Seed Cycling for Hormone Health

Seed Cycling for Hormone Health

We are now living in an age where female health and hormones are becoming popular topics of discussion. Your hormone levels can affect so many bodily functions that people don’t realize. Some people think that just because they are not suffering with a disease or disorder that their hormones function fine. The truth is, many of us suffer from hormonal imbalance, including myself.

There are many methods for improving hormone health and many of them involve taking pharmaceutical drugs, including birth control. There are natural and holistic ways to balance your hormones that can also improve your overall health, seed cycling being one of them.

How do I know if my hormones are balanced or not?

The symptoms of hormone imbalance in women can be subtle….

  • Heavy, painful or irregular periods
  • Hot flashes or night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne around the jawline just before or during menstruation
  • Increased hair growth on face, neck, chest, or back
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • PCOS
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thyroid issues (overactive or underactive)
  • Infertility
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian Cancer

Men also experience hormone imbalance ….

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Reduced body hair growth
  • Overdevelopment of breast tissue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Prostate cancer
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis
A healthy diet and exercise routine mixed with stress management and good quality sleep can make a world of a difference when it comes to your hormones. Another beneficial process that I recently discovered is Seed Cycling, a process of rotating edible seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle. (WIKI). Unfortunately, there is not enough research supporting that this holistic method will make a big difference in affecting your hormones, but the nutritional components of the seeds themselves make the process hopeful in it’s results. 
Day 1-14

This period of time represents the first half of a woman’s cycle, assuming that she has a 28-day cycle. Day 1 is considered your first day of menstruation and day 14 should be right before ovulation. During this time, your body is trying to build back up it’s estrogen levels. The phases during this time are the menstrual phase and the follicular phase. During the follicular phase, estrogen is responsible for building back up the uterine lining. Estrogen is an important factor because when the lining is not sufficient enough for the ovulation phase, fertility issues can start to occur.

Flax Seeds

1 tbsp, freshly ground, daily

Pumpkin Seeds

1 tbsp, freshly ground, daily

These seeds’ nutritional content mimic the estrogen in our body and can improve imbalances within this phase. If you’re struggling with hot flashes, depression, vaginal dryness, excessive UTI’s, mood swings, fatigue or insomnia, you may have low estrogen. A way of helping with these symptoms may be to include these seeds in your diet during the first half of your cycle.

Day 14-28 
Day 14 is considered the first day of ovulation (during a 28-day cycle) and day 28 should be right before your period. During this time, your body is trying to build up progesterone levels. The phases during this time are the ovulatory phase and the luteal phase. During the luteal phase, progesterone is responsible for preparing the uterine lining for conception. If the egg is not fertilized, then progesterone levels drop resulting in a shedding of the uterine lining (your period). When progesterone levels are low, maintaining a pregnancy can be difficult. 

Sunflower Seeds

1 tbsp, freshly ground, daily

Sesame Seeds

1 tbsp freshly ground, daily

These seeds’ nutritional content mimic the progesterone in our body and can improve imbalances within this phase.  If you’re struggling with headaches or migraines, mood swings, depression, anxiety, or have an irregular menstrual cycle, you may have low progesterone. Something else that may be causing an imbalance of your progesterone levels may be because you are estrogen dominant. Symptoms of high levels of estrogen in the body may include, unexplained weight gain, decreased sex drive, PMS, irregular cycle, heavy bleeding, breast tenderness, fibrocystic breast, acne around the jawline, fibroids or gallbladder issues. A way of helping with these symptoms may be to include these seeds in your diet during the second half of your cycle. 

This method of seed cycling wasn’t as affective as I wanted it to be, but I definitely saw a difference in my cramps as well as my hormonal acne. To be fair though, I did only experiment with this method for about 1 full cycle. I would love to try this over a period of at least 3 cycles to observe its affects on my hormone levels.

As a disclaimer, seed cycling will not cure diseases or be a quick fix for hormone issues you may be experiencing. This method is just a way of supporting an already healthy lifestyle. Pair seed cycling with good sleep, proper nutrition, and regular movement, to see optimal results.

