Saturday, January 16, 2010

Elimination Diet: Day One

You know what I really want right now? A maple cinnamon snickerdoodle. You know what I can't eat right now? A maple cinnamon snickerdoodle. Or anything, for that matter. I'm on day one of The Whole Life Nutrition Elimination and Detoxification Diet. For today and tomorrow, I'll be dining on green smoothies, green smoothies, and more green smoothies. My first day is almost over, and for that I'm grateful. As the day wears on, I find myself imagining all of the wonderful things I can eat when this portion of the diet is over. I actually want the weekend to be over just so that I can eat again! Sad, right? But it's made me more appreciative of phase 1 of the diet, the most restrictive phase. It doesn't seem restrictive to me now though! I can have sweet potatoes, quinoa, sunflower seed butter, avocados and more! Sounds downright decadent to me! I'm thinking sweet potato nori rolls, carrot and lentil soup, and maybe a sweet quinoa berry salad for Monday. But really, I should stop thinking about it because it makes me hungry. The hardest part is that I have to work all day on Monday, so I have to prepare all my meals on Sunday. Cooking without eating? Oh man. That's a tough one.

So why am I doing this, you ask? And what exactly is this elimination diet? Good questions, both, and ones I've been asked a lot lately:

What is the elimination diet?
I'm following an elimination and detoxification diet planned by Ali and Tom at Whole Life Nutrition. You can click here or read their cookbook for specific details, but basically this is a 28-day food plan designed to eliminate foods that your body may be having a reaction to. You start by first doing a two day smoothie cleanse and then a week of limited foods, thereafter progressing through phases of the diet in which specific foods are reintroduced. By slowly adding in these foods, you can determine if your body has a reaction to any of them, and therefore determine what foods you should be avoiding in general.

Why are you doing this diet if you already know you can't have gluten?
Although cutting out gluten has made a significant difference in my health, there are some issues I still have that I'm hoping to eliminate through this diet. Becoming gluten-free has shown me what a difference food can make to my physical and emotional health, so I'm more than willing to believe that food could be the culprit for my other issues as well. Some of these problems are:
  • Bloating
  • Flushed cheeks...I can't seem to pinpoint what foods cause this, but it generally seems to happen right after eating
  • Obnoxious and constant post nasal drip
  • While the pain under my left rib that I always associated with IBS has significantly improved, it still occasionally flares up, sometimes in response to stress, other times after eating
  • Daily headaches...these only started a few months ago, so they could also be a vitamin deficiency due to eating gluten-free, but I take vitamins daily now and it doesn't seem to make a difference
Ok, so now that you know all about my body's various ailments, let me ask you a few questions: Have you ever done an elimination diet like this? What did you think? Was it helpful? If you discovered any food sensitivities, did you successfully eliminate them from your diet or do you still eat them?

And on a side note, Chocolate Covered Katie is hosting a vita-mix giveaway! Wouldn't that be fun to have? Stop by to enter her giveaway!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!


Jessica said...

Sounds like a tough diet, but totally worth it, and luckily not something you have to stick to forever :) I never went through a specific diet like this, I simply kept a food journal and took note of when I had a reaction and what I had eaten. This gave me a list that worked for about a year.

I was also having a lot of problems with bloating, general indigestion and the like - when I started taking probiotics and an enzyme with every meal my life seriously changed. All those things I had eliminated like spices and garlic etc. I can actually eat now. Due to damage Celiacs have a harder time breaking food down, these supplements can help us out :)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Best of luck on your elimination diet, Iris! Those headaches could be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Natural Calm and epsom salt baths are a great way to get magnesium. Will look forward to your reports!


Brandi said...

I am impressed with your dedication! I would love to do some kind of cleanse like that. Keep us posted on how you are doing!

PS just posted a new Arbonne Giveaway on my blog.

Heather said...

wow, sounds hard but definitely worth it in the end! hang in there! just think how wonderful you'll feel once you know what's causing your ailments.

thedallasceliac said...

I did a really strict elimination diet several years ago and it allowed me to find out that I was intolerant to all corn products, including Xanthan Gum.

Good luck - it will be worth it!

Linda said...

That's a great idea, and probably something I should do. I imagine it's pretty hard right now, but it will pay off.

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Good for you for taking charge of your health! Way to go!

