Torture and Wonderment and Elimination

So here it goes! I’ve committed. I’m doing it. The idea behind starting such a feat admittedly came from first reading about the experience from one of my favorite health enthusiast, @leefromamerica. While I’ve always been interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, nothing quite captivated me much as did the concept of first needing to take the appropriate steps in determining what was exactly healthy for me. Sure, there are the healthy habits by which we should all aspire to live – exercise, water, moderation of potential toxins…but what really got me thinking was the idea that, as far as I know, I am living as healthy of a lifestyle as could be, yet still often struggle with symptoms I might be able to control if I just take the time to first examine their source. For example, I often feel fatigued, very seldom do I see true definition in my muscles, and I truly feel that admitting I have a perpetual headache is not that extreme of a claim. I know I drink a lot of caffeine (teaching took care of that miscalculation), and I know the handful of alcohol I consume in a week doesn’t seem like a lot, even though it probably is (college took care of that miscalculation). But I also realize with full humility that I am human, and it is a gooooood human feeling to eat cheese, drink beer, and reward myself with donuts whenever I feel like it!

Here is the conclusion I came to – to be honest, I am healthy. I wake up every morning between 5 and 6am, go to the gym, eat oats (& blueberries) everyday for breakfast, and usually a salad for lunch. I have an ever-running list of friends and family whom care for me deeply, and I am so beyond blessed enough that I’ve never had to face a life-threatening situation in which I was forced to change my diet in any kind of extreme way. I am healthy, but I am also lucky. I know a lot of people who cannot say the same. If I’m being completely honest, there is a large possibility that I could continue just as I am now for the rest of my life and I may never have any issues. I may even live into my 90s! But if I’m being realistic, there is also a large possibility that this isn’t the case. I figure a major part of my world (and everyone’s!) is the fuel that provides us the privilege to inhabit it. Without fuel, we are immobile. We are dead. Our bodies really are, or should be, our temples. At least for now.

So at the very least, I figure I owe it to my body to do myself a learn. I study and read and practice and experiment so much with different recipes and foods, but I’ve never really done so with my body. What I have learned to be true is that everyone’s body is different, and is constantly changing and evolving. MY Elimination Plan will revolve around ME, and my only goal for this adventure (as if with most any step I take in life) is to be mindful. 🙂 I want the experience to be one by which I learn more than I ever have – including continuing to try new foods and new recipes, but also paying attention to how what I am consuming is impactful, as well as whatever I am not eating may be.

Up to this point it’s been an astounding (and quite) several MONTHS of preparation. Yes months. I have plans, and lists, and ideas, and dates, and charts, and…well you get it. I am ready. We are doing this.

Stay tuned for all the torture and wonderment. I am SO excited.

The Final Week – How Do You Spell Positivity?: My Elimination Experience

It’s been a while, and this post will be short.

This weekend was not easy. We’re so close yet feel so far away.

There was a lot of irritability floating around between myself and Brenen, and try as I might to maintain a healthy enough level of positivity for the both of us, I have been struggling. The funniest part is, it’s not even that I miss certain foods or drinks, or that I have even really been craving anything specific. Okay, I actually could really go for a beer…but it’s more that the restrictions have left us missing out on experiences. That realization has been increasingly frustrating. Prior to her visit with my mom to the city, my sister and her boyfriend were in Boston, and had asked us to join. It was the first weekend of our diet, so to avoid feeling tempted or out of place, we declined. Unforeseen, we felt the need to pass up a second opportunity to go with friends from the city this weekend. Of course we still could have made the trip (or even both), but what’s Boston without a Lobster Roll and a drink by the Bay? Still Boston, I get it…just complaining over here…

I’ve never been to MA, and now the opportunity has been propositioned twice within our elimination period. It’s hard to think taking a trip or trying something new would be logically worthwhile right now when our main focus is just on achieving the goals in front of us. Not to mention, both of us realizing this has caused us both to become irritable and frustrated. It’s not been difficult maintaining within our restrictions – it’s been difficult realizing how easy it would be to just not.

