How Food Became My Enemy (Part 2)
Last updated: May 2023
In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of this series!
To make a long story short, by eliminating foods like pork, beef, chicken, and dairy from my diet, I lost over 150 pounds, and my HS went into remission. The more I learned about "trigger" foods such as dairy, brewer's yeast, soy, processed sugar, wheat, and gluten, I reconsidered what I was putting in my body.
Starting to reject foods I thought I needed
I stuck to the vegan/non-dairy/vegetarian lifestyle until 2020. In 2020, my body started rejecting the foods I thought I needed to survive. Legumes, garlic, onions, cauliflower, nuts, grains, seeds, nightshades, anything that wasn't wild-caught, seafood, leafy greens, and fruit made me sick. To paint a better picture, not only did my HS flare, but I was extremely constipated.
Because my body was so constipated, and the diet change did not work, I got colon hydrotherapy. I'll go into that in detail in another article. Essentially, the process helped me to clear out the waste from my intestines. This was when I started noticing improvements in my HS. I still couldn't tolerate the foods I eliminated, but at least I wasn't sick anymore.
Overindulging in what I could eat
Because my body rejected almost everything, I overindulged in the foods I knew I could have. At the same time, I was afraid to eat foods I knew would trigger my body. I was worried I'd become malnourished without legumes, grains, and seeds. My eating disorder intensified and slowly morphed into binge eating.
I decided to return to the drawing board despite the risks. I realized I had to eat something, but some part of me thought I would rather die than be debilitated by a flare again. That's how I felt at the time. I talked to my therapist about my fears, and she coached me through some steps I could take whenever I was ready.
She encouraged me to take action each day. So, if I wanted to eat seafood, I could eat a piece and monitor how my body reacts to it instead of eating a filet of salmon. It has helped as I've adopted the autoimmune protocol diet and transitioned out of it.
Living with restrictions
I still struggle with binge eating because I have trouble finding healthy ways to regulate my emotions, but being aware of it is the first step. The next step is finding new coping mechanisms. I don't know what they are just yet, but I'm taking it one day at a time. It breaks my heart that my relationship with food is a negative one. The bond I used to feel with food is merely a means to escape rather than connect and experience something new.
I've learned to live with my restrictions and continue monitoring my body as I introduce trigger foods into my diet. One of the biggest lessons I've learned through this journey is listening to the body because it constantly communicates.
If something doesn't work out, I feel frustrated, process the emotions, and return to the drawing board. Our bodies change, so what we need changes. I realize that I'll always have to make adjustments.
When you need to vent about HS, who do you turn to first?
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