The Vibrant Health Podcast: Episode #15 – Is Your Diet Killing You?

by lydia on October 20, 2015

The Vibrant Health Podcast: Episode #15 - Is Your Diet Killing You?

In today’s episode, Jessica and I will discuss why your diet may be killing you. The idea that one single style of eating is perfect for everyone is a myth. Your diet must be tailored to your own biological needs. We discuss whether paleo, GAPS, veganism, SCD, etc. are truly the best diets for healing the body. And lastly, we talk about what we should be eating to heal and how to break through the diet dogma that has reared its ugly head.

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Introducing The Vibrant Health Podcast :: Episode 1 //

Read The Vibrant Health Podcast Transcript :: Episode 15

Jessica:  Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 15 of the Vibrant Health Podcast. I am Jessica from and I’m here with my co-host, Lydia of

And today, we want to ask a hard question and address the answers. Is your diet killing you?

This may sound dramatic. But once we dive into things in our talk today, you’re going to discover that there’s a lot of people that have a rigid mindset when it comes to diet and nutrition and that mindset and the stress that it causes may actually be causing more harm than good when it comes to healing or just your overall wellness.

So let’s go ahead and dive on in. Lydia, do you want to say hi and then kick it off by talking about some of the diet dogma in today’s world?

Lydia:  Sure! Hey, everyone. This is Lydia. Thanks so much for joining us today to hash out this subject a bit more. And I want to say that dealing with clients one-on-one, this is something that comes up often and we thought we should address this on some level because many – let’s talk about women. I mean, it’s everyone really. But somehow, the women fall prey to this the most.

Jessica:  Right!

Lydia:  They’re caring for themselves, their families. Usually, they’re the one speeding everyone. It becomes a big conundrum, for sure. Diet really is a common dirty word to many in this culture. And it’s truly no wonder. I mean, you look in the media, it’s “diet, diet, diet” and I think it’s just become way too complicated, more complicated than it ever should have been.

So many people have this love/hate relationship with their food. In their search to eat healthy, they end up going through kind of this yo-yo mental game where they read one diet and this other diet and that diet, and they get very confused. It becomes very complicated. And I really just have a heart to see people have a healthy relationship with food, with eating. I want to see where people literally just eat.

Obviously, yes, making better choices, of course, this matters. However, it’s more important that we can eat with peace. I don’t want to see people questioning everything so much and worrying and even feeling guiltly when they don’t eat according to some certain diet plan which they have currently deemed is the answer. Do you know what I’m saying?

Jessica:  Right! And I think we should press at this. I should’ve done this at the beginning. When we’re using the word ‘diet’, when we’re talking about it, we’re really talking about eating styles. So you’ve got Paleo, you’ve got vegan, you’ve got GAP. You’ve got all of these different styles that we call ‘diet.’ But we’re not talking about diet in the traditional “you’re going to shoot yourself so you can lose weight.”

So just to clarify, diet is totally a dirty word and I think people get hung up with that word. So we’re talking about eating styles in general.

Lydia:  Right, right. So yes, there’s the mainstream thought of, “I need to go on a diet to lose weight.” We’ve all probably done that at some point and we learned, “You know, diets just don’t work.” But then we find we want an “eating template” a.k.a. “a diet” for what you eat. And people are looking for this, this eating template to help direct them how to eat to get healthy.

So we’ve got mainstream stuff. Going way back, we have the low fat/no fat stuff. We have the modern trend of veganism. Vegetarianism has become more popular. You go back into the nineties. The Mediterranean diet was real big, the Atkins diet was really big even before that.

But now, we’ve got Palo, we’ve got autoimmune Paleo, we’ve got SCDs (specific carbohydrate diet), we’ve got the GAPS protocol. We’ve got probably others.

Jessica:  SIBO…

Lydia:  What’s that?

Jessica:  SIBO…

Lydia:  Yeah, the SIBO diet, right. There’s all these different diets to correct a specific health issue and all this stuff. And it’s crazy! There are so many out there.

Some of them are quite good, let’s just say. They have a very good foundation and they can be useful. But it’s when people are getting stuck in thinking that this is the be all and the end all and they have to eat this way, it’s like a rules-based thing, then it gets very dangerous, I think. It ends up putting people into more of a disordered way of eating. And then there’s all these stress surrounding that.

