We find ourselves in an elimination diet of sorts. Nick and my concept of DIET being our Daily Intake of Every Thing means that taking inventory of everything we take in, through thought, sight, breath, eating, drinking or putting on our skin, has a direct effect on how we feel and how we show up in the world. So it is no surprise that as we let go of our belongings and our home, we are on what amounts to a massive elimination diet, and its effects are very similar to the purely dietary one (and we are literally losing a lot of weight!) The first few days come with a type of withdrawal, a slight anxiety about losing ourselves along with losing our stuff. Then comes the euphoric stage of freedom, of realizing how well – or even better – we can do with less.
When we do a cleanse, this is when we start feeling free from cravings and start really enjoying true nourishment from food, eating for health rather than instant pleasure. Then eventually we find the balance of allowing for pleasure while focusing on health (and realizing again and again how pleasurable healthy food is), and we can start slowly introducing some old favorites and testing whether they fuel us properly or not… and if not, we say goodbye to those foods, at least for a while. Part of the process for our stuff elimination was securing a storage unit, so we can hold on to some of the possessions that we have attached meaning (or pleasure or future utility?) to.
When we return from our trip, we will get to test what is really needed, what ‘sparks joy’ (to put it in Marie Kondo’s terms) and what else we can let go of for good.
In honor of the elimination diet we are currently on, and in anticipation for the 21-Day Group Detox I am offering at Montecito Heights Health Club in April, I wanted to offer you a 3-Day taste of an Elimination Diet. And why should you do such a thing? Here are some answers to inspire you to try it:
- Elimination diets are the gold standard for investigating food sensitivities (being cheaper and more reliable than food sensitivity tests);
- They provide a much needed reset after the cold winter months;
- They allow for us to listen to our bodies more carefully, especially during the challenge phase, when we begin to re-introduce “trigger” foods back into our diet.
You might not be aware of a food sensitivity, yet one (or many) might be at play if you experience any of the following:
- digestive upset, including bloating, abdominal pain and gas,
- foggy brain, and
- joint pain.
How does it work?
- You eliminate certain foods for a period of time, usually 3-4 weeks, then slowly reintroduce specific foods every 3 days and monitor your symptoms for possible reactions.
Making it work for you:
- Clean up your kitchen of trigger foods and shop for the foods you’ll need;
- Keep a diet journal for a week, listing the foods you eat and keeping track of how you feel throughout the day
- Review your journal and ask yourself
- What foods do I eat most often?
- What foods do I crave or have trouble giving up?
Eliminate the following trigger foods:
- Dairy, including all cheeses, milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream,
- Processed meat, eggs, egg substitutes (some elimination diets include eggs, which you can do if you do not suspect an egg sensitivity and can purchase organic/pasture-raised eggs),
- Wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, barley. This includes pastas, bread, crackers, cereals, and other products made from these grains. (You can continue to eat oats, just make sure they are gluten-free),
- Soy (organic tempeh ok for vegetarians, if no sensitivity suspected),
- Peanuts, pistachios (and possibly all nuts if you suspect a sensitivity),
- Coffee, alcohol,
- Refined sugar, including sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup (this usually means no chocolate. candy, cakes, cookies). Natural low-impact sweetener stevia is allowed – as well as raw honey and dark maple syrup in moderation (max. 3 tsp/day). Most fruits are allowed.
- Fried foods, hydrogenated oils, margarine.
Keep these foods off for at least 3 weeks. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, and monitor your sleep, mood, energy, digestion, bowel habits, etc.
Focus on all the amazing foods you can eat, as you will see in the recipes included in the 3-Day Elimination Diet Meal Plan I am offering you.
The challenge phase
After 3 to 4 weeks, you can begin to reintroduce the foods you would like to test and/or keep in your diet.
- Add a new food group every 3 days.
- Start with just a small amount in the morning. If you don’t notice any symptoms, eat two larger portions in the afternoon and evening.
- After a day of eating the new food, remove it, and wait for two days to see if you notice the symptoms.
- If a food doesn’t cause symptoms during a challenge, it is unlikely to be a problem food and can be added back into your diet.
- Don’t add the food back until you have tested all the other foods on your list.
- You don’t have to add back foods that you want to leave behind for good such as processed foods, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils.
Pay attention to how you feel as you reintroduce foods. Negative reactions can include:
- joint pain and/or inflammation
- skin breakouts or rashes
- bowel changes or GI pain
- brain fog
- sinus or other respiratory issues
Your long-term diet will avoid the foods that cause you discomfort.
The elimination diet is not a perfect test. A lot of other factors (such as a stressful day at work) could interfere with the results. Try to keep things as constant as possible while you are on the diet.
Remember that this is a temporary diet aimed to give you useful insight about your own health and wellbeing. Once the elimination diet is done, you can plan your lifestyle according to what your learned.
Talk to me about what you discovered! If you don’t want to do this alone, join our 21-day group detox at Montecito Heights Health Club starting on April 8th! For details and to register, click here. Registration deadline is Monday, April 1st. If you can’t come to Santa Rosa, email me about working together, either through an elimination diet, individualized coaching, or through an online cleanse. If you want to test this idea for a just a few days – and for FREE, download my 3-Day Elimination Diet Meal Plan with shopping list. Let me know how it works for you! PS: Every time you say no to one thing you are saying yes to something else (and vice versa). When we say no to foods that might be limiting us, we say yes to more energy and vibrant health.
As Nick and I leave our home and the stability we have cultivated here, we are opening up to the possibilities and opportunities the world has to offer us. One of these opportunities has materialized as we will be speaking at the SAND conference in Italy, presenting “How to Optimize Your DIET: Your Daily Intake of Every Thing” in July. More possibilities await us in Denmark, Norway and Portugal. Please follow us on Instagram to get updates on our international DIETing. The adventures will begin July 1. With love, Thais & Nick