This piece was originally posted on my Instagram account. You can find it here. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve struggled with judging myself with food and drink. It’s hard to get through a Holistic Health Education program and a subsequent Nutrition certification without getting a little judgey. I’ve had more than a few moments over the years where I wondered, “is it more about the WAY I think about and eat my food rather than the actual food itself?” But then I’d quickly jump back to, “But ooh, this sugary thing is packing on the pounds and feeding candida and making me feel out of control around ‘bad’ foods.” It’s some deep programming. Plus, how is my body gonna react if my brain is telling it something I’m consuming is bad for me? Three guesses. Now, I’m not trying to say there aren’t less nutritionally-dense foods. And that we shouldn’t focus on eating nutrition-packed foods most of the time. But I do think vilifying anything – particularly something we ingest – is only going to work out bad for us in the long run. Personal case-in-point: I’ve eaten primarily Paleo over the last three years, with most of the first year as Autoimmune Paleo. This worked best for my body, and boy did I thumb my nose up at white foods (i.e. white bread, white potatoes, all grains). Boom, I have an ileostomy, and suddenly these are the main foods I need to eat, as all those dense, fibrous foods could cause a blockage in my small intestine and land me right back in the hospital. This was my most important time of healing – six weeks post op – and I was supposed to eat a lot of white foods? Don’t get me wrong, I also ate a ton of protein, necessary for healing (and contrary to some ‘experts’ notions, meat is not hard to digest and does not rot in our system, in the small intestine anyway. I consumed quite a bit of high-quality, grass-fed and free-range fed meats during that time, and attribute this to getting the wound vac removed in two weeks instead of a month as the doctors and nurses had opined). I also started consuming green powders a couple of times a day after about two weeks. But yeah, I was killing some GF white bread, too. I wasn’t judging that white bread as nutritionally deficient while I was eating it, because it’s what I could eat (and I was eating seven times a day!) and guess what? It wasn’t impacting me in a negative way. As my healing has continued I don’t desire it as much, so I’m not consuming it as often (I’m able to eat more fiber again, though not nearly as much as before and not raw veggies). * * * * * I have been on many restricted dietary plans over the years to deal with candida, gluten intolerance, to improve my overall health, etc. Pretty much every client I’ve ever worked with and anyone in my life who is dealing with health issues has also been on more than a few. What I found is that the super restrictive approaches don’t usually heal people – they’ll feel better for a while, but if they veer off course for even a second, things get worse than they were in the first place. That’s not true healing. In these instances, I’m guessing that it is less about the foods and more about what their minds are telling them might happen if they consume them. Because how can they not be afraid of what that cookie or that chip or that nightshade vegetable might do to them when they’ve read so many books and websites claiming this food is the devil? Again, I think it’s important to be discerning about your food and drink intake. But the opposite of eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) is not eating a HRD (Highly-Restricted Diet) – those are two sides of the same coin. There’s a dietary approach that works best for your body; then there’s some leeway in that diet that allows for foods and beverages that feed your soul. And if it turns into binge time on certain foods, there’s something else going on beneath the food itself. So why not try to look at everything that you put in your mouth as medicine? This is a DEEP practice that takes time to integrate, because so many of those judgements around food have crept into our subconscious. But if you believe in the mind-body connection, it’s worth every magic penny.