Jessica:  This is something that I – I mean, I don’t talk about this with other people, but I have some serious disordered eating issues that have stemmed from being so rigid in how I view food.

It started with I went really low carb and then I went keto. I was pretty much Paleo during the low carb and the keto stuff anyways, but then I did autoimmune Paleo because I’ve got an autoimmune disease. And so I figured, “Okay, well autoimmune Paleo, I’ve got to do it.”

I have several years now of eliminating all of these different foods. And so not only is it stressful and overwhelming – say you get a disease diagnosis. In my case, I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. So then I had to change my diet, I had to change my lifestyle. I had to make some serious changes in my life which is already overwhelming.

And then you throw in these really rigid styles of eating that have you eliminate maybe a lot of your favorite food. You start building (at least for me and I know that I’m not alone) some resentment towards food.

Lydia:  Mm-hmmm… yup!

Jessica:  And I think that really it’s a bad snowball in creating this disordered eating. I’m seeing so much disordered eating issues in me coming up now that I’m starting to work through all of these and not be as rigid as I used to be. And then I’m also seeing it in readers and when I’m talking to friends and to colleagues and stuff.

So let’s talk about why specific diets are not a one-size-fits-all. I went into the autoimmune protocol thinking, “Okay, I’ve got an autoimmune disease. I’m going to do this autoimmune protocol and poof! I’m going to be healed.” It didn’t work that way.

Lydia:  Right! Oh, it’s so complicated and I wish it wasn’t. You bring up a lot of good points. Thank you for being so real and honest with everyone because they think it’s really needed to be heard. I think a lot of women silently bite their tongues and just suck it up and think that they have to do this crazy thing that they really don’t necessarily.

And a lot of it is we put it in our heads, but we hear it so much repeatedly, “Oh, you have to heal your gut. You have to heal your gut. You have to GAPS. You have to do this. You have to do that.” Well, for some people, those things can be very useful. But I personally have never been someone who does well under severe rules or structure where I have no leeway whatsoever. Life is too complicated for me to ever live like that. No one can do it, period, ever. In any aspect of your life, can you follow a set of rules perfectly to the letter? Absolutely not.

Jessica:  Right…right…

Lydia:  …nor should you because life is fluid and we’re all human.

So, that alone right there is putting a standard that most people can never live up to. And that is more frustrating than any of us care to admit. So I’m all about structure and boundaries, I just don’t feel that the rigidity is necessary for the majority of people.

There are going to be people who are very sick and they can’t touch certain foods with a 10-foot pole or they’re going to have a reaction. That’s a whole other topic. I don’t want to be insensitive to that because there are people who literally have to be very strict.

But for the majority of us, we don’t really need to be on this rigid path. We need to take a look at that.

Remind me what your question was specifically.

Jessica:  Well, I think you kind of answered it why a specific diet is not a one-size-fits-all. You kind of hit on that. Really, our dietary needs are going to vary. We’re so individual. What I’m finding is that what my needs are, even if somebody may have Hashimoto’s, they may have the exact same symptoms and everything that I do, it doesn’t mean that what works for me is going to work for them and vice versa.

So we really have to tailor everything we do for our health to what our specific needs are and not worry about what everybody else is telling us. We really need to listen to ourselves and be more intuitive in the way that we treat ourselves and what we put in our body and what we use in our home and all of that kind of stuff.

Lydia:  Exactly! Right, right.

Jessica:  So really, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. I think that with all of these different dietary styles, every one of them has some really good aspects. The bulk of them are going to be based on eating real food, as high a quality food as you can afford.

When I was on Paleo, I didn’t eat beans. So I’ve been legume-free since 2012 until about two months ago. Lydia gave me “permission.” In my mind, I needed someone to give me permission to start incorporating legumes back in. So, I bought some hummus and I’ve been eating hummus a couple of times a week just as a quick, little snack and it’s been great; ! I had no negative side effects from it.

So I’ve gone over three years of being legume-free because in my mind, I saw that’s what I had to do because I’ve got leaky gut and I’ve got this and I can’t eat legumes and all that. And so when Lydia said, “Girl, just go eat some beans,” it was like the permission that I needed.

I want you to know that I struggle. I do this for a living and I struggle every single day with rigid mindset and with disordered eating issues. You’re not alone if you’re struggling too.

