A number years ago I discovered that gluten exacerbates rosacea on my face. When I eliminated gluten from my diet, my skin cleared up. A few days after indulging in some yummy bread, pasta or dessert, the red ruddiness would reappear. So, for the most part I’ve avoided gluten since then.

I’ve also gone through periods of time when I avoided dairy products, limited meat or chicken, experimented with eating vegan. It’s been helpful to learn how different foods affect me. But mostly I focus on eating whole foods, as  close to nature as God created them, listening to my body as my needs change from day to day, season to season. Winter finds me eating heavier foods, more animal products, but come spring and summer I lighten up and eat more fruits and veggies. My focus isn’t on eliminating anything, but eating well to provide my body the energy and nutrients I need to feel strong, vital, able to live a life I love and enjoy.

Recently I hear a lot of talk about people eliminating things from their diets. This is a great way to become aware of the impact of different foods, but it can be a slippery slope for people with any history of disordered eating–be it a clinical eating disorder or the more standard American syndrome of chronic dieting with frequent weight fluctuations.

Eliminating foods can activate cravings for the banned food and lead to excessive eating  of “allowed” foods.

Deprivation often leads to compensatory eating.

For people prone to disordered patterns of eating, adding in nutritious foods before you decide to eliminate others is a wise idea. And, if you have a history of a clinical eating disorder, it’s best to make any significant changes to diet in consultation with a eating disorder specialist.

My husband/research assistant sent me a link to a Men’s Health blog that offers a list of “51 Foods You SHOULD Be Eating.” What struck me as I reviewed the list, is that someone is probably allergic or has sensitivities to everything on it. One person’s health food is another’s danger food.

The essential skill for finding the right diet is to listen to your body and become your own expert on how foods effect you.

What combination of foods throughout the day support your physical energy, mental motivation and clarity, and emotional stability?

It won’t be found in any book or website, because the wisdom lives inside of you.

Listen to your body.