Elimination Challenge: Half Time Report

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Here we are, mid-January, and I’ve successfully completed the first two weeks of my elimination challenge. For 14 days, no sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy, or legumes have passed my lips. To my great surprise, it hasn’t really been all that hard. In fact, it’s been fun at times, especially when learning new things about food and cooking. While I was staying with my sister last week, she taught me how to make my new favorite lunch: Nori rolls. (That’s what you see in the photo above.)

Nori rolls are easy to make. You just spread a layer of something kind of creamy (beet hummus, guacamole, tahini, etc.) over the nori sheet and then fill it with … whatever. I’ve used sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cucumbers, chicken, avocado, red pepper, broccoli slaw, lemon juice, fish sauce, and hot pepper as fillings so far. Then you roll it up and cut it, kind of like sushi. It’s a little bit messy, but extremely delicious. I know this will go into my lunch and summer dinner rotation even after this challenge is over.

I also learned to make dehydrated kale chips covered in a cashew-pepper seasoning. I’ve had plain kale chips baked in the oven with a little olive oil, but the dehydrated cashew kind are much better.

I have to admit, eating this way agrees with me. Starting on day three, I noticed a dramatic reduction in midsection bloating. When I noticed my coat feeling loose, I was curious to see if I had lost any weight so I jumped on the scale. I didn’t think it was possible since I’ve been eating so much. (One day I must have eaten 1,000 calories in nuts.) But I lost five and half pounds. I’m a life long yo-yo dieter. I’ve lost five pounds probably a hundred times in my life–but never until right now without being hungry and irritable.

Another big thing I’ve noticed is my mood is much more stable. I feel calmer and more focused. And strangely I am not having cravings for anything that’s off the menu during this challenge, probably because I know it will be there later. I don’t know how exactly this experience will impact my food choices going forward–I can hardly keep this up 100% of the time forever–but I think I will make some changes to my eating habits. I like feeling the way I’ve been feeling.

Some people have asked me exactly what I’ve been eating, so I’m sharing my food diary here. I’ve been keeping it for my own reference, but I thought others might be interested as well. I also want to show how well you can eat, even on a restricted diet, if you can cook for yourself.

January 1

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with onion, peppers, and greens with 1 slice bacon. 1 mug decaf Earl Grey.

Lunch: Chicken and broccoli slaw salad.

Snack: A few macadamia nuts.

Dinner: Italian-seasoned pork patties with broccoli rabe sauteed in olive oil with garlic and almonds.

January 2

Breakfast: Ghee-fried egg, roasted sweet potatoes, decaf earl gray

Snack: Apple, macadamia nuts

Lunch: Cherry tomatoes, broccoli slaw, chicken salad, almond slivers, spoonful of almond butter

Dinner: Italian-seasoned pork patties with broccoli rabe sauteed in olive oil with garlic and almonds. Cherry tomato salad.

January 3

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with onion, peppers, and greens. 1 mug decaf Earl Grey.

Lunch: Broccoli slaw with chicken salad and cashews

Snack: ½ apple and almond butter, macadamia nuts

Dinner: Chicken with garlic, lemon, caper, olive oil sauce mashed potato with olive oil and garlic

January 4

Breakfast: Ghee-fried egg, roasted sweet potatoes, decaf earl grey

Snack: Apple

Lunch: Chicken salad over chopped romaine

Snack: potato chips

Dinner: Rotisserie chicken with broccoli slaw; spoonful of almond butter

January 5

Breakfast: Ghee-fried egg with roasted sweet potatoes, decaf tea

Snack: Apple

Snack: Olives, cashews with sundried tomatoes

Dinner: Chicken thighs cooked in olive oil with tomatoes, olives, and parsley; romaine salad with balsamic vinaigrette

January 6

Breakfast: Apple with almond butter

Lunch: Flax crackers with beet hummus; beet greens cooked in olive oil with garlic

Dinner: salad with caramelized onion dressing; eggs with mushrooms and onion

Snack: frozen bananas whipped in a food processors with almond butter

January 7

Breakfast: Decaf Earl Gray, Apple

Lunch: Leftover chicken with tomatoes, olives, parsley

Snack: Flaxseed crackers

Dinner: Chicken with roasted mushroom salad

January 8

Breakfast: Ghee fried egg and roasted sweet potatoes

Lunch: (Whole Foods Salad Bar) Greens, red onion, chicken breast, hardboiled egg, guacamole, olive oil and vinegar

Snack: Macadamia nuts, olives

Dinner: Roasted salmon with tomato and olive oil; steamed asparagus

January 9

Breakfast: Scrambled egg with onion and pepper; salsa

Snack: Apple and almond butter

Lunch: Nori wraps with beet hummus, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli slaw, and pea sprouts

Dinner: Salad greens with chili lime vinaigrette topped with chicken, guacamole, and salsa.

January 10

Breakfast: Scrambled egg with onion and pepper; salsa

Snack: Apple, Kale chips

Lunch: Nori wraps with beet hummus, cashew spread, chicken, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli slaw, and pea sprouts

Dinner: Butternut squash, green bean, green bell pepper, onion thai curry with coconut milk and herbs

January 11

Breakfast: Scrambled egg with onion and pepper; salsa

Lunch: Apple, macadamia nuts

Dinner: Flank steak with cabbage and carrot salad in a thai vinaigrette

January 12

Breakfast: Ghee fried egg, roasted sweet potatoes

Lunch: Apple, almond butter, flax crackers, pistachios

Dinner: Flank steak with cabbage and carrot salad in a thai vinaigrette

January 13

Breakfast: ghee fried egg, roasted sweet potatoes, decaf earl grey

Lunch: Shredded cabbage with diced chicken and a red pepper-cashew dressing.

Snack: Kale chips

Dinner: Lamb chops, tomato salad, sauteed green beans and mushrooms

January 14

Breakfast: ghee fried egg, roasted sweet potatoes, decaf earl grey

Lunch: Nori wrap with cashew spread, shredded cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, avocado, lemon juice and fish sauce

Snack: Kale chips, macadamia nuts

Dinner: Chicken with anchovies, capers, parsley, olive oil, garlic and tomato salad.

January 15

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with onion and peppers

Snack: Kale Chips

Lunch: Nori wraps with cashew spread, shredded cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and avocado

Dinner: Meatballs braised in tomato sauce; garlicky broccoli rabe

 

2 Responses to Elimination Challenge: Half Time Report

  1. Ali Shapiro January 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Joy,

    Happy new year! I’m so glad you are tuning into your moods, feeling full from food, etc. Having food allergies/reducing inflammation makes a huge difference in weight and our moods.

    Most importantly, it really changes how you understand food. Information for the neck down is more compelling than telling ourselves we are bad (and at least half of our moods are created in our gut!). I’m so excited for this new chapter in your relationship with food! Congrats for taking on the adventure!

  2. Tenaya February 6, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Mmmm, I love ghee fried eggs. The thought of putting them with roasted sweet potatoes — briliant! I can’t wait to try that.

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