Before I tell you how to be an official food detective, and do a proper elimination diet, here’s a little human history for you.
Once upon a time, we ate whatever we could hunt, and we gathered lots of plants, some fruits, and some eggs. Fish and other water creatures were abundant. We ate certain
mushrooms (not others!), tubers, insects, a little honey, and some tasty herbs and flowers to enrich our meals. In the Paleolithic times before agriculture began around 15,000 years ago, we were fit, smart, healthy, and mostly well-fed.
By the time of the Egyptian mummies, dental cavities, arthritis, diseases and deformities were apparent. Humans had been off track for just several thousand years, eating grains and dairy, foods completely new to us. And it’s been downhill ever since for any culture eating non-traditional foods.
Now here we are in modern times, as sick as can be, and mentally struggling with emotions and physical needs that just don’t seem to be under control. Stress affects us in every possible way, to be sure. But could our food be to blame for much of this? I’m not just talking about obesity from excess carbohydrates, or the chaotic blood-sugar cycles we go through on any given day, making us alternately irritated, confused, sleepy, tense or shaky. I’m talking a million and one other things too. The irritated bowel; the headaches; the skin problems; bad bones; phobias; poor attention span; gallstones; and low sex drive. Our inability to manage our habits. Or take a walk….
Once you’ve made headway with your Paleo, Primal diet (my Diet For Human Beings), eliminating grains, legumes and dairy, you will feel many of these problems just fade away. What about the rest? Here’s where you get to be “The Detective” and figure out what foods or habits may be at cause. My suggestion is to take 30 days to try an Elimination Diet, removing everything but a few foods from your diet for 4 or 5 days and then slowly adding back food families one at a time. (Note on the Elimination Diet link — please DO avoid rice, buckwheat, almond milk and coconut milk during the elimination). I am always amazed at my body’s ability to flag a food such as garlic, green beans or eggs when I haven’t eaten them for a month or more and then challenge them. ANY symptom can be a clue. Were you really gassy after trying the Brassica family? Achy after the Nightshades? Weird bowel movements after the eggs? There’s few rules here – you’re discovering your own body now. Just remember two things: it takes 4 days for a food to clear from your body; and try foods in families, not just one at a time. If a family of foods seems to cause a problem, then STOP, wait for four days or longer, and try again. If the symptom reappears, leave that food family alone for a while and try others. Later, try the foods in suspicious families one at a time.
Take a chance – do the work – be your own best Detective. The payoffs can be huge. Good luck!