Lydia:  Right, right. So with that in mind, we know that no one size diet is ever going to be the solution for everyone even if you hear umpteen people who are health authorities out there touting this diet to the nth degree, living it to the fullest – which, by the way, trust me, they’re not doing it perfectly. I guarantee it. And who cares? What is perfect anyway? Let’s just go there for one second.

Jessica:  Yeah, exactly.

Lydia:  We have to stop with this perfectionism about eating. In history, there’s no culture that ate the same as every other culture. There’s a lot to think about here.

So there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. So my solution to this – and it’s not what people want to hear because there’s no list of rules that’s easy to follow – you have to get in tune with yourself. You have to know how to support your body as a core foundation for where it’s at.

So not only do we have all these different types of ways of eating, but everybody’s body, at a biochemical level, is in a completely different place. Someone may be in a really stressed out state where their adrenals are over-achieving, let’s call it, and they’re in a more of a fast oxidation where they’re just burning through everything, their fuel and all this stuff. Well, they may need to eat a different way than someone who is totally exhausted and just drained and has poor digestion. There are all kinds of things to kind of consider.

And we really all could stand to learn core healthy eating habits, choosing the best quality foods you can find and afford and start to get to know your body. Maybe work with a practitioner to find out more information. Get some basic testing done if you can. If you can make that happen, it will help give you more clarity and direction on what you need.

Intuitive people can figure this out a little bit better on their own, but not everyone is like that. Some people really need a guide.

We also understand, like I said just a minute ago, the why behind the foods that our body currently tolerates. Why do some people tolerate dairy and why do some not? Why are there people out there who say, “Dairy is the devil. It’s evil. It’s horrible” and then everyone is afraid to consume dairy?

I just think it’s very debilitating in a way. Absolutely, for some people, dairy is a real problem. You have traditional cultures who never consumed dairy, and then they come to the U.S. and they start eating dairy and their body just can’t handle it, and then they get sick. Well, they shouldn’t eat dairy. I’m sorry, it’s unfortunate. You know what I mean? There’s something to that.

Jessica:  Exactly!

Lydia:  We have to think about these things and we don’t. Today, we’re just such a hodgepodge of people within one country who eats modern food, which is total garbage anyway.

We have to ask more questions. We have to think more deeply about this. We have to not take it as its first broad stroke of like, “Okay, this is the diet to do – Paleo.” Let’s put Paleo on the spot for a second.

Paleo is basically a real food diet where you’re eating high quality meats, grass-fed, pastured, you’re eating fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. But you’re eliminating grains, legumes and dairy, correct? Did I miss anything?

Jessica:  Nope. That’s the basis, yeah.

Lydia:  We’re told that nuts – let’s just put Paleo on the spot. No offense. I love Paleo for a lot of ways, but I don’t like the legalistic Paleo template that people get into. I don’t like that, so let’s bust that a bit.

So Paleo touts nuts and seeds, but not grains. There are just as many problems with nuts as there are with grains. Modern day nuts are sprayed with pesticides. They’re taken out of their shell. They’re left to be outside of the shell in packages, in stores. They could be rancid. They could have pesticides. There are all kinds of things to think about.

They are also very hard to digest for many people. They are also very high in oxalates. And a lot of people with imbalances can have that problem – not everyone does, so please don’t start worrying about oxalates unnecessarily. I’m just trying to point some things out here. We pick apart grains to the nth degree and we say all these pieces about what’s wrong with them and there can be certainly problems with grains as well. I totally agree. But does that mean no one should ever eat them? I think not.

We should look at this more deeply. We should understand the current problems with all the types of foods out there. Every single food could have a problem, even meat, even fat. It’s more about the quality, the preparation and where your body is at to tolerate each specific type of food. That’s really what it boils down to.

Any type of food can be harmful to you if it’s really bad quality, if you’re slogging it down your throat and you’re rushing out the door. There are so many things to think about. So, it’s really a matter of context, understanding the food, how it’s processed, how to prepare it, how your body actually breaks it down.

I personally can’t eat many nuts still. There was a time when I was eating somewhat more a Paleo-ish template in part because I had a lot of trouble with grains and starchy carbs because of where my body was at at the time. I could not eat corn. I couldn’t eat wheat. I could still eat some cedar grains in small quantities. But at that time, I was eating nuts – nuts, nuts, nuts and more nuts.