Some ways of incorporating these seeds into your diet would be to add them to smoothies, sprinkle them on top of soup, yogurt or oats, or add them to any savory dish like a Harvest Bowl.

My Hormones

My personal journey with my hormones has been complicated, but I have also heard some much more serious stories from other women that felt hopeless around hormone balance. I’m here to tell you you’re not alone. We all have our own personal journeys with hormones and no two people are the same. I was on the pill for 15 years. After becoming a Health Coach, I decided I didn’t want anything foreign in my body, so I stopped taking it. It’s been almost 2 years since I eliminated Birth Control from my life, and I’m only now feeling like my hormones have figured themselves out. It’s been two years of eliminating endocrine disruptors, experimenting with the Fertility Awareness Method, self assessing my body and it’s hormone levels, and filling my diet with nutrients that I know will support my cycle. Seed cycling has been only one of many things I have tried to improve the quality of my hormones and bring back a healthy menstrual cycle.

Comment below if your interested in seed cycling! Also, if you try it let me know what you think! What else are you doing for your hormone health?

How to Food Prep for a Hurricane

How to Food Prep for a Hurricane

I may not have had power or water, but by damned I was going to have good food. As most of you know, we just recently had a hurricane threaten most of Florida, Dorian. Bless the Bahamas and everything they endured. Orlandoans (people from Orlando) were so very lucky to have just a few rolling storms and average wind. 
 
This was going to be my very first experience of a hurricane while living in my own residence. Before this, I had been onboard a ship or so far away that it didn’t concern me or my safety. This storm was slow-moving, which made the anticipation even more grueling while we waited to see if we needed to evacuate or if/when the hurricane was even going to affect us. 
 
My husband lives away at sea and I now have a fur baby to take care of, which raised the stakes (not gunna lie). I made sure that I was uber prepared for whatever came my way. I spent money from our Emergency Fund, thank God for that, and gathered up supplies like candles, lamps, flashlights, extra gas, trash bags and towels, betteries, and little tid bits I still needed for the apartment. I also cleared everything off my balcony and filled up my gas tank. I WAS PREPARED for ANYTHING. 
 
When it came to my kitchen, I was stocked. Listed below is everything I bought and prepared to get me ready for Hurricane Dorian. I hope you find this list helpful for any emergency that requires no power. This is also a great way to avoid heavy snacking and get in some wholesome meals with nutritional value while experiencing something not so pleasant. 
Non-Perishables
These foods are items with a much longer shelf life that don’t require refrigeration. Typically, nonperishable foods include canned goods, dry goods and dehydrated foods. I chose a variety of these because I didn’t know how long the power would be out. Also, since the hurricane didn’t hit, I have a pantry stocked of things for the next time. 
Canned Veggies and Beans
These are great for throwing together because they are already cooked. I purchased canned peas and corn as well as lentils, chickpeas, and white beans. The corn was mainly for sweetness and it went with most of the other things that I bought, but the others were great sources of plant protein. When people think of good protein sources for vegetarians they think of the typical tofu, nuts, seeds, and beans. However, peas have a high amount of protein in them as well. 

Some recipes that I could’ve made with these would’ve been a cold pasta salad or a bean salad with cut up tomatoes, herbs, and onions. I might have dipped my tortilla chips or corn chips in like a salsa. If I really wanted to be savage, I would’ve eaten these straight out of the can. With the beans and chickpeas, I could’ve mashed it with a fork and spread it on some whole grain bread for a hearty vegetarian sandwich. Top that with veggies of choice and you’re good to go. 

Canned Soups and Sauces

I thought about not getting these, but they are classic items to have in a pantry during rough weather. Soups are perfect for rainy days, but when you have no power, they can’t give you that warm and fuzzy feeling you crave with the dish. I knew that I would probably be eating this cold, so I made sure to purchase cans with that in mind. Hearty soups like chicken noodle, vegetable, and chicken and rice, work best because they act as a meal. 

