It is hard to believe I’m already halfway thru the Elimination phase of my Nutrition Self-Experiment! Week 2 had a lot of highlights and a couple of rough patches as my body is adapting. You can read more about this below in the Elimination Week 2 Recap. After some experience working with my ‘YES’ Foods list these past two weeks, I enjoyed getting a little creative with the 14 Day Meal Plan #2 for Days 14-28. You can download this plan for FREE below! This week, I talk a bit about reintroductions and my plan for going into Week 3. I am beginning to see some progress and that is very promising!
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 first 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! Also, go back and read my Week 1 Recap with the Pre-Elimination Week updates.
14 Day Meal Plan #2
Having a meal plan helps you focus on what you can eat! It’s easy to get bored when you are doing an elimination protocol because it feels like your options are limited. Believe it or not, there are so many different ways to use the same ingredients to come up with a variety of tasty meals! Having a meal plan is a great tool to ensure that you are mixing things up. And it takes a lot of the stress out of meal time!
Enter your name and email address above and I will email you the 14 Day Meal Plan #2! This is the meal plan I will be using for Days 15-28 of the Elimination phase. This is different from the first meal plan and includes some new recipes! Also, follow me on Instagram @marcelle.phene so you can view my story where I will be posting pictures of everything I’m eating.
The main goal of an elimination diet is to remove any potential food culprits while flooding the body with nutrients. It is not meant to be long-term. Reintroducing nutritious foods that are removed due to their potential to being a trigger is part of the overall plan. When to begin reintroductions depends on the severity and progress of your individual situation. To read more about when and how to reintroduce foods, check out The Paleo Mom’s post.
I chose to eliminate coconut milk, whole coconut products, and sweet potatoes for this experiment initially. It is unclear based on the research that I have done and the research that exists on FODMAPs as to whether or not these foods are low or moderate in FODMAPs. The Autoimmune Protocol says that coconut milk (up to 1 cup/day) and sweet potatoes are on the ‘Yes’ list, while whole coconut products should be consumed in moderation.
Since these were gray areas, I knew it wouldn’t hurt to eliminate them initially and let them be the first to be reintroduced. My plan is to start with full-fat coconut milk since the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) in coconut milk can be very healing for the gut lining. Based on my understanding, coconut milk contains the least FODMAPs of these three foods. Given its low-carb content, I’m not concerned about it feeding any potential gut bacteria imbalance.
The initial plan was to reintroduce coconut milk during Week 3. At this point, my symptoms haven’t improved as much as I would like to begin a reintroduction. I may hold off until Week 4 depending on how each day goes. This is a great reminder to listen to my body and let it guide me. I can see progress is being made, even if it is slow, so I don’t want to throw a wrench in that process. Plus, it’s not like I’m starving or needing coconut milk for any particular reason 😉
Two weeks ago (the day before Elimination) I weighed in at my chiropractor’s office at 126.5 lbs. On Day 14, I went back at the same time in roughly the same clothes and weighed in at 124 lbs. This is a 2.5 lb decrease in 2 weeks! Again, the number is much less important to me than the trend. This is a reverse in the trend I was seeing before this experiment (yay!). It can also be used as data to show that this experiment is working, at least in some capacity. Very exciting! I will be weighing in again in 2 weeks.
Elimination Week 2 Recap
If you would like to see my daily journals from Week 2, you can access them by clicking the link below. Note, if you are leery about poop talk and other digestive symptoms, considered yourself warned. 😉
Day 8 started to show some progress as the worst bloating seems to be less constant and more associated with after meal time. I also uncovered the magic of self-massage for gas pains!
Days 9 & 10 included a little road trip to Los Angeles for the USC football game and a beach day! I had a great time on the trip and felt pretty good, especially considering I didn’t have a bowel movement either day. I armed myself with snacks to enjoy on the road, at the stadium, and at the beach. Proof that a little creative planning means that you don’t have to sacrifice fun to heal. In fact having fun is a necessary nutrient for total wellness!
Day 11 back home without a bowel movement in over 72 hours and I knew it was time to take some serious action. I wanted to go without any sort of supplementation through this entire Elimination phase. However, eliminating toxins (aka pooping) is a super important part of healing and feeling good. After a bit of research on what would be the least harmful to my gut and most natural way to help me out, I settled on taking some Natural Calm Magnesium (ionic magnesium citrate).
The morning of Day 12 brought some relief! Hopefully, I won’t have to use the magnesium powder too many times, but good to know it works. It also helped me sleep like a baby!
Day 13 I noticed a dip in energy after lunch. This may mean I need to get some food in my belly a little earlier.
Day 14 was without another bowel movement and I felt extra gassy. I don’t want things sitting and fermenting in my gut, so I opted to take more of the magnesium this evening.
Overall, I feel like symptoms and indicators are improving, just slowly. I was able to increase my sleep average to 8.6 hours per night and will aim for 8.75 in Week 3. I was able to get some movement and mindfulness practice in every day. Also, I started incorporating some standing desk time back into my work day, which is big progress for my foot recovery! My energy seems fairly stable and I just feel good. While the constipation is concerning, the poop itself looks good: no undigested particles, doesn’t float, and the color is ok. Adding in either a digestive enzyme or probiotics is under consideration for help here. Hopefully, I will receive my stool test results in the next week and will receive guidance from those, too.
Just because it’s an elimination protocol doesn’t mean I’m not eating well or having fun! 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 3 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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If you would like help creating your own real food ‘self-experiment’, then Transformational Nutrition Coaching could help!
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I have saved a ton of money during this experiment by shopping at Thrive Market! This has been my favorite place to shop for real food pantry staples and non-toxic home and personal products for over 2 years! You can read my review of their service in a previous post. Think Costco + Whole Foods + delivered to your doorstep!
Sanfilippo, Diane. Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition. Canada: Victory Belt Publishing Inc., 2016.
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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.