Happy Friday! I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm continuing with Honoring the Vessel today: a series in which we get to know people who have made breakthrough in health and how they did it. If you didn't catch Part 1, you can read it here.
Meet my dear friend, Beth. She's a wife, student, auntie, and full-time administrative assistant. Beth was raised in Virginia and went to college in Tennessee. When she and her husband were married nearly four years ago, Beth had already begun her health journey. She had dealt with the common struggle of losing childhood weigh in adolescence and was feeling good! Once she married though, she gained about 45 pounds and got to a place where she was no longer feeling healthy in her body.
Beth struggled with joint pain and self-esteem issues as a result of her weight gain, but probably the biggest disappointment she faced was looking at someone in the mirror who didn't look like "her". Feeling miserable and fed up, she made attempts at weight loss, but it was difficult. It wasn't until she began connecting the dots between the nutrients she was eating, the stress levels in her life, and the lifestyle choices that didn't match up with her intentions for good health that she began to see change.
Last year, Beth became very committed to eliminating refined sugar from her diet. Getting rid of this simple ingredient that was a unique kind of poison to her body made a night-and-day difference to her joint pain and energy levels. Ignited with momentum because of this change, she began to set more advanced goals for herself and opened herself up to a modified elimination diet. Some mystery symptoms, like stomach pain and mood swings were leading to a gluten suspicion and Beth took herself off of gluten for a time. Before she knew it, she realized that she was intolerant of it! No wonder she had been feeling so miserable for so long!
It wasn't until Beth had the courage to change some of the diet habits that are harder to break that she began losing weight successfully. Once Beth was freed up from negative symptoms like joint pain, digestive issues, and fatigue that were being caused in part by sugar and gluten, she actually had energy to follow through on goals like getting more exercise and eating more vegetables.
Beth recognizes the importance of a steady health goal and is still working her way to an optimum place. She is able to do this confidently now because she has some really powerful tools under her belt! I admire Beth's faithfulness to herself and her God in this journey as she continually recognizes that she is a whole being who needs to be healthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. She is hard-working, kind, strong, and incredibly creative and these character qualities will continue to serve her well in her health journey.
Cheers to you, Beth! Congratulations on the breakthroughs you've already made in health and here's to continued success! Thanks for letting us be encouraged by your story.
Some of you may remember that I began an 8 week elimination diet a couple months ago. I've successfully made it through the diet, targeting a couple of sensitivities I had suspicions about and feeling good about the rest of the 6 most common allergens. If you're new to this elimination diet idea, read more here.
My experience was overall positive. I will admit it became harder to stay dedicated in journaling toward the end, especially since my diet felt perfectly "normal" once I reincorporated dairy, eggs, and gluten. I mean...I could go without soy and seafood for a year if I had to. I did journal diligently at the beginning though, which is when I made most of my discoveries anyway. My only major sensitivity is toward nuts. I already knew I was allergic to walnuts and pecans, but I discovered that all nuts, excluding peanuts, irritate my mouth. I also realized that I cannot eat dairy right before bed like I used to be able to do. It creates too much phlegm in my sleep. Other than these sensitivities, I walked away feeling great about gluten, eggs, soy, and seafood!
While I didn't discover any majorly shocking sensitivities, the experience was still rather insightful for me. Particularly in the first two weeks when I was off all 6 common allergens, my diet was significantly limited and I noticed my body has certain "preferences". For instance, since I was off of dairy, nuts, and eggs, I was eating a lot of meat and bananas to bulk up by diet. My digestive system did not respond well to this! So the following week, I incorporated more plant-based proteins, like avocado, and less meat, which helped alleviate the issue.
I also discovered that I have a very sensitive mouth in general. In the past, whenever I would get a canker sore, I would convince myself I had probably consumed a trace of a walnut. However, I got a couple of canker sores during the first few weeks of my elimination diet, when nuts were strictly avoided. I realized that stress, biting my mouth (in my sleep possibly) and trace amounts of any nut (other than peanut) will cause a break out in my mouth, which, when followed by anything acidic (anything--chocolate, citrus, tomatoes, tangy salad dressings), gets very aggravated. Although I knew I had a canker sore issue before, the elimination diet taught me to be more vigilant about caring for my mouth by keeping stress in check and really evaluating if that almond granola is worth a week of pain...
Have any of you out there started experimenting with an elimination diet? If so, give a shout out in the comments below and let us know how you're doing! And if this idea of naturally targeting sensitivities hits close to home for you, please contact me. I would love to talk about what we could do to tackle any mystery symptoms in your life.
An elimination diet may sound boring and gross...but don't be turned off straight away. What is it, exactly? An elimination diet is simply a tool for helping people discover food sensitivities and even allergies by temporarily removing common allergens, then gradually reintroducing them, keeping track of any positive or negative symptoms experienced along the way.
The most common allergens can be summarized into 6 categories:
Gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye)
Dairy (all milk-based products)
Seafood (specifically fish and shellfish)
Nuts (specifically tree nuts and peanuts)
What are some signs that an elimination diet might be a good idea for you? If you are experiencing negative symptoms such as excessive gas, frequent breakouts, fatigue, irritability, bloating or other digestive problems, or difficulty loosing those "last 10 pounds", you may have a food sensitivity. If you are considering an elimination diet, I would recommend setting yourself up for an 8 week project. In a proper elimination diet, the individual goes off of all 6 common allergens for 2 weeks. For each week following, he or she reincorporates one of the possible allergens. For instance:
Weeks 1 and 2: Remove all 6 possible allergens.
Week 3: Reincorporate dairy, noting any changes in mood, weight, complexion, respiration, and digestion.
Week 4: Follow the process with gluten,
Week 5: ...then eggs,
Week 6: ...then seafood,
Week 7: ...then soy,
Week 8: ...and finally, nuts.
The reason I mention preparing yourself for an 8 week project is because although such a restrictive diet can be intimidating, if you go in with a positive mindset, knowing your pantry and recipe arsenal are stocked for successful, tasty meals within these bounds, the process can be less than painful. It can be enjoyable, even. After all, you're taking an incredible, natural step toward healing yourself with food!
If you think you may have a food sensitivity and are looking for someone to help guide you through an elimination diet, please consider reaching out to contact me. I'd love to enroll you in a 6 month program with a special elimination diet track, if it's what you need!
Here's to feeling healed, whole, and symptom free!