ARFID Treatment at Home: 7 Best Strategies You Should Know

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Wondering about ARFID treatment at home?  You’re not alone. 

ARFID treatment options are not easy to find, primarily because the disorder is not well known or talked about, even though Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a common phenomenon in both childhood amongst “picky eaters” and the holistic health world—where elimination diets and restrictive eating are the ‘norms.’ Can you have a ARFID Treatment at Home?

ARFID often develops when an individual becomes fearful about how food makes them feel, often based on underlying functional health conditions. Many patients aren’t even aware that an underlying pathology (like a gut inflection or an imbalanced gut microbiome) is driving their picky eating tendencies and avoidance of some foods. 

If you are an individual struggling with ARFID, here are 7 strategies that I’ve seen work for many patients in ARFID treatment at home

And if you or a loved one are looking for support in finding more “food freedom” in your life, reach out to our clinic today. We offer virtual consultations all over the world for ARFID treatment at home.

ARTFID Treatment at Home: 7 Strategies to Do Now

#1. Investigate the Gut

Arfid Treatment At Home - Woman Looking At The Cookie

Your gut is the gateway to health. And this gateway— rich in trillions of gut bacteria—tells you what it likes and doesn’t want to eat. Basically, our gut bacteria dictate our food preferences. In order to have more positive signals about a variety of foods, gut healing is essential.

In 99.9% of cases I’ve seen for folks with ARFID the past 10 years, most folks have an underlying gut pathology (like SIBO, candida, dysbiosis, parasites) driving their desires to not eat certain foods. To ‘get to the root cause’, we will often do lab testing in my virtual clinic and develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

#2. Rewire the Gut Brain Axis

Your gut is also your second brain. So if the gut is off, then our brain chemistry—and feelings of anxiety versus peace—are off…especially when it comes to food! Hello food fears! There are multiple strategies to “rewire the gut brain axis”. But some of my faves begin with helping calm down the cortisol (stress hormone) signals firing between the gut and the brain!

This is accomplished with pro-active strategies like yoga, regular breath work,  Brain Tap and Heart Math, coaching sessions with a practitioner trained in guiding clients in rewiring the gut brain axis, and high dose probiotics, which have been shown to be effective for calming down anxiety and shifting our mood and cognitive thought processes.

#3. Support Digestion

Arfid Treatment At Home - Digestive Support Agents

Often times ARFID develops because food doesn’t feel good when we eat it. This can be due not only to an imbalanced gut microbiome, but poor digestive “super powers” like low stomach acid or enzymes Boost yours naturally with digestive support agents like HCL, enzymes, digestive bitters and whatever other supports your functional medicine practitioner thinks could be helpful for you. 

#4. Heal Your Gut

After you support your digestive mechanics, “healing your gut” may entail a short-term protocol using herbal supplements targeted at “cleansing” out SIBO, dysbiosis (gut bacteria imbalance), fungal overgrowth, parasites or any other gut pathologies.

Probiotics, pre-biotics and post-biotics may also be indicated. By clearing out gut problems, we naturally boost that gut brain axis as well to help us be naturally less picky (because our gut bugs are more open to new things). 

#5. Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Arfid Treatment At Home - Selection Of Superfood

Let food be thy medicine. When we gain awareness about the healing powers of food, it’s empowering for feeling our best. For example, wild caught salmon contains fatty acids that help calm anxiety, eggs contain choline that makes our brain function better, prebiotic starches like cooked and cooled sweet potatoes, skin-on apples and Jasmine rice decrease gut inflammation and support hormone balance, dark leafy greens contain antioxidants that help us keep toxins at bay, the list goes on.

Knowledge is power. When we connect foods to what good things it does for our body, it helps lessen the “charge” on the fear associated with it. 

#6. Add In (with Foods You Already Like) 

Pick one to two new foods to try each week and eat them along with foods you already enjoy. You can also do this by expanding foods within the same family—such as purple potatoes if you already eat red or regular potatoes; or sweet potato fries if you do regular French fries; skin-on crispy chicken thighs if you do chicken nuggets; pears if you do apples. You get the picture. 

#7. Develop an “As If” Mindset

Arfid Treatment At Home - Woman Sipping Healthy Shake

So as we think, therefore we become. Who is healthy, thriving, ARFID-free you?! Get a really clear picture of who you are without ARFID so present in your life. Then…begin to embody the mindset, behaviors, actions and habits of that food freedom you that you are becoming.  

ARFID Treatment

ARFID treatment may not be well advertised or available in your community, but healing and food freedom is possible, especially when we heal the inside to heal the outside. 

If you or a loved one are looking for support in finding more “food freedom” in your life and ARFID treatment at home, reach out to our clinic today. We offer virtual consultations all over the world. 

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