Diced tomatoes and tomato sauce are two staples that should be in your pantry at all times if possible. During this time, I thought I would be using them as a quick add-in for my pre-made dishes. I had pre-cooked some pasta so that I could just open up the can of tomatoes, throw in some spices and mix them together. An instant cold pasta dish with no added sugars that you would get from regular pasta sauces.  The diced tomatoes I could’ve added to my bean salad as a make-shift salsa to be enjoyed many different ways. 

Milks and Broths

Next, I purchased these other staples. I got some non-refrigerated boxed veggie stocks and almond milk. The almond milk would be amazing for cold coffee, cereal, or drank on its own for a protein rich beverage. The stocks I would’ve drank on their own or added them to the tomato sauce to thin it out. Bone broth would’ve been a good choice as well for the added collagen and bone nutrients. Because I would’ve had no water to thin our creamy dishes or soups, the broth would’ve been helpful for this as well as add flavor. 

Canned Protein

These items are typical for a power-outage. Not only did I get my regular round of tuna and salmon cans, but I got some chicken, just in case my prepared meats went bad. Because I didn’t eat them, I have them ready for the next storm. For these I would have eaten them plain, mixed them with avocado for a salad-like consistency without the mayo, or mixed in to my cold pasta with some raw veggies. Let’s be real, my go-to meal is usually tuna salad (with the avocado) spread on toast with tomatoes and greens, red onion, and herbs. Yum yum. 

 Ready Made Entrees

I didn’t get too many of these because, darn it, they are expensive. I did splurge on one packaged Veggie Korma dish. Most people when they prepare for a hurricane they tend to buy a lot of processed foods that are loaded with added sugars and tons of sodium. The problem with this is that sugar causes our blood sugar to spike and then crash and we are hungry not too long after we’ve just eaten. Not good when you’re trying to sustain your food. When it’s loaded with sodium or salt, you get very thirsty. When you’re trying to conserve your water supply, this is not an ideal situation.

When stocking up for these types of situations, buy these ready-made meals sparingly. Yes, they are super convenient, but when you are trying to stay healthy, try not to use this storm as an excuse to indulge. 

Protein Snacks

These are my favorite things to buy. They are quick and nutrient dense. Here I chose little protein balls that have minimal ingredients. I also picked up some Epic meat jerkies and my favorite protein bars, Go Macro. I only had two jerky sticks because they are quite processed with high levels of sodium, but I knew they would be a great choice for protein. 

Sometimes when I’m feeling not as hungry, I’ll have some sort of a protein ball or bar. These are absolutely perfect for when the power goes out. They have a long shelf life, fill you up nutritionally, and sometimes act as a meal replacement. These would be my #1 go-to. 

Pleasure Snacks

Obviously, I’m not opposed to snacks. I love me some dark chocolate, popcorn, corn chips…you name it. I chose some gluten-free seed crackers, above 70% dark chocolate and popcorn with minimal ingredients. Honestly, I don’t really snack too much during the day. Usually my meals will fill me up. Sometimes I will have crackers and hummus for a meal if I’m feeling lightly peckish. I knew that I was going to probably be bored and snacking was inevitable. Having dark chocolate above 70% cocoa is the best for you. Anything lower then that would be supplemented with more dairy and more sugar. The taste is stronger at first, but like anything your tastebuds will adjust. Popcorn is my absolute favorite snack and this brand does it very well. Beautiful ingredients like pink Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil make this snack not too shabby. 

Carbohydrates 

For some easy carbs, I choose to go for a healthy yet filling cereal, some whole grain bread, and some chickpea pasta. The cereal is a great choice for an easy breakfast or quick little sweet snack. I just pour in the almond milk and good to go. The bread is clearly a staple during this time. Sandwiches that I would make may include hummus and roasted vegetable, avocado toast with fresh herbs, chickpea, egg, tuna/salmon, or chicken salad, a PLT (Protein, lettuce & tomato) with my jerky or already prepared proteins, and toast with nut butter or ghee. 

