"How do I start an elimination diet?"
Beginning on any kind of dietary change can be an overwhelming experience, and even more so if you've just been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Even if you have a food list, it can sometimes seem like that's all it is - a list of food. How do you combine those into real meals?
Here is a cheat sheet to ensure you're getting the macronutrients, phytonutrients, micronutrients, and ALL the nutrients! When you follow this roadmap and these tips, you'll feel full and satisfied, get a nutrient-dense meal, and keep your sanity.
Food Planning Tips:
Make some vegetables or proteins with minimal seasoning on purpose, then dress them up with sauces or dressings.
Don't get stuck on the idea that breakfast has to be a certain type of food. It's completely acceptable (and has lots of nutritional value) to eat last night's leftovers as breakfast.
Double or triple batches of food so you don't have to cook as often.
If you're short on time to cook, use your crock pot or pressure cooker! Dump everything in and enjoy a nice stew when you return a few hours later.
Find recipe books you'll actually use: Look for dishes with minimal ingredients. 6 or less is manageable, and check the ingredients to ensure they're things you would normally buy.
Some kitchen gadgets are actually worth their salt. In this order, the things that seem to come in handy most are: pressure cooker or crock pot, blender or mixer (like Nutribullet, Ninja, etc.), spiralizer to make noodles from vegetables, an immersion blender (for blended soups), food processor.
The Real Secret: The Elimination Diet Roadmap
Now. Here's the real secret. Think of all your foods in one of three buckets:
It's your job to eat at least one food from every single category each time you eat. That's it!
How are Your Skills?
It'll take a little time, but eventually you'll get the hang of this elimination diet and cooking routine. Hopefully you'll feel so great, you'll know exactly which foods add to your health!
You throw some chicken on top of salad greens with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil. Easy: veggie + protein + fat. Just don't forget that it's ok to have some starchy veggies once in a while. Under-eating is a common mistake when switching to a new way of eating!
You're cooking one-pot meals in the crock pot, and don't mind if you stray slightly from the recipe. It's quick, it's healthy, and it's done! You've found some great go-to recipes that fit within your nutrition plan, AND taste wonderful... in fact, these are foods or dishes you crave. You feel so good eating this way that it's hard to go back to the way you used to eat!
You're comfortable making complex dishes, sauces, and dips using your arsenal of spices and herbs, and you've got all the fun cooking gadgets. Making up recipes is what you do, and if you can think of a food that is made with less-healthy ingredients, you can figure out how to make your own version within your healthy-giving food guidelines.
Want more support? Work with a Summit Coach to help you seamlessly transition to the healthy way of eating that works for you. Check out our coaches and find your coach match!