All my life I have known that I am here to help people. Through my personal growth, the details of that have become more and more clear. I have spent the last 10 years learning everything I can about holistic health and using myself as a guinea pig before using it with clients. I have tried it all! I was vegetarian for a decade in my younger years before I dabbling with veganism, raw food and a gluten and sugar-free lifestyle. There are as many different ways of eating out there as there are people on this earth and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.
One thing I’ve learned (the hard way) is that putting labels on the way we eat limits us, stifles our creativity and blocks us from experiencing all that life has to offer. If that’s not enough, labeling ourselves opens the door to judgment and criticism from others and ourselves if we dare step outside the invisible boundaries we have put upon ourselves. Our needs also change with time, which means that what’s right for you in your teens isn’t necessarily going to work when you’re sick, pregnant or in your elder years. Our experience here on earth is a constant evolution so you may be doing more harm than good sticking to hard and fast rules.
Our mind is a very powerful thing and most of the time it goes unquestioned. If we listen only to our mind, we miss the cues that our body gives us about how to feed and treat it. I have learned through personal experience, the dangers of perfectionism and rigidity when it comes to diet and how important it is to be open and adaptable. Food should not be treated like a religion.
If your body is symptomatic and sick, it’s sending you a message: something that you’re doing isn’t right for you. It is screaming for your attention so listen and adjust your diet and lifestyle to bring yourself back into balance. Getting to know our body on this deep and intrinsic level takes time and practice but over time you can build a loving, strong and harmonious relationship.
With that said, I would like to share that I am stepping away from labeling myself ‘VEGAN’. This is something that I never thought I would do but in the last few months I have had some major revelations about food and the way I eat personally. As some of you may know, I am deep in the process of healing from adrenal fatigue and a long standing Candida overgrowth. Both of which, require a low starch, high protein diet and balanced lifestyle to recovery quickly and efficiently. For many months, I tried my hardest to heal using my solely plant-based foods but I ran into a few issues:
1)Even though my vegan diet was sugar and fruit-free it was still starch heavy (beans, grains and starchy vegetables) which feeds candida and further depletes the adrenals.
2) I was experiencing extreme blood sugar fluctuations and was unable to find a balance without a rich source of protein at every meal. Some days I couldn’t go more than 3 hours without eating… that was stressful! The blood sugar highs and lows provoke candida, are very hard on the adrenals and are a nightmare for your hormones.
3) I was relying on fermented, organic soy products for a regular source of protein. While fermented soy is better than the processed stuff, it still may have a negative influence on weakened endocrine system (especially the thyroid).
4) Compromised gut health from chronic stress and a fungal overgrowth left me with multiple food sensitivities. Some of which are everyday vegetables like peppers and tomatoes; things that I was eating frequently without knowing. Eating foods you are sensitive to causes inflammation and the stress response in the body, further degrading the gut lining and taxing the adrenals.
5) After reading ‘Eat Right For Your Blood Type’ by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, I realized that being O+ meant that I needed a higher protein diet. Sigh!
When you are sick, your body needs extra nutrients to heal and while my vegan diet was extremely healthy, it wasn’t providing enough for me to heal and thrive. In fact, my body was screaming for help! Not only that but the Universe sent numerous unavoidable signs and I needed to listen. I decided that that enough was enough…I began to let my guard down and widened my scope. I reintroduced organic, free run, veg fed eggs after a few years of not eating them and my body seemed to like them! I am careful to prepare them in the most digestion-friendly way and eat them in proper food combinations. Understanding the concepts of food rotation, I knew that if I eat eggs (or anything) daily, I run would a pretty high risk of developing an allergy to it, so I decided that I would try fish to diversify a little more. Now, I haven’t eaten fish since before I became vegetarian at age 14!! It happened to be one of the more favourable foods on my food sensitivity testing so I thought why not.
I am sure that this news will disappoint some of you and will elate others but most importantly I am starting to feel better. My health is number one and I can’t limit my body because of my belief system. I was so stuck to the idea of being vegan, I identified myself with it, without fulling considering whether or not it was for my greater good. Letting go of the labels has been such a transformative and liberating process for me. I realized how much I was restricting myself in order to live up to my vegan persona and contain myself in my invisible boundries. I was afraid that people would think I was a cop out if I gave up but most people are happy and proud that I am able to put my ego aside and give my body what it needs. For me its not what I am giving up but what I am adding to my life. This change in my diet has yet again, opened up a whole new world of food for me. Eating eggs and fish will sure make eating healthy while traveling so much easier!
My blood sugar levels have been much more stable since adding to my diet which makes my life easier, not having to carry snacks around everywhere I go in case my blood sugar drops unexpectedly. I know that even with that small change I will be able to relax a bit and recover much quicker. I will keep on listening to my body and staying open and adaptable so I can be sure to give it what it needs to heal. All I want is to feel better and to be able to focus my energy on helping others, which is very hard at the present moment.
With that said, my focus is on quality NOT quantity. I don’t want to support the factory farming industry, so I will go out of my way to get the best options or not have it at all.
Overall, my diet hasn’t changed much. I am still eating a mostly plant-based diet and complimenting it with some easily digested animal proteins. My blog and recipes may reflect my changes but I will continue to include options for those with allergies and personal preferences.
The Ever Changing Gillian B
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about healthy eating, sign up below for a free copy of my healthy snack cookbook: