How Elimination Diet can Improve our Quality of Life

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We save ourselves from trauma when we are conscious of what we put on our plate.

It’s not easy to make good food choices and eat healthy in this culture. Luckily for us, our built-in body intelligence  knows when have eaten something that we shouldn’t. With awareness, time, and practice, we learn to understand this intelligence. Eating and doing good by our bodies are habits that drastically improve our quality of life.

On occasion, I indulge in something I know that contains one of my allergy triggers like red wine. Food additives that trigger my allergies which can cause body inflammation and my skin to break out are: sulfites, tartrazine, benzoates, grains, sugar, and other processed foods with preservatives. These are the ones that I know of so far that cause suffering and stress to my body.

Dealing with suffering takes away so much of our good energy. I remember being at the peak of feeling unwell (inflamed skin, abdominal pain, leg cramping, low energy, frequent migraines, and insomnia all at once) I felt powerless, I just kept asking how much more of this I can handle. All I know in that moment is that if I go see a doctor, they will put me on a medication that can potentially destroy my organs and affect my fertility over time. My health is not an option I can risk or gamble. 

The reason why I got into elimination diet is that I needed to be done with my physical and internal suffering so that I can focus my energy on my passion and my essential task (my family and my work). I had every reason to believe that I can gain control of what’s happening to me. 

One of the first things I had to remove were all highly processed packaged foods. If it comes in a box or a bag, I’d avoid it. I got into reading ingredients list on everything that I am buying. I stopped shopping at places that sell foods that are unfriendly to my body. If a store is not transparent on where they are sourcing their food from, we don’t go there. A year later, I followed it by detoxing from cannabis (both THC and CBD). Then I developed an exercise routine that can easily be done at home. I was surprised to find out how much it made me feel better and more connected to my body. I am reminded of how sacred life is. Now I have the energy and the will to focus on what matters most in my life (my marriage, our beautiful dogs,projects and little things that gives me happiness :)😘) 

What I would hear from my community when I tell them that I cannot eat from certain food group was, “oh how sad you have to give it up, it’s so delicious,” or “that’s so crazy” or “oh that’s great, but are you actually happy?” Insome ways, elimination diet may appear or sound extreme. But the results that we get when we eat only the food that’s good for us is priceless. 

We all have different body types, blood types, and allergy triggers. That’s why I recommend elimination diet by personalizing your journey. It’s easy to follow health gurus and popular diets. It’s hard when there’s something in that box that doesn’t suit us and we only get frustrated and give up hope.

What we mostly do in our home is a hybrid of Ketogenic and Paleo Diet. I mention these two diets because it is easy to find recipes online and modify them if there is something in the ingredients list that you are allergic to. The foods in these categories have eliminated highly processed foods + bad oils and is a good start if you want to learn what whole foods are. 

This article by Mark Sisson from 2012 helped a lot when I was beginning this journey, he has a good list of what to avoid when learning to eat clean and only shopping for what is good : click here to read it

When doing elimination diet, it is important to: 

  • Pay attention to the way your body feels after having a meal. If you suspect something on the food triggers negative impact, write it down. You will need to test it again in two ways: both in its isolated form and combined (mixed with other foods) form.
  • Make notes to remember what foods trigger your allergies. This is only until you remember what to avoid.
  • Read labels when food shopping (pay special attention to ingredients). Do not shop in a hurry. Allergen triggers can hide in those bottles of condiments that are sold in the market. 
  • Choose organic produce when you can. It’s better to know that somehow the food you are buying passed certain standards (organically grown fruits and vegetables still has pesticides but it is grown with limited application and the pesticides used are derived from organic matter instead of harmful chemicals that not only poison us, it also poisons the environment). 
  • Buy meat and dairy (if you tolerate it) that are not treated with antibiotics.  Although the labels will claim that there is no proof that this impacts us, the consumers, do we really want this stuff in our bodies when our goal is to kick what doesn’t serve us?
  • Get into meal preps and DIY snacks of only stuff that you know that’s good for you. The internet is filled with amazing resources. Find your favorite food blogger who is on a similar path. 
  • Prepare and eat meals at home as much as you can. This way, you have full control of what’s in your food. Most restaurants will cook with bad oils / fats to cut cost. Our  brain is made of fat and needs good fat to power through life. So learn to use and cook with good fats.

The hard work is only in the beginning. This is a path that will have long term positive results that will improve our quality of life. Know that there are others from all around the world that’s doing this journey. This is the truth that I keep reminding myself as I go along. I am not alone. 

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Meat and vegetables make me feel at my best.

REVITALIZING the Body Doing KETOGENIC and PALEO DIET

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I’ve been on several diets since my 20’s. It’s been 8 years of diving into the world of food and nutrition through self study and research on reliable materials I can find online, in print, and the physical results I’ve gotten from trying these diets.

I’ve tried the vegetarian diet, the vegan diet, the raw food diet, the body ecology diet, the paleo diet, and the ketogenic diet. I read, find recipes, and prepare the food that’s within the umbrella of the certain diet, and stick to it for as long as I can…and for as long as it feels right and it feels good to my body. I have certainly pushed it at times. What I have learned is that my body cannot sustain being boxed in on certain diets that don’t include meat for a long period of time.

