Food is incredibly important to many of us. It serves as a means of gathering family and friends together. It's nourishment; It's tradition; It's comfort; and so much more.
Where we can get into trouble with our health is when we stop making conscious decisions with what we put in our bodies. Food is so incredibly important to me personally because I've had such a difficult time with foods. My diet is constantly evolving, changing with what my body needs and what it is able to digest.
With a slew of digestive troubles since I was a teen, food has been a constant battle. There was the Candida diet, the diet based on Food Sensitivity testing, the Vegan diet, the Paleo diet, a modified Paleo diet, and now, a low-FODMAP diet. Some people might say I've been cursed with a severely dysfunctional immune system, with multiple autoimmune reactions and conditions, but to me, all of these "problems" serve as a way of making sure I make conscious decisions with what I feed my body.
It's unrealistic to say that those of us with dietary restrictions are perfect with our diets 100% of the time. And no, in general, we're not depriving ourselves. Of course there are some foods I wish I could enjoy, and then there are ones that I'm glad I'm not tempted by because I know how terrible they can make me feel (typically, anything deep-fried). The reason being that when you eat "bad" (ie pain-making, pro-inflammatory) foods, you learn that sometimes the mouth-pleasure you get from eating something isn't worth the consequences (IBS symptoms, eczema breakouts, acne breakouts, energy crashes, migraines, ... etc) that come with it.
This is why I'm so passionate about food and diet. We all have the capacity to choose what we eat, and it can be incredibly empowering to understand this concept. But it's also a wonderful challenge to create meals and snacks that are healthy, that our bodies can easily digest and be happy with.
There is great joy in being able to show others how many options there actually are for those with dietary restrictions. Food is a part of our culture, a part of our everyday lives. At the same time, we need to understand that it's impossible to create a single diet that's best for everyone; We're all so different. So instead, I implore you to listen to your gut. Experiment with foods. Pull away from ones that don't make you feel great, and incorporate the foods (maybe even new foods) that you know you should incorporate (like more vegetables, or good-quality proteins). Remember that the signs and symptoms of food sensitivities are there to give us an indication that something isn't right, internally.
Nourish your body, love your body, and create something delicious in the kitchen today!