Friday, April 05, 2013

You Are What You Eat {My Elimination Diet}

Happy Friday, it is officially the weekend!  Today's post is rather long, so hopefully I dont lose to many of you. In case I do and you do not make it to the end of the this post, make sure to go enter to win my Get Clean & Moisturized giveaway. It ends Monday.  

I mentioned in my post on Monday that I was cutting out dairy, gluten, and coffee for at least 30 days.  This is what is referred to as an elimination diet.  I do not believe in counting calories or doing those "fad" diets that are always popular.  An elimination diet is something totally different and a great way to figure out what foods may be causing health issues & more.  Once I figure out if these foods cause me issues my "healthy eating" might look a little different than before I started the elimination diet. 

You might remember that last summer I did a 30 day Arbonne challenge and cut out dairy, gluten, coffee, and more with great results. Read all about it here. I lost weight, gained energy, and my skin looked great.  Unfortunately, after the 30 days I added things back in all at once and it was hard for me to figure out what was causing my weight and skin issues to come back.  

This time around I will be cutting out these foods for at least 30 days. After the 30 days I will add them back one at a time very slowly to see how I react.  I already have a pretty good idea of the results, but this will be the true test! 

As I have transitioned to almost 100% real and non-processed/packaged foods over the years I've also realized that "YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT" is SO true!  Many people suffer from health problems that could be fixed by just changing what is in their diet. Instead, people are given meds or other things as a "band aid" to fix the problem.  If they take a look at what they consume and stop eating certain things, many of the health problems would be reversed.  I truly believe that what we eat is the root problem to most illness and disease in this country. I have found this to be true for some of the foods I eat. 

Let's start with dairy

As a child, I was allergic to cow's milk.  I would get hives as a result of drinking it so I pretty much avoided the stuff until I was older.  To this day, if I consume too much cow's milk I get hives.  

Over the past few years I have figured out that cow's milk also has a huge impact on the health, look, & feel of my skin.  Last summer when I was dairy free for 30 days my skin, particularly my face, looked amazing.  I have always struggled with dry skin on my nose + forehead as well as redness which I believe is eczema (never been formally diagnosed).  I just have blamed my dry skin on where we live and bad luck!  When I think back I do not remember a time I did not have dry skin, except for a short time last summer when I was completely off dairy, gluten, and coffee.  

So, I have decided to cut dairy out of my diet.  It is much easier said then done for a couple reasons.  First, I love cow's milk or creamer in my coffee and have not really found a good milk alternative that tastes as good as cow's milk.  Funny thing is, I hate drinking cow's milk straight. I could not tell you the last time I poured and drank a glass of cow's milk...yuck!  

Second, I LOVE cheese. But in order to really get dairy 100% out of my system I have to cut ALL dairy which unfortunately includes cheese.  Boooo! 
Source. Name that show! 

Monday was my first day dairy free.  It is now Friday and my face has already drastically improved!  My nose and forehead are almost completely free of dry, flaky skin.  The redness on my face has decreased drastically.  I am amazed at how fast my face has cleared up once I stopped eating a few things in my diet. And the things I have removed are not even considered "bad" by most people that eat a traditional/real food diet, but everyone is different and affected by food differently. This is why an elimination diet works, no one is exactly the same so no one "diet" will work for everyone.  

I know at this point I can not actually guarantee it was no dairy that has already allowed my face to clear up, but knowing my history with milk I'm guessing this is one of the foods that is an issue for my face.  

I plan to continue with no dairy for at least another 3 weeks.  At that point I will add milk back in, while still avoiding the other foods I'm not eating this month, and see how I react.  This will allow me to figure out what foods I'm actually sensitive to and should continue to avoid. 

Another issue that I have dealt with for several years is weight gain and the inability to get the weight off, even while eating real/whole foods and exercising regularly.  There is evidence that eating foods you are sensitive or allergic to can cause weight gain, bloating, stubborn belly fat, and more.  Check out this article for more details. So, besides just cutting out certain foods to help my skin I'm also hoping it will help me with the stubborn weight I can not seem to lose.  I know that food is not totally the culprit, as I'm still working to get my hormones in a normal + balanced place. Having out of balance hormones also leads to symptoms I listed above (and more). 

