Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Overcoming Emotional Blocks during Dietary Changes

I am excited to share with you today our first guest blog post! We mainly focus on the physical side of health through diet and don't talk much about the emotional or spiritual side. The path of healing is an interconnected path, meandering through all planes of existence. We are operating on all levels at all times even though we might not be aware of it. Today Colleen, from this little lark, has shared 5 Ways to Overcome Emotional Blocks that may occur when embarking on a new diet or while undergoing a shift in one's current diet. Colleen blogs about the many facets of the healing arts that improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Follow this little lark on Facebook for inspiration during transformation. ~Ali :)

Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, was onto something when he stated "The only thing constant is change." Though hearing this statement does not necessarily make transitions any easier. When we discover we have food sensitivities or allergies, a lot of different emotions can surface. We can feel joy in knowing health and healing are underway, but we can also feel isolated, different, and challenged in having to implement a completely different dietary lifestyle. The following suggestions are meant to support and encourage you through this phase. If something that is not listed has worked for you, please comment and share, as we are all here to learn from one another!


1.  Positive Thinking! In order to get over these emotional blocks, it is important to know that a lifestyle change always involves a positive mindset. Oprah Winfrey hit it on the nail when she said "My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." Make each moment count with a positive attitude.

2.  Practicing compassion, unconditional self love, and acceptance through dietary transitions will lighten our expectations and give more room for learning and growth. Our heart must be in it so we can celebrate when goals are reached, as well as call upon it when times get tough. We become open to knowing that there are ups and downs to every endeavor, and as this happens, we are able to go with the flow and be more present with our daily choices. Don't be too hard on yourself if you have not met certain health goals, just pick up where you left off and try again.

3.  Remember all those symptoms you are trying to resolve! Physically: weight gain/loss, hives, rashes, headaches, water retention, digestive disturbances, respiratory issues, nervous system imbalances. Mental/Emotional: fatigue, sluggishness, mood swings, inability to concentrate or focus... Life feels better without them! Remind yourself of this often.

4.  Find support. Surrounding yourself with people who can support you can really make the difference. Friends and family are always wonderful to have on your side, but you can also find support in community groups, online forums, websites, and blogs. Many, many people want to share their stories and more often than not, they will resonate with something you have or are experiencing.

5.  Be creative in the kitchen and HAVE FUN!
We are so very lucky to have Whole Life Nutrition as a resource to support your dietary needs as well as introduce so many new and exciting foods to try. No one ever said eliminating certain foods had to be boring! If you do feel you are getting bored of the new foods you are eating, chances are you are in need of a few good new recipes to change it up. An extra bonus: share your food in the household or at a gathering! More often than not, people love what you will have to offer and realize that being health conscious is the way to go!

"Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else." ~Les Brown

Please share anything else that you have found to work for you in the comments section. You can read more of what Colleen has to offer on her blog, this little lark, or on her Facebook page.

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Thanks for this post! My 4 year old and I are beginning the journey of a gluten/dairy free life. As an avid baker, this is really tough. It's also tough since I have 3 other kids and a husband who LOVE their gluten and dairy ;) It's been a challenge to try to stick to it, but I know that, in the long run, I will be healthier and happier. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. This might be part of the "positive thinking" section, but I've found journaling to be helpful. It helps me sort my thoughts about why I'm doing this and how far I've come. Also (and this is a process), I'd suggest speaking kindly to oneself. Once a friend took me to a restaurant she worked at. When I told the waiter about my food intolerances, he turned to my friend and said, "Why did you bring her here?" In my mind I agreed with him and figured I should either give up or never go out again. Speaking more kindly to myself would have been more helpful. Thank you so much for this post! It's the missing link for this journey!

  3. This is a very timely post for me, since I have been feeling like just about anything I eat is a problem. Thanks so much for addressing this side of it.

  4. Great post. I think #4 - finding support - is essential. It's a challenge to go through a transition like this, but it's wonderful to find you're not alone. :)

  5. I'm a big fan of EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique: "What is EFT?
    EFT is a powerful self-help method based on research showing that emotional trauma contributes greatly to disease. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, the body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing." Visit
    to find out more!

