16 April 2012

Elimination Diet :: Day 2


It's Day 2 of the elimination diet, and in my mind what that really means is Day 2 with NO COFFEE. (Whimper). It's also Day 2 of wondering why in the world I've committed myself to this yet again. And then I put it on the internet, so now I've got to follow through.

Pffffft. Why am I doing this again?!

Oh yeah. I want to  feel good, have more energy, rid my diet of crap, and all that.

So just in case anyone reading this is thinking of doing an elimination diet of this or any other sort, I want to be upfront about some of the obstacles/discouragements/roadblocks I've encountered in my experiences.


Obstacle #1: TIRED!!
I remembered quickly one of the many things that makes this diet difficult, and it's this: there's a whole lot of TIRED right at the beginning. Nobody warned me about this before I did the diet for the first time, so if you're thinking of doing something like this, let me tell you: you're going to be extraordinarily tired for the first 3 days or so (like many things, I imagine this is different for everyone) while your body adjusts to a brand new way of eating.

You will never be so tempted to cheat and indulge in your morning coffee, that cup of green tea, or reach for that can of soda. DON'T DO IT. As they say, this too shall pass.

Obstacle #2: Inconvenient
Another thing that makes this diet difficult is that it's hardly convenient. When you eliminate all the foods on the list (and any foods that contain any of the ingredients), it pretty much leaves foods in their natural state, and you cursing at every nutritional facts label you see. Even the vast majority of those of us who pride ourselves on eating healthy are in the habit of reaching for convenient, prepared foods (think: sauces, dressings, marinades, dips, bread, cereal, granola bars, I could go on and on ...). The majority of them will not be elimination diet friendly.

Case in point: I like having chicken salad on some gluten-free crackers as part of my lunch. Since mayonnaise contains eggs, I knew that was out. So I looked up the ingredients of Vegenaise (a vegan version of mayonnaise) and was going down the list of ingredients until I got to the last one: lemon juice concentrate.

Are you kidding me?! Citrus? (another elimination diet no-no). Everything on the ingredients was diet-legal up until that point. And obviously a very healthy alternative to mayonnaise, but not okay for this particular diet.


Yeah. No matter where it falls on the list of ingredients, anything that contains anything that's not allowed is ... well, not allowed.

Obstacle #3: Rationalizing
We took a 3-hour nap yesterday afternoon, we were so tired. Though I've tried it before with making exceptions to the diet for myself, it just doesn't work -- even with a lot of self control. I found myself asking James, "Should we allow ourselves a cheat day?" and "Should we do the elimination diet, except for the caffeine part?"

You know what he said to me?


That's right. Barely one full day down, and I was proposing that we cheat. Even if I'm 99.999% certain that caffeine doesn't offend my body in any way, the diet is easier to stick to if you keep to the whole thing. Because if you allow yourself one exception, pretty soon it's two, then three, and before you know it you're like, "What elimination diet?"


What we've eaten
So, I did promise to share some of the things we've eaten so far on the diet to demonstrate that this can be done!! (Need to practice what I preach, eh?)

Quinoa with chicken, sauteed kale & grape tomatoes with a white wine-cumin dressing
If you haven't yet discovered quinoa (pronounced "keen - wah"), it's time you did. Though it cooks and acts like a grain in a lot of ways, it's actually a seed. It's extremely versatile and very, very healthy (think: protein, fiber, and amino acids). I grilled some chicken with salt and pepper, and did the same in a separate pan for the kale and grape tomatoes. Then I added this dressing from a Cooking Light recipe.

And it was yummy.

As far as breakfasts go, I had to be inventive. While there are plenty of permissible grains and starches on the elimination diet, I'm trying to limit those as much as I can. It took a lot of chopping, but this is what we came up with:

Sweet potato & tofu hash with kale, sweet peppers, and mushroom

Prep-heavy, to be sure ... but definitely worth the effort.

If you'll excuse me now, I'm off to enjoy another dinner. Stay tuned. :o)


  1. Woohoo! Keep the updates coming, girlie! I so love reading what you have to say. And I found the warnings very helpful to receive. Even though I'm not (at this point) doing the elimination diet, I am trying to re-integrate some healthier choices in my life again, and you're right: rationalizing is such a slippery slope! It was helpful to feel the comradeship that comes from people making tough choices together. xo

  2. Sigh. I'm with both you and Christianne. Such a slippery slope. I'm going to write a bit about food and my body again later this week, but let's just say this hasn't been the best month for me either, and I've seen the opposite results of what I would like thanks to that slippery slope of rationalizing.

    (I have to admit that reading about the exhaustion makes me so thankful that I just don't like the taste of coffee and never got hooked on caffeine. On the other hand, sugar, well, that IS a nemesis/addiction of mine)