This time 2 years ago I felt like crap. I was eating and drinking what I wanted, but paying for it every single day. I weighed about 20 pounds more than I wanted to, but that wasn’t really the issue. The issue was how I felt, and I felt awful! So awful, in fact, that I decided right then that I was going to go to my doctor and find a solution.
Why Did I Do It?
Fast forward to Spring 2017. I meet with my doctor and explained that I had crippling acid reflux/GERD and felt sick anytime I ate. I felt like I had a huge bag of stones in my abdomen, and like there was something stuck in my throat, all. the. time. I was bloated, nauseous, and uncomfortable. I had had enough. My doctor told me that I needed to get on medication and fast or I could end up with further health problems. I was skeptical about the need for constant medication and asked if there was a way to remedy this issue with diet alone. She said the benefit of the medication outweighed the risk. I trusted her.
A month into my treatment, which consisted of an H2 Blocker (Ranitidine) in the morning and PPI (Omeprazole) in the evening, I felt worse than I had to begin with. I had near constant diarrhea and my mouth hurt – my tongue was cracked and raw…I called the doctors office and they told me to get off the H2 Blocker, but to stay on the PPI for the next 2 months. I did what I was told, and the mouth pain went away…the rest did not.
I went to my 90 day follow up appointment with my doctor and told her I didn’t think the plan was working. She wanted me to continue the PPI indefinitely. I kept my concerns to myself and left. That was Fall 2017.
Christmas 2017 was my breaking point. I felt so sick and I was in so much discomfort. My sister-in-law told me about a book to check out called The Elimination Diet. I bought it, read it, and decided that right after New Year’s I was going to follow it to a T. What did I have to lose?
The Elimination Diet
Phase 1: Detox – Days 1 and 2 – Fresh veggie juices, green smoothies, and pureed cooked vegetables in homemade stock. So basically a liquid diet for 2 days. How bad could that be? 2 days isn’t long, right…Wrong! Turns out 2 days is about one half too long.
Phase 2: Elimination – Days 3 to 14 – Anti-inflammatory foods that tend not to cause any immune response in the majority of people. The book gives you a list of No Foods (Foods to Eliminate) and Yes Foods (Foods to Eat. They provide you with recipes that make it easy to figure out how to eat. I found a few that I liked and stuck to those. It was a bit repetitive, but I felt like a whole new person and I was terrified to go back to feeling like crap – so eating the same things everyday didn’t bother me. I found this time frame went by most quickly of all 3 phases.
Phase 3: Reintroduction – Days 15+ – Reintroduction of foods that potentially could trigger an immune response. It is done in 3 day increments so that you are only having one new food at a time, allowing you to really tune in to how that food affects your body. This phase took me almost 3 months. I never felt bad having to retrict my diet. Of course, it was difficult to have to figure out what I could actually eat. And having a family with 2 children and a husband who were not doing this made it complicated. But they provided me with a lot of support and before I knew it, I was done and knew what foods were causing me trouble.
My triggers were gluten, dairy, and corn. These three things can be found in the majority of the foods we eat! No wonder I had felt awful for so long.
Although this was NEVER about weight loss, during the course of following The Elimination Diet, I lost about 11 pounds. I had always hung out around 160 pounds or so, but had done Weight Watchers for a few months before I started The Elimination Diet (not knowing that is what I was going to do). So when I started, I was about 146 pounds. When I finished the Reintroduction phase, I was 135. I have maintained that weight (+/- a pound or 2) ever since without dieting. I have eliminated the foods that trigger an immune response in my body and I follow a healthy exercise routine (which I had done for about 2 years before I did The Elimination Diet).
I can’t believe what food can do or NOT do to your body. I am now super aware of how foods affect my body. I do have a triggering food from time to time because I want to, but it is not often, and most of the time it is only a bite or two. It’s just not worth it to feel awful.
I recently went to my doctor for my yearly checkup (not related to acid refulx/GERD) and told her that I hadn’t taken the PPI since Christmas of 2017 and that I had never felt better. I told her about The Elimination Diet, and she was happy that I had found a way to help myself. I wish that doctors would promote health remedies through diet. I wish lifetime medications were not the ONLY option served to us. Having gone through this process, I now see the food/health relationship in a totally different way. If I can eliminate my acid reflux/GERD by avoiding triggering foods, what could other people do by trying it?!
If you’d like more content related to The Elimination Diet and my journey, let me know. I could easily go on for days about it. And I have purchased this book for others on top of all of the blabbering away I have done to people about it. It is such a simple thing that we can do…I can’t imagine going back.
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*I am not a doctor, you may want to consult with a doctor when undergoing a major dietary change.