I’ve been posting about elimination diets: what it is, why to do one, how to do one, etc. I’ve tried to make it generic so you have guidance, but can tailor it to your own situation. Today, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, so you can see how I will apply the information.
Foods I am eliminating
Gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, alcohol and sugar (the processed kind, not the kind found in fruit)
I am eliminating the first 5 foods because those are the ones most commonly known to cause allergic reactions (remember… not just the emergency kind like anaphylaxis, but any sort of reaction by the immune system). As well, they have been shown to be difficult to digest for some people. The alcohol and sugar are being eliminated simply because those “foods” make the body work harder and they cause inflammation.
Symptoms I am tracking
Physically, I will be looking for changes in psoriasis (my autoimmune disease), hives, nasal congestion (I use a neti pot every morning), ankle stiffness, sleep patterns, belching, bloating/abdominal distension after eating (especially for how long), dark circles under eyes, mood/irritability, and energy level.
For my lab results, I will have my blood tested in 3 – 6 months for gluten and celiac disease antibodies, thyroid hormone levels, ferritin (the storage form of iron), B12, calcium, and vitamin D. All of these have been off by either a little or a lot and I want to see how my diet affects my body’s physiology and ability to absorb/use nutrients.
What I will eat
I don’t generally look for substitutions when I change my diet, primarily because I actually love food (the taste, the texture) and most substitutes can’t compare to the original (in my opinion). For example, I have yet to eat a gluten-free substitute that I think is as good as the gluten-containing variety! Plus, replacing these eliminated foods with another type of food gives me a chance to pack some really nutrient-rich foods into my diet, where perhaps they have been lacking due to holiday eating.
During this elimination diet, I will be eating a lot of protein (meat, fish, poultry, beans/legumes except soy), vegetables (primarily the non-starchy kind), fruit (I don’t worry about the “sugar” in it), and nuts. I can also have some starchy foods like potatoes, rice and peas, but I don’t intend to eat them every day.
My day will generally look like:
- Breakfast: smoothie
- Lunch: salad or soup (all prep done the weekend before so it’s easy on the day I’ll eat it)
- Dinner: protein and 2 veg (like a sweet potato and broccoli or butternut squash puree and kale)
- Snacks: hummus with carrots, almond butter with celery, apple or pear, grapefruit, unsalted nuts or seeds (raw is best, but dry roasted unsalted is also good)
(Note: your situation may not allow this pattern of eating, if for example you have a medical condition or religious belief that requires the exclusion of certain foods. This isn’t meant to be a prescription, just an example of how I will apply it. If you have a specific question about how you might apply this, comment and I’ll do my best to answer.)