Lessons Learned From My Elimination Diet Trial

Diet Last week I wrote a post updating my progress on the elimination diet, and then I promptly stopped following it. Seriously, within an hour or two I brought back the last of the foods I had been keeping out. I had a glass of wine with dinner and some devilish chocolate-covered caramels for dessert. In fact, the only thing I managed to stick to for the entire length of the trial was no caffeine.

On the surface, it would seem as though the diet failed, or rather,  I failed the diet, but this past week something amazing happened: I got my energy back! Honestly, I can’t even say that I got it “back,” because I can’t remember ever feeling this good in my life. While I can’t attribute this remarkable turnaround entirely to the elimination diet, I do feel that it played a very key role for three reasons. Those reasons are alcohol, caffeine and sugar.

I brought back nightshades and soy very early in the trial, gluten and citrus somewhere around the middle, but I kept out caffeine the entire time, consumed sugar very sparingly (the chocolate caramels were a short-lived reprieve), and I had a total of 10 ounces of red wine, spread over three or four different occasions during the whole four-week trial. Toward the end of week three, I noticed that I was generally sleeping better and my energy levels were more consistent throughout the day. I attribute the better sleep to no caffeine or alcohol, and the constant energy levels to no sugar. I was feeling pretty good, but still not great. What led to that was something else entirely.

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded the Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app. It helps me track servings of healthy whole foods throughout the day. I’ve been using it every single day since I downloaded it. For the first week and a half, I was averaging a score of around 80 – 85% each day. But a few days ago, I announced at bedtime that the next day I was going to hit the recommended servings for each food group. I stuck to my promise the next day and achieved 100% for the first time. The next day, I felt amazing. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. feeling actually awake despite a short and broken night’s sleep. I had incredible energy levels throughout the entire day, right up until 10:00 p.m. But the really amazing thing is that I had the best workout I’ve had in months. I did 30 pull-ups (not all in one set!) and followed them up with a tough, 5 mile run. It was the furthest and fastest I’d run since last summer. I thought I’d need a nap later in the day, but to my surprise, I had so much energy, I was pacing around all afternoon. The next day, same thing – great energy levels, amazing workout intensity, happiness levels through the roof.

It just goes to show that when you really treat your body right, it appreciates it and returns the favor.

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