Well, I put myself into a place where all of a sudden, my body revolted against nuts and I started having a lot of problems. I don’t think anyone is meant to eat the quantity of nuts that we see out there in the Paleo sphere where they’re baking all these muffins and all this stuff with almond flour. You have almond flour and you have almond flour. And it’s like really, when did we ever do this in history?

Jessica:  Right!

Lydia:  So, let’s be smart. Let’s not get into some crazy, strict food thought process where we have a template and we say, “Oh, this food isn’t in this food template, so I can’t have it,” yet we do something ridiculous like eat gobs of nut flower just because it’s allowed on that template. That’s silly, people. But we’re doing it. We do these silly things. Every single food template that’s out there has probably something like that going on for it.

Think about GAPS. With GAPS, the only sweetener you’re allowed to have is honey. Well, guess what? Honey now is something that I’m telling people that you don’t really want to cook your honey to death. You don’t want to make all these baked goods with honey. Honey is really better consumed raw for the body. It’s going to be better and easier for you to process.

We also have a problem in our modern day with honey because of glyphosates. The bees are getting the glyphosates. So we have to think about, “Crap! Now, our money might have glyphosate.” I’m sorry, I’m not trying to freak people out. I know people are going to be all upset. Don’t get upset about this. Just put it in the back of your mind and think, “Wow! Okay, so maybe I should just consider the source of honey that I buy.” That’s what I did. I switched to buying honey that I’m more mindful of where it’s comin from. That’s all you have to do.

But anyway, back to GAPS real quick, you’ll see some of the GAPS recipes out there are with all these baked goods. Again, the baked goods are where we all kind of run into some trouble, right? They’re making all these baked goods as gobs of coconut flour, eggs and honey. Well, okay, just because those foods are allowed on GAPS, does that mean we should eat them every day kind of thing?

It’s something to think about. I feel like it just becomes more of problem to stay within a rigid structure of rules and still be doing something that’s not right for your body. And then people become scared. They become scared of the food that’s not on that template. They’re like, “Oh, crap! That’s not on GAPS. I can’t have that.” But then they’re like, “Oh, well, yes, I can. Oh, but no, I can’t. Oh, well, maybe I can’t.” There’s this inner war that goes on and on and on.

I hear this all the time because I have clients who come to me and they’re very confused and perplexed and really actually quite anxious. It sounds like some of them are hyperventilating when they’re talking to me.

Jessica:  Right!

Lydia:  So it’s really a problem. I have nothing against GAPS, by the way. I have nothing against Paleo. I really don’t. I think that they are good templates. But I like to modify every template that’s out there to work with the individual where they’re at. Frankly, you may do GAPS, but you might not be able to have some of the GAPS foods and some of the foods that aren’t GAPS might be okay for you.

Jessica:  Right! Exactly, exactly!

Lydia:  And that’s where we need to shift and realize – and there are all these different people creating these templates for their own original reasons and their own personal research. And no, not one single person out there can have it all covered or figured out.

So, I hope that that helps open your mind up a bit. I think a takeaway would be for people to say to themselves, “Why do I need such a rigid structure when I’m eating? What is that about? Why do I feel safer with all these rules? Why can’t I be more intuitive about this?”

And if you’re really scared – and some people really are struggling and they’re very confused because they have all these symptoms and they don’t understand where it’s coming from. Is it coming from the food they’re eating? Which food? Is it maybe just because they have really bad digestion and so many different foods are a trigger for them currently?

And if that’s you and you really are struggling, I really encourage you to seek out someone who can guide you better so you’re not playing this mind game with yourself and hopping from dietary template to dietary template to dietary template and spinning in circles and circles and circles. That is utterly frustrating. And the stress that it’s going to induce upon you psychologically is going to have an impact on your health and it’s not a good impact.

Jessica:  Oh, yes. Amen, sister. I could not agree more. I think that my main takeaways for whoever’s listening is we really just have to start thinking more about food intuitively and not feeling like we have to always listen to what an expert says, that we have to follow the template to the T every single day. We need to really become in-tune with our body.

I think that’s something that as a culture we really are lacking. People don’t know how to tune into their body. The first thing is just start listening to your body and figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. If you’re Paleo, but you eat some legumes and you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t have any issues from that,” then just eat your legumes. If you can eat some grains that are some pseudo-grains and you do fine, then go ahead and enjoy that and tailor that to your specific needs.

