Over the course of the two weeks, some things have become very clear for me.
*A cup of warm lemon water in the morning and iced lemon water throughout the day. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently thus controlling constipation and diarrhea. For me, my bloating has noticeably declined and I am staying seriously hydrated.
*Vegetables, raw or cooked. This includes juicing. Juicing aids in liver detoxification and it requires hardly any digestion, so all of the nutrients make it into your system. When juicing, you reap the benefits of more fruit/vegetables than you could realistically consume, hence a ton of vitamins, minerals and plant-based nutrients. For me, juicing also makes me feel 'clean and fresh' and it tastes so good!
*Seafood, organic chicken & organic turkey. I don't think I could ever eliminate fish especially from my diet and I like having protein sources that aren't just tofu and nuts. Making sure you're buying the safest and highest quality fish and meat is important, and cooking it correctly (i.e. not loaded down in fats & oils) is key.
*Eliminating red meat. I've always a been a lover of red meat be it a filet, flank steak, juicy burger, etc. However, I've now had red meat (read: top notch steaks) twice in these past two weeks and to be honest, I've only found it to be "meh." My body hasn't missed it one bit, and I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a lot of it again. I don't need it and I really don't want it. Although, I'll still cook it for Shaun.
*Eliminating dairy. I've learned that my body feels very weighted down when I consume dairy and it also wreaks havoc on my stomach, so I've decided to cut that out as well. Goodbye milk, cheese, sour cream, eggs. I'll really miss you, eggs.
*Eliminating gluten and processed carbohydrates. Again, foods that really seem to weigh my stomach down. I'm focusing on cutting out all flours/processed carbohydrates, but if I do eat them, ensuring they are gluten-free.
*Eliminating beer. When I reintroduced beer to my diet, I woke up with awful, horrible stomach issues the next day. And I really love beer. I love a cold beer, trying local beers, etc. so this really is hard. But not until I did this elimination diet did the beer seem to 'attack' my system. Maybe I've been covering it up with other 'no good' foods and given it's time to shine, did a number on me.
What DIDN'T WORK
*No caffeine. I've come to the realization that I really enjoy my 16 oz latte each morning. For me, it's a comforting part of my routine that I don't want to give up. My conclusion is that I'll continue to enjoy my morning latte (it's the only caffeine I drink all day) and then when I am craving a hot drink, I'll switch to tea.
*No alcohol. This is a tricky one as I said above eliminating beer works. I'm becoming more particular with the alcohol I do drink. For example, a glass of wine at night is not a bad thing and I do enjoy it, so I am going to keep this in for now.
Overall, I am so pleased with my learnings from the elimination diet. I really would encourage everyone to try one of their own to see what works for them and what doesn't. Now, who knows what effects this will have on my health as I believe that will take time, but I'm feeling like I'm on the right path for the first time in a long time. You have to start somewhere, right?
And of course, sufficient sleep and exercise are also key to feeling good and living a healthy life. When I'm not traveling, I have no problem sleeping 8-9 hours/night while maintaining my gym, running and dance appointments.
These factors combined = healthy living.
I should also say that the above are guidelines to follow to feel my best. Yet I also need to be realistic and not kill myself if I eat a taco, right? It may mean I have an uncomfortable morning, or a weary stomach for a bit, but life will go on. I mean, it has for the past 28 years, right?!
Have you done an elimination diet? What did you learn about your body?
Disclaimer: It should go without saying that I'm not a medical professional, so please consult one before implementing any ideas from this blog. While this may be right for me, it probably isn't right for a number of people. While I do encourage everyone to really think about what they're consuming and make an effort to be healthy, the most important priority is everyone's safety and well being.