  6. Great tips! The one I always give to people is focus on the foods you can have rather than what you can't have. This often opens up a world of foods and options that they may not have considered in the past.

  7. Humour works wonders for us. My 4-year-old cannot have gluten, garlic, and eggs. My husband cannot have dairy (the rest of us don't eat dairy anyway, so we don't miss it). I cannot eat gluten, eggs while nursing a baby (our baby does not like eggs either it seems!), bananas, asparagus, broccoli or cranberries. It's kind of crazy around here at times when it comes to what to have for dinner. We have a family joke when we have to answer, "What should we have for dinner this week?" "Gluten, garlic and egg muffins, anyone? How about a gluten pie with cream? Eggs with bananas?" And then we laugh a bit and get on with business.

    I also find that having a big huge list of all the foods we *can* eat posted in the binder where we do meal planning helps. I put stars by the foods we love and we focus on ways to make those foods taste yummy.

    We also do not bring foods home that one person cannot eat. Our fridge and pantry are fair game for everyone in our house. Since we can't really eat out very easily, we bring food where ever we go. We can't just stop somewhere and buy some junk food to fill the place of real food in a pinch. It's actually quite nice in many ways.

    Thanks for this post. If you have more resources for helping kids adjust I'd be very interested. D. has been gluten free most of her life (short of the few times we did a food challenge), but as she gets older, I find it's harder to keep her in a little food-safe bubble.

  8. Great post! I love all your ideas! I just did a post myself discussing 'How to Survive the Limitations of Food Allergies. I added a link to your post as I feel your tips are very relatable. I love the quote "The only thing constant is change." Surviving food allergies is all about changing and adapting...not always easy...but certainly do able. Positive thinking goes a long way...finding that silver lining is what keeps me motivated! Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles

  9. My relationship with God and prayer is what gets me through!

  10. Thank you for this. I just got off the phone with my friend who found out there is a family history of celiac and is now finally considering that gluten may have been the cause of her digestive troubles all along. She is absoultey overwhelmed by going gluten free and doesn't even know where to begin. I'm recommending your blog of course. I got goosebumps when I saw this post, it's just what my friend needs to read. Thanks again.

  11. Great post! Funny, I've been working on a similar write up for my blog which deals with living on a restricted diet due to a stomach condition called gastroparesis. I believe overcoming the emotional side of dietary change for anyone can be just as difficult as finding a friendly recipe. I used to cry whenever I would open the fridge, focusing on what I couldn't eat as opposed to what I could.
    Now that I've learned to accept this change and reignite creativity in the kitchen life is so much better! All of the tips here are necessary and will make such a difference during transition. Positive thinking is a perfect place to start.

    With gratitude,
    Stephanie :)

  12. I want to thank you for your website! I began following your elimination diet last for for severe and chronic muscle pain and inflammation due to Polymyaglia Rheumatica. After 3 weeks on Phase One I was 80% pain free and now after 6 months I am 100% pain free. Thank you thank you thank you! This new way of eating has changed my life and given me my health back. :)

  13. Thank you! I'm over a month into the elimination diet and it is going well for me, but I feel bad when no one can make food for me, I can't go out, and I feel bad about myself when people are always eating food around me that I can't have. I was really upset because I thought my fiance didn't support me and would keep the house stocked with things I couldn't eat once we were married. But the minute I asked him about it (after discovering a nightshade sensitivity), he said, "Of course we can have a nightshade free house! Potatoes are easily substituted and I don't even like tomatoes that much!"

    It meant so much to me when he said that. I was getting crabby with him all the time, and I just needed to know he supported me.

  14. Good Morning!
    I was diagnosed with MS in early May of 2015. My boss bought me this book, The Wahls Protocal. I love it! At first i didn't take it very seriously, but after disappointed follow-up MRI's I took it a bit more seriously. I have had a ton of support from the people I work with and my boyfriend who was more than willing to help with the change.

    I didn't realize how changing my diet so quickly would affect my mood, but keeping positive about it and reminding myself how good it is for me, has helped tremendously. After reading this blog it made me think about work and how much easier it has been recently to focus!! Coming to the realization was very rewarding and i want to thank you for reminding me of that! To all of you out there having a tough time with a diet change, hang in there! You'll only feel better from here!

    Kayla K :)


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