So you’ve heard about this elimination diet thing, right?
Well, if you’re still sitting on the fence, I can’t say I blame you.
After all, when conducting an elimination diet, you’re usually removing your favorite foods. And there’s no sense in denying the fact that it stings.
But here’s the real issue:
Worse pains than not eating your fave foods have brought you to the point of considering an elimination diet, right?
So if that’s true, let’s see if we can’t find a way to reduce the sting. I’m confident you can maximize the benefits of completing an elimination diet and enjoy the process.
And let’s never forget: The benefits of reducing or eliminating pain and suffering are huge …
… especially if you (like me) want to experience happiness beyond thought (a.k.a. enlightenment).
How Not To Get Dragged Into An Elimination
Diet By Sheer Desperation
I went into my first elimination diet during a period of distress.
Frankly, it was hell.
After nearly two years of thinking I had gout and eating in accordance, my skin got so bad that I cannot in good taste mention what was happening.
Let’s just say that bedsheets were burned …
The upshot to this linen-destroying problem?
The extreme skin reactions I experienced during the summer of 2015 finally revealed the truth about my symptoms.
It turns out they were the result of psoriasis arthritis, not gout. And now it was easy to see how the skin problems I had suffered from an early age had developed into a joint issue.
The Pain of Perspective Vs.
The Perspectives Of Pain
As sad as this discovery made me, it made it possible to look at my problems in a whole new way. Eating a gout diet had been fine on the surface: I love salad and made them almost every day. The only problem was that I was getting fatter and fatter despite eating so healthy.
So I sought help and had my blood tested for food sensitivities. Low and behold, it turned out that countless foods on my diet, regardless of being super-healthy, caused pain and skin issues. Wonderful foods like avocado, banana and memory-boosting walnuts just don’t gel with my system.
But shortly after eliminating those foods, the weight I’d gained on my gout diet started dropping away. Fast.
Make The Decision To Do It
The first step to successfully completing an elimination diet is to make the decision. The question is: How?
It’s actually pretty easy. The first step is to get informed. Then make a plan. Next, track your progress throughout and regularly assess the outcomes. Finally, start reintroducing foods and see what happens.
In other words, the decision needs to get made and re-made. It’s not a one-time switch you flick on, but rather a series of deliberate decisions you make as you go along. Each decision helps strengthen the next one that needs to be made, provided you follow through.
Getting The Elimination Diet Info
Getting the information you need about completing an elimination diet isn’t easy. It’s especially difficult if you’re not feeling well.
But you need this step and if you’re organized, it’s not that hard. I like to use Google Spreadsheets to help organize information. For example, in my “Project Wolverine” folder, I have a tab just for information about elimination diets. The links are easy to find and I can revisit each resource from anywhere in the world.
A key principle is that the information about your elimination diet is only as good as it is organized. And that’s true even if you’ve memorized it using something like the techniques I teach in How To Memorize A Textbook.
Make A Specific Plan
Once you’ve got your information gathered, make a plan. If you’ve had your blood measured for food sensitivities, then you can use those foods as the first line of attack.
Or you can find a list of common culprits. With an autoimmune disorder like psoriasis arthritis, these include some of my favorite foods: corn, nuts and dairy.
The point is to pick some foods and put a number to them that indicates the amount of time you will avoid them.
Make things clear for your brain. The more specific the number, the better.
In other words, instead of saying, “no dairy for six weeks,” be specific. Write something like:
From February 22 to April 14th, I will not consume cheese, yogurt, butter or milk.
Add as many specific foods as you can commit to from the subgroup because this will help with your reintroduction later. You could potentially tolerate grass-fed butter but not milk, for example. But without specificity, you’ll never know.
Track and Analyze
Tracking is essential. I write down what I eat every single day. Even as a memory expert who uses mnemonics, it’s a lot to track and I don’t want to burden my memory with this kind of information. I’m too busy learning Chinese.
Plus, you want to be able to see at a glance what you’ve been eating and cross-reference your different reactions as you go through the elimination diet process. Without data, you’ll fall into speculation. That will lead to less optimal choices and problematic outcomes when it’s healing you’re desperate for.
Reintroducing Foods Never Tasted So Good
There’s no point in reintroducing foods unless you’ve put at least 6-8 weeks into your elimination diet. You need to clear the field so that when new foods land, they’re not sharing the runway with competitors for your body’s resources.
When you reintroduce a food, eat just that food on its own. If you must eat it with other foods, make sure that you’re not reacting to anything else. If you eat two potential culprits at the same time, you won’t be able to tell which one is causing the negative reaction you want to avoid.
Also, as weird as it sounds, I recommend that you conduct a quick meditation after eating. Just sit with the food and notice what is going on with it.
I’m not sure I believe that thinking positive thoughts about the food works. I prefer thinking inside the box first.
But I’ve been doing this as part of Project Wolverine and tracking the results, and so mention it in the spirit of experimentation.
But at the end of the day, we need to find foods that nourish us without creating pain and reactions, regardless of meditation or belief practices.
And there surely are foods that will work for you and a properly conducted elimination diet will help you find them.