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  • Danie van Kay

Why "healing diets" can exacerbate eating disorders

If you are struggling in the "health" department and are dealing with either PCOS, POTS, Lyme, Fibromyalgia, Hashimotos, any kind of auto-immune disease, you name it....you must have been send home with a strict mealplan or auto-immune protocol once in your life by some kind of doctor, specialist or self-proclaimed healthguru.

Of course there's a HUGE connection between the way we take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, and developing illness. 70 to 90% of diseases are

caused by environmental factors and genetics. That basically means; unless you live an extremely fast-paced, unhealthy, toxic lifestyle, you are screwed anyways when it comes to developing a certain disease.

I could write a thousand pages on why I think social media is attributing to our toxic diet-culture and why glorifying "healing diets" is just plain wrong. Especially for those of us who are predisposed to an eating disorder this can be detrimental.

My take on "healing diets" and restricting certain food groups in order to heal or cope with a certain illness is very simple. As someone who has been dealing with Lyme disease for over 20 years I know what it's like to eat a very boring and plain (to me at least) restrictive paleo diet.

No alcohol, limited coffee intakes (I'm the coffee QUEEN. Insert a little cry fest), tons of supplements, no dairy, stay away from sugar, yada yada yada.

If you don't already have a messy relationship with food, well..... just try cutting out entire food groups and I promise you you'll lose your mind very quickly.

We all know eating disorders are DETRIMENTAL for our health. A strong immune-system can handle A LOT. Eating disorders are the culprit for creating a malfunctioning immune system. I'm taking weight out of the equation. Your weight doesn't say a lot about you. You can be at any weight, be extremely malnourished or are unhealthily trying to maintain a certain bodyweight that's actually not a healthy weight FOR YOU. This is all unhealthy for you as an individual.

If someone tells you to restrict food X or food group Z because of a certain illness, BUT you are simultaneously dealing with disordered eating behaviours or have a full-blown eating disorder.....

HEALING FROM AN EATING DISORDER HAS PRIORITY.

It took me a while to figure this out for myself, but damn it. I wish someone had told me this a few years ago.

You can ALWAYS go back to limiting a certain food group once your brain is rewired and the eating disorder has become background noise. But if you're not there yet: PLEASE JUST EAT ALL THE FREAKING FOOD YOU WANT.

And if you feel like something worsens your chronic illness symptoms, try to take it easy and search for proper replacements. We live in 2018 and thank god we have so many options. Just be very in tune with how your body reacts and how you feel mentally. Because that's all what counts.

So.....

Healing from an eating disorder > Healing from or managing a chronic illness.

Do you agree?

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