This part of my life began when my very sick partner was diagnosed with Celiac. Even the slightest exposure to gluten can make him very ill for several days, so I have pursued gluten-free options with thorough aggression. In the U.S. a recent surge of gluten awareness means we have more choices than ever, but it still means hunting and analyzing and tracking down parent companies. After several years now of doing so, I want to share my tricks and tips with others who are still struggling.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gluten-Free Tip: Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating means paying attention to your body's needs through hunger cues.  Many of us have spent a long time destroying our ability to listen to our bodies by manipulating our diets to meet some external guideline.  Most people who discover they have Celiac or gluten-intolerance have already experienced malnutrition to some extent.  When you're glutened, your body cannot absorb essential nutrients.  If it goes untreated long enough, you can develop things like osteopenia (loss of bone density) due to calcium deficiency or severe anemia.  Once you go gluten-free, it is important to pay attention to what your body needs to rebuild itself after a long-term deficit. 

At first you may simply crave calories.  This is a normal response to starvation and your body may urge you to consume easy-to-digest sources such as simple sugars and fats.  You may have a sudden craving for dairy products as you body looks to rebuild your bones.  You may crave iron foods such as red meat or dark green vegetables, or high-protein foods. 

Listen to your body.  You are recovering from an illness, and now is the time to give your body what it needs, not what you think it "should" need.  If you seek a dietician, you'll want to find one who has experience with eating disorder recovery, because your body's starvation experience and recovery (regardless of your weight or what you've been eating) is probably similar enough to compare dietary recovery plans.

Some people may be tempted to avoid food they're craving from a fear of gaining weight.  Right now your focus should be on healing the damage to your body.  People who practice intuitive eating sometimes do gain some initial weight.  But as your body rebuilds itself and learns to trust you to fulfill its needs, the cravings will taper off and your weight will return to a natural level for you.
See the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating at for more information.  

No comments:

Post a Comment