Ah but enough of that pessimistic crap! On the up side, we made a couple great -no probably the best we’ve had- meals recently! A long-anticipated roast went up this weekend, and holy crap I’ve never had something homemade so well. It was a crockpot recipe and took less than an hour to throw together, including my trip to Whole Foods on a Sunday morning!

I’ll save you all the details but it’s clear this past week/weekend was no walk in the park, especially when compared to the initial days of the journey. I think getting through Monday and Tuesday (days 20-21) will feel like crossing a new threshold. Even though the diet will continue for the most part, knowing we’re on the other side of the little mountain (I feel) will have significant impact on both our attitudes. Onward to reintroduction!

Day 13: 03/13
No Exercise

Morning:
Lemon Ginger Tea
Overnight oats + vanilla extract w/no berries

Afternoon:
Chopt Chicken Tinga (didn’t finish)

Evening:
Leftover homemade chili for dinner
Rice cake topped w/almond butter, cinnamon, honey, and cocoa powder before bed

Day 14: 03/14
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon

Exercise:
Yoga power flow

Morning:
Rice cake topped w/almond butter
Overnight oats w/blueberries

Afternoon:
Smoothie -apples, kiwi, ginger, spinach, almond milk, ice
Grapes as a snack

Evening:
Grilled chicken salad w/apples, dried cranberries, avocado, and homemade balsamic vinegar dressing

Day 15: 03/15
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
Rice cake topped with almond butter + honey

Exercise:
4 miles, 500 calories
Weight Lifting for Arms

Morning:
Quick “overnight” oats
-honey, cinnamon, almond milk, blueberries

Afternoon:
Hu Kitchen rotisserie chicken w/roasted sweet potatoes + cinnamon pineapple & cashew milk
Yogi Women’s Energy Herbal Tea
Blueberry Power w/Chi Tea

Day 16: 03/16
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
Rice cake topped with almond butter + honey

Exercise:
Half-Marathon Training
Weight Training for Arms

Morning:
Overnight oats w/berries
Cherry Lara bar

Afternoon:
Carrots w/hummus
Double Chicken Tinga w/beans, apples, beets
Herbal tea

Day 17: 03/17
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
Rice cake topped with almond butter + honey

Exercise:
Half-Marathon Training
Yoga hip stretches
Handstand practice

Afternoon:
Hu kitchen 1/4 rotisserie chicken + cinnamon & cashew milk pineapple, sweet potatoes
Apple Lara Bar
Grapes
Dried beet chips
Cashew lara bar
Herbal tea

Day 18: 03/18
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
Rice cake topped with almond butter + honey

No Exercise

Morning:
Baked steelcut oats w/apples

Afternoon:
Green juice – kale, apples, ginger, celery, cucumber, lemon
BBQ roasted chickpeas
Hummus w/celery

Evening:
Crock Pot roast – boneless chuck shoulder roast w/carrots, celery and chipotle seasoning
Blueberry crumble made w/almond flour

Day 19: 03/19
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon

Exercise:
Vinyasa power yoga

Morning:
Leftover baked steel cut oats + leftover blueberry crumble served cold w/milk
Fresh fruit

Afternoon:
Leftover roast w/carrots
Yogi Women’s Energy Herbal Tea
Apple Larabar

Evening:
Snacks 180 blueberry almond crisps
Honey/cinnamon chicken w/cinnamon roasted beets and homemade almond butter dressing over mixed field greens
Lemon ginger tea
 

The Second Weekend: My Elimination Experience

This weekend was so easy! Even with mom and Taylor visiting, I was able to make it work and never felt pressured to lose control or sway off course. Okay, so the trip to Dō was a little unsettling – the new cookie dough dessert store between West Village and SoHo is what I imagine all dreams are made of, but ALWAYS has over an hour wait lined down the block. Of course, when we strolled by around opening on Thursday, there were only a few others ahead of us, and mom and Taylor got to walk straight in! I couldn’t believe it, and it was truly very tempting to just have a little taste (of everything!) but after thorough investigation of all of their allergens, I excused myself to wait outside with the mantra and self-promise that I will get to go back one day…and have a short and sweet wait like they did 🤦🏽‍♀️

