What Are Therapeutic Diets?

Many people know that it's a good idea to eat better, but they have a hard time putting it into practice. However, more and more people are starting to realize that the food they’re eating is making them sick.

If that’s true, doesn’t it stand to reason that food can also be used to help heal the body?

There's been a lot of attention in the past several years about eating local, organic food when at all possible. There are many reasons why that’s a good thing: you support local farmers and businesses, reduce your carbon footprint and avoid pesticides and chemicals used in conventional farming. Oh, and it’s a lot better for your health.

During my training to become a health coach, I learned that there are over 100 different dietary theories. Some of them are well known (Vegan, Paleo, Atkins) while others not so much: Body Ecology, GAPS, Nutritarian, Flexitarian and Fruitarian, just to name a few.

There are diets that can actually be considered therapeutic in nature. The Low FODMAP diet for example can be used to help manage and reduce symptoms of IBS, and a gluten-free diet is used for people with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity. The GAPS diet has been proven to help people with depression and other mental health illnesses dramatically improve their symptoms.

Some people have used an extremely low-carb/high fat diet (also known as ketogenic or keto) to help regulate their blood sugar and hormones. People with Type 2 diabetes who eat a LCHF diet usually see such an improvement in their blood sugar regulation that they can reduce or eliminate medications. In some cases, they no longer meet the clinical diagnosis of diabetes.

These diets can seem complicated and overwhelming for someone who is used to eating the standard Western diet comprised mainly of convenience and processed foods. 

And you may be wondering why there are so many different types of diets. Isn’t there one diet that’s best for everyone?

While Vegans can talk for days about how good grains and legumes are for everyone, the properties in grains and legumes can cause serious damage to the small intestine in some people. It's also difficult for many people to get the nutrition they need from a 100% Vegan diet.

Paleo, which eliminates grains and legumes (along with dairy, soy and refined sugar) can actually be the best diet for people with Crohn’s and other inflammatory diseases of the bowel.

However, I know for a fact that most doctors and even GI specialists are not aware of this. I think it’s scary that I and other health coaches like me without formal medical training can know this just from reading a few books and doctors and specialists don't learn this in medical school.

Why don’t medical schools educate our future doctors in the healing power of food and nutrition?

Food may not always be the answer to all health problems...but it sure is a good place to start.

That being said, it can be dangerous to follow these diets without checking with a doctor or licensed naturopath. It’s also important not to restrict your diet unnecessarily to ensure you’re getting as much variation in your diet as possible. 

You also may be wondering: What about Canada’s Food Guide?

Canada’s Food Guide was not based on any valid scientific research in nutrition. Earlier this year, our senate released a report stating that the food guide is flawed and may actually be contributing to the poor health of Canadians and needs a major overhaul. You can read the report here.

Some people out there think that just because a type of diet or style of eating works for them that it will work for everyone.

I felt that way for a time after I felt such an improvement in my health after following the Paleo diet for a while. 

It’s actually not that simple – and that’s due to something else I learned at IIN: the concept of bioindividuality.

One person’s food can be other person’s poison.

We also may need to change our own diets from time to time because what works for us at one point in our lives may not always work for us. And while following a restrictive diet may be necessary for a time, it doesn’t mean you have to follow that diet for the rest of your life. You can reintroduce foods after your body has had a chance to heal.

I can tell you this: the better the food you eat, the healthier you will feel and look.

I would love to have a chat with you to help clear up any confusion you have around food and how changing your diet may help you feel better. I will soon be opening up enrollment in my 28-Day "Eat Your Way Healthy" program.

If you have tummy trouble, mood swings, restless nights and uncontrollable cravings, this program will help you discover how your food choices may be affecting your health.

You'll learn how to save time, money and effort while cleaning up your diet and creating some new habits. I'll help you eat better so you can sleep better and feel better!

To learn more and find out if this program may be right for you, please click here to book a time to speak with me.

Kate ElliotComment