|Photo by cwbuecheler|
Today is Day 18 of my elimination diet – more than halfway through. The way I see it, there are 3 phases, 3 opportunities to glean information.
The first is the elimination phase. The question being, do you feel better, having eliminated certain potential offenders? I’m not quite done yet, so my answer may still change. But thus far, I haven’t noticed any appreciable differences, for better or for worse, other than weight loss. However, as I pay close attention to how I’m feeling over the past couple of weeks, I think I have more questions than answers…
Maintaining the status quo
It’s difficult to keep everything else constant, other than the eliminated foods. Fact is, those foods get replaced by something else. On one hand, this is fine, because that’s what would happen in the long run if those foods were found to be troublemakers. But on the other hand, it’s just the early stages of a revised diet that I haven’t really tinkered with.
For example, I question whether I’m eating enough fats. This potential shift in macronutrient ratios can have a big effect. I used to slather butter on everything. And heavy cream would more often than not find its way into my diet as well. Plus the occasional high fat dairy snack. To maintain a higher level of fat, I’ve mostly turned to coconut. I use beef tallow for cooking, but for re-heating and general consumption, it’s coconut oil. Although tasty in its own right, it can’t even begin to compare to butter, IMHO. This might affect how much of it I eat, even though I’ve been trying to be mindful of this bias.
But this brings up another confounding factor – I’ve been eating WAY more coconut lately. In addition to coconut oil, I’ve also had some coconut milk smoothies to up the fat, which is unusual for me. And my go-to snack has become coconut manna. How is this increase in coconut consumption affecting me? I guess since I’m not noticing anything out of the ordinary, it might not be. But still, it’s hardly the status quo that I started out with.
How’s it going?
I’m saving money :P In social situations, I either refrain from eating, and only drink water, or when appropriate I suggest meeting over “coffee” instead (rooibos tea for me). One of the foods I’m avoiding is bound to be sneak its way into a meal out, and since it’s just for a month, it hasn’t been worth the risk for me to potentially affect the outcome of the diet. And that also means I’m even more anal than usual about reading ingredient labels. For example, some sausages I was about to purchase had paprika, as did the plain mustard (?!) my friend used in a recipe we were making (oops!). I’m doing my best, without getting too crazy about all this.
Also, I dropped those 5 lbs that I gained by overeating. They just kind of fell off within the first 10 days. Could be because of less/healthier snacking, eating less in general, or because of an eliminated food group making weight loss easier. Either way, yay!
The interesting thing is that because this is a temporary diet (I hope), I haven’t fully committed to it. Instead of finding great new recipes, I’m coasting along, keeping things as simple as possible. I’ve been eating a lot of salads + protein (usually chicken), veggies + meat (usually beef), burgers (turkey or lamb), and breakfast sausages (all natural, turkey or lamb). Sounds pretty paleo, right? Obviously tons of people eat this stricter version of paleo, although most do include nightshades and eggs.
I miss eggs! I usually have either sausages or eggs for breakfast, and now I’m just left with sausages. Oh, and I miss cheese… especially on burgers.
The re-introduction phase is coming up. Ideally, if there’s a reaction, it’ll be blatantly obvious rather than subtle. Because as I’ve been paying more attention to how I feel, there’s fluctuations from day to day and week to week – energy levels, post-workout muscle soreness, etc. I sometimes think – wow, if I had re-introduced a food today, then it’d probably be shouldering the blame.
The third phase will involve seeing how I feel after I’m eating “normally” again, with the re-introduced foods that “passed” the test.
So hopefully between the 3 phases, I’ll gather some helpful information. At the very least, I won’t have to wonder – what if I hadn’t been too lazy to do an elimination diet? And as far as health is concerned, no news is good news, right? So perhaps I should stop sounding bored, and be grateful thus far :P
Also, I want to emphasize that this is all n=1. People’s mileage will vary. Some people may experience very dramatic results, even in the first phase, which will radically impact their health (I’ve read countless such stories). So regardless of what my results will be, I strongly encourage tinkering with one’s diet. And I think that the elimination diet is one of the most valuable tools for doing just that.
Have you done an elimination diet? What were your observations?