The Elimination Diet

How do you balance the needs of your body against the needs of your soul?

Kathleen Holt is staggered one afternoon by the news that she is sensitive to a host of ingredients, including whey, gluten, spelt, whole wheat, egg white, egg yolk, and pineapple. In a rueful yet clear-eyed first-person piece in Culinate titled “Goodbye to All That,” she lays out her story.

She tells about the mild symptoms that led her to a naturopath’s office in the first place, and the skepticism she sometimes feels about her diagnosis. She visits the natural food store with a nutritionist, learning to navigate an “elimination diet.”

The nutritionist walked me through the store, aisle by aisle, introducing me to a new landscape of food. In the pasta aisle, she knelt beside a small selection of rice noodles, saying, “This brand isn’t so bad.”

Holt wistfully discusses her lifelong love of breakfast and the sadness she feels at having to give up pancakes, eggs, and waffles. And she tells us why she sometimes doesn’t follow her diet as closely as she should:

Because food isn’t merely fuel, and eating isn’t merely the act of filling up the tank. At best, eating is community. It is solidarity. It is proof that we love and are loved. At the very least, eating is a gesture: the offering and accepting of a gift.

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