Only the our body can tell us the pros and cons of being on a certain diet and eating with restrictions because our bodies respond differently to different foods and food groups. And although this is said so many times by health bloggers and health articles, I cannot stress this enough: it is important to find what works best for YOU.

Developing a curiosity for this has been my saving grace in discovering what it is that makes my body thrive–food & nutrition wise. I have had lung issues that required so many antibiotics at a time and skin issues that I’ve lived with pretty much my whole life. Until I saw a glimmer of light in this dark path I’ve been on. 

If you are feeling like you need to create the change, I invite you to dive in. You will not be disappointed. It will take time, but take all the time you need to do your research and find a good reliable source of ingredients for your home cooking, and most importantly, do take time to get acquainted with your body and learn how to listen to it when it tells you what it needs. This is a life long learning process because our bodies change as we get older and our needs change along with it. 

I used to think that the weighing scale and tape measurements are the tellers if I’m on the right track. I was wrong. The true teller whether we are doing right by our body is the way we feel. 

Questions I ask myself to check in on how I’m doing…

  1. Do I feel strong doing this?
  2. Is my energy level good?
  3. How does my belly feel after eating this?
  4. How does my skin feel after eating this?
  5. How often do I get sick? (this is a teller on how well my immune system works, I used to get sick a lot when I didn’t have meat in my diet)

Out of all these diets that I’ve been on, I found that the Paleo and Ketogenic are the ones that worked for my body. So I’ve been doing both, having their principles meet in the middle and avoiding sweets and processed foods altogether.

The Paleo Diet a.k.a. The Caveman Diet

I first heard about this through my husband who by the way has been battling with an auto-immune disease called Psoriatic Arthritis for 10 years now, and winning by eating good and wholesome foods coupled with his bi-monthly medication that suppresses this active disease.

We bond on food & nutrition and he is the one who introduced me to the work of Mark Sisson. 

I am a fan of Mark Sisson for the reason that his philosophies and ideas that he proposes about how a human body thrives makes sense to me. He is the author of the following  books: Primal Blueprint, Primal Endurance, The Primal Connection, The Keto Reset Diet, and cookbooks accompanying these textbooks.

For the first time in my life, I have a clear understanding of what processed foods are and how frequently I have them in my meals. The truth is our food market here in the United States is deeply saturated in highly processed, high-fructose ingredients. When I was first learning about this, I took my time to re-evaluate my grocery shopping list and I would read the ingredients of every packaged goods that I buy and their nutrition facts. This helps an individual in  getting acquainted with the good and the bad in the food industry. If I don’t understand it, I don’t buy it. I consider them as laboratory created food as opposed to whole foods that are direct from farms like vegetables and animal products that does not need a label on them because you know exactly what it is already.

For example, at the market you will see that:

Produce is produce;

Meat is meat;

Fish is fish;

Poultry is poultry;

A Cookie consists of: unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour,niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin b1}, riboflavin {vitamin b2}, folic acid), semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, dextrose, soy lecithin), sugar, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated cotton seed oil, high fructose corn syrup, leavening ( baking soda and /or ammonium phosphate), salt, whey (from milk ), natural and artificial flavor, caramel color. Ingredients of chips ahoy.

Etc. 

You get what I’m saying when buying packaged goods? It has way too many questionable ingredients that can cause health issues later on down the road because most of us are sensitive and we don’t know it until we start paying attention, or worse, a physician tells us that one or more of our organs are not functioning the way it should.

Anything that has a chemical preservative is bad news. They contain allergens that are known to be harmful to us both short term and long term. 

This is what the Paleo approach looks like (focus on the pyramid):

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SOURCE URL: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-primal-blueprint-21-day-challenge-infographic/

 

The Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Diet is when your body uses fat for fuel. We cook our food in good, clean fats (ghee, olive oil, tallow, avocado oil). While other’s who are doing a ketogenic diet include cheese, butter, and state of the art fats like MCT oil, I stick to my own version of keto, I eat meat and only vegetables that grow above ground.

We like to keep our meals simple and we enjoy tasting the freshness of our bounty by not adding seasonings and flavors that will mask them. For seasoning, I stick to sea salt, pepper, fresh garlic, lemon or lime, and whatever herbs we have growing in our garden. 

Protein Source:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Chicken (occasional)
  • Eggs (ocassional)

Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber:

  • Romain 
  • Brocolli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Aragula

Probiotic:

  • Fermented Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Fruits:

  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Berries (occasional)

Keto and Paleo seems like my best bet in achieving longevity. Although they have differences, they have a similar goal of healing the body through food.

On my future blog articles, I will talk more about good fats and bad fats, the whats and the whys. 

I used to feel like a victim spinning out of control. I find that the key is knowing that we can gain control in this food industry that is so out of control. We just have to seek it and take charge of the things we want to change in our lives. We hold on to the good, and we ditch the bad that is not serving us for the better. Since changing the way I eat, my body has felt so much better, I feel more up to the tasks I’m given, I haven’t been sick for a long time, I haven’t had any episode of Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH), I am hooked to exercising, I feel strong and there is peacefulness and an overall happiness in my well being for the first time in my life.