June 24, 2019

Vegan Elimination Diet: Week 2

How to survive the second week of an elimination diet. Tips on making it through days 8-14 and what I ate each day of Week 2.

Roasted Japanese sweet potato rounds

I’m chronicling my elimination diet and have a Week 2 update for you. In case you missed it, two weeks ago I introduced the concept of a vegan elimination diet and talked about why you might want to do one yourself. Check it out: Vegan Elimination Diet! And here’s my Week 1 update.

Day 8: I started Day 8 feeling pretty yucky. I knew that it wasn’t anything I ate because I didn’t add a new food on Day 7. That day just happened to be the day I moved in to my apartment for my internship. I immediately recognized that the nerves were affecting my body. Thankfully, my symptoms backed off as the day progressed.

Pro Tip #1

Your body reacts to more than just food. So many environmental factors can affect the way you feel: stress, anxiety, relationships, time of day, time of month, weather … you get the picture. It’s so important to track environmental changes. Even if you aren’t doing an elimination diet, connecting what’s going on in your life to what’s going on in your body is critical.

I added flax seeds to my diet like I planned to do on Day 7 and had no symptoms. I was a little nervous about adding in a seed, because some elimination diets have you avoid all nuts and seeds. But I’ve only been eating flax seeds in the past year or so, and my symptoms have been around longer than that.

Day 9: I added zucchini! I had a giant serving of zoodles for lunch and they were incredibly delicious. The best part: my body loved them too!

Later in the afternoon, I had a pretty large serving of blueberries. I noticed that my stomach was feeling weird quickly afterwards. While blueberries are low-FODMAP, it’s possible that I ate too many and got too much fructose (the F in FODMAP). I decided to keep a closer eye on my serving sizes and see if I could identify a pattern.

Blueberry maple overnight oats

Pro Tip #2

Patterns are important. When you notice something is off, note it in your food diary. Don’t draw any immediate conclusions though. As I talked about in Pro Tip #1, environmental factors are often the cause of our symptoms. The key to figuring out if a food affects you is to look for patterns. Ex. Blueberries upset your stomach when you’re stressed? Note it. Eat blueberries a few days later when you’re feeling less anxious. See how your body reacts. Eat blueberries again in a couple more days. Keep track of the reactions and look for commonalities.

Day 10: On Day 10 I added chia seeds. Honestly I don’t have a good reason for adding them, other than I wanted to make overnight oats to bring to work with me all week, and chia seeds were the only ingredient from my typical recipe that I hadn’t already added to my diet. I only put about 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds in my oats, so I don’t think my body even noticed them. Either way, I didn’t have a bad reaction.

Day 11: I didn’t add any new foods on Day 11. I was super exhausted from work and didn’t have time or energy to prep a new food.

Pro Tip #3

Your elimination diet doesn’t have to be perfect. Yes, it is very important that you stick to the foods that don’t affect you, but if you miss a day of adding a new food or take some extra time, it’s not a big deal. Just keep moving forward. You got this!

Day 12: Work really kicked my butt this week. I barely had time to think about trying new foods. I really should’ve planned my week better.

Day 13: I didn’t have any specific foods prepped, but in the evening I decided to eat a couple walnuts. Walnuts are on the low-FODMAP list and are considered one of the healthiest nuts. I’m not sure that I ate enough for my body to have a reaction.

Day 14: Since my walnut adventures on Day 13 wasn’t super exciting, I decided to add some more walnuts on Day 14. I made some delicious Toasted Walnut Butter to enjoy throughout the week (recipe coming soon)! Nothing bad happened, so I think I’m in the clear.

Overall, Week 2 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It might take 3 or more weeks to feel better. I planned to reevaluate after Week 3. I knew that if I didn’t experience relief from my symptoms after Week 3, I would have a big decision to make: continue the elimination phase or stop the diet completely. Check back next week for my Week 3 update.

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