Elimination Diet Results (It’s Done!)

I finally finished my elimination diet. It felt like it took for ever, and I’m pretty sure I know why. When it was time to add in nuts…I didn’t really want them. When I added a food back in, I would try to eat it three times a day, but I kept forgetting (maybe accidentally on purpose?) to eat nuts. Therefore…I couldn’t reliably make conclusions right away. I stuck with it, and then moved onto other foods eventually.

The end result:

  • no issues with dairy (and I tested that one majorly because it was a big suspect–no problems!)
  • no issues with chocolate/cacao/cocoa
  • no issues with chicken or beef
  • no issues with citrus
  • issues with raw unsoaked nuts – headache, stomach ache, breakout
  • I’m not adding in the following (because I wasn’t eating these things before and I don’t intend to regularly): corn, soy, lentils, beans, grains
  • During the elimination phase, I didn’t cut out caffeine, nightshades (I meant to, but I know they snuck in here and there), eggs, or pork (but I don’t think I eat that enough to have it really make a difference)

My take on the results:

I’m surprised slightly by the dairy, but I’m really happy because I love aged cheese and I hope to find a good source for raw milk. I feel much better when I don’t eat a lot of nuts in general. I previously suspected they may be an issue —but I never could pinpoint nuts as the cause specifically. I’m not cutting them out, by the way, I’m just going to limit them and try to stick to mostly soaked/dehydrated nuts. The reason for this is on the days I added in just a tiny bit of nuts, I was fine, but when I ate them three times a day, I felt yucky. Also, I am going to take an educated leap and say that the issue has two parts. One, nuts are hard to digest (post on that soon), and two, nuts are often high in omega-6 fatty acids (which are good, but if the intake of 6’s are out of balance with omega-3’s, this can cause skin issues). I often get a headache when my stomach feels off—traditionally, I just call it rot gut, and hope I sleep it off (that has been happening for decades until I cut out grains and sugar). My gut, brain (fog), skin, and general puffiness are my weak points—they are my signals letting me know when I’m doing something I need to change.

My bottom line: Stress/anxiety (which I’m managing very well these days thanks to yoga and mind-body medicine practice), too many nuts, sugar/simple carbs, and grains make me feel and look blah.

I feel great about what I learned from the elimination diet. I customized it for myself and based on what I already know about myself (and I did intend to cut out coffee but then I decided I wanted to have 1 cup a day and just risk that it could ruin my “study”).

I probably eat a lot differently than the average American, but I really don’t care. I love the way I eat: lots of fat, protein, and moderate amounts of veggies.  In fact, over time, I have changed so much in the way I eat that most of the things I ate five years ago sound awful to me (including things most people like—-pasta, for one).

Obviously, one of my newest obsessions is coconut flour (although, I’ll admit to a recipe fail in the kitchen today, which is why I’m writing this post. ha). Now that I’ve found so many great things to eat, and I can afford them and spend the time I want to preparing food, I just feel like I’m in my groove.

I’m thankful for that!

News and Notes:

I spent all weekend doing American Power Yoga with Kurt Johnsen, and aside from being pretty sore (basically from my chin down), I’m feeling very blissful about it. For the last few years, I’ve been focusing on learning more about Anusara yoga, which places great emphasis on anatomical alignment (my inner exercise scientist eats that right up!). But when I shifted my focus to that, I began to neglect my previous more vigorous yoga practice. I’m going to blend it back in again, and just get the best of both worlds. I feel like that’s what I do in most areas of my life and the things I’ve learned about health—pick and choose what works and just blend it all together.

Do you think you could learn something useful from an elimination diet?

Have you changed anything in your routine or challenged yourself lately? Maybe if we challenge ourselves positively on purpose, the universe won’t challenge us as much with stressful things…or maybe we’ll just learn to handle those things more effectively?

15 thoughts on “Elimination Diet Results (It’s Done!)”

  1. Wow, it was very interesting to read about your experience with the elimination diet.   I do have a wheat intolerance, so I try to keep down consumption most of the time (except this past weekend, as you saw).  But if it weren’t such a hard transition and one that would be difficult while still feeding the little guy and the hubby, I would be interested to try a gluten-free diet.  And, again, other than this weekend, I am trying to decrease the sugar, because I know it makes me feel blah.  I just love ice cream too much!

  2. Congrats on finishing! And on being able to keep cheese in your diet. That’s the best news I’ve heard all day 🙂 

    So interesting that it really came down to nuts. I’m so glad you figured that out so that you can dispense with the headachey blah feelings. 

