Elimination diets are becoming a fad – take Whole30 for example. It’s a time to detox your body and get back on track by eating non-processed whole foods.
I decided to go on an elimination diet (similar to Whole30) for thyroid reasons (the glorious Hashimoto’s disease).
The path to healing begins with food and finding what foods trigger inflammation in your body.
The difference between my diet and the Whole30 diet was that I could have legumes, organic brown rice, and three teaspoons of organic natural sugar a day, but I couldn’t have coffee or beef (I ate mainly salmon, chicken and turkey). I also had stricter limits when it came to food labels.
My biggest challenges on the diet were my cravings in the beginning. I went from eating yogurt (my favorite food) and drinking coffee everyday to not having it at all. I also found it challenging in the beginning to navigate grocery store aisles and find foods I could eat. Once I found my staples, it wasn’t hard at all!
Groceries did get a little more expensive for my diet. I tried my best to stick with Trader Joe’s to save money rather than go to Whole Foods. See the pictures below for a comparison of spending $40 at Trader Joe’s and $30 at Whole Foods (yikes). I started buying pantry items, like coconut wraps and clean ketchup, from Thrive Market. If you use it semi-regularly, you end up saving more than what the membership costs. I love it!
Despite the challenges, I’m a believer that everyone should go on an elimination diet at least once. Here’s why based on my experience and what I learned.
If it’s healthy for everyone, it doesn’t always mean it’s healthy for you.
Just because something is advertised as healthy, doesn’t mean it will react well with your body. I’ve been eating avocados for the LONGEST time because they’re cute (you can’t disagree) and because all the dietitians tell you they’re a healthy fat.
I always felt gross after eating them, but I honestly thought it was because I didn’t like the texture. It turns out I have a very high food sensitivity to avocados. Those little boogers were making me feel bad! The elimination diet helps you identify foods that may be the cause of symptoms from stomach aches to headaches, etc.
If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.
I made sure to eat all the non-diet food out of my fridge and cabinets before going on the diet. I knew I didn’t need that temptation. I literally ate yogurt for breakfast, lunch, and a snack after dinner (5 yogurts total, oops) the day before starting the diet.
When all you have is healthy things in your fridge and pantry, you will eat it. It seems simple, but I know… It’s terribly difficult letting go of the yogurt.
Always read your food labels.
This one might just be the most important. Before going on my diet, I’d grab the first marinara sauce I saw on the shelf at the store. Bad move. You have no idea how many additives people add in their products until you start reading. There are smarter choices out there, and to me, it’s worth the extra 50 cents to buy the better stuff.
Variety is best.
After around day seven on the elimination diet, you really start to get bored of the same fruits and veggies. Making sure you’re getting a variety of foods not only gives you added nutrients from all sorts of sources, it also keeps you from getting bored. My elimination diet made me a much better cook (granted I wasn’t that good to begin with) because I had to come up with different food combinations and substitutions to keep it interesting.
Listen to your body.
After coming off the elimination diet, I feel like I had so much more energy. The reintroduction part of the diet is just as important as the first 30 days. Bringing the eliminated foods back into your diet one at a time to see how they make you feel is the whole purpose in doing the diet. I didn’t realize how food could affect the way I felt so much. So listen to your body and how it feels based on the foods you put into it.
In the end, it takes a lot of self control to take out those foods that cause inflammation in your body or make you feel bad, but it’s completely worth the sacrifice in my opinion.
Have you ever tried an elimination diet?