Nuts (Butter) and Dried Fruit
Lastly, for my non-perishables I chose to purchase a couple of freshly ground nut butters and some dates. Dates and nut butter are such a delicious sweet treat without any added sugar or processed chemicals. I also prefer picking up freshly ground in their containers from Lucky’s or Whole Foods because you know it’s more fresh than the ones on the shelf, they have no added chemicals, and it’s most of the time a whole lot cheaper. They weren’t organic, but I pick my battles wisely. I got a chocolate peanut butter and almond butter one. 
 
When choosing dried fruits, be very careful and look at the ingredient lists. A lot of them have unnecessary sugar sprinkled throughout. The best thing to do is buy dried fruits with just the fruit in them or make your own in the oven or dehydrator. 
Counter Fruit & Veggies
I didn’t choose too many counter fruits because I didn’t want to keep them on the counter unless absolutely necessary. So, when the power went out, I would then bring my tomatoes and carrots and lemons out or in a cooler with ice. Luckily, nothing happened so I was just left with my very ripe avocados and bananas. I like to get a variety of avocados regularly so that I can have them fresh all the time. I pick up half that are very ripe and half that are ready to be eaten within the next few days. I lay my ripe ones on the counter, wait for them to get soft then pop them in the fridge to slow down their natural process. 
 
When I get bananas, it’s usually to just go in smoothies. I thought by getting them for the hurricane I could snack on them with some nut butter or put overtop of my cereal. I made sure to purchase very green ones so that they could last.  
Refrigerated and Prepared Foods 

I tried to be very intentional with what I had in my fridge and what would be going bad the quickest when the power goes out. I also looked for simple foods that way I could pair with many other items. Most of these items are foods that I can eat warmed up or cold if there is no way to reheat it. 

Raw Fruits and Veggies
Purchasing anything that has a shorter shelf life is tricky when preparing for bad weather, so I made sure to not get too much. I will usually get a few different types of greens to whip up some easy salads. I got cucumber, carrots and tomatoes for salads and hummus dipping, some fruit for snacks, and some herbs and lemons/limes for flavoring other dishes. 
 
To keep my herbs and greens fresh I like to wrap them in a damp linen napkin to keep them from drying out. I will also stand them up in a glass of water. I didn’t chop my carrots or cucumber until I had to. That way they could stay as fresh as possible. 
Dips and Toppings
Like I have discussed in other sections, I purchased some hummus for the hurricane, but I will usually get some every week. This staple is usually in my fridge already for topping over nourish bowls and using it as a dip for veggies or seed crackers. If the power went out, I would either eat it as a meal as soon as possible or put it over ice in my cooler to help it last as long as possible. The Hope brand is my current favorite and I got two completely different flavors to keep things interesting.
 
I also decided on a few veggie toppings. Kimchi is a beautiful source of probiotics. This one had fermenting cabbage and beets. The artichokes are marinating in an olive oil and water substance. They have lots of flavor, but not too many chemicals. I would top both of these on my nourish bowls, avocado toast or eat as a side dish to my meals. 
Prepared Veggies
Roasting veggies is my weekly to-do. Most of the time it will be sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, or zucchini. Sweet potatoes are a great source of healthy carbohydrates and can be used as a base for a healthy dish. I eat mine as a base for my nourish bowls, as a side dish with my salmon, or underneath a few scrambled eggs. 
 
Since the freezer would potentially turn off, I made sure to thoroughly weed out everything that would go bad the quickest. When I chop my veggies for recipes, I will stick the food scraps into a bag in the freezer. Once this is full, I will then dump it into my crock pot, cover it with water, add some spices and let simmer overnight or while I’m at work. Once completed, I am left with a beautiful veggie stock, which is what is in the mason jars. Just like the boxed ones, they are fantastic for adding flavor to a dish or thinning out a sauce. 
Prepared Carbohydrates 
Who’s knows if the power would’ve gone out, but you bet your bottom dollar, I had some carbs prepared. I cooked a batch of brown rice and a few servings or chickpea pasta. With the rice, I could’ve made a burrito bowl, paired it as a side dish or eaten the rice in a porridge version topped with almond milk and fresh fruit. 
 
