You don’t have to go gluten free to be healthy

This may come as a shock from a holistic nutritionist. 

A health coach who doesn’t believe in cutting out gluten or dairy? What the? 

I’ve witnessed so many people take out so many foods and end up with a rotation of about 5 foods in an attempt to be healthy. They’ve worked with other practitioners who immediately put their clients on elimination diets and leave them to pasture, basically telling them they have to live this way forever and if they add back in gluten or dairy they’re on their own (this is a true story!).

There are some hard core nutritionists out there. And perhaps for good reason. A lot of health coaches, like myself, come into this industry because of healing their own health. And perhaps a stringent elimination diet is what worked for them.

But I believe that everyone is unique. With 7 billion people on the planet, there are 7 billion diets.

My approach is based on INCLUSION, not exclusion. Let’s bring in a bunch of healthier stuff, crowd out the stuff that isn’t supporting you, and if after doing that you STILL feel like shit, then we look at eliminating stuff. And it works. My clients feel immensely better just by adding in water, frequent meals and protein throughout their day.

Some of my clients call it magic.

They also get a good lesson in how to manage stress, and all the other lifestyle hacks needed to really feel good.

Being healthy isn’t just about going gluten-free, or paleo or vegan. It’s about eating food and living a life that makes you happy.

I had one client who would afternoon slump at around 3pm. After eliminating the typical suspects like low blood sugar, I discovered that she hated doing paperwork. And at 3pm she was usually in her office doing paperwork.

So yeah, it’s not always about the food. 

Once she identified she hated doing paperwork, she stopped feeling less tired because she knew exactly WHY she felt that way in the first place. Problem solved.

Nothing at all to do with gluten, dairy, meat or grains.

But I see people all the time going to one full extreme in the quest to be healthy and instead drop off very quickly because it’s not sustainable.

It’s what the industry is telling us. Everyone has their version of a diet that is promising you major results if you just: eat no carb, eat all protein, cut out gluten, eliminate dairy, go raw, vegan, plant-based…

How the hell are you supposed to know where to start?

My opinion? Start slow. Incorporate one thing at a time, see how you feel, pay attention to your thoughts, your body’s feelings (yes, your body talks to you), your mindset and how clean your food is. Notice how much shit you’re actually eating and start to add in more of the stuff you know is better for you. Pay attention to your stress levels and how much down time you actually have. Then see what kind of difference this makes in your body. 

And if you are like how I was and eating bread at every meal, and cheese 4-5 times a day, cutting back will absolutely make a difference. But when I started this journey gluten free was not a thing like it is today (this was only 5 years ago), so instead I used the same approach I use on my clients and slowly added in better and better foods, the next thing I knew I wasn’t having bread anymore. I used to obsess over it, now I think I have it 1-2 times a month – I simply don’t think about it or crave it anymore and I did not once “go” something to get there. If I were told to go gluten free and eliminate all sources of white bread I would have lasted maybe a week – if that. Instead, I barely have it anymore and I did not once deprive myself of it.

I’m kind-of picking on gluten here, but what I’m really saying is that I don’t believe in these extremes unless absolutely necessary because they perpetuate the same negative beliefs around food and whether something is good or bad and to make people feel guilty if they do consume it. 

There’s enough for us to “feel guilty” about out there, let’s stop picking on food.

Tell me in the comments your experience with extremes in eating styles and if you’ve found a diet that works perfectly for you.


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