If you find yourself experiencing discomfort after eating certain foods, it could be the sign of a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities can cause a whole range of unpleasant symptoms including bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue, headaches, an inability to lose weight, and in my case – skin conditions such as chronic eczema. Yuck.
While blood or skin testing can confirm food allergies, food sensitivities can be harder to diagnose. Eliminating the suspected food(s) from your diet completely for a short amount of time can be one of the most profound experiments you’ll ever try. Food has the power to promote health or create disease, and what you give up temporarily, you’ll gain in a deeper understanding of your own body, health and well-being.
Try avoiding the suspected food(s) completely for at least 10 days. If you can, wait it out for longer. When I ditched dairy, and later gluten, I didn’t see serious results each time until about the 30-day mark. *gulp!* Yup, 30.
Those first 30 days are the hardest and can drive you bonkers if you let them. These tips may help you not only survive, but thrive, during that first crazy month:
1. Enlist support
Hire a Health Coach or Nutritionist, sign up for an accountability partner, join a group program, or find a friend who is struggling with a similar food issue to you.
Being on an elimination diet can sometimes feel quite isolating. The better your support system, the more you’ll not only live through, but actually enjoy this experiment.
2. Get organised
Preparation is key, baby! Shake down your fridge and pantry and remove (or hide really well!) all traces of the suspected foods. Why invite temptation into your own home?
Bring in new foods to replace the ones you remove. Make sure you’ve always got healthy options on hand when hunger strikes.
3. Get creative
Research healthy alternatives to the suspected problem food(s). Search Google, invest in new cookbooks, search Youtube and Vimeo for demo videos, and find and follow blogs that offer recipes and alternatives.
Be brave in the kitchen. Think of this as an adventure! Unleash your inner domestic goddess and experiment with new options. Kitchen messes be damned!
4. Switch up your social calendar
Plan lots of activities where you can take your own food and not feel left out. Think picnics, potlucks, and outdoor cinema – or even host a special dinner party (and don’t invite the offending foods).
5. Pack your snacks
Allowing yourself to get really hungry is the fastest way to find yourself tearing through that forbidden food like a ravenous badger. Take snacks with you everywhere you go. Buy a bigger handbag if you have to. Invest in some pretty little containers and pack them full of the good stuff.
6. Keep a diary
Every good Scientist needs lab notes to record their findings. Note your symptoms, energy levels and moods throughout each day. This journal is helpful in recognising patterns, especially if there’s more than one food intolerance at play.
Note how you feel after one week without that food, then two, then three. If you try re-introducing that food after a few weeks, what happens?
7. Stay positive
Change can be tough. You’re learning new habits and new skills and that can be challenging, but remember: you are growing in the process. Be kind to yourself.
This is just an experiment and if it turns out the suspected food really is an issue, you won’t be missing out by waving it goodbye – you’ll be kissing hello to a healthier body and a happier life!
If it all feels a bit scary or daunting, repeating affirmations can help. Try: ‘I’m healing and respecting my body’. Repeat whenever the fear monsters creep in.
8. Have fun!
If it turns out the suspected food really isn’t your friend, you might have to learn to live without it long-term. If that’s the case, you still want to enjoy your life, right? So lay the foundation of fun now, with this experiment.
When I chose a vegan lifestyle I was determined to have fun with it and ta-da, the Dessert SuperSmoothies eBook was born!
Say yes to the fun and freedom that comes from experimenting with new foods and feeling great. Say hello to your new bliss. xx