If I had a nickel (or maybe even a penny) for every time I have chastised myself for not doing enough of the "right thing" for my health, I could likely buy a pretty extravagant meal. If you struggle with food sensitivities or histamine intolerance or even just unidentified random food reactions, I expect you do the same thing.
Because feeling crummy and living with all of the various ways we react to foods can feel a lot like punishment for something.
Let's look for a little food sensitivity perspective here.
First, I don't believe that any of us want to be in this situation, with food restrictions and reactions that can upend an entire day and ruin plans. You didn't wake up one morning and desperately wish you could be pushed into a corner where you have to give up much of what you're used to eating and relearn how to eat.
Along those same lines, I don't believe you're purposely eating something you know you'll react to just because. You have likely done elimination diets and tried to figure out what your triggers are, but had a really hard time identifying anything. So, you go back to eating the stuff that seems the safest because we all have to eat, right?!
Second, what happened when/if you spoke to your healthcare provider about possible food reactions? If you're lucky, they offered allergy testing and maybe some additional, more invasive diagnostic studies to help you figure it out. Maybe they referred you to GI or to Allergy. Or, maybe they looked at your labs and said "It all looks good! There's nothing wrong with you." Many medical professionals are unclear how to address the kinds of symptoms we have. If Medicine doesn't know what to do, how can we belittle ourselves for not being able to figure it all out?
Ditch the food sensitivity shame for a little grace.
Intentional or not, there is a lot of shame and blame in medicine. A patient goes in to see a healthcare provider who gives them The Steps of how to solve the health problem. The patient leaves, gives a solid try but nothing changes. When they go back to the healthcare provider and give an update, they're told they are non-compliant or they didn't try hard enough.
We're shamed by the healthcare provider and we believe them…so we shame ourselves. And shame is a really stinky thing. Where guilt is feeling bad about something you did, shame is feeling bad about who you are.
If you're trying to heal, there is no space for shame. Someday, medicine will figure that out. In the meantime, you and I have to remind each other that we have done nothing wrong. If we knew how to "fix it", we would! Each one of us brings a unique story and genetic profile to the world…and a one-size-fits-all solution is not going to work for everyone.
Next time that voice in your mind starts telling you that you're not working hard enough or you're stupid because you can't figure it out…tell it calmly and quietly to go away. There is no room for shame here. Let's embrace grace.
Because we're all doing the best we can right now in this unique moment.
Sixty-second Self-care Tip…
We all have that critical voice in our minds that pops up at our most vulnerable time to tell us we're doing something wrong or we're not enough. Talk about a party-pooper!
Have you ever noticed there are times when you are more vulnerable to that voice and what it says?
Here's a quick little self-quiz you can use when you hear that critical voice. If even one of these four situations applies to you, consider some grace may serve you better in that moment instead of the negative heckling and actively find a way to be kind to yourself.
It's called the H.A.L.T. self-quiz. All you do is ask yourself if you areIf you're looking for a shame-free, judgment-free space to learn more about why your body does what it does when you eat those foods, consider for Food Sensitivity Code - coming later this summer!
If you're looking for a shame-free, judgment-free space to learn more about why your body does what it does when you eat those foods, consider joining the waitlist for Food Sensitivity Code - coming later this summer!