elimination diet

Elimination Diet Phase 2: Days 3-14

Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice- during our final days of the elimination phase

Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice- during our final days of the elimination phase

A couple weeks ago, my husband Mark and I decided to begin an elimination diet. I wrote about phase 1 (detox phase) here. The point of phase 2 "elimination phase" is to completely eliminate the most common foods known to cause the most irritation to the gut and the rest of the body. Hopefully, various symptoms will disappear during that phase. Upon reintroduction, symptoms may return and that is the way to find out exactly which foods are irritating your body. 

Most people who perform an elimination diet report back with improved energy, improved bowel movements, reduced pain, clear skin, etc. I can help guide through this process if you're interested in improving your quality of life. Contact one of my offices to schedule today!

My experience:

Just to be clear, we already ate a pretty irritant-free diet beforehand. I had already identified certain foods that I don't tolerate well. So, as expected, I didn't see a huge difference in how I felt. Part of me was a little disappointed because I was hoping there was something I missed and would use the elimination diet to catch it. As we begin phase 3 (reintroduction) I will definitely watch for new symptoms. 

One of the more challenging experiences during the elimination phase was the limitations when trying to eat out. Generally, it's fairly simple to eat out if you're only eliminating gluten, dairy, or soy. However, eliminating nightshades and citrus made it much more challenging. One night, we wanted to go to the movies but couldn't have our usual "movie snacks" so we stopped by Whole Foods to grab something quick. We thought of two potential snacks that we could have: kale chips and seaweed snacks. We couldn't find a kale chip without cashew or curry and a seaweed snack without sesame (cashew, curry and sesame are eliminated as well).

So instead, we decided to have a date night at home. I know you don't have to have snacks to go to a movie, but we just wanted some food to help us enjoy our movie. We stopped by PCC, our local Co-op and bought some lamb chops, purple carrots and chanterelle mushrooms (my favorite!). I cooked up a wonderful meal in less than 15 minutes and we watched a movie at home. 

What could have been an opportunity for cutting our elimination phase short and giving in to the temptation of wanting our movie snacks, we turned into a fun-night-in where we could enjoy each other's company and eat delicious food without worry of "contamination". 

 

Elimination Diet Detox phase: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday we started day 1 of the Elimination Diet. Why? Because I've never actually officially done it! This is something I've learned and read about for how to teach others to do it, but I would not feel comfortable asking my patients to do something I haven't even tried myself. Of course, I've eliminated foods I "suspect" and retested them, but with so many other variables in my life and diet, I never knew 100% if such foods are really "offenders".

The elimination diet is not what you might think it is. You're not eliminating ALL foods, only foods that are most commonly irritating to people. But most importantly, INCLUDING foods that help heal the gut and reduce inflammation. After 2 weeks of elimination, individual foods are reintroduced while watching for symptoms. People do the elimination/reintroduction diet challenge if they suspect food sensitivities or experience symptoms such as fatigue, gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements, headaches, pain/inflammation, moodiness, etc.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please come see me in my practice! Participating in this challenge myself, I'll be able to provide you with meal plans and recipes to improve your elimination diet experience.

The first two days of the Elimination Diet is a detoxification phase intended to rest the gut, provide essential detox nutrients, and reduce inflammation. This means two days of: fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies, puréed vegetable soups, and herbal teas. I've got a lot of delicious recipes to experiment with during this time! In the photo below you'll see my refrigerator stocked with colorful veggies and soups. I prepped them all on one day since we have busy work-days. 

My experience in phase 1:

The one thing I've noticed during this phase was that I felt pretty hungry the whole time even though I've been eating a lot, though it's only vegetables and fruits. I felt my body longing to drink the olive oil straight from the bottle, knowing it would receive some sense of fullness. It reminded me of the years when I ate a vegetarian diet. I thought it was normal to have to eat ALL the time to feel some kind of fullness. Once I switched to an omnivorous diet, I felt satiety for what felt like the first time.

I've also been experiencing lower perceived body temperature during phase 1. Though it is getting cooler outside, I noticed I didn't take off my vest and sweatshirt all day (even indoors). I perform a religious fast every March and these last two days I feel cold just like when I'm fasting. To help with this, I've been drinking a warming herbal tea with chai spices to keep me warm.

Though all the food I've been eating in the two days of this detox phase is very delicious, I am looking forward to eating full, balanced meals tomorrow.

 

Prepped soups, carrot cucumber ginger for juice and berry cabbage smoothie