wheat grown in the US that is the problem for 100% of the population. I hope people get it sooner than later.] The body is an amazing thing. The Bentley, the Rolls-Royce… yet we treat it like a Pinto most of the time.

  9. Ruthie Fraser Ruthie says:

    How about super foods like grass-fed pasture raised beef, organic ghee from grass fed cows, organic pasture raised chicken liver, etc etc,?!?

  10. Niki Widmayer says:

    I did the same thing over two years ago at the suggestion of my ayurvedic practitioner. Wow, what a difference. So now I am a vegetarian gluten free, almost vegan, and friends wonder what I am left to eat! they should follow me while I shop at my local health food store and plunk down$80-100 for fresh fruits and veggies, nut milks, nut flours, wholesome oils and a tiny bit of cheese and chocolate. No more brain fog and stomach bloating etc. It's pay now or pay later.

  11. Catalina says:

    My ND told me this week to completely cut my sugar intake. I've had on and off bouts of adult acne and he recommended I do this to see if that problem is solved. Even though I've reduced the amount of sugar I eat in the last several years (no sugar in coffee, none in natural juices, etc), it kinda freaked me out. I'm scared that if I no longer eat anything with sugar, like cookies, cake or whatnot once in a while…and the day that I actually do, I think it might make me sick. I also stopped eating dairy this year and that has actually made a big difference. My body feels lighter…not really weight wise, I'm pretty fit…but light in a sense I can't really explain. It just feels better. Eating this way has also made my yoga practice more productive and deep. The hardest thing is traveling or if I'm not home and just HAVE to eat out (I try to eat home made as much as I can) it can be a bit tricky to find a clean decent meal at certain places.

  12. andreaspiritual says:

    My partner and I are on a food elimination diet — no dairy, wheat, eggs or sugar too. It's amazing that actually you can still eat really lovely meals without too much (if any, with the exception of wine & chocolate!) hardship. We both feel much better for eating this way and really notice it if we slip up. Great tips here for easy ways to make healthy changes to your diet, even if you don't suffer from food or digestive problems.

  13. Megan Lynn, RD says:

    I promise I'm not a troll, but this is truly what ever ND says re: diet. I've never known someone to see a naturopath and NOT be told to eliminate these things. Science tells us that fewer than 2% of the population has Celiac Disease (the autoimmune reaction to gluten) and fewer than 10% have gluten insensitivity (which manifests as an allergen in the blood), yet people are continually sold the idea that they shouldn't be eating gluten. The truth of the matter is that when people eminiate gluten they also eliminate most dietary culprits–doughnuts, massive bagels, refined breads and pastas, cupcakes, cookies, etc. There is NOT an epidemic reaction to gluten happening!

    And eggs are one of the healthiest protein foods you can eat, especially if locally/free-run raised. Egg allergies are rare. Why does everyone distrust science (an honest question–not rhetorical)?

  14. Lauren says:

    I work for an ND who does they blood spot testing, and I have to say, it’s incredibly accurate!!! My daughter couldn’t have the same things as you, and it’s changed our whole families life.

    Kudos – and here’s to happier health!!!!

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