Husband and I started the Whole Life Nutrition Elimination Diet (“a strict plan designed to promote cellular healing and to allow for the identification of foods that cause an immune reaction”) on April 2nd. Our reasons?
- To see if we could find any triggers to some of the symptoms in our bodies (me = eczema, Husband = migraines)
- To show our daughter, who is currently on a gluten-free diet, support
- To improve our overall diet (though we had already been using a lot of the recipes out of the book, this seemed like a good jumpstart to get even more whole foods into our meals
- To lessen our salty/sugary/fatty cravings
- Because what I know about nutrition has expanded so much even since I wrote this post
So here is a little re-cap of our experience so far.
Days 1 and 2: Green smoothies (with no banana or citrus) and water
Day One was actually the hardest for me. I could drink as many smoothies as I wanted, ruling out hunger, but the ones I made were really disgusting. I ditched some of the book recipes and started doing my own recipes (but, of course, including lots of spinach, kale, cabbage, parsley, etc.), and they were slightly tastier. Don’t get me wrong–I love a green smoothie, but almost every version I’ve ever made has included banana and almond milk, and our blender left a significant amount of pulp. Using a straw helped me gag them down until I got the hang of “good taste” ratios. That night I went to bed feeling shivery, nauseous, and achy, much like the flu. The book says that’s to be expected, so I didn’t worry about it.
I felt much better after a good night’s rest, and we continued with the green smoothies on Day Two. I have foumd my favorite recipe to be the Minty Green Smoothie on page 97.
Days 3 to 9: Phase 1
Day Three was GREAT for me. I was so excited to be able to eat real food again, even if not very many foods. We feasted on lettuce wraps with sweet potato, brown rice with seaweed, adzuki beans and avocado, seasoned with cumin and sea salt. Yum! At this point Husband has complained about 3,487 times that “this diet sucks!” and I’ve told him I’d rather have him quit and support me verbally than stay on it and be such a whiner, but he is even more of a stubborn mule than me and presses on. We eat more of the book’s recipes, like Lentil-Brown Rice Casserole, Coconut Quinoa Pilaf, and Sunny Sunflower Seed Burgers, and he complains a little less (I already knew he liked these recipes from before we started the diet).
I really have noticed a huge change in my sweet cravings. I still like a fig now and then, and maybe a nice medjool date after supper (they have never tasted so caramelly delicious before!), but I’m not wishing for cookies in the afternoons. This makes me happy. I do, however, miss peanut butter like it’s my long lost child. Husband buys me a little tub of sunflower butter, and I spread it on brown rice cakes with slices of fig, and I’m golden. Though between the two of us we’ve gone through half the tub in 6 days. Oops! 🙂
The hardest part so far has been the social aspect. I already was attempting to abstain from gluten most of the time (though haven’t been as good about it since Christmas, other than for pastas, breads, and basics like that), but having to bring my own separate meal to small group meal night wasn’t fun. It also wasn’t horrible, though. I didn’t feel bad about what I was eating, and I was glad to not have the “I ate too much fatty food” feeling afterward. Husband was pretty bummed on Saturday, though, when he went to guys’ night and munched on a bag of sunflower seeds and dried fruit while the rest of the guys had beer and wings and cake. He, too, survived. But neither of us would want this to be a long-term thing, where we can’t eat anything anywhere because it most likely contains gluten, corn, soy, oats, yeast, dairy or eggs.
I’ll post more later, since we’re now beginning the “re-introducing foods phase” with lemons and limes.
I want to send a big thank you to Shelley for introducing me to this cookbook and for being the guinea pig on the diet, which encouraged me to give it a go.