Day 2: My Elimination Experience

Dinner last night was great! I’m already having fun making my new creations, but I can also already see all the work getting old quickly. I have to make sure I am staying a few steps ahead of myself, purchasing ingredients that can be useful in any recipe, and making sure I am constantly aware of my work/social calendar regarding the days I won’t have as much time to spend hours in the kitchen.

It’s day 2 of the elimination experience, but I haven’t forgotten it’s day 5 without coffee. How could I forget when My. Head. Hurts. The withdrawal is still in full swing, and my headaches are still coming in hot. As I already commented on, it’s extremely evident that I should not have cut off the caffeine intake cold turkey. It seems everything around me triggers a headache. My alarm in the morning, the air being cooler than yesterday, having a close conversation with a colleague, the Indian music playing over the speakers in my cab at this moment…everything 😩 I just want a coffee. Honestly, it’s that intense of a feeling – as if I truly need the source of the issue to make the issue go away. And I’m hungry!! I’m still eating A LOT throughout the day, which I expect to decrease over the next couple weeks, but I snack constantly and still find myself starving by dinner. 

I was considering today that I may not be eating enough calories, but as I reflect on my food journal, that can’t be the case. It’s interesting to observe – I will continued to be most intrigued by the volume of foods and how it changes throughout this process. And despite all this intake, I still feel weak by the end of the day. I think maybe my next factor to research just presented itself…but before looking further into that, I think I will lie down.

Brenen prepared dinner tonight. Well, by prepared I mean reheated my prep from last night. Not my pasta, but I actually prepared a Meatball & Kale Sauté specifically for tonight, knowing I wouldn’t have time to fully make the meal today. It was delicious, and filling, and the reheating process didn’t affect the way it tasted at all! Very smart of me, if I do say so myself. I’m a smart eliminating-dieter. It seemed all my aforementioned exhaustion and sluggishness disappeared once we ate, and I didn’t really find myself overwhelmingly tired after dinner. Still, as soon as I got comfy in bed and told my mind to go to sleep, it did.

Here’s the recap from Day 2, and you can check out my meatball and pasta recipes I’ve mentioned so far if you’re interested! 🙂 Working on getting a running meal-plan journal up by the end of this week! Thanks for following along…

Day 2: 03/02
Hot water w/lemon
Rice cake topped with almond butter + banana

Short stretch session

Quick oats made w/hot water, and added honey, cinnamon, almond milk, berries, and banana

Muscle Maker Smoothie made with pear, pineapple, and mango
Plain grilled chicken with steamed broccoli
Yogi Lemon Ginger Tea
1 Free2Be Dark Chocolate Sun Cup
1 Trade Joe’s Organic Applesauce Cup with Cinnamon
1 C Carrots + Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus

Turkey Meatball & Kale Sauté
1 Kiwi + 1 Blood Orange

Day 1: My Elimination Experience

Day one and already I’ve been greeted with some pleasant (and some not-so-pleasant) surprises. As I mentioned, this was not an “on a whim” decision – a lot of planning and thought back this diet, so naturally it was a shock when I woke up this morning to the announcement of a dedicated partner. “Might as well,” one of many seemingly lazy, yet amazing mantras often sported by my boyfriend was the empowering string of words that completely calmed my admitted increasing nerves.

The day went by smoothly for the most part. I didn’t have to change much about my morning or afternoon because I am used to eating overnight oats for breakfast, and usually order a salad for lunch. I had to accommodate some ingredients for the oats – making sure to eliminate any traced of gluten or soy, and when ordering lunch, I omitted cheese and used plain olive oil and vinegar as a dressing. I know a lot of people use this as their go-to dressing for salads but I actually hated the taste! I will definitely need to figure out something different, but will likely stick to one of my go-to favorites.

I already miss chocolate (obviously) and coffee. Technically, it’s day four without caffeine. It was this evening that I noticed I feel lighter yet a little sluggish at the same time. I’ve had a lot of (terribly smelly) gas throughout the day. You know the type: “silent but deadly,” haha. And it was walking around this evening that I noticed a pretty cranky all over body-ache creeping in. I certainly need to start planning further ahead for dinner because I am starving!  Here’s a peak at my first day, and my first dinner, but I do plan to have all of my meals/prep available soon! Stay tuned 🙂

Day 1: 03/01
Eliptical + Legs Strength Training

Hot water w/lemon
Sprouted & peeled almonds
Overnight Oats w/almond base + blueberries

Just Salad – Mesclun/kale, quinoa, dried cranberries, apples, grilled chicken, oil/balsamic vinegar
Peach Herbal Tea

Avocado, Tuna, Zucchini pasta, seasoned with garlic salt and lemon juice, cooked in olive oil, topped w/a red pepper, mushroom, cauliflower puree + mushrooms
Leftover red pepper + Hummus before bed

Turkey Meatball & Kale Sauté

In all the researching I have done in preparation for the elimination diet, much has warned against the difficulty one would be bound to face throughout the process. I truly imagined the most difficult part to be related to self-control, but I surprisingly haven’t struggled too much in that area. It’s still early in my journey (Day 1, to be specific), so I won’t congratulate myself, yet.