My sister is a newfound fan of Korean BBQ, so we had to hit up K-Town during their stay, plus my mom has never been. I got us a table at my favorite little restaurant, and our sever could not have been more accommodating. I was prepared, of course, having packed enough snacks to get me through dinner without having to eat much (if anything) from the restaurant. But I explained my restrictions when we first sat down (yes, all of them!) and she made me feel as if I was actually enjoying Korean BBQ on any other trip. We communicated through broken but guided understandings of one another and she blockaded the items I wasn’t able to enjoy, serving them on the complete opposite side of the table, and waving me off as she sat them down. At first, I expected this to leave me with little options, but she ensured what could be compromised by the rest of the group was done so, and she continually brought refills of the goodies I could have so that I didn’t go hungry. And by the end of the experience I was far from it. I chowed down on rice, pear root, plain cabbage and lettuce, an unseasoned Asian salad, and of course all of the non-marinated meat I could get to before the others. It was good, as always, but being able to enjoy it now made it better than ever.

To be honest, “inclusion” has been somewhat of a hot topic throughout this experience. I think I entered into the diet under the assumption I would be shunned from friends, or that my restrictions would be ignored by others around me – especially those that I didn’t even know, like our server that night. I’ve been exceptionally pleasantly surprised to learn things have been much of the opposite. Not only do I feel as if my friends and family have been supportive of my endeavor, but so have complete strangers. “It is what it is,” has been the popular attitude, and at best, I sometimes even get questions from people who want to learn more about the diet. I guess making diet changes, or even participating in a healthy lifestyle nowadays can sometimes be looked at kind of sideways, almost as if others are afraid one who does take such actions in their life indicates they believe themselves to be better. I certainly don’t consider myself better than any other human! At the same time, I personally believe making any kind of diet/exercise/health related change should benefit YOU and your lifestyle/health and fitness goals. It’s been reassuring, encouraging, and overall an extremely positive experience feeling as if I am surrounded by such support, or at least indifference.

And of course the most supportive of all — after company left, Brenen and I had a little diet-date, and were lucky to find a cute little Vegan spot in our neighborhood: Rockin’ Raw. Without having to ask, the entire menu automatically met all our requirements: no gluten, no soy, and everything vegan friendly! We each enjoyed our own absurd combinations of brunch and finished with a homemade dessert. I got a chocolate cheesecake and he a sweet iced carrot cake.

The weekends were a top concern a few weeks ago, but this entire weekend just felt peaceful. It was easy, and we are so happy. Not to mention, waking up on Sunday with full bodied energy heading into the week has been the best perk of all! I can feel myself getting stronger every day, and I can’t wait to move forward and see where (else) this journey takes me/us! 🙂

Day 10: 03/10
No Exercise
Morning:

Peach tea w/steamed lemonade
1 dried prune

Afternoon:
Rice cake w/almond butter
Green grapes for snack  

Evening:
Korean BBQ
-Non-marinated meat
-Raw vegetables
-Unseasoned cabbage/seaweed salad
-Plain white rice w/no soy
Day 11: 03/11
No Exercise
Morning:

Peach tea w/steamed lemonade
Rice cake topped w/almond butter

Afternoon:
Smoothie from IndieKitchen
-Fresh berries, spinach, almond milk, flax seed mix
SweetGreen Harvest Salad

Evening:
1/2 Rotisserie Chicken from Chelsea Market
Antioxidant NutBox nut mix
Fresh grapes
Herbal (decaffeinated) Green Tea

Day 12: 03/12
Pre-Workout:
Lemon Ginger Tea

Exercise:
Athletic Yoga w/Brenen & Jay 😊

Morning/Afternoon:
Rockin’ Raw Ranchero
-two mini sun-dried tomato tortillas, topped with seed meat, sunflower queso fresco, fried ‘egg,’ spicy carob tomato sauce, and salsa
Rockin’ Raw “Fried Egg” Sandwich
-open faced, served with a ‘fried egg’ over sesame bread dressed with sliced avocado, sunflower cream cheese, tomato, and greens

