Patient's Perspective: *Ellen's Elimination Experience Part 1


This week we have a guest writer--a patient of one of the AAAD members!  This is something new and will provide both patients and NDs some insight on the challenges and benefits of a hypoallergenic (elimination) diet.

Hello, my name is *Ellen and I am excited to have this opportunity to be an honourary avocado! I will be sharing my experiences while on the elimination diet as prescribed by my doctor, Dr. Cho.
I am on the elimination diet in an attempt to help rebalance my hormones. This past year I have been on a sabbatical (from teaching) and travelled abroad for several months. During this time I missed multiple menstrual cycles and as a result experienced acne breakouts. When I returned home each time and returned to a diet not consisting of refined starches and sugars, my cycles returned to normal. 

I officially started the elimination diet (no gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, sugar, alcohol, red meat, etc) on June 2 and here are my thoughts and struggles so far. 

Before starting the elimination, I used the month before as a weaning and practice period, for the most part following the rules (but still eating nightshade vegetables) and figuring out new things to cook.  The day I officially started my elimination was a big mental challenge only because now I was not allowed to eat certain foods rather than before when I wasn't supposed to eat it. 

Breakfast: A usual breakfast used to consist of cereal (a few grams of sugar per serving) or toast with peanut butter and jam or banana. When I first switched to oatmeal (slow cook oats or steel cut oats) with no sugar and unsweetened almond milk it took a little getting used to. I now really enjoy my oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins and berries or banana. I miss having orange juice but enjoy having smoothies more often. 

Lunch: Out of the three meals, lunch is the one I have the hardest time with. I love eating sandwiches so giving up bread was a hard one. I enjoy eating salads and soups and have had some really delicious creations but I miss the variety that sandwiches offer. I am also hungry a lot sooner and have not mastered the snack category yet. 

Snacks: I have also had a hard time finding a variety of snacks that are tasty and satisfying (fruit doesn't always cut it!). Sometimes I find myself staring in the fridge or cupboard looking for something to catch my eye. My go-to's are hummus with crackers or veggies, ants on a log with almond butter or nuts and dates. This is when I really miss cheese!!

Dinner: this is the area I have had the most success with. It was a pretty seamless transition from white rice to brown, from pasta to quinoa and from white potatoes to sweet potatoes. I rotate between fish and chicken along with a variety of vegetables and/or salad. I crave red meat when the smell of a neighbours BBQ wafts over to our backyard or when I'm at the Jays game and have to plug my nose as I walk by the hotdog stand! but other than that I've been doing okay. 

I do feel a lot healthier since staring the elimination diet. I don't get as sleepy after eating a meal, (I am much more regular) and I'd like to think that I have more energy (although it is too hard to tell not having to work this year). I'm lucky to have the time right now to cook, experiment, and grocery shop as I am fairly certain that I wouldn't be as successful or obedient if I had been teaching right now! 


When I am out in public and I see people eating it's funny now to realize that there aren't many truly healthy options people can have when on the go. Eliminating the foods that I have has really made me notice how prevalent these ingredients are in all food. I think I may have a whole new outlook on food by the time my elimination is done!

Stay tuned for more on *Ellen's elimination diet!

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.




Dr. Cho, ND is a naturopathic doctor based in Pickering, Ontario and Richmond Hill, Ontario.  She maintains a private practice focused in pain management and sports nutrition, in addition to a general family practice at Durham Natural Health Centre.  To learn more about Dr. Cho, book a complimentary 15 minute consult by clicking here.  Not in the Durham Region?  Contact her through AnAvocadoADay@gmail.com to learn about more options.

1 comments:

Karen MacKay said...

Changing your diet so radically sure isn't easy - well done to you, Ellen! I've had to change my diet so much over the years due to food intolerances and ill health and it hasn't always been easy - and I'm still not all the way there yet. I've found that it's easier to make small changes and "play" with alternative food ideas before making hard and fast rules - that way the changes tend to "stick" better. Hope you keep seeing good results!

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