The chickpea pasta could be mixed with any protein source with the tomato sauce cans, the tuna/salmon cans for a pasta salad, or even paired with the beans and avocado. 
Prepared Proteins
I had bought 3 sources of protein for the storm. It just so happened, there was a frozen chicken breast in the freezer that I needed to cook. It may look like a lot of food (because it is), but it is very difficult to buy smaller portions of food when you’re cooking for one and also when you’re trying to use up everything in your fridge and not waste it. 
 
I fried the chicken and ground turkey in the frying pan each with some avocado oil, onions, garlic, and some spices. I attempted to soft boil some eggs, but that didn’t go too well (which is why they are hiding in the back). Still edible, but not the prettiest. I got a block of tempeh to shift from the heavier protein to a more plant-based. I split the block in half and did a lighter marinade on one half and a balsamic marinade on the other. I then, fried those off in some avocado oil and stored everything in airtight containers 
 
All of these protein sources are very versatile and I could’ve had endless options for them: Pastas, nourish bowls, on their own, topped with some hummus, and made as a sandwich. 
Freezer

I didn’t take a photo of my freezer because it wasn’t very interesting. I had left only frozen fruits and ice in there. Everything that could’ve made a stench, if left to thaw, I made sure to cook and store in the fridge, or eat it up before the storm came. Once the power went out, I would’ve taken the ice and put it in my cooler to store only the necessary things that need refrigeration. 

Liquids

I was deeply concerned for my ability to have a fresh coffee in the morning if the power were to not exist. My Nespresso machine gives me life. To be honest, the coffee doesn’t do anything for my ability to stay awake, but I just love the flavor and the smell. If I wasn’t going to be able to make a foam topped Decaf black coffee during this rainy, boring time of no power, I don’t know what I was going to do. I know…Cold Brew! 

Coffee
I purchased a bag of Starbucks Fall Blend coffee from Target and decided to make some Cold Brew in my French Press. When attempting this recipe, you want to make a ratio of 1:7 to achieve a nice rich flavor. I put ½ cup of grounds in the bottom of my Press with 3.5 cups of filtered water. I then placed the top on without pushing the filter down. I left this brewing in the fridge for at least 12 hours. 
 
My French Press I also purchased from Target and held about a liter of coffee, so I was able to do this 3 days before the storm was scheduled to hit for 3 full liters of Cold Brew. I paired this with some almond milk or drank it straight. Delish! 
Water

Lastly, I made sure to purchase enough water for 3-4 days with the assumption of a 1 gallon consumption every day. I ended up fighting (just kidding) for 2 cases of water and filled up all of the spare water bottles/containers I had in the pantry. I was set. For all those little things like flushing the toilet and bathing, I made sure to also fill up the bathtub for those things. I did not drink that water though. I like to keep my water as clean and filtered as possible if I’m going to be drinking it. 

I hope that you got some great ideas for the next time you have to prepare for a Hurricane or some great food prepping ideas in general. Its a shame that nothing happened and that I couldn’t have shared what worked and what didn’t work. However, I am blessed that nothing did happen to me and my community. If Dorian did hit Orlando, I would’ve been well-fed and very content. 
 
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite food prepping idea was. I would also love to know what is something you like to make to prepare yourself for a power outage? If you have any questions feel free to leave them below!  

Sustainable Eating

Sustainable Eating

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this month many people will be giving up their overly-ambitious goals and going back to the eating patterns they had during the holidays or binging on fatty, less nutrient-dense foods. I love a good Nutrition/food goal, but most of time we want to change everything at once. We are influenced to think, “Go big, or Go home!” This mindset is not sustainable and doesn’t support the every-changing lifestyle shifts we are always making. 

