The first week of the Elimination Phase of my Nutrition Self-Experiment is done! Whew! I had a bit of a rocky start that transitioned into a much more manageable week by Day 7. You can read more about this below in the Elimination Week 1 Recap. I’m pleased with the way the experiment is going, even though it’s probably too soon to see any tangible results. I’m feeling good and excited to see what Week 2 brings!
If you are new here and want to get up to speed, check out the Introduction post to read more about the purpose, hypothesis, and general plan for my experiment. To get access to the 14 Day Meal Plan and the Daily Journal template that I’m using, go back and check out my ‘Meal Plan’ post. Read the ‘Preparation’ post to learn more about how and why I chose the foods to eliminate for this experiment and download my AIP & Low FODMAP ‘YES’ Foods list!
Before I get into the updates, I want to share a few thoughts on why I am doing this specific elimination experiment and tips on managing stress. This past year I found myself in a bit of a rut with my health. I finally came to the point where I knew I needed to shake things up. It was fairly obvious looking at my pre-elimination journals that I was eating, on an almost daily basis, a number of real foods that can still be hard on the gut. When I saw it so clear in my journals, it was obvious that my digestion would be a mess like it is. And I know that if I’m not digesting well my body is not getting all the nutrients it needs. Poor digestion leads to all the other symptoms that don’t seem related to digestion (ie. thyroid, hormones, weight, etc.).
Elimination protocols are challenging and stressful in themselves. And stress can also cause a leaky gut! How do I find the balance in healing my gut with proper nutrition while also keeping the stress levels down? Well, that’s the paradox and the solution won’t be the same for any two people. For me, I know that I can do anything for a short period of time. I know there will be immense benefits and knowledge that I will gain from doing this elimination experiment. Having a set time frame and the clear motivation, plus a detailed plan is enough for it to feel manageable. Thus keeping the perceived stress down.
Having a support system is another key tool for helping stress levels. I am fortunate to have family members and friends that are very supportive of my efforts. They are 100% cool with me bringing along my own snacks or making my own separate meal. (Thanks, guys!) This is important to me and they can recognize that. Whatever you are up to, find your people! Find the ones who will support you no matter what you are up to or currently experimenting with.
Pre-Elimination Week Updates
The night before I started the Elimination Phase (aka Day 1) I created this video to share a brief summary of my current state of health and my healing journey, what my goals are for this experiment, and my thoughts on how the pre-elimination week went.
If you would like to see my daily journals from the pre-elimination week, you can access them by clicking the link below. Note, if you are leery about poop talk and other digestive symptoms, considered yourself warned. 😉
This journaling process was really eye-opening for me. I was able to see that I was eating a lot more “real food treats” than I had realized. I also mentioned in the video a little bit about the emotional eating that I was experiencing. Writing in these journals was also a good practice or habit to start before the actual elimination began. I really enjoyed setting my daily affirmations and writing out a few daily gratitudes. This turned into a meal time habit where I recite my affirmations and write something I am grateful for before eating. I found this to be very centering and help me get into that “rest and digest” mode.
I also weighed in at my chiropractic appointment on Day 0 (between lunch and dinner) at 126.5 lbs. When I go in for my next appointment on Day 14, I will see if that number has budged at all. For reference, I was at a stable 110-112 lbs for about 2 .5 years. During the last 16 months, it has been steadily increasing. In general, I don’t think the number itself is a great indicator of health. I do think that there is some merit in watching the trends and patterns. This upward trend is more concerning to me than getting back to a specific number. Metrics like these are information and in an experiment, gathering as much information as possible is helpful!
I’ve said it before, Thrive Market is my favorite place to shop for real food pantry staples (read my review of their service). Here is a quick recap of my order where I stocked up on a few items for the elimination phase: organic green tea, canned non-GMO wild Alaskan salmon, non-GMO sardines in extra virgin olive oil, SeaSnax, plantain chips, organic turmeric powder, organic ground ginger, and organic oregano. I love that I can purchase these products online at a discount and get them delivered for free! Saves so much time at the grocery store! I already have my next order lined up!
Investing in quality meats, poultry, and seafood is one of the best health investments out there, in my opinion. Pastured, grass-fed and organic meats are true superfoods! For that reason, I am purchasing as many of my meat products as possible online at US Wellness Meats.
I just received my second order for items needed for the next few weeks: wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, ground lamb, beef liver, ground pork, sugar-free pork bacon ends, ground beef/heart, and more beef pemmican.
Later on, I will share exactly how much I spent on groceries for the month. When you eliminate the frankenfoods and don’t eat out often, buying quality real food doesn’t have to break the bank!
Elimination Week 1 Recap
Week 1 got off to a bit of a rocky start with a pretty nasty headache on Day 1. It’s hard to know for sure what triggered this headache but I have my suspicions that it was a ripple effect. Add together the switch off of coffee and supplements, potential sugar withdrawals, an increase in fat consumption, and the incredibly smokey air from local wildfires… a headache isn’t really that surprising. Day 2 was a slight improvement, even though I didn’t get much sleep. I started to get a bit of a headache in the late morning and decided to have a second cup of green tea. This seemed to cut it off at the pass!
Day 3 was even better! I experienced the slightest mild headache late in the day that never really escalated. However, this was the first day without a bowel movement and that’s always a bummer.
Days 4-7 were without headaches but with slow digestion. My energy wasn’t consistent, I had some dips throughout the day with Day 4 and 6 feeling especially sluggish. I’m used to taking an herbal supplement to help move things along and I knew there would be a transitionary period once I completely stopped taking it. The good news is that my stools don’t have undigested food particles in them, which is an indicator of poor digestion. If I can just improve transit time I will be golden! Hopefully, Week 2 will show improvements in this area.
I averaged about 8.5 hours of sleep each night, which is fantastic. Anytime we are in a state of healing it is so crucial to prioritize sleep, aiming for at least 8 hours each night. My goal for the remaining 3 weeks is to increase that average to at least 8.75 hours per night. I was able to get in some mindfulness practice each day. This normally consists of meditation, mindful breathing, and mindful stretching in the mornings. Lastly, I was able to get in some dedicated movement 6 out of the 7 days. I’m feeling pretty good about that considering that my foot is still in pain from being in a cast for 4 months. Aiming for 7 out of 7 days for Week 2!
Generally, it seems like I’m not eating as much as I’m used to and yet I don’t find myself feeling very many hunger pangs. I’m so used to snacking on treats/nuts/dried fruit and I can see that it is more of a mindless eating habit than because I’m truly hungry. Learning so much already!
Just because it’s an elimination protocol doesn’t mean I’m not eating well! Here are a few highlights of what I’ve been nourishing my body with:
Elimination Phase of Experiment:
September 1-30, 2017
Stay Tuned for updates as I continue into Week 2 of the elimination phase of my experiment!
Also, follow me on Instagram @marcelle.phene so you can view my story where I am posting pictures of everything I’m eating.
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Disclaimer: The information in this post is not intended as medical advice, or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. Marcelle encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research, and in partnership with your doctor, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. The information provided in this post and the entire contents of www.marcellephene.com are based upon the opinions of Marcelle Phene and are for general educational purposes, and have not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.