Living with Less Inflammation

elimination diet

In Spring of 2011, my husband and I decided to do an elimination diet. We also found out that most folks (like us before we decided to do one) don’t understand what an elimination diet is. While Tom and Ali give a very nice overview of their elimination diet plan here, I can tell you a few things about it:

1. An elimination diet is designed to help you recognize any food sensitivities you might have.
2. An elimination diet is not easy and will require time and dollars and sacrificing things you want to eat.
3. An elimination diet will, in the long run, help you avoid foods that cause inflammation in your body (and these are different for everyone).

To say it was an undertaking is an understatement. I cooked for probably an average of 2 hours per day. But we lived to tell the tale, and I highly recommend the process. After going through the entire diet, there were still several foods I was “iffy” about…couldn’t decide if I had really reacted to them. So this February we did the entire thing again! Call us crazy, but it was helpful. I indeed tested sensitive to bananas and potatoes. And things that I’m still not sure about are yeast and gluten. My reaction wasn’t very strong, but I feel like there was a reaction there. So who knows? Someday we may need to do it again.

This elimination diet also has a couple pleasant side effects:

1. I feel better than in any other time of my life physically and mentally. Even though I have been struggling with insomnia for over three years, when I eat like this I still have enough energy to tackle the day.
2. Weight loss. Unless you were already eating a ton of veggies, legumes and gluten-free grains, you will be full (there is no caloric restriction on this diet) and shed weight. The first time around I lost about 5 lbs and my husband around 9. This time I shed 8 lbs and my husband 11! Without really trying!

Even if you have no interest in the elimination diet, I cannot recommend enough the cookbook in which it is found. Tom has a Master’s in nutrition and certification in functional medicine. Ali also has a degree in nutrition and is a cooking instructor (it shows….her way with spices and food combinations is amazing). We have only found two recipes in the entire book (and we’ve probably tried over 100 of them) that we didn’t like. That is better than any other cookbook or website’s record for our family! They recently came out with a second cookbook full of more gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free recipes, and I bought that, too. I’ve already found several winners in there as well.

Eating healthy takes dedication and time to adjust, but in the long run, it’s worth it. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Giving our bodies the proper fuel will help them to function optimally.

Anja, 5 1/2

So it’s been a month since you turned 5 1/2, my sweet, but I don’t think you’ve changed enough in those weeks that this is too late to post. 🙂

Anja, at 5 1/2, you:

  • Are a sensitive soul. Always have been, and I think, probably always will be. God is teaching me how to care for your heart, but I think many times I fail, since I’m cut from different cloth.
  • Are a story-teller. Just today you started reciting to me a dinosaur alphabet book that you had made up in your brain. It was quite good!
  • Are an illustrator. Pictures are your love language. If you are planning to see someone, you often will sit down and make them a drawing so you have a gift to give them when they arrive.
  • Eat so well. You rarely complain about something on your plate, and even if you do, you usually eat it anyway.
  • Are still super-tall and thin. Off the charts for height and around 50th percentile for weight. Pants are hard to buy for you, because if they are long enough, I have to cinch the adjustable waist so tight that they wrinkle up around your middle. Could be worse problems, though!
  • Love to learn. You come home from school and then give me a list of the things you would like me to “homeschool you.”
  • Lean toward introversion. I never would have said this a year ago, but I am seeing that in order to interact well socially, you need some processing time by yourself, usually spent talking through things with your toys. I am a student of you kids, and I learn something new about you often!
  • Are still a great sharer. You will happily hand over your favorite toy to someone because you love sharing. I think you get it from your daddy, who also loves other people to take part in something he enjoys.
  • Try to mother your brother. While it’s cute when you play teacher with him and he wants to join in your creative play and take direction, I draw the line at you trying to discipline him and boss him around. Someday those skills may come in handy, though! 😉
  • Have more tears than I know what to do with. I am the stoic one of my family of origin (which isn’t saying much!), and I never anticipated a daughter who wears her heart so visibly. I am still learning how to do the right thing with your emotions, so have patience with me, little one!
  • Are so, so bubbly. Your enthusiasm can get you in trouble when you can’t control it physically, but you’ve gotten better at that, too, as you’ve aged. I love watching your excitement come bursting out of you when you discover something new.
  • Have a sassy attitude sometimes. This isn’t something we encourage around here, so we’re working on this one together.
  • Love God and desire to please Him. You really get upset at your inability to have control over your sin sometimes, and I can totally relate! It’s the whole Romans 7 conundrum, and we will never have full victory this side of heaven, but I will do battle for you in prayer.
  • Are reading! Not chapter books yet, but lots of words, and you’re great at sounding them out. A big push in this area was the Dick and Jane treasury. They’re adorably old-school, and they gave you confidence to keep at it when you were struggling.
  • Are so much more adaptable than you used to be! We were in a new environment last week with a bunch of other kids your age, and you showed no hesitation at all to jump in and participate. Two years ago you would’ve been crying and overwhelmed at the idea, but you have sure grown socially and emotionally.
  • Like math and “Learning Choice” (basically free play) the best at school. Your teacher said you really have a great grasp on science concepts as well. You may just follow in your analytically-minded Daddy’s footsteps in that area, too. Surprise, surprise…

Anja, it is such a pleasure to be your mama. You are getting so big and the years go so quickly. I will take every cuddle I can get!

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