We're in the midst of an elimination diet right now. I've found that restricting my diet to the things I know I can eat without illness really helps me feel better. Once I know something doesn't "sit well" with me, I never go back to eating it. It's just not worth feeling rotten for a moment of satisfied taste buds. ;-)

jblaydes said...

I was glad to read you are doing this. I started a cleanse today as well. I'm not starving but made the mistake or reading my food blogs. That made me want all kinds of goodies.

I'm doing Perfect Weight America's winter cleanse to jump start my weight loss. I have lost 90 pounds and kept off for years, but the last few months I've seen it start to creep back up. I'm hypothyroid so that makes it hard too. I'm hoping this cleanse will detox me off the sugar and junk from the holidays. It is mainly this homemade chicken/veggie soup and salad. I'm not sure if I could do the smoothies. But good for you!

I used to have terrible migraines. I did a headache elimination diet. For over 2 years I didn't eat cheese, vinegar, nuts, onions, citrus, chocolate (I know!). I was really disciplined. Then I started adding things back and realized they didn't bother me anymore after taking a break. So I think the elimination diet is great. My problem I was super disciplined while doing that and have slacked off since adding things back. That's why I need a structed program like this to get me back on track.

In general I stay away from wheat (I don't have Celiac) and most dairy. These will definitely stop up my head and can cause a headache. With this new plan I'm going to experiment with raw goat cheese. A food diary helped. Trying to stay off sugar too. I feel so much better when I do. Good luck- I know we can do it :)

Farty Girl said...

Hey girl! It's awesome that you are working on becoming more healthy. I hope that it works and you solve all of those health issues you've been having. It will probably inspire some pretty creative meals... which is always a fun challenge. :)

To answer your question, when I first came down with IBS, I tried cutting a lot of different foods out. I found that no specific food group caused me problems... it was more like different foods at different times. Cutting dairy has definitely stopped the chronic colds and sore throats I used to get. While I'm back on the soy train (durt!) I've realized that it's something I can't overdo. You know how small those miso tofu soups come at the sushi places? Yeah, there's a reason for that! :)

Good luck & keep us posted!

lynn @ the actors diet said...

best of luck!

Chelsey said...

Iris, I should really jump on board with you. Lately my headaches are few and far between but they have a habit of coming back 2-3 times/week.

Going gluten free for 2 months has helped me realize how sensitive I am to wheat. I eat any wheat and I swear I can feel my stomch cramp the minute it goes down the hatch. It's something I would have never noticed before, because it was suttle.

Good luck on this elimination trek, and I would love too hear updates on your findings!

Iris said...

Thanks everyone, for your support! It's great to hear all your experiences and suggestions!

Jblaydes, good luck with your cleanse!

Heather @ Life, Gluten Free said...

We did an elimination date for my daughter but what helped the most was getting her blood results from her allergy test. It can be really hard to find out what is going on and her doctor pointed out that even certain foods combined will cause a reaction, while not combined are fine. It's really amazing because there is so much to know when it comes to sensitivites and allergies. We have learned a lot through our experiences. I hope you learn from your elimination diet! It has helped a lot of people.

Amy said...

I just got the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and am going to start teh elimination diet right after Thanksgiving! I hope I can follow through with it. It's only for a total of 31 days right? Hopefully it will get me on board with eating the way I want to and feeling better!

heather jacobsen said...

what did you ever find out from your elimination diet? I am a little behind on reading this post. :) i was going to get some allergy tests done, but found out i can't AFFORD it! so i may have to do this elimination diet. So far I know that I can't eat gluten (I've been gluten free for 10 years) nor milk. But it seems lately that even cheese and eggs are giving me problems... so anyway.. i need to find a way to get to the bottom of it all.

Iris said...

@Heather, The one thing I figured out was that I was reacting to peanuts and tree nuts. But I didn't find out until recently that I was also reacting to amines, a compound in foods that results as a breakdown of proteins. It's high in spinach and other dark leafy greens that I was eating a lot of on the elimination diet, which might explain why I never felt good when I was on it. Here's my most recent post on my health and sensitivities:

KittenKnuckles said...

I'm about to start a similar diet, your blog has been helpful

Iris said...

KittenKnuckles, I hope you get some good ideas/recipes here. Good luck! said...

The flushing of cheeks is typically a salicylate or phenolic response. Things like grapes, red apple peels, etc..

Google salicylates and phenols.

Good luck!



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