Evening:
Yogi Womens Energy Herbal Tea
Homemade Chili
-ground turkey, beans, tomatoes, seasoning, vegetables
Vanilla Home Free cookies

Day 9 – Bye, Bye, Bananas: My Elimination Experience

The theme of the diet has been making it my own, and listening to MY body.  Unfortunately, even on Day 9 the headaches are still persisting. What I originally thought was solely due to cutting out caffeine cold turkey, I’ve now considered may be (also in part) to too much chocolate/sugar or not enough water. Perhaps it’s both. As I’ve mentioned, many “typical” elimination experiences eliminate much more than what I decided to do, but Brenen and I have been making adjustments throughout our own journey, some of which are unique to us individually, too. As an example, I am going to go ahead and kick the cocoa. 😦 It’s a sad, sad realization, but I think I have to do it – at least so that I can be sure it’s something I want to continue eating in the long-run. Similarly, we both decided we should cut back on the bananas. Like chocolate, they weren’t technically meant to be included anyway because they are such an oddity in the realm of fruits and vegetables because they have a higher level of natural fructose. They’re also high in fiber, specifically resistant starch, which our bodies cannot absorb. Since fiber is actually one of the more interesting points of observation for both of us, it makes sense we eliminate bananas moving forward.

To be honest, I do wish I could have a coffee. Or a drink. Yep, it’s that kind of day today. I’ve been thinking a lot though about my humanity throughout all of this, and to be honest, I don’t know why or when humans (specifically this human) became so mentally dependent (almost handicapped, it sometimes feels) by particular food groups. It’s a weird, and unpleasant feeling now that I am sitting outside the space of it. I don’t want to feel like I need to eat something that I know will in turn, not make me feel great. Shouldn’t we only ever be eating things that make us feel our best selves? It’s interesting…yet simple, right?

So Day 9 hasn’t been my favorite, but it’s still day by day, and I know it’s for the best. Yes, somewhat completely terrible at times (ok, I am over-dramatic), but for the best. Plus (!!!) on a higher note, my mom and sister are visiting this week/weekend! They get here today. They’re already way in the loop on the diet situation, and so supportive, but I am sure we will still be hitting up some fun spots that will be more than tempting – thus, now is as good as time as any to really toughen up! I am excited to spend time with family, and look forward to challenging myself…and continuing to win! 😉

Day 9: 03/09
Pre-Workout:
Lemon ginger tea
1 dried prune

Workout:
Cardio + arm strength

Morning:
Apple, plum, raspberry, and blueberry smoothie
Overnight Oats + raspberries and blueberries

Afternoon:
Pineapple w/cinnamon
Sea salt dark chocolate
Hu kitchen rotisserie chicken w/roasted sweet potatoes + puffed quinoa
Hu chocolate w/mint
Herbal tea
Dried cranberries

Evening:
Korean BBQ
-beef brisket, pork belly, cow tongue
-lettuce, onion, cabbage
-pear root, salt/pepper + garlic oil
-white rice
Green grapes

Week 2 – Listen To Your Body: My Elimination Experience

I haven’t been sleeping poorly, but the sleep hasn’t been as good as it was the first few nights. Perhaps I’m eating too much sugar too late in the day. I know sugar is typically eliminated from the common elimination diet, but this is MY elimination diet, and so while I’ve never really been much of a sweet-tooth, I didn’t feel the need to completely forbid myself from a sweet now and again. To be clear here, the sugars, or sweeteners rather, that I am consuming are for the most part just in the form of natural raw honey and organic blue agave. There has been the occasional allowance of pure cane sugar or light brown sugar, but I determined early on in my planning that I didn’t really cross paths with sugar enough to worry about going out of my way to avoid it.

