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The Elimination Diet: Discover the Foods That Are Making You Sick and Tired-and Feel Better Fast Hardcover – March 31, 2015
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"A welcome relief for readers who have suffered for years with chronic health problems and are desperate for a solution."―from the foreword by Jeffrey Bland, PhD, FACN, founder, Institute of Functional Medicine
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I decided to try the diet plan to see if it could get rid of (or at least reduce) the Seborrheic Dermatitis (a type of eczema) that I’ve been dealing with for years, as well as hopefully reduce or eliminate the need for blood pressure and thyroid medication. I have a friend who had done a similar diet last summer and saw amazing results, with his cholesterol dropping from consistently over 300 to down around 150 for the first time in his adult life. All of his other “numbers” came in better than ever also. So I figured I’d give it a try, and another good friend recommended this book.
I’ve finished “Phase 2” of the diet plan (the elimination portion), and while I could begin adding back in the eliminated foods at this point, I’m extending Phase 2 out another few weeks (I’m currently 3-1/2 weeks in). The eczema has been gone for 2-1/2 weeks, which is a record for me, but I want to make absolutely sure that it’s really cleared up and not coming back before I add anything back in. I want to be clear for at least a month before adding possible reactive foods back in. I don’t want to incorrectly think a particular food was the culprit when really it was only a coincidence.
My blood pressure has dropped about ten points so I’m going to talk with my doctor about getting off of that medication. I won’t know about the thyroid until I get it checked which will be in a few months, but I have high hopes given the results I’ve seen in the other areas. In addition to those terrific results, I feel great, I have tons of energy, and I’ve lost a few pounds.
Phase 1 was definitely a little tough as I’m not a huge fan of liquid-only eating. I was very low on energy about halfway through the second day, and I’m guessing it was due to either the much lower calorie count than I’m used to (I know I could have gotten more calories, but I pretty much burnt out quickly on soup, juices and smoothies) or it could have been the lower protein content than I’m used to. Of course, it could have been a combination of both, and it could have been due to the de-toxing that my body was going through. It was only two days so it was easy enough to get through. In any event, my energy level came back very quickly on day 3 and has stayed high since.
I’ve tried quite a few recipes from the book, and I’ve liked just about all of them. The ones I didn’t like were just due to them not being my cup of tea (for example, I’m not a big mint fan, but I tried the strawberry-mint-kale smoothie and, not surprisingly, didn’t like it. If you like mint it would probably be great).
I’m now totally addicted to the Quinoa-Black Bean Dosas (had never heard of them before, now I eat two or three a day) and the Chicken-apple-sage sausage is quickly becoming a staple in our house. I also loved several of the soups which are also going to become regular menu items. There are plenty of delicious recipes to get you through the program, and I’m sure even the pickiest eaters could find something they like. The recipes make following the plan very easy with delicious food (which is important to me – I can’t follow an eating plan if I don’t enjoy the food).
If you have any troubling health issues at all in your life then I think this is a great diet plan to follow, and this book is an excellent and easy way to try it out.
Update 7-7-15: The eczema is still gone, and it turns out I have two triggers (neither of which I would have guessed before starting the program): eggs (bummer!) and almonds. Both make sense to me now, looking back on it (gotta love 20/20 hindsight!), because while I've eaten eggs most of my life, it was usually sporadic (mostly weekends) up until about 8 years ago when my first born turned 2 and we started eating eggs almost daily. That's also around when my wife started keeping lots of almonds on hand as a snack, which we also started eating daily (I didn't eat them much before). Individually the eggs are more of a trigger than the almonds - I've tested the eggs a couple of times after finishing the program about a month and a half ago, mainly because I "buckled" and ate either something with eggs in them (i.e. cake, muffins, bread etc.) or directly when we went out for breakfast (I really miss my fried eggs!). But the two together (eggs and almonds) really trigger the reaction. Within a day or two of eating eggs for breakfast I saw the beginning stages of red and flaky skin, and it went away after about 5 days of no eggs.
Another side benefit is that the dandruff that I've dealt with most of my life (which has also gotten much worse in the last 6 or 8 years) has pretty much gone away also. Doing some research, it turns out that dandruff and sebhorreic dermatitis are closely related (possibly even the same thing, just one is on the scalp and the other on the face). Yay!
I also lost about 10 pounds during the program without really trying - my guess is that cutting out the dairy (I used to eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of milk) and other high-fat go-to foods like peanut butter and almond butter, along with refined sugar was the main reason. I added back about 2 pounds since finishing the program, again probably because I added dairy and PB back in (although I'm still trying to eat a lot less of those).
My blood pressure has stayed lower - I have an appointment to see my doc later this month so I'll update on that and the thyroid later.
I see comments from people complaining about how difficult this is and how expensive it is. Ok then, don’t buy all organic. Do what you can.
-The key part is not eating these things that are causing your body pain and inflammation. After a few days you will most likely feel much lighter and cleaner and more energetic.
-Yeah, it’s difficult in as much as it’s difficult to change anything in your life for longer than a few minutes.
-Lastly, Meal Prep on Sunday and have all your meals and snacks made up before. It will be so much easier if you follow these words.
- Don’t call it a Diet. Call it an Experiment.
I just completed 50 days of Elimination Diet, using this book as my foundation. There are many different versions of the diet, so you need to pick one that fits with you. Remember that it's really about learning your own body, so if a food isn't working for you, take it out. When in doubt, take it out. Like for me, coconut does Not work well.
If you go Tom Malterre's website you can find useful printouts for your refrigerator as well as a place to get free recipe videos if you show them you bought their book.
Remember this important part of the book :
*You must let your system return to a state of calm before testing another food.
*To challenge a food, eat the food two to three times a day for three days straight. If at any time during the three day period you notice a change in the way you feel, then you will remove the food from your diet and wait until your symptoms completely disappear before challenging your next food (this could take a few days or a week or more).
It was quite an undertaking, but with this book in hand, I felt a lot more comfortable embarking on the diet and staying true to it than if I had just patched together a bunch of different information from websites and YouTube videos.