We have been talking about moving toward better health this month at the Homestead. The first two strategies I shared were Taking Baby Steps Toward Health and Crowding Out Harmful Behaviors and Foods It doesn't take many changes to start to feel a difference. The body is incredibly resilient. We can abuse it for decades and it still responds when we make positive changes, and quickly! If you can just stick with your changes long enough to get over the hump and start to feel better, a whole new world opens up in front of you.
Once you feel encouraged by the changes you have made, you might be ready to take another important step in healing. Elimination. Now, I know that name sounds terrifying to those of us with addictive behaviors. It causes our stomachs to clench up and kicks in our, I'm outta here response mechanisms. But just hear me out.
Some women I know did a program called 21 Days to Bliss, which those of us who participated jokingly called 21 Days to Hell. This, along with the Clean Gut Diet, helped me over the hump. 21 Days is manageable. I thought, I can do that! Did I cheat? Yes. Did I fail some? Yes. But I stuck with it enough to get some incredible results. I stuck with it enough that a year later, it is still my way of life.
Here is how it works. Most of us eat crap. Seriously, the majority of Westerners pour a steady stream of inflammatory and unhealthy foods into our bodies year after year and wonder why we have so much chronic disease. Taking Baby Steps and Crowding Out some of these harmful foods begins to introduce nutrients we have been low in perhaps our whole lives. And that is good. But if we really want to heal and see dramatic results, we have to take out the foods that harm us eventually.
Some of the foods that harm us are obvious: high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, food dyes, etc. Others are less so, and depend upon the person. The only way you can know what foods you are sensitive to is to take out all the food triggers, let your intestines heal, and then add them back in slowly, one at a time to see what happens.
The seven most common irritants for people are: gluten, dairy, tree nuts, sugar and sugar substitutes, shellfish, eggs, and soy. Others include caffeine and night shade vegetables. This is tough, I am not going to lie. Last year I documented my elimination struggles for myself and my daughter and it was hard and fraught with failures. But here is the thing. It worked. In January, I am coming up on my first year without antidepressants since I was 22. My daughter overcame a severe sensory disorder (which recently reappeared the week before Halloween - no wonder).
I have become fascinated by stories of healing from people who have successfully eliminated foods that were either killing them, or making life miserable daily. If you are ready to try an elimination diet, I recommend following a protocol at first. Try Clean Gut, or join a support group like 21 Days to Bliss. I would love to hear how you do.
Want to hear how another family made the changes toward health? I am interviewing author Shaye Elliott of the Elliot Homestead this Wednesday at noon Central. Join us for the FREE online discussion right from your home or work computer. REGISTER HERE.