February 19, 2018

How to choose a healing diet

by Andrea Richardson

People say, "I eat a healthy diet", yet their symptoms, fatigue and brain fog tell another story. 

Many people are surprised to learn, that many of the foods they perceived to be healthy, are actually doing them harm.  

Let's take a look at what a healing diet is and why you need to eliminate certain foods, if you want to reverse chronic disease and restore your health. 

So, what is a healing diet?

Diet is complicated, because the ideal diet is different for everyone, depending where they sit on the scale of disease and individual food intolerances.

For instance, an apple is presumed to be healthy for most people. That is unless you have difficulty digesting fructose sugar. Someone with fructose malabsorption, may experience symptoms such as IBS, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, pain and inflammation. An apple for them is harming and should be avoided.

However, someone with a more robust gut and digestion, won’t have any issues with fruits and can safely include them in their diet.  So, apples become healing.

Our ideal healing diet depends where we sit on the “Scale of Disease”, see image below. 

Someone who’s health is just starting to decline, has mild symptoms and food intolerances, will sit toward the top of the scale. They should only need minor diet and lifestyle changes to reach peak health again.  

In contrast, someone sitting at the bottom on the disease scale, who is suffering with severe symptoms, autoimmunity, inflammation and food intolerances will need to make major changes to their diet and lifestyle.  Their climb back to peak health will be longer and require more effort.   Generally, people with more extreme health conditions will need to take more extreme action.

Wherever you sit on the disease scale, the healing approach remains similar. Everyone will need to: 

  • Eliminate inflammatory foods
  • Flood the body with vitamins and minerals
  • Support the digestive system and liver

Immunity comes from your gut

It comes as a surprise to many people that diet plays such a critical role in healing.   How could something you've eaten all your life, like wheat and dairy suddenly cause disease and inflammation?

70-80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, so it is vitally important to focus on diet and gut health when reversing disease and healing the body.  

I have discussed leaky gut in another post and how it leads to inflammation, autoimmunity, nutrient deficiency and illness. To learn more, click here.

What foods should you avoid?

Many people are unaware that they have food intolerances and its not until after they eliminate certain foods from their diet that they realise it!  How do you know if you're on the right diet?  Simple, if your health is improving then, your on the right track.  

If your health is not improving, then something needs to change and that's when you need to start eliminating ALL the food triggers, however obscure they seem.  

No matter where you are on the disease scale, there are some inflammatory foods that everyone should avoid for awhile.  These include: 

  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Inflammatory Oils & fats 
  • Artificial colours, preservatives and additives
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee

Even though these are the most common, problematic foods, virtually any food can cause inflammation, so it can be confusing to identify which things to avoid and for how long.

Even a healthy salad and seeds can be harming for people with inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis.  These foods sometimes need to be eliminated for a time to allow the gut to heal, otherwise they act like sandpaper on a raw, inflamed gut and make symptoms worse. 

It can be confusing if you don't understand the process and correct food introduction sequence and that is where the Cooling Habits Anti-inflammatory program can help. When following a specific food introduction order, healing becomes simple and stress free.

The Cooling Habits Anti-Inflammatory Diet is divided up into 10 levels to accommodate for the different stages of healing.  Whether the inflammation in your body is only simmering slowly or is completely out of control, there is a unique diet and level for everyone. 

Elimination diets are perfect for healing, because they remove the foods that aggravate and prolong inflammation, while allowing your body to rest and recover. It's like a holiday for your gut and immune system!  

Our ultimate healing goal is to introduce and tolerate all foods again while experiencing optimal health. With patience and persistence, we can achieve this, by methodically testing new foods at regular intervals to check if they are tolerated. 

What foods heal the body?

Elimination diets are superior for identifing food intollerances.  This requires certain foods to be removed, while symptoms and disease are monitored.  As the body heals, foods can be reintroduced.

Food allergy tests are not always accurate and intolerances can change from week to week (as I found out for myself).  The easiest way is to first start by eating a low allergen diet and introducing new foods from there. 

It seems absurd that common foods like fruits and grains, can cause disease and inflammation, but that is exactly what can happen.  Food intolerances are as unique as the individual and it's often the things that you eat all the time, that are the worst offenders. 

As a general guide, a healing diet is:

  • Low allergen
  • Wholefood 
  • Low fat
  • Plant based 

Plants contain an abundance of protein, vitamins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates that our body requires.  Unlike animal products, plants are low in methionine, which is converted into homocysteine in the body and raises inflammation levels.  

Plant foods are generally more alkalising and easier to digest than animal products and therefore are better suited to healing.  

Plants are packed full of fibre unlike animal products, and fibre is essential for promoting beneficial bacteria in the gut required for good health. Animal products are also high in fat and proteins, which can cause acidity and inflammation when the gut is unable to digest them completely.

Can I still eat animal products on a healing diet?

Yes, but great caution needs to be used and it will depend where you are on the scale of disease.  If your gut lining is damaged and undigested meat proteins leak into your blood stream, then they can cause great damage via the process of molecular mimicry.

Meals should be based around starchy and non-starchy plants, but some level of animal products can also assist healing greatly, like bone broth, ghee, butter and goats milk kefir.  

Bone Broth is high in collagen and is tasty, nourishing and easy to digest. It can help to restore your gut and rebuild damaged tissue. 

It is advisable that the bulk part of your diet consists of plants, until your body is strong enough to digest meat completely.  

So what can you eat?

After you've eliminated all the highly inflammatory foods, it might feel like there's nothing left to eat!  But you're wrong, there are plenty of tasty, low fat, plant-based recipes to eat, you just have to go looking for them.   Once you start to learn how to prepare new recipes, it soon becomes simple. 

You should turn your focus on eating as many anti-inflammatory foods like:

  • Greens and vegetables
  • Pineapple, Kiwi fruit and paw paw
  • Bone broth
  • Turmeric & ginger

When you understand there is a massive difference between a 'good' diet and a 'healing' diet, then you're on the right track.   Once you've identified where you are on the disease scale and which foods that are creating inflammation in your body, then reversing disease and food intolerances is simple. 

If you'd like to learn more, then check out my Anti-inflammatory program

Don't know where to start?

Grab Your Free Copy Of The First Chapter of My Program, Healing Naturally

About the author

I was diagnosed with a painful auto-immune disease when I was 35 years old and I found a way to reverse the disease and become drug free. Now I teach others how to do the same.  When I don't have my head buried in a text book I enjoy, camping, spending time with family.

Andrea Richardson


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