An Act of Self-Love: Healing & Food Consciousness

Food Consciousness

We have many readers write in that they’re trying to heal, but practicing food consciousness and sticking to the right type of foods is one of their main struggles. In most cases, all of the right supplements and protocols are being implemented, but their diet is not gut-friendly for a variety of reasons.

Jini’s IBD Remission Diet, which combines Absorb Plus shakes and bone/veggie broths to help soothe and heal the gut, is a liquid-only diet – and I can attest that can be difficult to stick to! It’s a challenge to be on a fully elemental diet or to eat gut-friendly for an extended period of time, and I really want to acknowledge and validate that. It takes extreme determination for your body, taste buds, cravings, etc.

That being said, it’s almost impossible to heal fully and long-term if you are consistently eating things that are not good for the gut or body. That is why food consciousness is so important when trying to heal the gut.

Gut-Irritating Foods

What are some examples of gut-irritating foods? Generally gluten, dairy, sugar, processed foods, and sharp foods which can cause tears (like chips and popcorn), just to name a few. Jini made this beautiful video on foods that are usually problematic for people with IBD, so you can see which things she recommends to avoid.

I recently wrote this post on food guilt, and how important it is not to cast guilt or shame on yourself for indulging in a celebration meal for a special occasion. However, the difference here is eating gut-irritating foods on a regular basis vs. an occasional treat.

None of us want to feel restricted, especially with food, and there can already be so many negative emotions surrounding food and eating with IBD. However, the science is there, and many of the abovementioned foods, unfortunately, contain toxins and chemicals that create a negative environment for bacteria to thrive in the gut. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider omitting from your diet – or at least cutting them out for a couple of weeks, then slowly reintroducing one “potential trigger food” at a time to see which are the culprits for you specifically. Using Absorb Plus is a great way to do this, and you can read more about it in Chapter 5 of Jini’s book, The IBD Remission Diet, on food reintroduction and allergy testing.

For example, let’s take a look at gluten. According to the study referenced in this article:

“There is science-backed evidence to suggest that gluten may be damaging your body in more ways than you realize. And it’s not just happening in people with celiac disease; rather, it’s also happening to anyone – and everyone – who eats gluten.

…the researchers fed participants all strains of wheat and found that all four groups had the genes activated for intestinal permeability when exposed to wheat. Even the people who had no known problem with gluten.”

I encourage you all to do your own research, as you’d be surprised at how many regular household foods can contribute to gut inflammation!

Why Diets Can Be Such A Challenge

I would like to preface this by explaining that when I refer to the word “diet,” I am not referring to any fads or extreme diets. I am solely referring to the elemental diet, or gut-friendly foods, and just overall healthy eating.

For me and my personal journey, diets were always so challenging. Being conscious about my food choices meant changing my entire lifestyle and mindset! It wasn’t just about changing the food I was consuming – it was changing the way I ate, the times I ate, sometimes who I ate with, and how I viewed my body and food as a whole.

It involved self-love.

self-loveWhen you move into this consciousness and truly listen to your body and its need, you are now delving into a full mind/body approach to healing your IBD – which really is the basis of ALL of Jini’s protocols. Like I mentioned earlier, you can be implementing all the right protocols, supplementing, and addressing all the physical issues, but if you do not address the emotional roots of disease you will not achieve true long-term healing.

And I know, thinking of making all these changes can be really scary. Change is scary! Especially when we are uncomfortable.

I’d like to share a personal example with you that really hit me hard. It was during a one-on-one session with Dr. Juliet, Jini’s personal naturopathic doctor and intuitive healer (she is amazing!!). I was telling her how I was having a hard time letting things/people go that weren’t good for me.

She replied:

“Loss can be a beautiful thing because it can open the way/door for something else. So instead of the focus being on what you are letting go of, focus on: what am I opening myself up for?”

Loss can open you up to new people, positive situations, and relationships that support your new way of healthy eating and lifestyle – in turn making it an enjoyable and truly rewarding experience for you.

