Truly, I had meant to blog more in the past two weeks, but as usual, life happened. Overall, I’m not terribly pleased with the results of the Elimination Diet so far. I’ve followed it perfectly, what little information there is on it. That was one of the disappointments: buying The Whole Food Nutrition Cookbook for the purpose of more detailed description and guidance on their elimination diet. Well, turns out, that there is a whole three sparse pages dedicated to the Elimination Diet in the book. It’s chock full of yummy recipes, but most you can’t have on Phase 1 anyway. There are some gems in there, but really nothing that isn’t for free online in a myriad of places. I’m rather disappointed in the book. It was near $20 with tax, so I almost returned it. However, as an author who knows how important every sale is, who knows the reason you put up free information on your blog is in hopes of an eventual sale, I kept the book. Even though it was disappointing for the Elimination Diet, it is The Whole Food Nutrition Kitchen website that provided me with most of my information on this diet and lots of new, interesting foods to try and recipes to alter.
Secondly, although it’s a pretty restrictive diet for the first two weeks, I found that it wasn’t restrictive enough for me. Most of my symptoms (gut issues, fatigue, depression/anxiety) have not cleared up, or–at best–cleared up for a day or two here and there. Although, to be fair, the pain pills I ended up having to take from oral surgery starting on Day 6 didn’t help, possibly causing most of the gut issues I’m trying to remedy (bloating, constipation/diarrhea, and excessive gas) and possibly even some depression, as they are all, of course, side effects of Vicodin and prescription-strength Ibuprofen. The major upsetting personal shock that happened on Day 4 didn’t help matters either. The anxiety from this certainly caused some severe diarrhea, and it’s impossible to know whether or not it was partially detox.
All that said, I did notice that I took this major personal blow in relative stride after the initial shock wore off. This event was something I thought I wouldn’t be able to survive just a few days before when I spoke of it hypothetically. When it became my new reality, I found I not only survived it, but I actually felt happy in the days following it at many times. Still deeply concerned about what had happened, but not suicidal or in dark despair over it, and that’s not nothing.
In addition to all those unneeded variables throwing confusion into the process, the diet itself isn’t restrictive enough for me. I knew from my preliminary experimentation before I left for England that I had a sensitivity to onions and a possible fructose malabsorption issue. Most of the smoothies contain apples and pears, which I left out much of the time because of their excess fructose. Every lunch or dinner recipe is full of onions or leeks or garlic. I substitute the onions with celery, but I wonder what else I should be leaving out. I did try about a 1/4c of leeks on Day 8 in a huge pot of soup. I felt sad and tired the following day (Day 9), but since I was in such disbelief that small amount of leeks caused it, not to mention descending into that darkness, I ate the rest of the soup on Day 10. After all the money spent on these organic whole foods, I wasn’t going to waste two whole meals! The depression increased the next morning and the following day, resulting in a very dark day indeed on Day 12 (second day of Phase 2, introducing lemons, of which I had the juice of one all week). A few of those days between Day 8 and 12, I slept as much as 15 hours in a single day. 10-12 at night, then a nap for 2-3 hours in the afternoon.
Who knows, maybe it wasn’t the leeks! I had also been indulging in these delicious Cinnamon-Sunflower Truffles, made with date, which, turns out, are high in fructose.
To complicate matters more, the darkest day was also the full moon, which has been known to affect my moods in the past, especially when it coincides with PMS. Thankfully, I was in a safer part of my cycle during this full moon.
Still, too many variables, and it’s crazy making. I decided to eat exactly the same the following day, including the yummy truffles, and I felt just fine. Who knows?
I can say this: the times I’ve been clear-headed and have had energy, I’ve felt happier than I have in a good long while. Laughing and dancing-around-the-kitchen happy. Joyful!
And that’s not nothing either.
I haven’t been counting calories like I was before the trip to England, as it became an obsession. The Elimination Diet, as so briefly described in the book, said to eat until satisfied as often as needed and not to worry about calories. So I have done just that. I am down 6 pounds from the 10 I gained while in England, and I’m running more again. Those are all good things.
Today begins Phase 3, where I start introducing foods back one at a time. I’m going to start with bananas in my smoothie this morning, because I’m pretty sure I don’t react to those at all, and then add tomatoes and other nightshade veggies for lunch. After three days of that, all while tracking any reaction in my mind or body, I’ll introduce almonds next. I do miss my almonds and almond milk. That’s for sure.
At the recommendation of a Facebook friend, I also bought The Immune System Recovery Plan by Dr. Susan Blum which goes into more detail about the purpose of an Elimination Diet, although the one in this book is even less restrictive than the diet I’m on now. It’s helpful in explaining how the diet works and the long-term damages done to the body by food intolerances. I can recommend it as well.
Off for my smoothie! Tummy growling!
Pictured Above: Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf, with modifications. I substituted coconut oil for the olive oil, pumpkin and sunflower seeds for the almonds, turmeric for the curry, and celery for the onions. I also added parsnips and rutabaga (swede). It was delicious!