Food neurosis

Sadly more and more often I am seeing clients who come to me with what I term as “food neurosis”. I will take the example of a 34 yr old woman (let’s call her Jane) who came to see me late last year. She had IBS, and no one had been able to help her. She had been through endoscopies, colonoscopies, barium x-rays, drugs, hypnotherapy etc and got precisely nowhere. During this time, which was about a year she had become more and more anxious about what she was eating – eliminating more and more food groups until she was barely eating anything. She had convinced herself that she was allergic to nearly everything: red meat; wheat; gluten; yeast; all dairy foods; too much carbohydrate. She had diagnosed herself as having candida (a yeast infection that can occur in the vagina, mouth and bowel). She had read a book that said she couldn’t eat fruit, or nuts (as they had mould on). She was literally eating ricecakes with some foul nut butter on, water, vegetables, chicken and rice.

It took a long time to convince this girl that she had it all wrong. So often people with food neurosis blame allergy/intolerance for their symptoms. She agreed to a stool test with me and in fact she had 3 parasites which responded really well to antibiotics. Her IBS went, she went on a course of probiotics. I then convinced her she wasn’t allergic to gluten or cows milk by doing a coeliac and lactose tolerance blood test – both were negative. She is now eating pretty much anything she wants. She still doesn’t eat red meat and avoids cows milk, but the variety of her daily diet has increased substantially. She began to enjoy her food and realise that it was not the enemy and freely admits now that she had become totally neurotic.

It is vital to enjoy your food. It’s one of life’s amazing pleasures. The 80/20 rule pretty much works for everyone, i.e. 20% you eat what you want, and 80% you eat well. Do not eliminate large groups of food unless you have proof that they are definitely the cause of your problem. Food neurotics become boring. You can’t invite them round to dinner and you can’t go out to dinner with them!!

Having said that I am genuinely lactose intolerant, and allergic to msg and mushrooms so I find dining out hard however it doesn’t stop me going out to eat – I find my way around those menus somehow!

previous post: Nutrition myths debunked

next post: If there is one thing you do this year – watch Food, Inc