This was written by guest poster Jen Waak,.
The 27th most popular diet search term on Google, the Cookie Diet supplements other diets with specially-formulated meal-replacement cookies that curb hunger.
If only eating healthy was that simple.
Instead, we are faced every day with overwhelming amounts of information about what kinds of foods we should—and should not—eat. High fat, low fat, high protein, high carbs—you name it. Not to mention the timing issues: fasting, intermittent fasting, 3 meals a day, eat every 2-3 hours. I do this for a living, and I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Plus, every group claims to have science on their side, with thousands of happy customers. And, they are all probably (more or less) telling the truth.
How can that be?
Because what most nutrition “experts” out there neglect to mention is that it is all individual. Between lifestyle, genetics, and current health state, we all have different nutritional needs.
But, recognizing the need for individuality doesn’t sell supplements or books, so not many people talk about it. Finding an individualized program is also a whole lot more work than telling someone: “Buy this book, do what it says, and come back in a month.”
That “Something Just Isn’t Right” Feeling
Food allergies get all of the attention. There is something about that “life-threatening” part that gets people to sit up and take notice.
But for everyone that has an acute, life-threatening food allergy, there are hundreds of thousands of people that have food intolerances. What makes food intolerances so vexing is that they are really hard to pick up on. There is no immediate cause and effect and there is no simple blood test that can be done.
But when the symptoms sound a lot like what many attribute to stress, aging, or being run down, it suddenly becomes worth another look: skin rashes, nasal congestion, asthma, nausea, chronic constipation, dermatitis, headaches, sinus pain, low-level systemic inflammation (aka “puffiness”), etc.
Wikipedia describes food intolerances as: “A negative reaction, often delayed, to a food, beverage, food additive, or compound found in foods that produces symptoms in one or more body organs and systems, but it is not a true food allergy.”
True food allergy or not, living with a list of symptoms like those listed above is enough to make any solopreneur cranky.
What If You Think You Might Have a Food Intolerance?
The easiest and least expensive route is an elimination diet. It’s exactly what it sounds like—take a given food out of your diet for a period of time. I suggest three weeks.
Pick one food you think might be a problem and eliminate it from your diet for three weeks. If at the end of the three weeks you feel better, you now have a decision to make. You can add it back in and know that you likely will return to feeling the way you did before, or you keep the food permanently out of your diet.
You now have the information, and it’s up to you to act on it.
Withdrawal disclaimer: We are literally addicted to many of our favorite foods. It takes about 5 days to work through the withdrawal symptoms, so if you think in the first few days that it surely can’t be this food because you feel worse, stick it out. You really need to wait the full three weeks before you make an evaluation.
(The reason I recommend testing one food at a time is that if you eliminate multiple foods and feel better at the end of three weeks, you don’t know which food was the culprit.)
What Foods Should You Start Testing?
Odds are, you already know. It’s the “I know I should give this up and would feel better if I did, but really don’t want to” foods.
But, if just the thought of giving up your morning bagel causes you to break out in hives, there are two other great places to start:
• Eight foods account for 90 percent of food allergies as well as intolerances: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
• Your must-have foods. Anything that you eat—and crave—every day should probably be looked at, as you are more likely to develop intolerances to items you have repeated exposure to. Sadly, for this coffee-loving Seattleite, caffeine is often not well-tolerated.
Creating YOUR Solopreneur Diet
You now have the blueprint for your perfect diet in your hands. Sure, it’s not as sexy as Paleo or HGC or Mediterranean, or Atkins, or any of the other hundreds of fad diets out there. But, it’s guaranteed to work for YOU, and make YOU sexy. And, that’s what counts.