I’m so proud of myself. I just completed an elimination diet meant to find out what foods I am allergic to or have some sensitivity toward. For three weeks, I’ve removed 17 types of ingredients – gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, sugar, shellfish (I didn’t even have to remove that one), caffeine, coffee, pork, beef, deli meat, oranges, peanuts, sugar, alcohol and chocolate. Keep in mind that ‘corn’ doesn’t just mean straight up corn kernels. It means corn syrup, corn starch, anything with a corn-derived ingredient.
That pretty much eliminates everything we eat, doesn’t it?! Definitely everything I like to eat. I was anxious, yet determined (this was my second attempt) and promised myself a reward at the tunnel end of voluntary starvation. Bribing myself with a reward was only icing on the cake – or in this case rice flour, almond milk frosting on the rice, potato, tapioca flour cake substance.
Truthfully, the only way I was able to stay focused is because I pored over menus and cookbooks for weeks prior, leaving nothing to chance. I plotted out three full weeks of meals, from breakfast to snacks, lunch, dinner and even dessert options, which are just ridiculously limited when you can’t have sugar. I tried to make faux ‘banana ice cream’ by blending frozen bananas with cacao powder. That was some faux allright. A faux pas. I stretched the rules by eating melon or pineapple, because while it has natural sugar…it doesn’t have processed or added sugar. (The directions said “stay away from”. I said no.)
With homage to my parents who grew up in the Depression, I ate most of the existing groceries beforehand (ala Frosted Flakes) or finally just threw away remaining foods in the hope of removing temptations, excepting one dark chocolate bar which was to be a test of my willpower and resolve. It’s still there. I won!
This is what everything boils down to for me….a competition. If I can ‘beat’ somebody or something, I can draw strength from my depths. In quitting smoking, I wasn’t going to be the only one in my support group who caved. I had to win!
And I did it! I am currently re-introducing each separate ingredient back into my diet to log what the physical effects are, if any. That also takes an additional month or so. Caffeine. No aftereffects the world doesn’t already know about. Sugar or maybe the food coloring in Starburst candy caused immediate hot flashes. Interesting. I guess menopause and Ann Taylor Loft has been getting help in making me miserable and dressing in layers.
The takeaway, the real reason to temporarily sacrifice all the things we love to eat, is to find out whether we have a negative, inflammatory reaction to some foods…then we should probably remove them from our diet because our body is warning us. The first time I tried the phase 1 of this diet, I removed gluten and dairy for good. The first time I tried this version 2…I failed. This time around, I won! And I’ll continue winning by incorporating some improvements into my lifestyle. Cause that’s what its all about. They say
Eh. Maybe you can.
I’m in awe of your great determination. I applaud you!!
I love reading your articles. I can picture you doing every you describe.
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