WHY I STARTED AN ELIMINATION DIET
Hi everyone! Many of you have asked me to share more of the details from my experience on an elimination diet. It’s a big deal for me, because I generally don’t follow a specific diet. For my nutrition consulting clients, personal chef clients, and myself, I recommend a plant-forward lifestyle based around seasonal, local, and organic vegetables and fruits complemented by small portions of grass fed, pasture raised animal proteins and eggs. Depending on the season and the client, I adjust accordingly, given that I have vegan clients, gf clients, vegetarian clients, omnivorous clients, clients following Ayurvedic diets, and clients contending with conditions like celiac disease, SIBO, and autoimmune disorders. I also highly recommend fermented foods in the daily diet for everyone, though not everyone seems to be a fan. Working on spreading the word on that, as I eat kimchi here straight out of the jar…
The only other time I’ve done a “diet” in my life is when I cast off gluten and dairy (November 2014). This February 2019 rolled around, and I was still coping with what I wrote off as “holiday fatigue.” I was so bloated, so gassy, so tired, so foggy headed. Given that I’m a wellness professional, I decided I needed to do something. I looked at my diet, and it was, well, as you could imagine, super healthy and super balanced. Fruits here! Veggies there! Gluten free grains! Not even a scrap of junk food anywhere in sight. So what did I decide to do? I was inspired by Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox diet. My friend Cristy-check out her website Powers Being here- gave me the crash course on the theory behind it. It’s a potential route for folks who already eat super healthy, but for some reason, they still don’t feel all that great. (It explains the paradox behind certain plants.) If you want to read more about the science behind lectins, head over to the Plant Paradox website.
I didn’t set out to specifically cut lectins, but here were my main takeaways from the Plant Paradox diet. You’ll notice a lot of overlap and some crossover with other popular approaches to eating like paleo and low FODMAP. What did I actually do? It’s very simple:
-I cut out grain completely. (my starchy carbs are sweet potato, cassava, millet*)
-I eliminated all beans, including lentils, along with cashews and peanuts.
-I eliminated nightshades. (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes)
-I increased fats. (more ghee, more olive oil, more coconut oil, bowls of avocados)
-I ensured that all of my eggs and animal protein are organic, grass fed, pasture raised. (I spent more $ on my health.)
WHAT I EAT IN A DAY
So what does that look like? I eat a lot GREEN FOOD. It was amazing when I got all my photos together and saw all the green colors. My entire March Instagram feed was full of green items. I promise it wasn’t some marketing strategy for St. Patty’s day!
I start my day with Cristy’s Key Lime Kale Smoothie.
Sometime in the morning I’ll have a Baked Avocado Egg. Also from Cristy’s website. I prep a bunch to last me throughout the week.
Breakfasts and lunches are a mixture of the following. Cassava tortillas by Siete from Whole Foods make for a good base, or I eat a big green salad.
In the fridge there’s always some form of roasted veg for snacking, or as a side for dinner. Miso Garlic Roasted Romanesco here, my own recipe.
Dinner focuses on veggies like these roasted white asparagus and broccolini on top of millet.
I’ll eat my main animal proteins at dinner like organic pasture raised chicken here with fennel and Napa cabbage in the cast iron. I was inspired largely by Alison Roman’s Lemony Chicken Soup, though mine is not a soup.
Other days I’ll take a more creative approach with a pizza. This “Naked” pizza crust by Cappello’s from Whole Foods is made from eggs, psyllium husk, and arrowroot flour.
WHAT I MISS MOST…AND HOW I ADJUSTED
Turmeric oats were a go-to for me, but then I realized they are loaded with sugar. I make them with maple syrup and bananas. I consider maple syrup and bananas healthy food, but I was eating them too frequently and in too large of a quantity.
Above I mentioned that I eat millet. Millet is a seed, not a grain, so it is in keeping with my decision to eliminate grain from this particular diet. My new Morning Millet Bowl has millet, dates, pecans, walnuts, hemp seed, shredded coconut, blueberries, and a tablespoon of ghee. I don’t miss the sugar spike from my Turmeric Oats.
WHAT I LOVE MOST
So…. I’m drinking red wine on the weekend AND I’m eating 1/2 oz dark chocolate DAILY. I’m enjoying Alter Eco, a San Francisco chocolate bar in their varieties that are 70% cacao and above. My friend Lauren introduced these into my life, thank you girl! Life is too short people. There’s also the ocean of avocados on this diet that’s keeping me happy : )
Needless to say I feel great. I feel more like myself again. Tummy bloat is completely gone. Energy is back! I’m excited to go out and teach my classes and interface with clients. While I got into some of the more nuanced details above, suffice it to say I increased protein and fat, while cutting down sugar. Let me know your questions and thoughts in the comments below! Are you considering an elimination diet for yourself? What is causing you to want to get started? What’s holding you back?