Nothing in life is consistent (except the fact that life is inconsistent). So, why put all these rules and regulations on your diet for a long period of time. When we have it all planned out and we forget to pack our lunch, or we attend a party, or we start craving fish on a vegan diet. We haven’t made a mindset shift to listen to our body no matter what our “diet book of choice” says. Usually when we crave things, it’s our bodies way of saying that we are missing something from our diet. Listen to cravings instead of wondering what the heck is wrong with you or shaming yourself for craving “bad” foods. 

Sustainable eating to me is :

  • Eating as close to nature as possible
  • Eating seasonably 
  • Listening to my cravings, and filling them with healthier alternatives
  • Being inspired by diets, not letting them control my life
  • Filling up on Protein, Fiber, and Fat in every meal
  • When at events, keep your health goals at the forefront of your mind to avoid binging on something you may regret, just to fit in. 

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated and you certainly don’t have to be following the latest FAD out there. Because in reality, the hype of it will fade and there will be something else people are drawn to that they think can save them. You are in control, listen to what your body is telling you. 

Some of my favorite meals that really keep me full are Oatmeals, Buddha Bowls, Salmon salads, and Hummus platters….Yummy!

Fermented Foods

Fermented Foods

Just in case you didn’t know already, the Standard American Diet is SAD. Quite literally as well. It’s filled with dead foods. Ever notice how everything in the produce section dies so quickly and packaged foods last forever it seems? It’s because those foods are alive. Do you want to keep putting DEAD foods in your body? Because eventually we all become what we eat. I don’t know about you, but I want to be alive and incredibly vibrant. That’s why when I grocery shop now, I spend the majority of my time/my budget in the produce section. I used to shop every two weeks because I thought I was saving money, but I quickly realized in my young 20’s that buying a small amount of fresh produce every week is the way to go. I get nutrients that are the most fresh and alive.

Speaking of alive, ever heard of live cultures? I mean what is that? Live cultures are micro-organisms that we can get from food, and when consumed can help repopulate the micro biome in our gut with beneficial bacteria. We should all be striving for a well populated gut. These little babies help break down our food well and help the nutrients in our food absorb into the body. Probiotics supplements can provide temporary relief for an imbalanced micro biome, and can help improve our digestive/immune system. However, we all have a unique balance of micro-organisms in our gut, and these probiotics may only provide a tiny portion of this. 

My favorite way to bring more live cultures into my diet is through fermented foods. These foods have naturally occurring bacteria and when consumed every day can provide a larger variety of live cultures than just taking a probiotic. Throughout history, different cultures around the world have had at least one fermented food in their diet. Why have we fallen out of this tradition? 

Kimchi: Korea

Miso: Japan

Tempeh: Indonesia

Kombucha: Asia/Russia/Ukraine

Sourdough Bread: USA

Kefir: Eastern Europe

Sauerkraut: Germany

Creme Fraiche: France

These are just a few of the fermented foods from around the world. I only listed the ones that I have consumed in my lifetime. I think when we can eat/drink at least 1 serving of anything fermented per day, our body will thank us for it. They will help digest our food better, increase our metabolism, ward off sickness with a strong immune system, keep our skin and eyes clear and vibrant, and many more benefits. The digestive system is where ALL disease starts. When we can take control, stop taking antibiotics and repopulate with fermented foods and probiotics, we can take hold of our own health. 

My View on Diets

My View on Diets

I wanted to share with you my view on dietary theories. They are exactly what it sounds like, theories. Dietary theories start with one person experimenting with their own body to achieve a certain outcome that they desire. When that desire is achieved, they want to shout out to the world what has made them feel amazing. And yea I guess that’s one way of doing it.

The problem with these diets is, we are eating in a way that worked for that one person. We are all about prescribing ourselves on the next fad diet, but not really listening to our own bodies and what it needs. A lot of us criticize ourselves for not sticking with it or not seeing results. There is NOTHING wrong with you!! When we can listen to our cravings and decipher what they mean, we can make the choices for ourselves without someone telling us how to eat. Yes, structure is great, but dieting and always being on a plan is not sustainable.

