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Elimination Diet Round Two: Conclusion

November 1, 2012

Ghee-Jar

This elimination diet reinforced the idea for me that just because something is considered paleo compliant, and all the other paleo kids are eating it, doesn’t mean that you should eat it too. I believe that the basic paleo guidelines fit everyone, but from there, you really have to do your own experimentation to see what is right for you. And that doesn’t  just go for people who have autoimmune diseases. I have some occasional unresolved joint aches, mostly after exercise, but I don’t have an autoimmune disease (no such symptoms, and ruled out by blood tests). Yet apparently I’m sensitive to tomatoes and potentially to other nightshades as well. I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t done an elimination diet. After all, I’ve eaten tomatoes and tomato paste when dining out with no noticeable ill effects.

Unless you eliminate potentially gut irritating foods with an elimination diet and then individually re-introduce them, you may never learn which foods you are sensitive to. And if you keep unknowingly eating foods that irritate your gut, things could end badly. People don’t get autoimmune diseases overnight. Just like it takes time to heal a leaky gut, it also takes time for it to become increasingly leaky to the point of experiencing symptoms and potentially developing a disease. Doing an elimination diet gives you the opportunity to find out which foods you are sensitive to. It’s up to us to decide what we do with that information, but ultimately knowledge is power.

No tomatoes for me.

I’m very glad that I went through this exercise again. I learned that I definitely need to stay away from tomatoes, both raw and cooked. That’s unfortunate because I was really looking forward to cooking stuff like chili. So, I won’t be buying tomatoes to cook with or eat at home. And I’ll do my best to avoid them when I eat out, although I won’t be as strict about them as I would with something like gluten which I consider to be much more damaging.

Welcome back, eggs.

I’m very happy that eggs appear to be okay. They’re incredibly nutritious, and such a cooking staple.

Oh, dairy.

As for butter… I made a batch of ghee. I would like to experiment with not eating dairy for a while longer. As I write this, it’s almost been two months without dairy. I don’t know how much longer I’ll continue, mostly because I do believe that certain dairy products can be nutritious (especially high fat butter and cream). And I don’t believe that dairy is as harmful as some of the other foods the paleo diet eliminates. When I first started the paleo/primal diet, I reduced my dairy consumption quite a bit. And after this elimination diet I will reduce it further.

If anything, I have learned how unnecessary dairy can be. I feel like sometimes I add dairy to recipes for the sake of adding it, whereas the recipe would’ve been completely fine without it (e.g. the celery root purée I just made). So when I start eating dairy again, it’ll be even less than before. I will also be more picky in terms of quality. Preferably, I’ll stick mostly to high fat, organic, and pastured (unfortunately, I don’t have access to raw organic dairy which would be ideal, especially if pastured).

Conclusion

It’s been over a week now since I finished the re-introductions. It’s amazing what a great re-set the elimination diet was to my way of eating. I’m reluctant to consume sugar. This past weekend I was entertaining and had the most sugar I’ve consumed in a while.  And really, it was only a few nut/date/chocolate energy balls, a handful of chocolate covered pistachios, half a slice of flourless chocolate cake, a few pieces of dark chocolate and a few glasses of wine. Really not all that terrible, even by paleo standards. And you know what? It made me feel like crap. So it’s definitely beneficial to have these stretches of super clean eating to break out of bad habits and let your body cleanse. I will certainly be doing another one of these elimination diets in the future. I’ll probably test eggs and butter again, perhaps some other dairy as well, and maybe finish off the nightshade group. I hope to maintain a pretty clean way of eating until then.

Have you done an elimination diet? How did it go?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna November 1, 2012 at 6:14 AM

I use red peppers sometimes in place of tomatoes. They make great sauces, dips etc. However they are nightshades too, so maybe you can’t tolerate them either…

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[email protected] November 1, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Thanks for the tip about peppers. I’m guessing they wouldn’t make the best substitute if I’m sensitive to the nightshade family, but someone might find it useful if they tolerate peppers and not tomatoes.

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Brian January 27, 2013 at 6:01 PM

I have problems with raw tomatoes and peppers. If they are cooked they aren’t a problem for me.

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Lauri February 9, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Starting a paleo/primal regime last year helped me zero in on coconut (and nuts in general) as the main culprit for me. And, the excitement of finding another paleo person at the grocery yesterday wore off even faster when she pulled the “but coconut is good for you!” line. Sigh…it doesn’t matter how good a food is, if you can’t tolerate it, it’s not good for you.

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[email protected] February 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I completely agree. You have to listen to your own body. If your body doesn’t like it, reacts, etc. then clearly it’s not good for YOU, regardless of its nutritional profile.

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