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.