With autoimmune disease, many of us choose healing diets to reduce inflammation and live healthier lives. When we first make this change, we’re very focused on the foods we’re no longer eating, and it’s common to say “I can’t eat that” when those foods are offered. Have you ever heard the saying: “Be careful what you say because your body is listening?” It’s true! And our hearts and minds are listening too. Words matter – whether we say them out loud or in our thoughts – and there’s a big difference between the phrase “I can’t” and “I choose”. One is negative and one is positive. That may seem like a small thing, but it can actually have a big impact. I dive into the details in this article.
It’s important to care for our mental health as well as physical health when it comes to our food choices.
Life with chronic illness can inspire strong emotions that trigger emotional eating. If the foods chosen are inflammatory, autoimmune flares may follow, turning short-term comfort into longer-lasting pain. This often leads to feelings of shame, guilt, and self-judgment, which can drive more emotional eating, creating a vicious cycle. If you find yourself caught in this pattern, you aren’t alone. Today’s podcast is designed to help. My guest is Tomesha Campbell. She is a fellow autoimmune warrior, as well as an AIP certified coach who specializes in Intuitive Eating. She’ll be sharing her personal experience and professional advice.
Did you know that digestion starts in the brain? When we don’t pay attention to our meals and instead multi-task at mealtime, or eat under stress, our digestion becomes suppressed. This can lead to uncomfortable gastroinstestinal symptoms and also increase food intolerance. In this article, I share simple ways to harness the mind-body connection to not only digest your meals better, but enjoy them more too!
When you first experience the connection between the food you eat and how you feel, that can be an empowering moment. But when certain foods cause you to flare, that can also inspire a fear of food. This is a natural reaction, but it also has consequences. The fear itself can cause autoimmune flares and also increase food sensitivity, creating a vicious cycle. Suddenly, all food feels dangerous, and we over-restrict our diets, which harms our health long-term. There is good news! We can overcome food fear, replacing it with a deep knowledge about our bodies and enjoy eating again. That’s our goal with our conversation today. My guests are fellow autoimmune warriors, Nitika Chopra and Alison Marras. We share our own experiences with food fear and tips for overcoming it.
Often, perfectionism is seen as a positive trait. What’s wrong with striving for excellence? Nothing, but there’s a difference between healthy striving and perfectionism. Healthy striving is a self-compassionate mindset that allows for mistakes, learns from them, sets challenging but achievable goals, and adapts as needed. Perfectionism fears failure, despises mistakes, sets unattainable goals, and feels shame and self-judgement when those impossible goals aren’t met. When you apply perfectionism to autoimmune disease, your diagnosis may feel like your fault, and every flare may feel like a failure. You may believe that if you just lived your life perfectly, you could cure yourself. I am a recovering perfectionist, so I have felt all of these things. Don’t judge yourself if you have felt this way, too. In this podcast, we explore the connection between autoimmune disease and perfectionism. My guest is Dr. Judy Tsafrir, a holistic psychiatrist who approaches mental health from a functional medicine perspective. She strives to treat root causes in her practice, rather than just symptoms.
Many people think of the AIP as simply a list of foods you can and can’t eat, so how can intuition play a role? And if your intuition tells you to eat junk food, that derails health goals rather than supports them, right? So, how can these things possibly go together? In this podcast episode, we bust some myths about both of these dietary philosophies and see how they might be blended for autoimmune health.
What’s the line between a healing diet and a harmful one? Orthorexia is a term that was first coined in the late 1990’s by Dr. Steven Bratman. It refers to an obsessive focus on healthy eating that becomes clinically impairing. This idea has become controversial in the paleo autoimmune community. Does a healing diet automatically set you up for orthorexia? What does it mean to eat in a way that supports your health? And what does it look like when this goal becomes unhealthy? My guest is Imei Hsu. She’s a registered nurse and clinical psychotherapist, and eating disorders are one of her specialties. She also has autoimmune disease herself as well as food allergies.
This is one of my favorite podcast episodes! How does mindset impact nutrition and food tolerance? At its most basic level, food is sustenance. It fuels us for life. But food is more than just a source of energy. Emotions surround the experience of eating as well. Food can comfort and bring joy, yet it can also inspire feelings of guilt. People also connect with each other over food, building memories, traditions, and even identities. And when you’re following a healing diet, there’s gratitude for food being medicine, often combined with feelings of deprivation, rebellion and grief. It’s complex! Here’s the fascinating part you might not realize: Not only does food inspire emotion, but emotions impact our ability to digest our food, including how well we tolerate foods. That’s the subject of our podcast today.
A big part of a healing diet is learning about personal food intolerances and how they can drive autoimmune symptoms. It’s empowering knowledge to have. However, sometimes the list of foods we remove grows and grows, and we make the mistake of thinking that food is the only trigger for autoimmune flares. It’s also common to not replace those calories with enough healthy foods that we can eat. This means we end up in a nutrition deficit. In this podcast, registered dietitian Laura Schoenfeld teaches us how to avoid this trap, how to troubleshoot ongoing symptoms, and how to leave food fear behind.
The paleo autoimmune protocol is a powerful tool for healing, but it’s also a restrictive diet. Food is an emotional experience for us all, but if you struggle with eating disorders, that’s even more true. I’ve gotten emails from readers asking how they can navigate the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) without triggering disordered eating behaviors of their past. I’ve also seen conversations in the AIP Facebook groups that hint at some people using the AIP as an excuse to eat less. I’ve personally experienced fear of food, once I learned how it can exacerbate my autoimmune disease. My goal with this blog is to help us heal in every way. Today, I talk with Stefani Ruper, an expert on disordered eating, on how we can navigate the autoimmune protocol in a way that’s healthy both physically and psychologically.