All the same, even early on I’ve determined meal-planning and prepping is, and could continue to be difficult, if not at least interesting. My first few creations have been no NYC style pizza, but the dish was a success as determined by myself and my boyfriend. This recipe specifically was actually prepared with the intention of eating the following day. I figured the concept would be one which would hold up well in the fridge, and still taste just as great when consumed 24 hours later! (Hint: I was right!)

Start with your favorite ground seed mixture, such as flax seed or almond meal, add a little bit of water and set this mixture aside. I used a seed mixture from Trader Joe’s which included buckwheat, as well! Next, mix and form balls out of the ground turkey, chopped green onions, maple syrup, gluten free oats, and flaxseed egg. Heat on a skillet your favorite cooking oil, such as coconut or grapeseed, and once the balls are ready, coat them in the seed mixture and add them in the skillet. The balls should take anywhere from 4-10 minutes to fully cook. As they begin to fry, add in raw kale that has been dipped or drizzled with the cooking oil. The kale will start to fry as well, and once all the turkey balls have been cooked, as well as the oil soaked up, you’re all done!

Serve with an added drizzle of maple syrup and ta-da! Breakfast for dinner!

The dinner was actually a combination of a breakfast idea – I added in some savory side notes to make it seem more appropriate, and less sugary. You can swap my turkey for beef, or another meat of your choice. You might even substitute a more salty or spicy sauce, such as chimichurri instead of the syrup. If you use a triple filtered coconut oil, this could eliminate any sweet taste entirely. If you like the recipe as is, you can simply omit the kale and add these little meatballs to any morning marco bowl, or serve with fresh fruit or eggs, if they’re in your diet! 😉

Turkey Meatball & Kale Sauté

3 tbsp Flaxseed Meal
1.5 tbsp Water
1 lb Ground Turkey
3 Green Onions (Chopped)
2.5 tbsp Maple Syrup (1.5 in mixture, 1 for drizzle)
1 C Gluten Free Oats & Flaxseed Egg
Bunch of Kale

Simple Pasta + Veggies

I was so pleasantly surprised by this meal. It would technically be my first dinner of my elimination diet, even though I’ve been whipping up a storm in the kitchen lately – throwing together bits and pieces as much as I can to stay prepped and on top of my meals.

Right from the jump I feared giving up gluten would be troublesome for me. I don’t typically consume a lot of carbs, but I was worried cutting the grain out entirely would be something I’d notice so greatly (Hint: I was wrong). So in preparation for this, I decided one of my first meals should be pasta. Pasta? Why? I have no idea why I wanted to go this route, to be honest, because I am not a huge pasta-eater anyway. I love a good donut, and will admit that pretty much any kind of bread is the shiz, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate pasta. Oy vey…

So anyway, I decided to find a quinoa based noodle, and stir it up quick with some veggies. On one major positive note, it was a super quick and easy recipe, and it seemed to keep for much longer as a leftover option than your average pasta would.

I simply brought the pasta itself to a boil with a little bit of garlic sea-salt, meanwhile grilling some vegetables court-side in a mix of olive oil and the same seasoning. Once the past was done, I drained it and added it to the skillet with the veggies. Finally, I topped the whole mixture with a puree made from red peppers, cauliflower, and mushrooms covered in a splash of olive oil and water. It turned into a deliciously thick sauce, thanks to my roomie’s bullet, and even though I was eating 90% vegetables and 10% quinoa, I felt unexpectedly full and satisfied.

When re-heating the pasta a day later, I decided to add a little meat to it by just tossing in some plain grilled chicken. It was good, just as an added source of protein, but totally not necessary. I actually really appreciated how this quick meal could be a rainy day solution for a vegetarian or paleo option!

Quinoa Pasta & Veggies W/Red Pepper Sauce
Pasta: 1 lb Quinoa Pasta (Try this brand available at Whole Foods!)
1/4 C Mushrooms
1/4 C Zucchini
1/4 C Summer Squash
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Garlic Sea Salt for flavoring

Sauce: 1/4 C Mushrooms
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 C Cauliflower
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 C Water

No Coffee, Day 3

Of all the research I’ve done in preparing for my Elimination Diet, I have to admit I feel a little foolish for not considering the negative outcomes of giving up coffee cold turkey. Realistically, I’ve likely consumed (on average) 2-3 cups of coffee a day for the past several years.

Even though my diet hasn’t taken full swing yet (check back tomorrow!), I stopped drinking coffee on Sunday (three days ago). I did this because I wanted to force myself into the idea that I would be giving up something I was used to. I would be changing my daily habits and routines. And I figured starting a few days early with something intense would allow me to hit the ground running come the actual start date. Unfortunately, I later discovered this is not recommended for someone who is used to consuming a lot of caffeine, on which our bodies and minds become dependent. A better approach would be cutting down to 1 cup a day, to then a 1/2 cup, and maybe a decaf consumption before eventually removing it from your diet entirely. I just woke up one day and said, “bye bye!”

Now, I’ve had a perpetual headache for days, and feel at this point it’d be just as bad to pick it back up again because my body is obviously already going through the withdrawal.

I guess all there is to do is tough it out, but first I had to call myself out – I felt “so prepared,” but of course there is still always room for error or misjudgment, (or plain stupidity haha). I am staying positive though 🙂 🙂 🙂 and am at least glad I am forcing myself to continue to research and read throughout the process – for this exact reason!! As long as I’m living and learning…