Will you always be able to do keto? Is this something you want to carry on for the rest of your life? How much longer are you going to reach for the next shiny thing with the false hope of getting everything we want from buying their product? This is not living in alignment with your body, mind, and soul.

As I’m learning for myself, I need different foods all the time. I’ve tried eating more meat, less meat, no meat, specific fish, no carbs, no fruit, less sugar, and they were all a learning experience that I will never regret. The best moments though, are when you crave something, fill that craving with the healthy nutrients your body needs, and feel amazing. These are the moments I’ve learned the most about my body.

So, next time you scroll on Instagram or Facebook and start comparing yourself with someone else’s esthetics, just remember that you are a unique and beautiful person who needs the complete opposite of what they may need. We are all different and what works for one, may not jive with our insides. So take some time for experimentation, take notes (like science class), learn, and respect your body for how hard it works to digest all the crap you put in your mouth everyday. 

Surviving the Elimination Diet

Surviving the Elimination Diet

Recently, while I was in Scotland, I went on the Elimination Diet. Because I am always traveling, I never get a chance to try out such drastic eating practices. I knew that for 7 weeks I could cook my own food and control everything that I was consuming. This helped tremendously with accomplishing the results I wanted from this Diet. 

Foods I COULD’NT eat during the first 2 phases (2 weeks):

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Eggs
  • Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant..)
  • Tree nuts/Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Sugar
  • Yeast.

I know what you’re thinking. What the heck did she eat?! There were lots of things we could eat, we just had to get very creative with our meals because they would get repetitive very quickly. Firstly we cleaned out our entire pantry and fridge then went on a huge grocery haul. I was very excited to get started because I never get to do this sort of thing, let alone cook for myself. I got my fiancé Dean onboard as well. 

Before coming home, I got my inspiration for this brave act from the book The Elimination Diet by Alissa Segerstein and Tom Malterre. Most people when they decide to do this, it’s because they have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or have extreme allergies. For some, it is about deciphering that pain and bloating you get after eating a meal and are tired of labeling this sort of thing as “normal” for your body. For me, it was about curiosity. I wanted to know more about my body and how it functions in relation to certain foods. Yes, I would get the odd bloating and cramping and diarrhea, but usually I knew that it was from some sketchy meal I had. I envied people who could say, “Oh, my body doesn’t do well with dairy,” or “Tomatoes give me acid reflux,” or “Pork gives me gas.” I know this is such a stupid thing to be jealous of, but I would go through my life announcing at restaurants with pride that I had no allergies and I could and will eat anything. 

Phase #1 was for 2 longgggg days. We could only consume fruits and vegetables in liquid form: soups, juices, smoothies, and water/tea. There are recipes that we followed in the back of “The Elimination Diet” book like ‘Carrot-Cucumber-Ginger Juice’, ‘Very Berry Chia Smoothie’, and ‘Creamy Green Detox Soup.’ I did ok with this phase, I can’t say the same for Dean 😜. The worst part was the withdrawal headaches I had from lack of coffee. I love coffee, but I didn’t think I needed it. I only have 1 cup a day, but you would think with the pounding going on behind my eyes I take it through a drip! We tried not to do anything strenuous and just sleep and relax our bodies as much as possible. Surprisingly, I thought I would be starving, but I ate a lot less then I predicted. I’m sure it was the mountains of water I was drinking, a process I like to call crowding out. I began journaling my progress, how I was feeling, what I was eating/drinking, and any signs of digestive activity (#myBMschedule). 

“The hardest part about this phase was the fact that we both had to attend a Bachelor and Bachelorette party the same night.”

