Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Elimination Diet

By Diana Hsieh

On Monday, I began a serious elimination diet. Why? Some unknown foods don't seem to agree with my gut: I feel bloated and pained for a day or so after eating them, and while I'm in that state, my hunger sensors seem to be broken, and so I overeat. Also, some tests that I've done with our own Christian Wernstedt of Vital Objectives show gut inflammation, plus high sensitivity to certain foods. If I have problems with leaky gut, that could be a contributing factor in my autoimmune hypothyroidism, as well as my adrenal insufficiency. If so, I want that fixed!

My basic strategy for this elimination diet is slightly complicated because I want to make sure that I'm not just wasting my time by introducing confounding factors.

First, the results of my "MRT" food sensitivity test labeled foods as "green" (little reaction), "yellow" (moderate reaction), and "red" (severe reaction). I've started with just a few "green" foods -- like pork, zucchini, and bananas. Over the first two months, I'll gradually add more "green" foods. After two months, I'll try eating some of the "yellow" foods. After three months, I'll try eating some of the "red" foods. Hopefully, my gut will have healed enough by the time that I reintroduce these foods to be able to tolerate them, but if not, then I'll have to cut them permanently from my diet.

Second, I'm eliminating common autoimmune triggers -- particularly nuts, dairy, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant), and eggs -- for at least a month, even if they're "green" by the MRT test. I'll also not drink any alcohol for that first month, nor consume any added sugar. I've been eating strictly gluten-free for ages, so that's a given. I'll also avoid all forms of soy. (I eat wheat-free soy sauce on rare occasion.)

So what does that mean for my diet? What's on the menu... or not?

Red Foods: Eliminate for Three Months

  • Beef
  • Mushroom
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Watermelon
With a half freezer full of delicious grass-fed beef, I'm not too enthused to give that up for three months. Plus, not being able to eat beef means that I won't be able to eat out, since a plain steak or hamburger is off the menu. I'm also mighty unhappy that onion and garlic are on the list -- as they're two of my favorites. However, last week I made a ground beef dish with lots of onion, garlic, and tomato, and I was miserable for two full days. Since then, I've been more reconciled to this three-month deprivation!

Alas, I just saw that my favorite breakfast meat -- the Italian Pork Sausage by Boulder Sausage -- has garlic powder in it, so that's not an option for three months. GRRRR! I wonder whether the "spices" listed on my Whole Foods 365 bacon and Applegate Farms Canadian bacon include garlic or onion. I'll have to inquire.

I do like mushrooms, cabbage, and avocado too, but I can live without them for a while. The watermelon result seems strange to me, since I eat watermelon about once every three years! Corn, however, doesn't surprise me, as I've had some serious belly aches from that.

Yellow Foods: Eliminate for Two Months
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Lemon
  • Mint
  • Peach
  • Scallop
  • Tuna
  • Yellow Squash
  • Cashew
  • Green Pea
  • Papaya
  • Pear
Happily, there's nothing too exciting on this list, nothing that I'll really miss.

Green Foods, But Eliminate for One Month
  • Bell Pepper
  • Tomtato
  • Potato
  • Eggplant
  • Walnut
  • Almond
  • Pistachio
  • Pecan
  • Hazlenut
  • Sunflower
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Maple
Mostly, I'll miss my morning cup of tea, which absolutely requires cream. I'll also miss the eggs, tomatoes, and bell peppers. I'll definitely miss the cheese too, but I know that I eat too much cheese, so that's probably for the best.

So, you might be thinking, what's left? What can I eat?

Green Foods
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Turkey

  • Salmon
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia

  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Olive
  • Sweet Potato
  • Spinach
  • Beet
  • Lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • String Bean
  • Leek
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Coconut

  • Orange
  • Apple
  • Grapefruit
  • Strawberry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherry
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberry
  • Grape
  • Blueberry
  • Honeydew
  • Apricot
  • Cranberry
  • Plum
  • Banana

  • Coffee
  • Tea

  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Tumeric
  • Vanilla
That's a pretty good variety of foods, so I won't be terribly bored with meals for the next few months.

Also, I'm back to keeping a food diary, and I'm cutting out my bad habit of snacking. Oh, and if I cheat, I plan to confess it here, so as to keep me on the straight and narrow!

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