I just completed a 30 day elimination diet, followed by two weeks of re-introduction. I’ve done an elimination diet once in the past, to test for eggs, butter, cream, and dairy in general. The main purpose this time around was to “reset” my eating habits. As many of you can probably relate to, I relaxed my diet a bit during the summer, mostly in terms of sugar consumption. I figured I was due for some super clean eating to break those patterns. I also figured that if I’m already going to cut out quite a few items from my diet for a month, I may as well take it a little further and do a full on elimination diet.
The only thing left to do was decide what to test for. I opted for nightshades because I’ve been generally avoiding them as a precautionary measure. Since nightshades are paleo compliant, I wanted a definitive answer as to whether or not they affect me.
The actual elimination portion of the diet went well. Last time I did an elimination diet, I felt rather deprived. I focused a lot on all the foods I wasn’t allowed to eat. This time around, I decided to focus on nourishing myself. I made sure I ate enough food so that I wasn’t hankering after snacks. I sipped on bone broth to help with the nourishment. It worked. I didn’t have cravings and I felt well-fed.
I was also a little more strict this time around. In addition to eliminating the usual suspects as per the previous time, I didn’t eat any prepared foods whatsoever, which also meant that I didn’t eat out even once. I didn’t want any rogue ingredients to sneak into my diet and mess up my results. For example, last time around I had sausages from Whole Foods for breakfast, but even though they list ingredients, I decided that was too much of an unknown (what if something was mislabeled or cross-contaminated, or not listed because it only contained a miniscule amount). Eating this way required plenty of planning and preparation. I batch cooked everything, including breakfasts. I couldn’t have my usual sausage and eggs, so I made lamb patties, meatballs, apple spice turkey, and shepherd’s pie. And I always planned my outings around meal times so that I could eat at home (or pack something to take with me). It was a little more work, but I feel it was worth it. Interestingly, rather than missing certain foods, this time around I missed the experience of dining out.
I can’t say I really felt much different on the elimination diet. I had a general sense of well-being in terms of being well-nourished and having a positive relationship with my food (not over eating, not consuming sugar, no cravings, etc.). But there was no noticeable change in the way I felt in general. I did effortlessly lose 5 lbs that had crept up on me over the past few months.
For the re-introduction phase, the plan was to re-introduce the following in this order: 1) tomato paste, 2) raw tomatoes, 3) nightshade spices (curry, paprika, etc.), and 4) bell peppers. The logic was that I’d be the least likely to react to cooked tomato paste. Plus, out of the nightshade family, it’s the ingredient I have to pass on the most when cooking, and one that I’d like to be able to re-introduce guilt-free. Honestly, out of all the nightshades though, curry is the only one thing I really care about. Which is probably why I consume it as if I were in denial about it actually being a nightshade.
Curious how the re-introduction phase went? Read:
How did you feel on an elimination diet? Did you notice a difference in your health? Any tips to share with others?
Shared with Fight Back Fridays.