Our healing journeys take us on many paths. Often, this includes protocols to jumpstart health, kill the bugs, and cleanse our bodies. To create a healing environment, we eliminate inflammatory foods and habits. While these protocols and shifts can be very helpful in the long-term, integrating them into our current routine can be daunting, stressful, and overwhelming. I experienced several of these protocols and shifts throughout my healing process. My train of thought was militant. Once I wrapped my mind around the process, I was 110%. My focus shifted to organizing supplements, meal prepping, and research. When I was sick, I always questioned the process. How, why and when would it heal me?? If I could go a step beyond the protocols and food, then I (thought) I was guaranteed success. The result? Unnecessary stress, resentment, and distraction.
As I reflect on those hard times, I am so thankful for where I am today. Would I be here without them? Probably not. Was there a kinder, gentler way to integrate them into my system? Absolutely. The “all or none” approach works for some people. They have to dive in to make the shifts necessary to heal. While I support whatever works for your bio-individual self, I urge those of you who hesitate to start a protocol to embrace your next process as a part of the puzzle versus the endgame. Initiating change is difficult for many people. 10, 21, 30-day protocols can jumpstart the system, but not many of us can continue that level of dedication. Hitting the reset button is significant and valuable. Sustaining long-term change is the ultimate goal.
Crowd it Out
While protocols can be instrumental in jumpstarting a path to healing, I urge you to be kind to yourself. If a protocol is intense and the changes are so daunting that you keep putting off the “start date,” beat yourself up over cravings and feel overwhelmed, then STOP. Breathe. Review the process and choose two things you can implement without feeling inundated. THIS week, two things, that is all. Keep it simple and don’t overthink it. Starting slowly helps to clarify which components are working for you.
Recently, I had a client who came to me frustrated after the results of a food allergy test, which revealed a severe dairy allergy. She had independently attempted to go cold turkey and lasted less than 2 weeks. She decided she would rather feel like “crap” than give up coffee creamer, cheese, and milk. We started working together and re-assessed her routine, cravings, and diet. We determined her biggest dairy indulgences and started from there. First, coffee creamer. It took a week and a ½ a dozen bottles of non-dairy creamers, and she found one she enjoys. Boom. Problem solved. Next, we tackled cheese and boy does this lady LOVE her cheese! We simplified and started with lunch. Her daily sandwich always includes a thick slice of muenster with ham. We assessed and created a list of healthy fats/options to fill the gap. She chose avocado, which helps keep her full and tastes delicious. She started eating ham and avocado for a week and surprisingly enough, she didn’t miss her daily slice of cheese at all! The following week we started working on milk, which included some trial and error with nut/coconut milk. We crowded out her afternoon glass of dairy milk with vanilla bone broth. The broth supports her need for a creamy afternoon treat without the added inflammatory dairy element. Instead of yanking dairy completely out of her diet, we slowly crowded it out so she didn’t feel overwhelmed. Adding healthy fats, spices, and extra protein to her meals supported a complete exclusion of dairy in her diet. The result? Her skin is clear, brain-fog has lifted, energy has increased, and bloating diminished. She drinks more water throughout the day and indulges with gut-healing bone broth. She feels so much better now, that avoiding dairy is easy. However, my client had to inch dairy out or she never would have done it at all. Taking a few weeks to crowd out dairy was worth the time invested, versus her forever continuing to eat a food that was wreaking havoc on her system. Elimination and jumpstarting did not work for her. We had to create a plan that supported her process.
Whatever your process may be, remember to treat yourself with kindness and patience. Stick with it and allow yourself room to grow and shift. Feelings of isolation and resentment can easily creep into the process, so invest in yourself. Find the resources necessary to implement the changes that amplify your health. Don’t forget that self-care and support will balance the stress that accompanies transition. Sometimes, what we add-in can be just as important as what we take out. You are worth it!
It’s a journey…