And then like Lydia said, if you’re overwhelmed and feeling really stressed out and you really suspect that you need some help and you need some guidance, that is completely okay. I encourage people to get help when they’re feeling overwhelmed because you can’t do everything by yourself all alone, you can’t figure it all out. Work with somebody that can really help address those concerns and make life more pleasant for you.

Lydia:  The point is not to measure or count or turn your eating into a performance. The point is to add more and get variety and benefit from the nutrition of all the foods – real foods, let’s just focus on real foods – all the nutrition real food provides you. You have to remember that no one is judging you for how you eat. And if they are, shame on them! Absolutely shame on them. We’ve all done it. We’ve all done it, let’s admit it. But only you are going to be the one who gets to benefit from the food choices you make.

Who cares if people see you eat a legume and you’re Paleo. Come on, let’s just get over this stuff already. It’s ridiculous. Please be free. Be free to make choices that work for you, that work within your budget, that work within your sustainable day-to-day getting by for goodness’ sake. Let’s be realistic and don’t make eating a performance to get an end result.

Jessica:  I completely agree. For those of you that like to read, there is one book that just popped into my head as we were talking. It’s written by my friend, Lauren Fowler. She’s a registered dietitian and she wrote a great book earlier this year called Hips, Hunger and the Pursuit of Healing. That book is actually an ebook. I’ll leave a link to it down below. That book was actually the first time that I realized that I had disordered eating. I didn’t realize it until that point. I knew that food was stressing me out and I had resentment towards certain things. But when I read her book, my mind just blew up. It really opened up my head to understanding some of my habits and some of the ways I was feeling about certain things.

So those of you that like to read and want to look more deeply into disordered eating or just diet dogma in general, I really, really recommend her book. It’s a really easy read. For me, it was life-changing information. So that’s definitely one book that I’ll recommend.

And then, Lydia, if people wanted to reach out to you and learn more about diet and maybe working with you, can you give them some information on that?

Lydia:  I have a couple of options for people. Right now, the best thing you could probably do if you’re ready would be to get a little bit of testing. Hair analysis is what I recommend as an absolute baseline for anyone. And this is so helpful because it shows us your body’s current biochemistry, which everone’s is so different. We can focus and hone in without being too restrict, but giving boundaries and more choices that will work for you to find out where your body is at and what you need as a starting point.

And if you’re not ready to dive into something like that, I also have a health assessment on my site that I can take a look at some things, have you do a thorough questionnaire and look at a food journal, things like that. We can get you going in the right direction.

Some people are more severely hindered in what they can eat. These people probably really need to do a lot more testing, maybe some food sensitivity panels and things like that to really find out. And some people do need to take the time where they do eliminate foods.

But if you’re just not sure and you don’t have extreme reactions, something like hair analysis or maybe just a simple home assessment to kind of get you some forward motion could be really helpful.

Jessica:  Awesome! And I totally agree.

Do you have anything else you want to talk about for that or do you just want to wrap up for the day?

Lydia:  I think we could wrap up. If you have questions or if you have a struggle with this, feel free to leave a comment down below and we can keep the dialog going. I just know that this is a really big problem and I just want people to feel like they can process this in some way that’s helpful.

So feel free to leave comments and we’ll just keep the dialog going for those who feel they need it.

Jessica:  Absolutely, yes. If you have any questions at all, you can email us, you can leave a comment. We are here to help.

So if this information in today’s talk resonated with you and you know others who would benefit from it, we would love it if you would share it. We would also love it if you could potentially leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. If you’re on our site, if you’re on Youtube, there will be a link down below where you can leave a review. It’s really easy. It will only take a minute or so.

Whenever you share our podcast and review it, you help us reach more people with our message of health and wellness, so we really appreciate that.

Also, make sure you check out the links for the episodes. You can read the transcripts on our blog posts as well if you want to skim through that.

And then if you’re looking for more information on natural living or real food recipes or health and wellness, make sure you check out our sites at, that’s my site, and then you can find Lydia over at

So we are going to sign off. We will talk to you again next week. Have a great day, everyone.

Lydia:  Bye!





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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lynn October 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Well said! I was stressed out following different diets. I totally agree that following certain diets are restricting, and one can develop sensitivities to foods eating one way. I feel so much better eating a more varied diet. I still eat more veggies than anything, but it just feels good to be able to eat some legumes, a bit of brown rice, etc.


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