The cow's milk I have always consumed has been both pasteurized + homogenized.  There is evidence that by drinking raw milk, many people that are allergic to the commercially processed milk do not have problems with raw milk.  I have not tried raw cow's milk because there has not be a farmer that sells it close to where we live.  I do plan to hunt down some once we move back to KS.  Someday I would love to try raw milk in hopes I do not have any negative reactions. 

Since I'm talking about dairy, I want to share some great articles related to milk. If you are currently consuming milk please read these, they include great information!  

The Three Best Substitutes For A Child Allergic To Milk

Think Fat Free Milk Is Healthy? 6 Secrets You Do Not Know About Skim:: PLEASE READ IF YOU THINK SKIM MILK IS GOOD FOR YOU!  
New Study: Lowfat and Skim Milk Drinking Kids are the Fattest 
Healthy Milk:: Great information about all the milk options in the stores and how to find the healthiest option in the grocery store if you are not drinking raw milk.

Now time to discuss my kryptonite (aka coffee).

I did not drink coffee until college.  I had tried coffee a few times growing up, usually at the donut shop with my grandparents, and never liked it.  When I tried "real" coffee at the coffee shops in Manhattan I became addicted!  

Since we began our journey to starting a family several years ago I switched to decaf coffee for the most part.  So I am not giving up coffee because of the caffeine, I'm giving up coffee because I'm not sure if it is having an affect on my skin issues or if it is solely dairy.  

Again, my skin has already cleared up amazingly well over the last week so I'm debating giving coffee a try next week with a milk alternative and see how my face reacts. I'm hoping it does not make my face flare up again so I can keep drinking coffee! 

Coffee is really tough for me to resist and say no to, but I have done a great job this week.  I have a weekly coffee date with some friends and we usually meet at a coffee shop. There is just something about walking into a coffee shop, smelling the lovely aroma of espresso, and immediately wanting to order a latte!  This week I restrained myself and said NO to coffee and YES to an iced tea.  

Saying No to things that we really want is tough, but pushing through the temptation of a coffee on Wednesday was a great feeling.  This month is all about strengthening my will power "muscle" and saying NO! 

Now I want to hear from you.  Have you tried an elimination diet? How easy is it for you to say NO to foods you should not be eating?  Do you have foods that you are sensitive to but are still consuming them?  I challenge you to look at what you are eating and do a little research to see if some of the foods you eat might be the cause of issues you might have.  

Do you drink milk alternatives? If so, what is your favorite milk alternative? 

Next Friday I'll talk about the other food I'm eliminating, gluten.  I will also talk about what I have been doing fitness wise.  


  1. Aww. Your "Post a Comment" comment is so sweet.
    By the way, I love your blog.
    When you get a chance head on over and support me at
    Thank you :)

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment about my "post a comment" comment. How many times can I use the word comment in a sentence? :) hahaha. Going to checkout your blog now!

  2. Good luck!! I know you will do great. :)

  3. Very interesting read. I started my "search" for optimal nutrition about a year and a half ago by eliminating all processed foods. Of all the changes I've made to my diet since then that is when I noticed the biggest difference in how I looked, felt and my weight. I am now vegan and have never felt better. I drink Silk Almond Milk Unsweetened.

    I eliminated coffee for 2 weeks and didn't really notice a difference. I only drink 2 cups a day. I wonder if I drank more whether or not I would have noticed a difference by eliminating it?

    Good luck with your 30 days. I'm looking forward to reading more.

    1. I am finally getting used to almond milk in my coffee and have noticed a great change in my skin with no dairy. I still miss it sometimes, but knowing that my body just cant handle it makes it a little easier to pass it up.

  4. I need to fully eliminate dairy and gluten too... I do pretty well, but some of it sneaks in!

  5. A) HIMYM! LOVE it! B) I cut out dairy for a while because we thought our baby might be lactose intolerant. I looove milk and cheese so that nearly killed me, but almond milk was an okay substitute. I couldn't just drink a glass like I did of cow's milk, but using it in things was fine.

  6. A) HIMYM! LOVE it! B) I cut out dairy for a while because we thought our baby might be lactose intolerant. I looove milk and cheese so that nearly killed me, but almond milk was an okay substitute. I couldn't just drink a glass like I did of cow's milk, but using it in things was fine.


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