On this week's episode of How to Love Your Body we combined a very loaded question that we have gotten over the years, so we decided to put it all into one episode.
We are going to be addressing:
- How to be an UnDieter even if you have food allergies that cause restrictions/ medical restrictions.
- Also touch on a question that we get often “if it’s safe to go vegan/ vegetarian without spiraling back into dieting even though there are many restrictions.”
- Lastly one of our listeners left us a review (thank you!) - and asked if we could touch on how to navigate food restrictions that are ethics based (and still follow IE/ UnDieting).
Here's a worksheet you can download- "How to make sure your medical/ethical restrictions don’t become a slippery slope back into the diet mentality!"- Get it here.
Before we begin- we are not licensed dietitians so anything we share is solely from our own experiences and opinions - Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t, and always, always, always consult a professional if your health is at risk or for any matter!
Let’s dive in…
1. How to be an UnDieter with Food Allergies
Food allergies or medical restrictions can make you feel restricted and that is the exact feeling we are trying to get away from when we UnDiet - so how do we marry the two together?
First off - the mindset of CHOOSING to not partake in these foods needs to be present, if we think about it like “we can’t”, or “the doctor told me not to”, it feels like a rule that wants to be broken!
When it’s your own empowered choice daily to forgo certain foods it feels a lot more peaceful, because in reality it is a choice. If a food makes you feel sick, you can choose to eat it and feel sick or you can choose to not eat it and not feel sick - honestly neither choice is right or wrong, but its your choice to make.
Even for Jenna as someone with celiac disease, she can choose to eat gluten and increase her chances greatly of getting colon cancer later in life (and other complications and damage) or she can choose not to eat it.
The other shift you need to make is to not associate your allergy with being “healthier” - in the diety sense of the term.
We spoke to a client who was wondering if gluten free bread etc was healthier than the regular stuff -- that’s not the point (because usually it's not, gluten free options are often more processed with more ingredients ). If you can’t eat gluten, you aren’t eating it to try to eat “healthier” options, you’re doing it because your body doesn't react to it well.
Let go of restriction = healthier and embrace EVERY alternative that you can
Can’t eat gluten? Go out and find this!
- GF pizza
- GF breads
- GF cookies
- GF cakes, pies, desserts
- GF pasta
Just for-going these foods all together will feel very restrictive and make you feel like you’re on a diet all over again.
You can also do this with dairy free alternatives etc.
Go out and find the alternative that you enjoy!
2. Is it safe to go vegan/ vegetarian without spiraling back into dieting even though there are many restrictions.
What’s your intention behind being vegan/ vegetarian? Is there diet culture in your intention or is it your genuine authentic choice because it serves you best? Does it have to be so black and white?
We've seen someone say they are “predominantly plant based” meaning they mostly eat veggie and sometimes meat- also do you have to label yourself? Can you just eat the way that feels best to you and if that’s mostly plant based then great but if one day you have meat it doesn't need to mean anything?
The second you announce to the world or your family you are now a vegan / veggie - the pressure kicks in and you feel turmoil if you “cheat” around people you told you are vegan etc…
Of course you only know what’s best for you and what honors your body / mental health- we'd say if there isn’t a big reason (like religious/ ethic/ allergy) for being vegetarian/ vegan to not dive back into such a slippery slope of restriction (if you see it that way).
We’ve seen from experience that once someone calls themselves a vegetarian or vegan they slip back into dieting feelings - we had a client who did that and it lasted for a few days before she caught herself and knew it wasn't good for her… Are you masking something ? Lauren did vegan and most of it was hiding disordered eating - now she loves vegan / veggie meals but she doesn't label herself- she eats it all!
3. How to navigate food restrictions that are ethics based (and still follow IE/ UnDieting)
If you choose to eat / not eat certain things based on your own morals/ ethics - great. That is completely okay AND you can still be intuitive and live as an UnDieter.
It’s really about shifting your mindset about WHY you are doing what you are doing - if you choose not to eat something because you don’t agree with the company - that’s not diet culture and that’s not food restriction. That is believing in something you care about and following what feels aligned with you. You are making a powerful choice with your beliefs not with diet mentality.
If you don’t eat meat / eat certain things that come from an immoral company that doesn’t mean you can’t find what you want in a version that works for you- there are many meat alternatives that you can satisfy your cravings with. Be your own best advocate and find things that replace what you really enjoy in a way that works for you!
As for a company - ex. If it’s a sandwich company that is owned by someone who is involved in something you are not in alignment with - you don’t ever have to eat there. PASS. That’s great. AND if you love sandwiches from this place but choose to not eat there anymore- go explore and find a new favorite sandwich place. There are options even when choosing to no eat something based on ethics.
The point- you can have food allergies, you can follow your morals, you can be vegan/ vegetarian or not be vegan/ vegetarian and you can still live a life as an UnDieter.
You don’t need to see anything as restriction - you see it as honoring your mind and your body. You see it as a powerful choice (and it doesn't always have to be the same choice, it can ebb and flow). And if there is diet mentality in there- you know it’s not about morals/ ethics/ allergies - it’s a red flag showing you that there’s some work to do underneath the surface so you can heal your relationship with food and your body and find your freedom.
Love, Lauren and Jenna
PS. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @thebodylovesociety, we offer coaching and tips and tools daily to make your journey to food and body freedom that much easier.