chronic pain illness

Pain is such a… pain.

I’m not trying to be cutesy here, although it is interesting how the word describes itself. I’d rather add numerous expletives to more appropriately describe the pain I used to experience from relentless symptoms, but you get my point.

If I’m being honest, a few of those symptoms have flared up recently, but more on that later.

I am so sorry you are living with chronic pain. It’s not fair. I used to be there too. Most days a solution feels incredibly elusive, almost as if everyone else but you is finding one! Pain makes you bitter like that. A pain-free day is defined only as a dream in your mind.

After trying so many different cleanses, styles of eating and protocols as well as eating healthier than most people in my life, I began to wonder if a pain-free life was even possible.

Thankfully things turned around for me and I’m not going to leave you hanging by ending this post in Debbie-Downerville without an answer.

Here’s the thing: there isn’t one cleanse kit or style of eating or healing protocol that will help you overcome your pain – the physical blahs, the mental blahs and more specifically bloating, low energy, acne or headaches – for good.

Why? Because there are NO quick fixes to chronic pain. Because there is no ONE style of eating that works for everyone. And because most protocols don’t consider YOUR personal body chemistry.

Singular supplements or cleanse kits must be part of a larger healing plan to begin to chip away at your pain. Paleo, vegan, vegetarian or keto all have their benefits, many of which are overlapping, but none of them take into account how YOUR specific body reacts to food. The root cause must be addressed.

I found that out the hard way: the long way.

Your pain flares up when you eat food (almost always unknowingly) that triggers inflammation in your gut. These are your specific food sensitivities and they are different for everyone. It makes sense that we all wouldn’t fit into a handful of ways to eat!

Food sensitivities are the root cause why you are living in pain and until you figure them out for yourself you will never live pain-free days.

An elimination diet is a temporary, strategic process that helps you to figure out your specific food sensitivities. Yes, I realize this is “one solution” and may seem hypocritical to what I’ve just shared. The difference is that an elimination diet helps you build a custom diet, which means the solution is unique to each person.

 

To go back to my symptom flare up:

Bloating
I used to be so perplexed by what caused my bloating since it seemed like it flared up no matter what I ate. I now have a clearer picture because an elimination diet helped me discover which foods (and even how much of those foods) triggered my symptoms including bloating. Some of these I was expecting, like sugar, and some of them I had no idea, like almonds. It’s flaring up now thanks to the sugar I have been eating in case you are wondering.

Headaches
Like everyone else with headaches, mine are triggered by numerous factors. The only one outside of my control is environmental factors such as temperature/pressure changes. The cool thing is that an elimination diet not only removes foods that trigger your symptoms but also nourishes your digestive system. This means that I am less susceptible to being triggered by things outside of my control. My current flare up is due to numerous temperature/pressure fluctuations as well as being more liberal with my food choices like that sugar up there. Hey, I am a human in this current world too.

For both of these flare ups, there is one key takeaway: I have clarity around the foods that trigger my pain. This is incredibly more empowering than being stuck wondering what could be the cause of my pain when I experienced it no matter what I ate. I am motivated to avoid certain foods because I know how they make me feel rather than simply being told to avoid them. I get to decide what level of pain is worth enjoying certain foods so that I don’t have to live a life of deprivation and restriction.

I encourage you to follow an elimination diet to figure out your specific food sensitivities so that those pain-free days can move from a dream to reality.