Patient Perspective: Elimination Diet
This post was written by a guest writer--a patient of mine! To keep this patient’s information protected, we will call her Ellen. In this post, you'll read about her experience with the “elimination diet,” also referred to as the “hypoallergenic diet.”
Hello, my name is Ellen and I am excited to have this opportunity! I will be sharing my experiences while on the elimination diet as prescribed by my doctor, Dr. Cho.
I am on the elimination diet in an attempt to help rebalance my hormones. This past year I have been on a sabbatical (from teaching) and travelled abroad for several months. During this time I missed multiple menstrual cycles and as a result experienced acne breakouts. When I returned home each time and returned to a diet not consisting of refined starches and sugars, my cycles returned to normal.
I officially started the elimination diet (no gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, sugar, alcohol, red meat, etc) a couple weeks ago and here are my thoughts and struggles so far.
Before starting the elimination, I used the month before as a weaning and practice period, for the most part following the rules (but still eating nightshade vegetables) and figuring out new things to cook. The day I officially started my elimination was a big mental challenge only because now I was not allowed to eat certain foods rather than before when I wasn't supposed to eat it.
Breakfast: A usual breakfast used to consist of cereal (a few grams of sugar per serving) or toast with peanut butter and jam or banana. When I first switched to oatmeal (slow cook oats or steel cut oats) with no sugar and unsweetened almond milk it took a little getting used to. I now really enjoy my oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins and berries or banana. I miss having orange juice but enjoy having smoothies more often.
Lunch: Out of the three meals, lunch is the one I have the hardest time with. I love eating sandwiches so giving up bread was a hard one. I enjoy eating salads and soups and have had some really delicious creations but I miss the variety that sandwiches offer. I am also hungry a lot sooner and have not mastered the snack category yet.
Snacks: I have also had a hard time finding a variety of snacks that are tasty and satisfying (fruit doesn't always cut it!). Sometimes I find myself staring in the fridge or cupboard looking for something to catch my eye. My go-to's are hummus with crackers or veggies, ants on a log with almond butter or nuts and dates. This is when I really miss cheese!!
Dinner: this is the area I have had the most success with. It was a pretty seamless transition from white rice to brown, from pasta to quinoa and from white potatoes to sweet potatoes. I rotate between fish and chicken along with a variety of vegetables and/or salad. I have to plug my nose as I walk by hotdog stands but other than that I've been doing okay.
I do feel a lot healthier since staring the elimination diet. I don't get as sleepy after eating a meal, my bowel movements are much more regular, and I'd like to think that I have more energy. I'm lucky to have the time right now to cook, experiment, and grocery shop as I am fairly certain that I wouldn't be as successful or obedient if I had been teaching right now!
When I am out in public and I see people eating it's funny now to realize that there aren't many truly healthy options people can have when on the go. Eliminating the foods that I have has really made me notice how prevalent these ingredients are in all food. I think I may have a whole new outlook on food by the time my elimination is done! ---
Thanks to Ellen for sharing her experiences! If you have any questions about the elimination diet, please contact Dr. Cho.
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