Phase #2 was much easier for us. We could add in things like organic chicken, salmon, turkey, lamb, sweet potatoes, brown rice and quinoa, beans, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, Olive oil/coconut oil, and sweeteners like maple syrup, dates, and honey. Honestly, this is what I eat anyway. The things I did miss were things like lemon juice, oats, tomatoes, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and mostly eggs. The first few days were great. I think we were just excited to eat real food again after only 2 days. Both me and my fiancé are big foodies, but we tend to eat mostly healthy, clean food. The hardest part about this phase was the fact that we both had to attend a Bachelor and Bachelorette party the same night. Dean did very well for his circumstances, consuming only gluten as his cheat in the form of beer. Having to be on a strict diet like this with a bunch of dudes at a bar is extremely difficult. Go Dean! For me, mine was in a house with a bunch of ladies and I brought literally everything I could eat. There was muffins, cakes, scones, tapas of all sorts, beautiful wines, and I didn’t touch ANY of it. I had my soup, fruit, homemade energy balls, fruit tea, homemade banana muffins, and a ton of water. That night was a test for me, but surprisingly it wasn’t a test of my will power, it was a test of my peer pressure. I was always someone who was a people pleaser and I never wanted to disappoint anyone (part of my perfectionism tendencies) and saying no to the host and having to explain my situation to everyone was difficult; however, I owned my “WHY” for being on the Elimination Diet and I was confident about it. Women at the party were inquisitive and supportive, but dismissed their own ability to do something similar. This was disheartening to hear from them and for that reason I love being a health coach. Most people know what to do to be healthy, it’s owning that “Why-power” and having the right support behind you that helps us do the things we believe we can’t. 

For the next 12 days, I was tested in every way. Dean and I went on a trip, we met with friends and family, and these days were very hard and we got made fun of for it. As an advocate for Health and wellness, this happens a lot. People question your choices because they are not what the majority of the population is doing. Do we really want to follow the herd? I want to think for myself and do everything in my life intentional. No one should feel like they will get made fun of or be socially unaccepted for trying to better their health. I am proud of myself for sticking with the Elimination Diet for as long as I did because I gained a new awareness of how my digestive system works, appreciation for my body, and I strengthened the loving relationship that I have with myself, which is a journey we all struggle with. 

Also, I discovered something incredible about myself: I no longer was a victim to my food. I could easily turn down food that I knew made me feel bad or that did nothing for my health. My mission was to fill my body with as many nutrients as possible, and if that scone or glass of wine got in the way of that, they would be “eliminated” (no pun intended). I no longer yearn for things when I see them, like bread for instance. Firstly, I listen to my body before looking at a menu or peaking in my pantry and try to figure out what my body is needing. Is it something salty, sweet, cooling, or warming? Do I want something light or dense? Do I need something hearty like fish or eggs, or would a salad be enough? I ask myself these questions now, which makes me feel very connected with my body. When we know enough about ourselves and what works for our individual body, it makes it much easier to turn down foods that do nothing for us in social situations. A Youtuber that I follow (Sarah’s Day) has this phrase that I love: “Act confident and no one will question you.” I love this. If we are intuitively eating and are aware of what our body needs, no loving human will think anything of it. To be honest, they will most likely envy you and want that for themselves. 

Phase #3 was eye-opening. I would slowly bring in the foods that were banned from my diet for the next month. Some foods had absolutely no affect on my diet, some expected (almonds) and some not expected (pork), which I thought was going to hurt my stomach. Some foods I thought were going to be fine (lemons) made me bloaty and crampy. Other foods like soy, gluten, and beef were not very happy in my tummy, which I knew was going to happen. These foods are the main culprits of digestive issues and allergies. Of course, all of these foods were organic and eaten as clean as possible.

The results were somewhat vague at times, and we couldn’t stick with it as long as we wanted to because we were leaving our home soon (no cooking), but honestly the journey was more important for me than knowing exactly the ingredients that causes a little more gas than usual. I want to try it again now that I’m land side. It is a very big investment and commitment, but 100% worth the efforts. I noticed most of all that my cravings have gone down and I eat less meat. Anyone who is struggling with digestive issues or extreme allergies or any curious buggers (like me), I would recommend this book/diet. It will change the way you think about food and discover more about what your body needs.

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