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The Results of My Elimination Diet
In October of 2019, I took a food sensitivity test. The results gave me a list of foods that I could have a high, moderate, or no sensitivity to. I read about elimination diets and decide to do one in January of 2020 for the foods that were flagged high. You can read more about why I started an elimination diet HERE. The results of my elimination diet are below.
What foods did I give up?
The two major categories of food that were flagged as high sensitivity were all dairy and soy. There were also foods like mushrooms, certain types of fish, all apples, and some alcohol. I wasn’t concerned about those foods because I rarely eat them. However, I’ve been eating dairy and soy my whole life so I knew the month would be difficult.
I cleaned out the pantry and fridge to make sure there was nothing to tempt me. I told my family for accountability and bought a food journal to document the foods I was eating and how my body was reacting.
Week one started out strong. I went to the store and bought dairy/soy-free organic protein powder for my morning smoothies, and dairy/soy-free snacks.
I didn’t meal plan because I typically get stressed out on Pinterest looking at the hundreds of recipes, choosing which ones to make and then go to the grocery store. So I planned on drinking my smoothie for breakfast and then eating HelloFresh meals for dinner and leftovers for lunch.
HelloFresh allows you to see food allergens when you select your meals so I was able to stick to my elimination diet and eat delicious meals.
During week 2 I started to see some improvements. I didn’t feel as sluggish and wasn’t crashing during the middle of the day. I had more energy and my body felt good.
This week brought some challenges because I went out to eat a couple of times. Eating out was difficult because I had to think carefully about what I was ordering. Is the sauce creamy? Is there cheese? Was it made with butter? etc. However, thinking about these things made me order some of the healthiest menu options by default.
Because I was noticing physical and mental changes, it was easy for me to keep strong and stick to my diet.
Week three was by far the hardest week. Life got a little crazy and bad habits began to creep up.
I don’t struggle with binge eating, but I do enjoy some ice cream, fried chicken, or a good cheeseburger when I’m stressed. Without even thinking (it’s a habit so I didn’t have to think) I ordered a cheeseburger from ShakeShack. It was heavenly.
The next morning I felt like crap. Bloated and sluggish, like how you felt as a kid when you would eat candy all night with your friends. I got back on track just to fall off a few days later when I found some chocolate. Within an hour of eating the chocolate, I had a headache.
Even though the week sucked, I didn’t allow the bumps in the road to completely derail me. I chose to get up and stick to my diet.
During week four I was anxious for it to end. In an elimination diet, you reintroduce foods after four weeks of eliminating them. I wanted to reintroduce butter or soy sauce to see if I reacted to those small things that you use to cook with.
I finished the week strong despite the previous week and the stress (Doggie was sick and needed surgery. Everything is fine now). I was extremely proud of myself for giving up after the third week.
Did I see results from doing an elimination diet? The answer is, YES.
What results did I see? Before I get into what I saw, let’s talk about how I felt before the elimination diet. I struggle with weekly headaches and frequent migraines, low energy, waking up during the night, and feeling bloated the majority of the time.
During the four weeks, I began to notice that I was sleeping well, my headaches weren’t as severe and common, and I felt lighter. It could have been a mental thing because I knew I was eating better, but I’ll enjoy the feeling regardless.
After the diet, when I reintroduced foods I was able to see and feel how my body was reacting. When I ate a meal with cheese, my stomach started to turn and I felt gross the next day. When I reintroduced soy, my body felt tight and uncomfortable the next morning.
I tried eating meals that only contained butter as the dairy and didn’t see a reaction. Thank goodness because I love cooking with butter! I’m concluding that my body can’t handle large quantities of dairy or soy.
Am I going to go dairy/soy-free?
Now that I know, dairy and soy affect me I’ve decided to cut it out as much as possible. Will I deprive myself at parties if all their food has dairy? Not at all! I am choosing to occasionally enjoy food with dairy and soy but not allow it to be my main consumed food category.
Are you thinking about doing an elimination diet? Comment below with any questions!