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What I learned from my elimination diet.

Reintroduction


I'm just going to admit right off the bat: the reintroduction phase of my elimination diet didn't go quite as seamlessly as I had planned. My FOMO was to blame for that, of course; by Day 22, I was itching to eat all of my old favorite foods—and I wasn't actively avoiding situations that made it easy to indulge. (Like Day 27 in Austin, for example, when I ate a pound of fried chicken to make up for lost time.) However, I managed to resist stuffing my face with junk for the first five days after the 21-day diet, during which I was able to rule out some food sensitivities.

I started by reintroducing my favorite kinds of nuts, one at a time (because there's no snack that I love more). Each morning on an empty stomach, I'd have a spoonful of nut butter and observe specific reactions. Sadly, peanuts and sesame seeds caused the same reaction that watermelon, banana, and cucumber did previously: hot neck and ears, accompanied by an angry headache. (Apparently, this is my body's way of crying for help.) I noticed similar symptoms with macadamia nuts—ugh—but pecans, walnuts, almonds, and cashews appeared to be a-okay. Phew.

The second thing I reintroduced was eggs, on the morning of Day 25. No noticeable reaction, thank goodness. (How does one live without eggs?) By that evening, I was feeling pretty confident, so I tried a few bites of greek yogurt right before dinner. This may have been just a coincidence, but not too long after, I started experiencing some cramping in the upper part of my stomach. The next morning, I drank a cup of raw milk with breakfast just to make sure, and what happened half an hour later made it very obvious that cow dairy is a no-go for this belly! I'll save you the details. Weirdly enough, sheep and goat dairy didn't appear to cause any intestinal distress.

Beef is another food that didn't sit well with me, though, made evident by the horrible headache and inflamed ears that struck only minutes after snacking on a pack of Epic beef liver bites. *Tear* Who would've thought?

I saved wheat for last, convinced that it would kill me. I'm not sure why I was nervous about it, other than the fact that gluten is more demonized than Trump these days. But to my surprise, when I ate two giant slices of homemade whole wheat pita on Day 26, nothing happened. Over the course of the following week, I kept an eye on my bread consumption, waiting anxiously for my body to finally recognize the "poisonous" protein and react with a vengeance. But alas, gluten doesn't seem to bother me at all. GIVE ME ALL THE SOURDOUGH.

In all honesty, I don't really remember reintroducing pork or shellfish, but I've eaten both on numerous occasions since then and haven't noticed anything out of the norm. As I said before, I tackled this phase sort of impatiently, and as a result wasn't as thorough as I probably should have been. I will say, though, sugar and caffeine are definitely issues for me, as just recently, I started noticing heart palpitations combined with an overall feeling of weirdness after eating anything sweet or caffeinated. So long, coffee. I will miss you dearly.

Alcohol, on the other hand, still makes me feel on top of the world (see ya, anxiety!). So wine can stay—in moderate amounts, of course. And preferably organic.

In Conclusion


So, was it worth it? Obviously, I'm glad I attempted the diet and I'm proud of myself for doing as well as I did. But to be real, I'm probably not gonna do anything like it again for a good long time, because #YOLO. That said, it's good to have an idea of what foods are causing underlying inflammation in my body. Chronic inflammation = stress, and ain't nobody got time for that.

To recap, the last month has taught me to stay the hell away from:

+ peanuts
+ sesame seeds
+ cow dairy
+ beef
+ cucumber
+ watermelon
+ sugar
+ caffeine
+ macadamia nuts
+ oats
+ banana
+ dates

And if I know what's good for me, I will. For now.

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Hi, I'm Emily! I'm a 26-year-old writer, whole foodie, and wannabe world traveler currently residing in Dallas, TX. Welcome to my little corner of the internet, where I chronicle my everyday adventures, both at home and abroad. Stay awhile!

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