3 Week Elimination Diet – No Dairy or Eggs
March 26, 2010 § 11 Comments
Why did this experiment come about in the first place?
I read a book called “The Ultra-Metabolism Cookbook” by Dr. Mark Hyman. In the book, he outlines a plan for an elimination diet to de-sensitize your system from common food allergens. In addition, there are meal plans and recipes you can follow. You can then begin to slowly re-introduce the high allergen foods if you choose to. This is a follow up to the book “Ultra-Metabolism” which I have not read.
The most common food allergens are wheat gluten, dairy, and eggs. I eliminated wheat a few years ago and it changed my life. My joint pain disappeared, 20 stubborn pounds disappeared with barely any exercise, and my blood work did a complete turn around (white blood cell levels returned to normal range). Before eliminating wheat, I was seeing a rheumatologist! I do still eat wheat but in moderation. From what I understand, if you eliminate an allergen that you have a reaction to (inflammation, joint pain, sinus issues, IBS or digestive issues, etc.), and then add it back to your diet in moderation, your body doesn’t have that same immune response. In other words, you just tolerate it better.
I grew up drinking milk all the time. My parents encouraged it. We didn’t drink soda and milk is wholesome and nutritious, right? I also grew up with terrible allergies and asthma. As an adult, I depend on prescription allergy medications to get me through high pollen days otherwise a sinus infection is sure to follow. For these reasons, I felt it would be a good experiment to eliminate eggs and dairy from my diet for 3 weeks and see if it made a difference in my quality of life.
How did I feel during the 3 week elimination?
My impression of 3 weeks without dairy and eggs: it’s not so bad. I would normally depend on eggs for quick lunches, so it did require a little more planning on my part. Making lunches ahead of time was key for me. Spring has sprung here in the northeast, with pollen counts as high as 7.8 (on a scale of 1 to 12). I am happy to report that I’ve been fine and have not used allergy meds yet! A few days I got nervous so I did a sinus rinse with the neti-pot just as a precaution but other than that, no symptoms.
What did I learn?
The National Dairy Council spent more than $165 million in 2003 on the marketing of dairy mainly aimed at moms and their children and school lunch programs. I can see where people are of the opinion that dairy is good. It’s shoved down our throats! Just yesterday, I attended a presentation about children’s nutrition. I received two handouts. One was telling me if I wanted my kids to have strong bones and teeth, they need dairy 3 times a day. The other handout tells me how to approach my school’s principal about getting more milk and flavored milk choices into schools. Wow! They’re turning moms into dairy peddlers now? I have to be honest, I am starting to question dairy after my son suffers with allergies and his asthma medications cost us a small fortune. After reading “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD in which all of the studies involved whey protein (and the promotion of many diseases), I am REALLY starting to question whether dairy is so good after all.
I’m not going to lie, I missed cheese and I would like to enjoy some greek yogurt from time to time. I tried a few new grains, amaranth and buckwheat groats (not in the wheat family). I used both in a hot cereal recipe and I used buckwheat groats in a salad with fresh veggies, and chickpeas for lunch.
I also tried almond milk and hemp milk in smoothies. Both are pretty good but my favorite is almond milk. I’m trying to figure out more uses for it! I did eat meat during the 3 weeks but not every day and always organic and/or grass fed, or wild caught fish.
I’m not really surprised at this finding: more protein does not equal more muscle. 3 weeks on the same training program with less protein from dairy and still 125 – 127 pounds and 16% body fat. Hmmm!
The most important lesson and one of the most common sayings is “everything in moderation”. It holds true here. Too much meat, too much dairy, too much alcohol is just not good for you. The only exception to that is vegetables. 🙂 Try new things, change it up, and if you can afford to, buy organic.
What did I eat on a typical day?
a.m. – workout followed by a green drink (see tab above for more details). Loads of organic veggies, an apple, some ginger and lemon, flaxseed oil, hemp protein powder. A cup of green tea.
snack – hot cereal made with buckwheat groats, soy milk, raw almonds, flaxseed meal, and blueberries, or a ton of raw veggies with hummus.
lunch – a pear and a salad made with quinoa, raw finely diced red pepper, red onion, chickpeas, and a side of some steamed broccoli or sautéed broccoli rabe. I will post this recipe soon. It is delicious and doesn’t need refrigeration. Perfect for the summer months!
snack – a smoothie made with a cup of hemp or almond milk, 1/2 banana, flaxseed meal, hemp protein powder, maca powder, cacao powder, and a few ice cubes.
dinner – some roasted organic chicken breast mixed with taco seasoning (without MSG or other crap) over two organic non-GMO sprouted corn tortillas, topped with salsa and avocado (I kinda missed some shredded cheese here :)).
snack – organic apple with organic cashew butter
What are the next steps?
Slowly re-introducing the eliminated foods and tracking any symptoms. The foods are to be re-introduced in this order: eggs, gluten, dairy, and alcohol (in moderation if you desire). You eat the food 2 – 3 times a day for 3 days to monitor reactions before moving on. The symptoms to be looking for: weight gain, or resistance to weight loss, fluid retention, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, chest congestion, headaches, brain fog, joint aches, muscle aches, pain, fatigue, change in sleep patterns, skin changes (like acne), and changes in digestion or bowel function. If a food is re-introduced and causes a reaction, you go back to eliminating it for 12 weeks and then try re-introducing it again. If it still causes a reaction, you would then need to eliminate it long term. If you re-introduce it after 12 weeks, and you feel fine, you can continue having these foods on occasion. Ideally, you can have the food every 3 – 4 days without an immune system response.
My plan is to continue with wheat moderation and continue to eliminate dairy with the exception of some cheese or greek yogurt occasionally, meaning no more than every 3 – 4 days. I will re-introduce eggs and see how that is tolerated.
Why should any of this matter to you?
Because those joint aches may not be old age, that post nasal drip is not just part of life, and you may not just be destined to be fat. If you want to live a good quality of life well into old age, this should matter to you. Food IS medicine!
Where can you find the books mentioned in this post?
Tagged: almond milk, dairy elimination, Dairy Management Inc., Dr. Mark Hyman, egg elimination, elimination diet, grass fed meat, hemp milk, Mark Hyman, National Dairy Council, organic, T. Colin Campbell, The China Study, Ultra-Metabolism Cookbook