    I’d love to try an elimination diet, though I’m nervous about two things: the time investment, and what I might find out! I do know that sugar and simple carbs make me feel blah and bloaty, but otherwise, I’ve been reveling in blissful ignorance 😉

  3. congrats on making it to the end!!! and so happy that you were able to make some great conclusions. we notice issues with a lot of nuts as well. but we do enjoy them from time to time. elimination diets can be tough but for us we feel it is worth it!

  4. I’m pretty sure I’d learn some useful things from an elimination diet. I know already that there are things I can get away with eating a “little” of (like dairy and nuts) but if I go overboard, my stomach does NOT like me the next day. This morning I was dealing with eating a serving of cottage cheese and a smoothie yesterday, and it was not pretty. But in moderation, I do okay.

  5. Gina (Candid RD)

    I love elimination diets.  Sometimes they are the KEY to a happier and healthier person!  I am helping someone with an elimination diet right now, actually, have you heard of the LEAP program?  It’s somewhat new to me, but my friend is doing it and so far, so good.
    Glad you found some valuable information regarding your diet!  If I had an issue with nuts, I think I’d still eat them. Is that bad?! 🙂

  6. oh, i love reading these types of reviews/recaps, lisa! thanks for sharing about what you learned during this process!
    i am so glad, for your sake, that dairy is not a culprit. and glad you enjoyed some coffee, still!
    it’s fascinating that we are all experiments of one and it does take trial and error to find what will work. most people do not put the time or effort into this testing, though!
    so glad yoga is back in your life – it IS so centring. and, again, love how you are personalizing your practice to make it enjoyable for YOU!
    i’ve tried eliminating wheat, dairy, cereal (!) in the past and gotten mixed results. i think stress plays a big role in how i feel, in combo with what i am consuming. right now i have eliminated diet coke, as you know!!!

  7. I am the same as simple carbs/ sugar make me feel awful, grains..gassy, bloated, stomach pain etc. I have found since cutting out all gluten that I don’t have those issues anymore. I used to eat Ezekiel bread pretty often but since last week I have eliminated all dairy and Ezekiel out of my diet, lost 5 pounds because of it and I feel amazing. Nuts, especially raw almonds give me a major stomachache!! I will eventually add dairy back in since it doesn’t seem to be an issue for me. I cut it out more just to see what would happen…( I have lost 53 pounds since April and have been stuck at my current weight for months, I suspected that dairy may have played a role in that 🙂
    I could never completely give up Greek yogurt or feta, looking forward to adding it back in.

  8. Woo hoo! I think everyone can benefit from an elimination diet. The process of elimination and reintroduction helps us to eat intuitively and focus on the effects that foods have on our bodies. Unsoaked raw nuts also do mean things to my skin. I’ve gotten in the habit of soaking and dehydrating them as soon as I buy them. The comment you left on my blog got me thinking… you said that the sugars in fruit aren’t good for your belly. I’ve been having some issues with digestion lately. The only fruit I had yesterdau was half an apple and my digestion was great… hmmm. I’ll certainly be following up with that. Thanks! 🙂

  9. This is so interesting to me — for your sake, I’m really glad you can still tolerate dairy, I’m a big cheese (and yogurt) lover myself so I’d miss those things a lot if I couldn’t have them anymore for whatever reason! I also love that you don’t apologize for “how” you eat – you eat what works for you and it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) matter how that compares to the majority of the population (who eat pretty poorly overall!).

  10. As you know, I’ve definitely cut down on my sugar intake over the last year. It definitely was a challenge, but now look at half the stuff I used to eat and can’t help but get grossed out. I still do indulge, but nowhere near as much as I used to!

    So great to hear that your elimination diet went well. Interesting that you discovered that raw unsoaked nuts are what was bothering you.  I definitely want to do an elimination diet one day!

  11. Oh yeah. My diet has changed and relaxed so much the past few years, being pregnant and then caring for a baby, it’s really feeling time to detox and remind myself what feeling great is like!

  12. Really enjoyed reading about your results! At least you can still rock the aged cheese. I’d be bummed missing out on that too. Interesting about the nuts! I didn’t know about the imbalance of omega 6’s and 3’s causing skin issues.

  13. I missed this post a couple days ago and I’m glad I went back and found it!  It sounds like this is such a useful tool for determining what works well with your body…I know I could definitely benefit from it!

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