I am very pleased to announce that I have completed my elimination diet. It’s taken me seven months, which possibly is longer than it would for other people, but as I was going it mostly alone I wanted to be certain about everything.
I can’t express how life changing this diet has been for me. I’m not an advocate of diets, personally, I don’t think they work for long term weight loss, but I’ll make an exception for this one, mostly because it’s more of a lifestyle change than a diet.
I have gone from being overweight, lazy, unhealthy and unhappy, to being a good weight, full of energy, healthy and happy. I have made huge advances in my mental health too which is just as important to me as being physically healthy.
Now, I don’t specifically know what caused any of my symptoms. My eczema took a really long time to clear up. A few months! There were several reasons for this, stress being a factor, but I think also because there was just so much of it. All of my other symptoms, even ones I had thought were just a fact of life, were basically gone within the first three weeks of the diet, during the detox stage. These included headaches, constant tiredness, sleepless nights and stomach cramps.
Nothing that I reintroduced into my diet affected me in a negative way. Eggs, beef, dairy, nightshades, nuts, peanuts, soy, chocolate, oats, chickpeas, not a single food type gave me any reason to think they had been causing me issues.
In July I discovered that too much chocolate, made me tired and my skin a little itchy. I also discovered that too many peanuts made my asthma play up. This was a bit of a wake up call as I had been over indulging in both of these, which was also affecting my weight.
After this I had a few processed treats. I had some bread which made my stomach cramp, and I attended a few gatherings where I ate some of the nibbles on offer, which seemed to have no affect on me. I also last week found that caffeine is way to good at keeping me awake now, so that is completely off the menu. I have no room in my life for self inflicted sleeplessness anymore.
I was beginning to think that I would never know what was causing my issues and for a little while I kinda gave up. For the most part I ate healthy, but I started letting processed treats slip in daily. And at first, nothing happened.
Then after a few days, my energy levels weren’t as high. Admittedly, I had a bad cold at the time, but it hadn’t affected my energy too much until.that point. Then, the headaches and sleeping difficulty started. Again, I thought it could be related to the cold.
When my stomach started cramping, I knew it wasn’t cold related and when my skin started flaring up I knew exactly what was going on. Too much processed food. I can’t pinpoint exactly which food it was, because I ate so much of it, but when I went back to basics for a few weeks, all my symptoms disappeared again.
I have taken to having a weekly ‘cheat day’. For all of August, I have eaten unprocessed food all week, then on Saturdays I have allowed myself a treat. My symptoms have stayed away and I’ve been able to enjoy the best of both worlds. I’m pretty excited about this. I enjoy eating healthily, meats and seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, grains, oats and some dairy (mostly butter and cheese) and feeling the most alive I ever has as a result. I enjoy having a little control over my mental health and not having to worry about what I’m eating affecting my weight.
There’s a hash tag on Instagram, #JERF. It stands for Just Eat Real Food. It’s simple, and for me, it has solved a lot of my problems. I found out about using an elimination diet to discover food intolerances a few years ago, but didn’t have the will power to go through with it. It was too hard. But when I decided to commit, I was surprised at how simple just eating real food is. And I’m so glad I did.
Smiles and Sunshine