So when you let go of something or someone, even if it’s painful, you are now opening up space for something that you DO want. You are no longer holding onto something that no longer serves you – and keeping that space closed. When it comes to food, we can look at this from that same perspective.

When we allow ourselves to let go of bad eating habits, we open ourselves up to self-love as we honor what’s good for our bodies and overall health. This, in turn, can attract people of like mind who will support you in your efforts; not people who shame you for eating differently. This positive support group, or “tribe,” will motivate you to continue your efforts, and you can build a lifestyle centered around health and wellness with like-minded people cheering you on.

Can you see the ripple effect this one act of self-love can have?

The people around you can have a huge influence on your eating choices, so while you are healing I HIGHLY recommend associating with positive people that support you – especially while consuming your meals. This helps your body and brain associate your Absorb Plus shakes or gut-friendly food choices with a positive experience, not a negative one. And if you can’t be around people (especially during covid), call a friend or watch a funny TV show. I personally love watching The Office because no matter how many times I’ve seen it, it never fails to make me laugh!

4 Tips That Helped Me Stay The Course

Drawing from my own personal experiences, here are four tips that helped me stick to the elemental diet, as well as implementing healthy food choices once I was able to re-introduce foods to my diet:

1.) Reflect and implement more self-love. This will move you to make choices that are FOR your body, not against it! Your taste buds may crave pizza, but your body cannot tolerate or digest it…so why would you want to put your body (who works so hard every day for you) through that?

2.) If you need to be on a specific diet to facilitate healing, replace the love/comfort you have with food with ANOTHER interest. When you have a hobby or something in your life that drives and inspires you besides food, you can feel so fulfilled that food is not even an issue anymore!

3.) Change your outlook/perspective. Healthy food choices are sometimes made out to be restrictive, and we don’t want to feel like we are being punished. That’s not fun! You may feel like you are missing out in some way by passing on that cheeseburger, but if you choose to fuel your body with unhealthy foods, maybe you are really missing out on something positive! In reality, you are avoiding the toxins and chemicals that are stuffed into non-organic and processed foods. It’s all about mindset!

4.) Never underestimate what you are capable of. You can do whatever you set your mind to! For example, after completing the elemental diet, I was able to create new healthy eating habits that have benefitted me long-term – and have helped me maintain lasting health! You absolutely can too, and for some inspo I encourage you to check out all of the gut-friendly recipes we have on the LTYG blog.

Additional Resources & Suggestions

Identifying what your challenges are so you can adjust and take proactive measures is so helpful. The graph below (from this study) shows some of the things people find most challenging.

Do you identify with any of these? If so, you are not alone! It can be a struggle to meal prep, figure out replacement foods, etc., but as a person who has healed from IBD, I can personally say that once you get over the hump of overwhelm and fear, it’s very easy to get into a rhythm – and you and your body will be so thankful you took proactive measures to do so.

Toward the bottom of the graph, you’ll notice one of the challenges is not knowing what to eat. This is where Jini provides incredible resources, and I know you’ll find these super helpful too:

Soothing Foods to Eat While Healing the Gut
Helpful Diets for People with IBD
Gut-Soothing Congee Rice Porridge with Broth
Jini’s Healing Broth Recipe eBook
Use Common Foods To Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease
+ ALL of Jini’s Gut-Friendly Recipes

And if you’re looking to learn more about an elemental diet:

Elemental (Bowel Rest) Diet
Jini’s IBD Remission Diet book
Next-Level Elemental Diet for Crohn’s, Colitis, Diverticulitis, SIBO, and IBS
Reader Story: My Success using a Half-Elemental Diet
When You Cannot Afford an Elemental Diet

Eating doesn’t have to be a chore! Let’s make it enjoyable and nourishing – an act of self-love.

What’s helped you maintain a balance with food so that you and your body are both happy and satisfied? Please drop a comment below and share with me your tips and tricks, or any go-to healthy recipes you may have! Until next time, happy healing – and remember, always listen to your gut (instead of your tastebuds 😉).