After years of seeing doctors and specialists for my ongoing medical condition, I finally decided to see a naturopath and take a more holistic approach to my health. I’ve always felt like I eat pretty healthy – lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains. But I still have been feeling so lack-luster over the past few years. My naturopath feels as though I have certain food sensitivities and/or allergies that once pin-pointed could be eliminated, so that I could feel better. In order to determine which foods are causing me issues, I would have to eliminate the most commons allergens from my diet and then slowly reintroduce them back into my diet to see how they affect me.
The naturopath informed me that I would have to eliminate diary, eggs, gluten, sugar, soy, corn, peanuts, caffeine and oranges for 30 days. Oh…and chocolate!!! *gulp* I felt like there was no way I’d be able to eliminate all of these foods for 30 days – especially all at once! I would have to make every thing from scratch. Have you ever noticed that sugar is added to everything!? Yikes! I agreed to try the elimination diet, but was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and very apprehensive. What was I going to eat!?
I’m happy (and proud) to report I made it through the entire 30 days by focusing on eating wholesome meals filled with veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans and gluten-free grains. I’ve actually never felt better. My digestion has improved immensely for one thing. I suffered from chronic stomach aches most of my life and I’ve only have one since I started the program – the first week! I feel less anxious, am sleeping better and more energized. The lack of refined sugar in my diet has even helped me stabilize my blood sugar levels. And most of all – I feel GREAT knowing that I’m eating clean, wholesome, foods with no additives. I’m proud to be truly taking care of myself for once. This whole experience has taught me a lot about nutrition, about cooking in new ways and how to choose foods that are good for me and my family. I’ve been much more adventurous in the kitchen and have tried a lot of new foods. This elimination diet has really inspired me and I plan on continuing many of the habits I developed during the 30 day adventure. For example, I plan on continuing to pre-plan my meals, prep meals and snacks in advance, make everything from scratch and staying away from refined sugars.
I have to admit, when the naturopath suggested the elimination diet, I was quite worried. What was I going to eat for 30 days!? Reading through the literature provided by the naturopath, I felt the elimination diet was very limited! However, after some poking around on the web on my favourite blogs, I realized – there is a TON of great recipes out there that fall into what I can eat on the elimination diet. And for those that almost fit the guidelines, I was able to easily substitute things like gluten free grains, almond milk etc.
Today, I would like to share some websites/blogs that really helped me during my 30-day journey. Perhaps this list will help others trying to cut out gluten, dairy, sugar and/or soy from their diets. I also hope that my experience on an elimination diet may help inspire others to try it out if they too are suffering from digestion problems, skin issues, lethargy etc (or any other symptoms related to a food intolerance).
A Couple Cooks – Sonja and Alex’s Healthy + Whole project has been a huge inspiration to me! My favourite recipe I tried – Burrito Bowl. I skipped the sour cream and the corn and added some roasted sweet potatoes. Delicious!
Oh She Glows – Angela’s cookbook came out at a perfect time for me! So many great recipes to try! My favourite recipe that I tried this past month was – Italian Bean Balls and Spaghetti Squash. Holy, the bean balls were fantastic!
The Vegan Chickpea – Caitlin is the main reason I went to see a naturopath. About a year ago, the very wise Caitlin suggested I give up gluten and diary to see if eliminating the two common allergens could help me feel better. I wish I would have listened to her sooner! She’s one smart lady! I plan on making her version of a Lasagna with Cashew Cheese and Pesto this weekend. Thanks Caitlin! xo
Joyous Health – a fantastic healthy living blog by a Canadian naturopath Joy McCarthy. I bought her book as well and it is full of excellent information about eating clean, wholesome foods. I love how she also incorporates ideas on how to living joyously.
Love + Lemons – This has been one of my very favourite blogs for a long time. I love how all of the recipes are mainly vegan and always seem to have a gluten free option. My husband and I really enjoyed this Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe the other evening. I also made these Banana Blueberry Pancakes a number of times over the past 30 days.
Edible Perspective – A relatively new-to-me blog that was really helpful to me over the past 30 days. I felt really unprepared to go gluten-free for 30 days, as I’ve never tried gluten-free baking and did not know a lot about gluten-free products. Edible Perspective was very information in regard to gluten-free baking and cooking. Additionally, Cara’s Guide to Gluten Free Flours was also incredibly helpful.
Other great blogs that helped me throughout my elimination diet includes – Naturally Ella, Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes, Gluten Free Goddess, Oh My Veggies and Canadian Living Magazine. Some cook books that really inspired me over the past 30 days: Straight from the Earth by Myra and Marea Goodman, Everything Vegan by Vegetarian Times, Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon, Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.
So what now? Well, now I have to add back everything one week at a time over the next 8 weeks to see how my body reacts. This will ideally help me determine which foods I have an intolerance for. And as I start to feel a lot better, I am more interested in cooking and getting back into posting on this little blog of mine. So, please stay tuned. More recipe posts coming soon! xo
PS. Thank you to my family and friends for being so supportive during the last month! :) I couldn’t have done it without you. xoxo
Photo Source: http://tasteofthetopend.com/category/educational-resources/