Anyway, I’m going to experiment with avoiding sugar at least in the evening moving forward. Further, Brenen and I both decided to eliminate bananas, and I am going to leave the chocolate at the door :(. These are both also noted as common “triggers,” cut out of most elimination experiences, but we didn’t bother at first. To be clear, Brenen claimed that he hopped on this crazy train of mine as a “might as well” opportunity for him to experiment with his reactions to gluten and dairy. He personally hasn’t given up caffeine, (and isn’t that worried about cocoa), but otherwise he is on the same exact restrictions as I am. To be even more clear, I think he mostly just is just in this whole mess as a means to support me ;).

Which of course has to be contributing at least in slight measure to my mood, which has never been better! I know i’ve already mentioned this, but it remains steadily true, and is very profoundly obvious. I am still feeling extremely positive about the whole experience…despite it only being a quarter of the way through and my yearning for coffee and donuts growing everyday 😅 ..”I can do it!”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept: listening to your body. I’ve spoken about it before, and so it’s clear I’m a true believer in it – I think it’s fair to say I wouldn’t even be on this current venture if I wasn’t. Part of what makes most people I speak to skeptical of the whole process is “how do you know” when your body feels differently. Perhaps this is something that I’ve spent a lot of time working toward…but perhaps it’s also something that comes natural for each of us, if we let it. I believe our bodies are the only thing we have. Seriously. What else is there guiding you through life? Your brain? Your heart? All a part of your body, my friends! It might seem funny to cut-things-out along the way, but again, that’s why I am so determined to make this process my own! Listening to my headaches and pains and positive vibes and following the right nudges is what is going to make it worthwhile. 

I am back to attending regular physical therapy sessions for my skiing injury, and it’s actually be a great because I feel like I’m getting two workouts in in the mornings. As long as I wake up about 25-30 min earlier than normal, I can still hit the gym and then make it to PT before work. Because of this altered scheduling, I’ve been trying to focus on cardio and legs at the gym so I can save my arm and upper body strength for my therapy. I’ve also noticed the two-a-days (so-to-speak) are leaving me a bit more tired than usual. I usually can stay consistently active with my workout routine but, as you can notice, I’ve skipped a couple days already this week. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it because I am anxious about a potentially over-booked weekend with family visiting (yay!) which usually means my independent time is cut short. I suppose it’s a fair trade-off though. Mom and Taylor get here today and I am soooo excited! The weather has been nice and they are pumped for exploring, despite the trip coinciding with my diet. I’m looking forward to getting some q-time in with them both, and guess it’ll be a nice forced-break from the routine if my body apparently needs it. I’ve always listened to my body, but I feel like for the first time, I can hear her so loud and clear! Cheers to hump-day! 😀

Day 6: 03/06
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
1 dried prune

No exercise

Morning:
Overnight oats – no fruit

Afternoon:
Chopt Chicken Tinga – no cheese or tortilla
Hu Almond Fig
Celery + hummus

Evening:
Pasta w/marinara, salmon, mushrooms & zucchini
Fresh mango for dessert

Day 7: 03/07
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
1 dried prune (good for the brain)

Workout:
Full Body Strength Training
Rotator Cuff Physical Therapy

Morning:
Kale, blood orange, banana, and almond milk smoothie topped w/chia + flax seed mix
Overnight Oats

Afternoon:
Chop’t Chicken Tinga w/double chicken
Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea

Dinner:
Pasta w/marinara
Herbal tea

 

Day 8: 03/08
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
1 dried prune

No Exercise

Morning:
Overnight Oats

Afternoon:
Hu Kitchen 1/4 rotisserie chicken w/roasted market vegetables and pineapple w/cashew butter + cinnamon
Hu chocolate bar w/mint
Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea

Evening:
Pureed sweet potato bowl, w/banana + dark chocolate

The First Weekend: My Elimination Experience

It’s crazy to me that it’s almost 7:30PM (dinner time now), and I’ve only eaten…well…breakfast and lunch. But I’m not starving. The headaches are still sneaking in – never for long anymore though, and barely noticeable. This weekend was great! I expected it to be hard, hell to be honest, I expected it to be impossible. The week I never feared. As I mentioned, I’m used to my morning and afternoon routines at the office and the obstacles surrounding both have been easy enough to overcome. Another major challenge I feared would be the weekend which typically included joining friends for drinks, eating out, and drinking wine, and always included sleeping in past breakfast, drinking coffee, and eating donuts. Sigh…I sure do miss donuts.

