Elimination Diet Surprises: 7 Reasons to Jump In
Elimination diet surprises pleasantly highlight the benefits and possibilities that lie within this 2-month experience. In the first two parts of this series we looked closely at what the elimination diet entails and who may benefit the most, according to research. If you’re still unsure about jumping in, check out these 7 reasons this experience offers more than you think:
- The cravings pass after the first few days. Often we crave the things that cause the most inflammation. If you’re used to eating a lot of sugar, caffeine, wheat, or dairy, you may find that the first week of the elimination is filled with cravings. You may go through a short withdrawal period where you feel lethargic, achy, stiff, or moody. Don’t worry, these symptoms pass quickly. After a couple days, you’ll feel much better – maybe even better than you have in a long time!
- It’s easier if the whole family plays along. If you’re surrounded by food you can’t have, you’ll only want it more. Besides, you’re not a short-order cook! Get the whole family on board (you can do ANYTHING for 3 weeks, right?) and you’ll benefit from the support, plus you’ll be able to have fun with this experience together.
- You don’t need a bazillion new recipes. The trick to pulling off a successful elimination diet is simplicity and planning. For meals, think in terms of the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. This is NOT a calorie-restricted diet. It’s important to eat when you are hungry on the elimination – this process is not about losing weight. Here’s a glimpse at how to create a balanced plate within the elimination diet:
- It’s easy to get the kids on board! I hear about picky eaters all the time, but you know what? It’s really the adults who have a hard time embracing change! Kids are very adaptable, especially when the whole family is on board (see tip #2). Talk to your kids about this experience – children love to feel like they’re part of the process, and they can understand much more than we typically give them credit for. Approaching this as a challenge and tasting new foods together, then talking about how it makes you feel can be a really great bonding experience for families.
- You’ll build self-awareness. Many people don’t realize how food can affect the way they feel over the course of a day. By completing an elimination diet, you’ll build basic body awareness and start recognizing how your energy ebbs and flows in cycles. You’ll start to link your food choices with sleep, your ability to cope with stress, mood, and more. This is an excellent learning opportunity to carry forward in your life!
- You thought you felt great, but you were wrong. I accidentally began my own elimination diet when my son was diagnosed with multiple, severe allergies. The experience is “accidental” because I only restricted my diet to see if my son was getting enough calories and nutrients with all of his required exclusions. I had no idea how powerful this tool could be for my own health. Weeks later, when I had my first bit of wheat, I developed a dull, persistent headache and some serious brain fog. It took awhile for me to link the symptoms to the food, but what nagged at me the most was how familiar my headache felt. I realized that this same dull pain and brain fog was something I considered normal before I started the elimination diet. What a surprise! I didn’t even notice how bad I felt until I felt fantastic. So, goodbye wheat and hello energy and clarity!
- This is a gateway to healthy eating. Really, the elimination diet requires that you eat anti-inflammatory whole foods for three weeks. Aside from what you learn about your reaction to certain foods, approaching your diet simply (see surprise #3) is a practice worth taking forward in your life. You’ll be amazed at just how much you learn about yourself, your food, and your own health by diving into this experience.
Think you’ll dive in and find some elimination diet surprises of your own? Leave a comment below to let me know how it goes! Or, if you’d rather experience an elimination diet under the direction of a clinical nutritionist, schedule a free focus session and we’ll hatch a plan. Give yourself that jumpstart you’ve been craving!