I feel a deep need to respond to the recent and ongoing demonization of the ”Wellness Diet.” To those engaged in the conversation, what is a wellness diet??? How are you defining it? Are you demonizing the protocol or the fact that some of its followers are motivated by a disordered relationship with food? The ‘Wellness Diets” being so freely demonized can be categorized with any other disordered eating practice – one borne from mis-information- when the person practicing it remains detached and disassociated from her body, choosing to eat according to the “experts” who preach eat this, don’t eat that. This conversation is so very important to have… there needs to be an understanding of what’s meant by “wellness.” Is it about one’s desire to eat an anti-inflammatory diet in an effort to keep an auto-immune issue under control, is it about the eater who’s discovered her digestion is best when she swaps out one type of food for another? Or is the message about the chronic dieter who decides to eliminate a food group in an effort to make her body go away? The vast generalization being written about doesn’t speak to those of us who rely on nutrition protocols that are therapeutic. Choosing to eat in a way that elevates one’s physical and mental health status is immensely empowering.
I know from what I write – I’m a woman with strong, long time recovery – having spent the better part of my adult life fearing what food would do to me. My limiting and toxic beliefs led me down the path of chronic restricting – leading to episodes of binge eating and purging. Ultimately these disordered behaviors morphed into a full blown eating disorder, characterized by dangerous weight fluctuations, digestive distress, mood instability and anxiety. Determined to find my way back, I embarked on a journey of self discovery, immersed myself in study, earning certifications in functional nutrition, holistic health and eating psychology coaching. I’ve built a practice dedicated to Recovery Coaching. The Freedom Promise was born from this experience, strength, hope, and education. I embrace my recovery and I walk the walk in a way that pays it forward. I empathetically educate, support and partner with my clients.
These clients come to me feeling disempowered by a system that’s telling them what they’re feeling is all in their heads. They’ve been unable to experience sustainable recovery due to the lack of respect given to the GI discomfort they report following an all foods fit diet. Statistics show 90-98% of those struggling with ED display gut related issues, a direct result of dysbiosis created by years of purging, binging and restricting. Further research teaches that children who struggle with GI issues have a greater propensity to develop Eating Disorders. What we know about the gut/brain connection is that there’s a direct correlation between the physiology that impacts the psychology. Furthermore, a dysfunction in brain chemistry, fostered by dysbiosis, impacts the physiology, creating a perfect storm. So I am compelled to ask, is the “all foods fit diet” actually helping to feed the anxiety that fuels the ED behaviors?
I am concerned about the trending anti-wellness diet message. I’m all for the anti-diet message, however no-one seems to be talking about how we can truly nourish ourselves with nutrition that’s designed to meet our individual physiology. The message of “all foods fit” doesn’t do anything to end the fear and confusion so many of our clients feel with respect to what they fear food will do to their bodies! It doesn’t speak to possible, and likely, food sensitivities and disruptions to the Universe within that’s the microbiome. The news cycles and social media overload certainly contribute to both the uncertainty and dogma. You don’t have to look too far to see the barrage of health information, nutritional systems, celebrity doctors promoting products promising healing cures, and eating experts telling us what to do – and what they’re saying is dramatically different from one another. What’s even more fascinating is that each of these experts is offering scientific evidence that their theory is best…Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Low Carb (Yikes). How do we make sense of this? There’s so much information out there regarding nutrition but so very little wisdom in what truly nourishes us. The field of nutrition piles on us the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” of how we can get healthy, skinny, sexy, and happy. With all these rules, how can we ever learn to trust our symptoms, our hunger, and our body’s wisdom? What so few of these diets and experts address is the most important ingredient – a deep connection to the beautiful wisdom of one’s body…and the ability to listen when she speaks to us, when symptoms are calling for attention.
What’s missing is the understanding that it’s not that we ARE what we eat, it’s that we are what our bodies DO with what we eat……
Sustainable recovery occurs when we know how to nourish and care for ourselves to be the most optimized version of ourselves. Unfortunately, few of us are armed with the tools and resources we need to reclaim the healthy body we want, heal the body image and gain the self-confidence we need to live a long life of contentment and vitality. I’m on a mission to change that. My goal is to change the conversation about diet and recovery – that is, introduce those suffering to an empowering approach to personalized nutrition and lifestyle practice, address the root cause of the symptoms they struggle with. I want to promote the sustainable and lasting recovery that’s within reach when we transform our thinking, trust our hungers, honor our body with loving movement, and become fully nourished by a supportive and like-minded community.
This is my definition, and that of the community of practitioners and providers I choose to align myself with. Wellness diet? Bring it on!
Mindy Gorman-Plutzer FNLP. CEPC, CHC