I thought today I would blog with you a bit about my experience with an elimination diet.
About a month ago I started an elimination diet to figure out what I was food allergies and intolerances to. I have a chronic kidney condition, and tests were showing that my condition was possibly getting worse. I consulted with my Naturopath and we realized I had awful digestion (and had my whole life), which showed up in many illness (constant ear and throat infections when I was young), aches and pains (massive knee inflammation at times, lower back), and skin symptoms (previous cystic acne, excema, psoriasis), migraines as a child throughout my entire life. So I had two options, do a $300 allergy test, or try an elimination diet! I had always been a great eater (and by this I mean I don’t eat processed foods, I eat vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts and seats, and whole unprocessed carbs), so I couldn’t figure out what wasn’t working with my digestion!
I decided to try the diet 🙂
So for 2 weeks straight I ate Kale, Chicken, Pears, Brown Rice, Olive Oil, and Green Tea, ONLY! It was actually not as tough as I thought it would be, or it might have been a few years back. Reason being:
1) I used to have plenty of issues with binging, craving, overeating, stress eating, emotional eating, because I was constantly under eating and over exercising to try and lose weight. I also wasn’t actively doing anything to deal with all the stress and emotional crap that comes up in life. So as a result I had a wild relationship with food. Now, while trying to do the elimination diet things were completely different. Because I actively seek out ways to handle my emotions, I no longer turn to food or drink to bring me pleasure, comfort, energy, stress relief etc., I use it for fuel! Also, I wasn’t trying to restrict calories, so I found it very simple and easy to just have as much rice, kale, chicken, and olive oil I wanted!
2) For once I was eating certain foods/following a plan that would better my health. It had nothing to do with weight loss for me. As a result I was 100 % committed, so when I was grocery shopping and I saw the hummus, or power cookies, or bananas (some of my favourite foods) they didn’t even phase me!!
While doing the diet I also noticed:
There were a few days that I didn’t even want to eat. This was new to me! I am a huge fan of eating lots of good nutritious foods to fuel your workouts. What I realized while doing this is that I don’t always need to eat certain foods, at certain times for optimal energy. I relaxed a little bit, and if I ate dinner at 9 pm, or skipped breakfast it wasn’t a huge deal. The body does need to detox every once in awhile, and by lowering the amount of food you eat temporarily you allow those organs to rest!
Also- the days that I did MASSIVE workouts, or spent 12 hours at work, or was super stressed out about something I got extremely bloated. I learned that stressful situations were causing my bloating just as much as certain foods were!
Well, about two weeks into the elimination diet my whole word took a major shift! All of a sudden I was becoming extremely emotional about my relationship, and other aspects of my life. What was happening? There were things in my life I could no longer ignore, and WITHOUT THE DISTRACTION OF FOOD, MY LIFE GOT REAL! When I was having a feeling or emotion there was no making a pot of earl grey tea to perk up, or having a snack and reading a book. It was almost as if I detoxed a ton of psychological and emotional crap just as much as I detoxed my body! I firmly believe that some of the major choices and decisions I have made over the past few weeks were from becoming very clear headed during this elimination.
Unfortunately, as I started to slowly introduce foods back in, I at the same time was going through major relationship changes, moving my belongings, yet at the same time going intentionally homeless, and starting another side business, as a result I didn’t have the capacity to fully commit to the reintroduction of food. It was causing a million times more stress than benefits at this point. Normally you reintroduce one food at a time every 3 days to see how your body feels. I tested a few foods, and noticed that with sweet potato my knees got achy, and after weeks of not eating fat my body was not ready to tolerate too much. Reintroducing alcohol did not go so well, even after one glass of wine I feel sluggish, foggy, and sore the next day!
During the process I completely eliminated my bloating that I had been suffering from for years, my digestion improved, I had increased energy, and felt like I was losing weight. These are all signs I definitely had been consuming something I was intolerant to!
I fully believe in the elimination diet, and plan on finishing up when my life settles down a little bit. But at this point I think the easier route would be to do the allergy test! Haha…
The moral of this blog:
Food has a powerful effect on your physical and psychological self. I think it is very important to examine the effect it is having on your body. Food can cause migraines, disease states, emotional problems, depression, anxiety, physical aches and pains, and a million other conditions. What does your relationship with food look like? Are you interested in doing an elimination diet to figure it out??