Why I'm Starting an Elimination "Diet"
Okay so, I hate the word 'diet'... but all that will be for another post. However, I have decided to delve into the process of finding out what foods work biologically for my body and which don't. So, what is an elimination diet and why am I doing it?
Well, I'm very suspect that I have food sensitivities/reactions that I haven't properly addressed. I'm not sure exactly what they are so I guess that's the whole purpose of this elimination process! I have been thinking for some time that I have some form of Leaky Gut Syndrome...which can be caused by food sensitivities. This is common, and often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are harder to read. It occurs when the gut lining of our intestines is not sealed tightly, and undigested food, nutrients and toxins leak into our bodies before they are properly digested or eliminated. Essentially, foods that shouldn't be going into our blood do. This causes an increase in inflammation in the body which leads to MANY other conditions including digestive discomfort, skin reactions, autoimmune disorders, sluggishness, weight gain, lack of energy, and so on. Leaky gut can be caused by use of antibiotics, yeast overgrowth, food sensitivities and stress (YUP). Basically any body disorder begins in the gut, goes to the brain, and shows up throughout the body, as most functional medical practitioners would argue. The whole shebang is way to detailed to cover in this post, and I am not a specialist in the topic of any sort, but basically I am looking to heal my gut to rid my body of the symptoms that come along with it through an elimination protocol.
Essentially, the only way to truly know which foods jive with your body (its biological!) and which don't, is to eliminate them for at least 3 weeks, then slowly introduce each suspicious food for a couple of days and watch for symptoms. If, after the elimination period, a food causes me uncomfortable symptoms (digestive discomfort, breakouts, etc...), then I will know that my body doesn't react well to it and greatly reduce the amount I eat the food. That is basically what an elimination diet is. It's really just fine-tuning my lifestyle to make it work for me and my body to create a body bursting with clarity and energy!
Which foods am I looking to eliminate? Well, the most common food sensitivities/allergies are: gluten and grains, dairy, sugar, soy, peanuts, corn, alcohol, and eggs. Yes. I'm crying. Anyone that knows me knows that I eat eggs everyday. They're a huge staple in my diet and I think of them as the complete food- proteins, fats, nutrients. But yes, I am suspicious that they are not vibing with my gut lately (since I eat so many of them...) so I have decided to take a little break from them to be sure. I am also eliminating nuts as they can be hard for the digestive system. I don't think I am sensitive to them exactly, but for the purpose of healing my digestive tract, they are best to be avoided for the duration of the elimination period. I do find that soaking and dehydrating nuts does do WONDERS to how my body digests them (but more on that later). The other foods will be fairly easy for me to completely eliminate because I do not eat them much to begin with, like gluten, dairy and soy. Alcohol, however, may be more difficult. I am a 19 year old uni student in Scotland, after all. Alcohol for sure is not a rare sighting around here, that's for sure. We'll just see how that one goes... ;)
What will I be eating? Lots of nutrient rich vegetables (leafy greens, squashes, sweet potatoes), clean proteins (chicken, beef, seafood), and LOTS of healing fats, because...always. They're very healing to the gut and a must in the healing department. So basically, the uszh (how do you spell that???).
So, I am basically doing this 'diet' to find which foods my body does not react to for sure. It'll definitely be trial and error, and definitely difficult, but I am hoping I will figure out within 3-6 weeks which foods I react to and which ones I can handle! Then I can be a little more knowledgable on what is best for me. I will update the blog on my findings as I go about the process, but I am excited to finally get my gut on track and working properly!
Its also interesting to note that gut disorders, like the leaky gut syndrome, affect how our bodies operate and digest and assimilate nutrients. If you have a leaky gut, which I am trying to figure out for myself, then your body won't absorb the nutrients in the foods properly. This means that while you think you may be getting all that Vitamin A, B, C, D, etc... you may not be. Its really important to heal the gut lining so that it is no longer permeable to things it shouldn't be. Then, it can work in conjunction with the rest of your body to give you optimal energy, brain clarity, clear skin and no digestive discomfort! That is the goal...
I am starting this protocol on 3 October 2016 and thought I should blog about it to really make myself accountable for it. I want to make it clear this is not a 'diet' in the conventional use of the world, it is simply a temporary period of eliminating foods only to reintroduce them slowly to know if the body can digest them. It is not to lose weight or all that crap that 'diets' promise... Just to be the best. HEALTHY version of myself!
Have you ever heard or tried an elimination diet? Have any foods that you make suspect are causing your body troubles?
Sources for Elimination Diet Information: