One of the first things I do when working with clients is to help them make some significant changes in their diet. If you’ve followed me for long that’s no secret. Because nothing transforms your health more than changing what you put inside your body.

The eating plan laid out in my Gut Health Protocol involves eliminating five of the major culprits that are often to blame for causing inflammation, adding excess weight, exacerbating Leaky Gut Syndrome, and attracting a whole host of digestive issues. The lineup goes as follows:

1. Gluten (read more about why I cut this one out here) 

2. Dairy

3. Soy

4. Deep Fried Foods

5. Sugary Junk Foods

At first it might seem simple. Five things to cut out, not so bad. But upon further examination, you might begin to realize that these five culprits are in most standard American foods. When I am sitting down with a client and laying out a course of action to help them transform their health, I often see a look of fear come over their face when they realize how this new eating plan will change their life.

“No more Starbucks latte with a pump of caramel to start off the morning.

No more tortilla on my fajitas.

No more cheese boards and wine on Friday night at my favorite restaurant.

No more fries with my burger… and… on second thought…. no more bun on it either!

No more ice cream or dark chocolate before bed.

No more pasta, no more pizza, no more pancakes for Sunday brunch.”

I can see the visible look of panic register on the face.

“This is about to change everything. I’ll never eat my favorite foods again.”

Sometimes that look of panic remains and sometimes it morphs into something resembling resignation. “I am desperate to change my health, so I guess it’s worth sacrificing everything I love to eat.” And that’s when you see a look of sadness. They are preparing themselves to be deprived of all the pleasures of eating, of all the foods they enjoy.

These feelings of discomfort and deprivation are usually associated with dieting or changing your eating habits. In fact, many leaders in the health and weight loss industry have accepted and capitalized on this. They love to preach things like “Eat to live, don’t live to eat” and “Food is fuel not pleasure”. They teach strong willpower to endure deprivation and for the stamina to eat yet another Tupperware container of microwaved chicken and broccoli that was prepared three days ago because “this is healthy”.

If you know me at all then you know I’m a huge believer in the power of healthy eating. My family and I have a lot of solid habits in place to avoid foods that are inflammatory or unhealthy. But in the same breath, I also want to tell you this: I love food.

If you think Chris is over here downing nothing but sprouted greens and kale salads that are hard to chew like a rabbit every day, think again.

I love pizza.

I love ice cream.

I love pancakes. 

I love food with a healthy ammount of fat in it. 

I love making a nice Old Fashion with a good dose of whiskey on the weekends.

I don’t love microwaved chicken and broccoli and strange crackers that taste like cardboard. I don’t feel deprived of the pleasure of eating. In fact, I LOVE eating really delicious food. I don’t believe that eating healthy has to feel like “going on a diet” or depriving yourself. While there may be a few sacrifices in the beginning to start new habits and break old ones, you shouldn’t live years of your life feeling like the kid in the candy shop who’s trying not to reach out and taste your favorite candy.

Because here’s the thing: If you live feeling deprived, you will eventually break down. There will always be an expiration date on how long you can live holding your breath and robbing yourself of enjoying food the way you used to. Far too many people go on a “30-Day cleanse” or “sugar fast” or “detox” and love the results of it but can’t seem to sustain it for longer than a few months. Changing your diet will only change your health in the long term if you establish sustainable habits.

That’s why I want to talk a little bit about the importance of mindset and perspective when it comes to making changes to your diet. With the right approach, you can make changes, see good results, and keep it up in the years to come.

Here are three things that I tell clients before they begin to make changes in their diet.

You Are Not Signing Up for Perfection

One of the most detrimental things to making positive changes in your diet is a perfectionistic mindset. If you think you need to be perfect from day one, you will inevitably find yourself frustrated and disappointed. So, the first thing I tell clients is to stop being so hard on themselves and stop striving for perfection. Guess what? You’re going to accidentally ingest soy at some point in your first few weeks because you missed it on the label. You’re going to spend good money at some pricey health food store for a product that you thought would fit the plan only to come back home and realize that it has gluten in it. You’re going to have a moment of weakness and grab a french fry off your child’s plate just because you can’t resist it. And you know what? It’s all okay. You don’t need to beat yourself up. You don’t need to feel like a failure because you’re not.

If you set yourself up for perfection on the front end, it will always result in you feeling like you’ve failed when one thing goes wrong. Give yourself time to acclimate. Give yourself the space and grace to grow and learn new habits.

Embrace the 80/20 Rule

Pretty much everyone’s heard of the 80/20 rule. It’s not something that I invented, but it works. Stick to eating good, healthy things 80% of the time and give yourself a little room to indulge or eat foods that may not be absolutely ideal 20% of the time. This is a sustainable balance for most people. The only caution I would add on this point is to try to avoid going to extremes. Don’t deprive yourself all week and then binge on pizza, alcohol, and brownies the moment the weekend comes. This will only overload your system and undo all the cleansing and detoxing you’ve worked so hard for. Deprivation/Binge cycles cause high amounts of stress on the body and aren't effective for making changes in long term health. Embracing an 80/20 mindset means eating healthy, whole foods most of the time and allowing yourself a few treats or indulgences here and there in moderation.

Relax, This Isn’t the 80s

I gotta give it to the dedicated souls who made the choice to go gluten and dairy free back in the 80’s and 90’s. God knows they deserve a medal or a plaque of some kind because the options were incredibly limited. You couldn’t waltz into a deli and ask for a gluten-free wrap or pick up gluten free pasta from a typical grocery store. Finding gluten and dairy free snacks, desserts, baked goods, cheeses, milks, pastas, crackers, etc. was no easy tasks. And let’s face it, even if you did find an item that hit the target ingredients wise, it tasted like cardboard at best and crap on a stick at worst. Not good.

Luckily, if you’re jumping into a healthier lifestyle now, you have hundreds of food items on the market and in restaurants to keep you from feeling deprived. You want gluten-free pancakes? You have them. Gluten-free pizza crust? You’ve got it. Dairy-free milk at your favorite coffee shop? All you need to do is ask. There are endless options out there that will keep you from feeling deprived. Thank goodness we’re not in the 80s.

In summary, here’s what I would say: It may be profitable to take a few months and be highly attentive and disciplined about what goes in your body for the sake of healing yourself and understanding exactly which foods are to blame for causing your body discomfort. Depending on the severity of the condition you’re dealing with, you may opt to continue with a disciplined eating plan if you find it to be beneficial for your health. But for most people, it’s important to find a healthy balance. And breaking a “diet and deprivation” mindset is key to being able to sustain a healthy lifestyle for the long haul.

Healthy living doesn’t mean eating food that’s gross.

Healthy living doesn’t mean never enjoying your favorite meal again.

Healthy living doesn’t mean striving for perfection.

Not sure where to start when it comes to eating clean? Email me and put "7 Day Gut Health Protocol" in the subject line for my free guide.

If you'd like to talk to me about how specialty lab testing could finally provide answers, please check out my Free Initial Consultation.  I offer in person, phone as well as webcam consults to people across the globe.

Begin Your Wellness Journey Now

Telehealth Functional Wellness Consultations

Initial Free Consult
Privacy Policy     |     Terms & Conditions     |     Disclaimer     |     Affiliate Disclosure