I recently decided that I needed a new relationship with food, I'd been thinking about it for a long time and just before the new year I heard from a couple of good friends that told me they were going to be doing a pretty radical food program with their entire families for several weeks, and they wanted to know if my family wanted to do it too. I figured that there was no time like the present and the added support of having some of my best friends (and their spouses and children) doing it all together would give me added encouragement.
Although losing weight is often the main goal any time I've restricted my diet in the past, this time was different. I want more than to simply lose weight....I want to be healthy! I have struggled with many medical issues for a good portion of my life and I'm on a lot of different medicines and often find that I am not happy with the results. I've slowly been changing the way I eat over the past couple years, but I was eager to start a new way of eating that might lead me to some healing through feeding my body good clean fuel/food instead of processed foods. BUT....this would mean some BIG changes in our house!
And for the record, my son and I are both picky eathers....this wasn't going to be easy. (This little girl's face just cracks me up!)
I'm pretty sure they thought I had completely lost my mind!I had a few goals in mind:
- To check to see if any of us have specific food allergies or intollerences
- To give our bodies a break from eating processed foods, refined sugars, and other foods that are harder for our bodies to digest and process -- a fast of sorts
- To change our eating habits and break the cycle of eating when we are bored, having emotional highs or lows, or just eating out of habit. To discover when we are truly physically hungry and eat to be 'satisfied' and not 'full'.
- To change our pallets and start to like and crave food that is healthy and to break the strong cravings and emotional needs for sugar, carbs, and chemically processed foods
I have had a 9 year battle with Lupus, and so my family was willing to try this because they knew it would be too hard for me to do it on my own if they were eating 'non-compliant' foods. And I really had a desire for my whole family to benefit from this process. My 16 year old son was FAR from excited, but he said he would give it a shot. So we started just 2 days later!
At first I thought it wouldn't be too bad, after all, we could eat meat, eggs, all veggies (except white potatoes), nuts, seeds, and limited fruit. The first day was easy peasy! I thought this thing was going to be a snap!
Day 2 it hit the family....no cereal, bread, or peanut butter for breakfast (peanuts are a legume not a nut....drats!) By a week into the elimination diet, I was so tired of EGGS! I'm not really much of a hot breakfast person. I must confess I am not sure when I will want to eat another egg. LOL!
It wasn't long and we were all suffering from massive withdrawals and detox symptoms! And at the same time we were all dealing with a terrible head cold and sinus infection. No fun! I had the worst acne breakout I've ever had in my whole life (puberty included) and it didn't even gives signs of letting up for a full 2 weeks! I guess that was just an indicator of how many toxins were coming out of my body. Yipes! With headaches, cravings, and grumpy attitudes...we pressed on. Luckily by day 6 or 7 we were doing MUCH BETTER with the withdrawal symptoms, BUT......
about 10 days in I had a MUTINY on my hands! My husband and son were BEGGING me to quit this elimination diet. They were miserable and having such strong carb cravings. So in an effort to stop them from completely going AWOL, I adjusted things for the 2 of them so that they could be gluten-free but still stay on the rest of the diet. It was amazing how one little change made a huge difference to them even though they were still cutting the rest of it out. Although it was hard, they remained supportive. Even my Dad, who loves to cook and bring over food (lucky right!) had adjusted his recipes to be compliant with our program!
Now we have completed the major restriction part of the diet and we have added some things back in moderation. We did not find that our family had any major food allergies, but I did notice that I was reacting when I ate too many fruits high in fructose....although that was a huge bummer, I'm glad to know how to avoid having terrible stomach pain! AND...I can say with much joy that our eating habits are SO MUCH HEALTHIER! We really reached my main goals for this process!
We are trying to stay with whole foods, keep out processed sugars and use natural sugars, eat gluten-free (instead of being completely grain free), and limit our dairy intake. I am not craving the same foods that I used to, which is great! I get full faster, and my family has learned to eat and enjoy foods that we wouldn't have even touched before!
We may not be all the way to my goals for our family, but we are LEAPS AND BOUNDS closer than we were before we began this journey! I know our bodies are healthier and I am expecting great things! I am glad we did it!
I've slowly been juicing and making green smoothies.....but that is for another post!
I can't end this post without saying that my support system of 5 other families was SO AMAZING! We encouraged each other through tough times, shared recipes, and even got together and shared a meal. I wouldn't have made it as far as I did without them! I won't name them without their permission, but they know who they are....I love you Ladies! I am lucky to have you each in my life!