Elimination Diet : Final Update
First of all, three weeks into the plan, Will and I were enjoying our time in Niagara and Toronto. I was not about to add on the stress of sticking to my elimination diet! Not the best planning on my part - but oh, well!
On top of this, healthy foods were VERY far and in-between. The only options I found were at the nicer restaurants and were anywhere from $30-40 an entree. I made do with what I had but did not worry about it to much! We enjoyed scones, ice cream, freshly baked breads and (being in the heart of all those beautiful wineries) we had a good bit of wine!
It was great!!
I mean just look at it!!!! God is just absolutely incredible.
So as for the elimination diet, I like to do it every 6 months just to see where I stand with my gut health and the foods I am eating! I highly recommend it if you feel like you have some issues starting in your gut (which is the majority of people). The GREAT news is that my leaky gut is no longer a thing! Big victory in my book. I was always sick off the foods I ate in college but I cannot tell you guys the last time I got sick!
Leaky gut : I will write up another blog post about that so you can learn more about what it is and see how to see if it is something you may struggle with! But I developed random lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity in college. Healing leaky gut can resolve many of these little intolerances and reduce inflammation and even heal different ailments and autoimmune diseases!
Since we were on a little trip, I enjoyed things I have always been sick off of like milk and gluten! My stomach handled it all like a champ and I am very proud. That being said, I am still not planning on incorporating them back into my diet quite yet! Gluten and dairy are not bad things but considering that I have PCOS and psoriasis, it is in my best interest to stay away. Yes, my gut is able to digest them without bubbles, nausea, etc. but that does not include the fatigue, headaches, and cravings for more that were associated with them. I think it is perfectly fine every now and then -- we all know that bread is best with gluten and ice cream is best with dairy -- but I will try to avoid them for the most part for now!
The main reason I quit the elimination diet was because it messed with my mental health this time around. Mental stability is something I take very seriously.
If you struggle with eating disorders, disordered eating, orthorexia, have a negative body image or unhealthy relationship with food, I highly recommend you AGAINST this plan! This plan can be very restrictive and I felt myself becoming a perfectionist with it and was depriving myself rather than nourishing. I was hoping to lose weight and get skinny fast — just reverting back to my mindset a few years ago.
Counting calories and measuring macros is not how we should nourish ourselves and sets you in a negative relationship with food. God gave us food as nourishment to do His will on this earth. When we give food more power than that, we can end up idolizing our food and holding our value in what we are eating. I will definitely try the elimination diet again, but I am going to give myself some time to focus back on my mental health!
IF, however, you are wanting to try the elimination diet and have questions, I would be more than happy to help!! I don't follow a certain program or pay for the Clean Program. I just use real foods and some techniques and tips for helping your body along!
The biggest technique // tip I have for this program would be using your 12 hour fasting window! This is actually something I use on a daily basis - but the elimination diet is a great way to get started with it! This just means giving your body a full 12 hours to digest and absorb the nutrients from the day before. So, if you are eating dinner at 7pm - wait until at least 7am to eat your next meal!
A few other tips:
- Try to not snack! Snacking between meals can slow the process of digestion sometimes. If you feel yourself needing something, try sipping on some herbal tea, drink water, or even take a little walk! We eat out of boredom and routine way more than we should so this is a great way to break that. Of course, if you feel deprived at any time, please eat!
- Since you are not snacking, do not deprive yourself during your meals! I make sure I eat a meal full of healthy fats (balanced with good protein + carbs) that will keep me satisfied until the next meal!
- The elimination process can take a lot of thought and preparation and a lot of it is about taking time to listen to your body. It is so important to remember balance in other aspects of your life so you are not idolizing the food!
- Set your focus on the Lord who created this body! You want to heal it for His glory - not for yours.
- Exercise should consist of low intensity movements! I honestly love taking little walks throughout the day!
- Take time to relax in an epsom salt bath - this helps remove toxins in your body! Just be sure to drink water after. Go get a massage, do a DIY face mask, buy some plants, etc. Take time to relax and enjoy taking it slow.
- Drink lots and lots of good water! Staying hydrated is vital for cleansing your body so make sure you are getting enough throughout the day! When I feel a craving coming on, I drink a glass of water or hot tea and wait about 15 minutes to see if my body is really hungry or if it was just ready for a snack out of habit! Learn to listen to your body!
- Supplements : (What you need will vary person by person) I actually take most of these on a daily basis but it really helped me on the elimination diet! I am by no means a doctor, so I cannot tell you what to take, but I will happily share what I supplement with! -- I use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for all sorts of reasons, Garden of Life Women's Probiotics, Vitamin B for my energy levels, Aloe vera for my skin and digestive health, Roasted Dandelion Root Tea - amazing for cleansing your liver, and Ashwaganda for my stress responses!
- Last but not least, I try to make two meals my smoothie/soup meals and one a big salad bowl! So breakfast is typically a smoothie - which just takes the stress off your digestive track to break down your food. Then I have a big salad bowl for lunch to keep me satisfied until supper! Then, I love making a warm soup at night to really ensure I am not taking heavy food to bed to overwhelm my digestive system with!
As for how long you do this and how you get back to eating "normal", really depends on the person! Research shows that 21 - 28 days is the optimal amount of time for us clearing out our system ~ so I usually do the plan for 4 weeks - just to be safe! Then, I take the next several weeks reintroducing foods that may be disrupting my health!
So, I typically cut out all sugar, dairy, gluten. This last time, I tried to focus on cutting out nightshades since it has been shown to help inflammation and psoriasis but I did not get far enough to see the effects! I will update you guys when I try it again!
Try slowly incorporating one of the foods you cut out and notice how it makes you feel! If you feel uncomfortable in any way after re-introducing that food, it it a good sign that food is not good for your body at this time! Do this with each food you cut out (I suggest one at a time to remove any confusion) until you are back to "normal".
The elimination diet teaches you about your body and how to listen to what it needs rather than adhering to the cravings!
If you decide to give it a try, I would love to hear about it and the things that helped you throughout it! And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!