I’m an artist/preschool teacher living in Seattle with my amazing husband, Pat. He and I have been really focused on our health over the past couple of years, this has led us to making many dietary changes. We implemented some pretty drastic changes to our diets and experienced firsthand how much diet can affect not only your physical appearance but also how you feel. My husband has a multitude of allergies to foods that I have no measureable reaction to so the two of us couldn’t be on the same exact diet because our bodies handle food differently. This brought me to the realization that there is no perfect diet for everyone. There are so many different factors that determine what your nutritional needs are and the only way that I have found to truly find out what your body reacts to is to do an elimination diet.
My husband’s naturopathic doctor recommended he try last year and he did, finding out even more about his allergies to food. I was hesitant at first because I don’t have a lot of food allergies- or so I thought. Recently, I have learned a great deal about how diet can affect hormones and how the right diet can help balance out your hormones as well as improve your overall physical and mental health. I have always struggled with PMS symptoms including mood swings, severe cramps, fatigue, anxiety, sleeplessness and acne. As I’ve gotten older some of these symptoms have worsened. My acne has also become much more of an issue over the past 4 or 5 years to the point where I was so desperate to try anything to get rid of it. In my research I came across an article that talked about how nightshade vegetables can cause acne and joint pain. I was floored because I LOVE all things tomato-y and spicy .Also, keep in mind, I have had joint pain since I was 10 or 11. I cut all nightshades out of my diet immediately after I learned of this information and the first thing I noticed was my joint pain disappeared. Then, my skin began to clear up. I still got a few zits around my period but my skin was noticeably clearer. I also noticed I would get zits almost immediately after a weekend of eating nightshades (pizza or Mexican food) and the joint pain would come back. After I made this discovery, I wondered what other foods in my diet were affecting me negatively. Aside from the basic things that we should all avoid such as soy, corn and simple sugars, I wanted to know exactly what I should and shouldn’t eat. A food reaction, no matter how mild seeming, can be a sign of inflammation and repeated, long-term exposure to these foods will likely lead to heart disease, cancer and a host of other health problems. These experiences have led me to try beginning an elimination diet and I wanted to journal what my experiences are so that others who are considering it or are beginning one as well can use this as a reference point. I have been doing a lot of Googling and have come up with very little information on what to expect when starting an elimination diet or how one feels when they are on it. Also, this is a great way to keep myself motivated and keep track of my progress and symptoms. I will journal how I’m feeling throughout the process and what my meals are. If you are thinking about doing an elimination diet, this may help you know what to expect along the way, even though we are all different and unique, we are also more similar than not.Let the elimination diet begin!