Reflections on the Elimination Diet (one week)::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

A week ago I began what is possibly the only “real” diet I’ve ever embarked on, inasmuch as I don’t generally believe in diets or restricting much of anything (unless it’s toxic). More on that later. Or maybe never. My soapboxes on food are stacked high enough that it’s a bother to climb up and down.

People have asked why I’m doing it – for a month nonetheless. Likely responses might include stomach aches, fatigue, migraines, sinus issues, or some other obvious health issue (all of which the Elimination Diet is used to treat). The truth is, other than feeling generally weary (and how can you ever know whether your diet or your lifestyle is the perpetrator of that?) I longed for a detox. 

The gist of this diet is that you remove the most inflammatory substances for a month, and slowly reintroduce them to see how well (or not) your body processes them: meat, dairy, soy, gluten (wheat), caffeine, alcohol, corn, any non-natural sugar (and even then, in careful moderation), eggs, peanuts, and a few other things. You can read more about it here.

The diet is anti-inflammatory and gives the body time and space to heal. Which is good, as I have a history of inflammation-related complaints. I had an ulcer in college. I’ve had joint pains that don’t seem to likely come from yoga. My skin wasn’t what it used to be. And given the predominance of pitta in my ayurvedic constitution, the Elimination Diet (over the summer, especially!) seemed right.

I really don’t have much to report. Other than giving up caffeine (the headaches felt like dull butter knives thrust into four sides of my head), and going to bars only to order seltzer water and mint, it’s not been that bad. My regular diet – when I’m not being lazy and eating popcorn and a bowl of cereal for dinner, is largely built around the foods I CAN have on this diet: beans, nuts, all vegetables, almond and coconut milks, brown rice, quinoa, non-gluten grains, fruits.

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I actually may be eating more on this diet than I do on some bad (busy) days. Fruit/vegetable smoothies are a must. And I’m remembering how much I enjoy cooking.

The results (so far): I have been waking up earlier (weird) and without an alarm. I don’t feel dips in energy like I used to in the afternoons. I’m tired earlier in the evening. And it forces me to grocery shop much more frequently, rather than waiting till my cupboards are practically empty. It also makes it damn near impossible to go out to eat, unless you’re going to a salad bar or the great and vegan-friendly Till, in which case you’ll get a rare vegan, gluten-free mac & cheese that you didn’t think was humanly possible to make taste good (it did).

Have you ever done the Elimination Diet – or some other detox – you thought worked wonders? What was it?

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