With the start of 2015, many people I know are dieting or doing cleanses. Normally my husband and I ignore this hype and just try to maintain a healthy eating style throughout the year. However, this year, a friend of mine asked me to take a diet class with her that is focused on eliminating inflammation in the body. The diet is called “The Abascal Way To Quiet Inflammation for Health and Weight Loss” and is taught by Kathy Abascal, a scientist, lawyer, and herbalist (see here for her website). The end goal is to determine a personalized diet that decreases inflammation based on one’s food sensitivities.
One of the reasons I eagerly signed up for this class was to understand how it works for middle-aged and older people, but also to examine the scientific reasoning behind it, and to think about the issues from a children’s health perspective. There will be a separate post on this topic once I synthesize all of the information from the class.
The diet is an elimination diet. Thus it eliminates foods that have been shown in a significant number of people to cause immune reactions. These reactions can elevate the basal level of immune activity in the body. This is not to say everyone should eliminate these foods, but the only way to determine if they bother you is to eliminate them for a short time. A 3-week elimination of these foods is followed by a testing phase to see which food groups irritate you when added back into the diet. It’s an interesting, and not uncommon, approach to sorting out the optimal diets for different individuals. My husband is keeping me company in this effort, and our Diverse Little Eater is participating to some extent.
So far, the results have been good. The change in diet has not been that difficult since we ate pretty well before. The biggest changes have been at lunch and breakfast. More purchasing and prepping of veggies and fruits was required at first. It was more effort the first 3 days of the diet, but now has become much easier.
After 3 weeks, my husband and I are both feeling really good! We both lost some weight and feel more awake throughout the day. My semi-chronic upper back and neck pain lessened noticeably, and my old knee injury is less achy. I guess I can say that I feel more alive and less fragile. The change in diet has inspired other healthy habits in our house as well. We’re getting organized and cleaning up our junk, we walk more when we ditch the car. It’s funny how one change can inspire others.
To give you an idea of what we have eliminated, here is a brief list:
- Added sugars and artificial sweeteners (except if it’s already in a fruit of course)
- Most processed foods
- Canola oil and hydrogenated and deodorized oils
- Beef, pork, duck
- A handful of different seafood, including tuna
- Wheat and its relatives
- Milk and any milk products
- Dried corn
For every portion of combined grain and protein eaten, 2 times that amount of veggies and/or fruits must be consumed per meal and snack.
I don’t expect that we will maintain this strict elimination of certain foods forever, after all, many of the foods eliminated are good for us as long as we can tolerate them and eat them in moderation. However, the elimination has been a good chance to re-evaluate our daily eating habits and to readjust little things that seem to make pretty big differences. This week we entered the testing phase (wheat today yippie!) and will determine foods that may have been contributing to our tiredness and my achy back and knees.
In the next few posts I will be sending out elimination diet friendly recipes that I develop! See the next post for Tofu Yum!