Special Diets

A Good diet equals good well being!

Considering a “Special diet” – one that restricts a specific food type / item for a given time period – can be a large undertaking. Many “mainstream” medical practitioners frown on beginning “special diets” without a specific medical “diagnosis”. But, when you consider that many of us avoid food items that cause negative reactions (i.e. diarrhea, gas, unsettled stomach, headache, etc.), many of us ALREADY RESTRICT those foods we SUSPECT cause issues.

So, by expanding that short list to a bit larger list, what is the worst that could happen to us? Absolutely nothing…you have no reaction, no change. You continue to eat good balanced meals consisting of foods that you tolerate well. The issues you seek to correct may or may not be relieved. If not, you are free then to go back to your un-restricted food menus and eat whatever you like.

But, on the flip side, what is the best that could happen? Your GI tract “settles” and you are free of diarrhea/gas/bloating, your headaches subside, your energy increases, your sleep improves, your body seems lighter, your stomach calms down and you can stop taking your antacid, and you just FEEL BETTER.

Restricting food items sounds extreme, but if over the years you’ve learned something like onions upset you, you will avoid onions. For another person, maybe it’s tomatoes or potatoes or pork or dairy products. The point is, you are probably already doing some of this, you just don’t think of it as “restricting” – it’s more “avoidance of the consequence” and is worth the slight inconvenience for you in the management of your food intake. The “avoidance” strategy works for you, because you dislike the after-effects of consuming some problematic foods.

And so it is with “Special Diets.” Many of these “diets” operate with the same premise – by avoiding the problematic ingredients, a person can feel better, have more energy and none of the negative issues. When viewed from this perspective, suddenly we can see that for the people following these dietary plans, the “-free” aspect of their food choices equals “freedom” from their troublesome symptoms. For many, this approach is not a “restriction” in any sense, because they are no longer “restricted” from participating fully in their lives by bouts of migraine, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain, and so on.

There are many approaches to consider when thinking about a Special Diet, and all will require some dedicated “sleuthing” on your part to uncover your problematic foods, but this can be done, and is fully described in the How to start section below.

First, you should review the most popular Special Diets currently practiced.