Elimination Diet Round 2
Back in March, I went and started my very first elimination diet. Prior to that, I didn't even know what an elimination diet was, or that something of the sort even existed. Here's a general definition of what an elimination diet is:
Now there are various sorts of elimination diets from what I've gathered on the internet, but what I am instructed by my nutritionist Mallory Leone is to eliminate: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, nuts, processed/added sugars, citrus, nightshades, alcohol, chocolate, and coffee, for three or four weeks, and then promptly reintroduce each category of foods to see if my body reacts in any odd way. This also includes meats that are grain-fed. So I had to seek pasture-raised chickens (and eggs for reintroduction) and grass-fed meats.
The first time I did the diet, I also had SIBO going on, so my reintroduction phase was improperly done because I couldn't tell whether my body was reacting to specific foods, or if my SIBO was acting up. From my first time experience, I learned that I am intolerant to certain types of gluten and sensitive to caffeine and processed sugars. However, as of late, I could eat something that seemed to be totally healthy, totally allergen free (from what I assume) and still end up in the bathroom with an upset bowel. What the f is going on?
After a recent nutrition consultant with Mallory, we decided another elimination diet would be beneficial. Now let me take a step back and tell you about my first week of the first round of my elimination diet through a gif set.
Now DON'T FRET if you're considering doing an elimination diet, or are about to! You see, what I did was something totally stupid. I cut out coffee cold-turkey. Don't do that if you have an abusive relationship with coffee like I do. Mallory had set up a week where I would ween off of coffee, but I ignored that thinking I would be fine. Boy was I wrong. I couldn't drive because the migraines were effecting my eyes and I basically missed class all week. Fortunately, after the first seven days, I was fine. I had so much energy that I was walking the dogs to the point where they didn't want to go out anymore!
Come round two, I am writing from my grave. Not only did I idiotically cut out coffee just like that, but the migraines came back in full force and then more. Runny eyes, plugged nose, throbbing pulses and worse of all, I threw up both my lunch and breakfast. I was laying on the cold floor of my bathroom wondering if it was possible to die from coffee withdrawals. Scenes from the end of Requiem for a Dream flashed through my mind, along with the flashes of the light coming in through the window --and they were flashes because at that point something was severely wrong with my sight. I try to avoid alternative medicine as much as possible by using an ice-pack on my forehead, massaging my scalp, napping, and essential oils, but come 8pm last night, I couldn't take it any longer. "Give me the Aleve," I begged my husband who found me on floor (and thought I went missing when he came home to find my car in the driveway and phone on the bed -- he even scanned through the footage of our Arlo cams that we use to keep an eye on the dogs when we are out)
I woke up this morning refreshed, seeking nirvana in a heaping cup of black tea (+ extra water) with a bit of coconut milk and raw honey. It's 1:30pm so I pray the minimal caffeine I had in the morning would cease any headaches or migraines today.
That aside, some of you may be asking, well what do you eat on an elimination diet? When I first started, I thought it was strange to have savory dishes for breakfast, massive amounts of proteins and greens for each meal and fruits only as snacks. Mallory even warned me that I may get tired of the diet real fast, but I wanted it to work. I wanted to get better and I wanted to have fun with it. And that my friends, I did. My experience with an elimination diet has brought me here today. Now I know how to make a dish good using only whole ingredients while eliminating all of the above and I really enjoy it.
When it comes to breakfast, I'll over-do it, meaning I'll eat a lot, but isn't that what the doctors say? To eat most of your daily foods at breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal --well it was my favorite meal when I would get to drown myself in over-medium eggs cooked in butter, slice of (or half of) a baguette, a whole avocado, goat cheese, oatmeal, bananas, and of course, a beautiful velvety cup of coffee. I thought I was doomed when I found out I couldn't have that same sort of heaven for breakfast, but slowly, on the diet, I found myself falling in love with breakfast again. Proteins, fats and greens is what I aim for every morning, just like the photo above. There I have a grass fed round lamb patty cooked with a little bit of dried parsley and garlic powder, two slices of Prather Ranch Meat Co. No Sugar Added Bacon, and a bunch of organic greens from the market. Sometimes I'll have a sweet potato hash with ground chicken or beef, or wild shrimp with mushrooms and spinach on gluten-free oatmeal. You must be thinking that I have too much time on my hands, but I promise you, in order for me to make this (cue sarcasm) glorious lifestyle (end sarcasm) happen, I simply go to sleep early and wake up early. I would rather have extra time in the morning to smell the breeze coming through the kitchen window and coconut oil splattering all over my stove, than sit and watch Netflix for a few hours at night.
Lunch and dinner are usually left-overs of what I prepare in advance. I like to crock-pot a whole chicken, bake some wild salmons or roast a boneless leg of lamb. This gives me enough food to last 2-3 days before I have to cook again. I'll have a side of greens usually accompanied with portioned brown rice or quinoa. And I always, ALWAYS have home cooked lentils or black beans in the fridge.
Of all the foods, I look forward to reintroducing eggs, dairy and nightshades. I could care less for bread and such; in fact, we rarely buy bread unless for a special occasion where I make my famous fig and goat cheese bruschetta. Pizza is ordered once every other month, we don't care for pasta, and gluten-free oatmeal exists!
So now the countdown begins. Elimination Diet Round Dos (and I've recently taken up Spanish!)