Anyway, I feel good! I do, actually, I feel great! (And so does Brenen). The headaches, I’ve decided most definitely are related to  the caffeine. Other than the withdrawal side-effects, so far the biggest change I’ve noticed is my sleep – my uninterrupted, deep, completely rejuvenating sleep. It’s as if my entire being – body, mind, and soul are resting for the first time in my entire life. That’s how I feel when I wake up in the morning. It’s actually incredible and I am positive any explanation I give here will never do the experience justice. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and if anything grows stronger throughout the next couple weeks, I hope it’s my ability to maintain this feeling – to maintain this kind of sleep where I wake up in the morning ready to hop out of bed and literally feel as if I could accomplish anything!

 

Hand in hand, I’m also happier; just all around in a better mood. Brenen and I are getting along wonderfully. Not that we ever don’t, but there’s an energy here like never before. It’s healthy and it’s strong and it’s good. Our darling friends accommodated us on Sunday for an over-due family dinner. We hadn’t gotten together in a while as a whole group, so a couple who live together initiated a Taco Night. Of course, Brenen and I prepared to attend and not be able to eat (so packed a bag of snacks for ourselves), but we were beyond tickled to arrive to a full Make-Your-Own-Taco spread, including a sub station meeting all of our restrictions. What amazingly sweet humans! 🙂 So far, the pain and struggle and temptation have been worth every second of this journey, and discovering the positive impacts on my health has only been a portion of the reward. 😉 

Day 3: 03/03
Pre-Workout:
No exercise

Morning:
Hot water w/lemon
Quick oats w/blueberries, banana, honey, brown sugar, almond milk

Afternoon:
1/2 serving of Muscle Maker grilled chicken + steamed broccoli
Yogi Lemon Ginger Tea
1 C Carrots + Hummus
Hu Kitchen pear, spinach, blueberry smoothie
1/5 Hu Kitchen Crunchy Banana Chocolate Bar

Evening:
Fresh fruit mix + chocolate bars at movies (pictured)

Day 4: 03/04
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
GFree Rice cake topped with almond butter + banana

Workout:
Vinyasa yoga + short ab circuit

Morning:
Overnight oats w/almond butter, almond milk, cinnamon, honey, blueberries, and banana

Afternoon:
Grapes, and blueberries
SweetGreen Harvest Bowl w/mesclun, brown rice, sweet potato, apples, chicken, balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 C Home Free Chocolate Cookies
Chamomile Tea

Evening:
Steak grilled w/chimichurri sauce
Mashed cauliflower
Homemade Chimichurri Sauce: olive oil, salt/pepper, cilantro, parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper
Sweets by Chloe (shared with Brenen) Matcha Chia Pudding + blueberries, and a chocolate cupcake
Javea chocolate coconut ice cream
Decaf Lotus Blossom Tea

Day 5: 03/05
Pre-Workout:
Hot water w/lemon
GFree Rice cake topped with almond butter + banana
A few apple + kiwi slices

Workout:
Full body work out + arm circuit

Afternoon:
Juice Generation Kale Supa Dupa Greens: spinach, kale, parsley, romaine, cucumber, celery, lemon & apple
Baked Oatmeal: almond milk, apple sauce, mashed banana, baking soda, lemon, salt, topped with blueberries, blackberries, and banana
1 dried prune

Evening:
Taco Salad: plain ground turkey, tomatoes, onions, GFree taco seasoning, lettuce, pick de gallo, salsa, guacamole, terra chips
Blueberries + Raspberries
Hu Chocolate Mint Bar (Shared with Brenen)
Chamomile Tea w/lemon

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
Pre-workout:
Hot water w/lemon
Rice cake topped with almond butter + banana

Workout:
Short stretch session

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

Afternoon:
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

Evening:
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
Workout:
Eliptical + Legs Strength Training

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

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

Evening:
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