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Making the Difficult Choice: Nutrition As A Form of Self-Nurturing

I was called out recently. Asked, “If you were your client what would you be telling yourself?”

I’ve tried to shift the balance in a lot of areas. I’m scheduling more downtime; time with family and friends or once in a while a book for fun, or a movie that doesn’t require too much concern for plot. I’m going to bed earlier. Moving more. I keep appointments with my health care team and I’m doing (most of) the things they’ve recommended.

It’s tough to admit, but this holistic nutritionist is struggling, with FOOD!

It’s not that I’m doing anything wrong, per se. I stay completely away from gluten and cow’s dairy, foods I know trigger a negative response (I’ll spare you the gory details). I eat plenty of vegetables, well-raised meats and poultry, a few nuts and seeds, some fruit, and healthy oils.

The thing is, I know there’s more to it.

This time last year I dove headlong into an Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) for my eating. Eschewing ALL GRAINS, yes even the gluten free ones, ALL dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes and lentils, refined and processed sugars and nightshades vegetables.

I quickly reaped the benefits – inflammation all but disappeared, as did my belly bloat. Plus, I was enjoying a ridiculous variety of veggies, and experimenting with new spice blends for my chicken, fish and occasional red meat.

But it was HARD too. We’re social creatures, and these days, with tight schedules, much of our socializing takes place across a table. For me, many times that table is at a restaurant.

I’ve found a few places where, as a semi-regular customer, my gluten and dairy free restrictions are cheerfully accommodated. The AIP restrictions would make me not so much a pest, but a pariah.

Why would I take on AIP in the first place?

I’d been trying to calm a “subclinical” thyroid condition that had been wreaking havoc on me in a multitude of ways, most noticeably causing me to gain thirty, yes 3-0, pounds in a three month period. I figured that that kind of extreme change needed further extreme change to turn it around.

And it did.

I lost about fifteen pounds in six weeks on AIP.

But I faltered.

I started resenting cooking two meals at home (one for me, and one for everyone else) and declining restaurant invitations. Then I went on vacation and I fell off the rails. What is easier and more “normal” than bacon and eggs for breakfast on vacation? I could do that and easily stay away from dairy and gluten…but eggs aren’t auto-immune friendly. Neither is wine, or most gluten free treats, especially chocolate, even if it is dairy free.

And so, I returned from my vacation right back where I started and lacking the motivation to tackle starting over.

Can I share what sparked my first run at AIP?

It was a client. She’d done everything else she could to bring her health back, to no avail, yet she still resisted trying an AIP diet. She just couldn’t tackle AIP right now.

I found myself frustrated. I was almost certain it would help. Yet she contested and procrastinated and her health stagnated. She was a lot like me. Then I realized I wasn’t so much frustrated with her as I was with myself.

I kicked myself in the pants and jumped in, so I could speak to her from a place of experience, trouble shoot the twists ahead of time. And there are twists, and obstacles and hindrances.

After the wake-up call I needed, I’ve decided, once again – I’m worth it.

Nutrition as form of self-nurturing means applying all the information about your diet and your body in the best way you can. We need to be tuned in to what is in the best interest of our health, and then act on it.

For me, can I really think I am caring for myself when going for that walk, or tucking myself in at ten o’clock, when I’m putting things into my body that I know are hindering my health and healing?

Sometimes self-care isn’t the easy choice – a Saturday afternoon pedicure or a Monday massage – but rather a measured and sustained effort to make the inconvenient choices.

Given all of the above, here I am, writing a blog about “Nutrition as a Form of Self Nurturing”.

Perhaps you’ve been here like me? Maybe you know there are some foods you have an unhealthy relationship with; they leave you feeling guilty, or cause you physical pain.

Would you like to join me in putting yourself first, and trying to focus on abundance and not deprivation. In short, I’ll be focusing on what I get out of taking on AIP instead of what I don’t get.

It’s spring, so heaps of green veggies are easy to prep and easy on the budget. I’ll eat plenty of root veggies – maybe I’ll try something new like celeriac, or something I love but don’t eat often enough, like fennel. I’ll eat more coconut and ditch the nuts and seeds for now. I’ll try throwing some ground chicken livers in my burgers, and eat real sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato fries. I can go back to smoothies for breakfast, with collagen powder and coconut water. I’ll say goodbye to my weekly almond milk latte and try a chai tea coconut milk latte instead.

All this, because I deserve it.

I need to take the responsibility to nurture myself. It’s time for some real self-care – and I’m worth trying a little harder for. So are you.

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