Saturday, June 6, 2009

Elimination or Deprivation?

It's been some time since I've written and this is mostly because I haven't eaten anything very memorable in awhile. You see I, like many a Bastyr nutrition student before me, embarked upon what is known as the Elimination Diet. This is not a diet in the traditional sense of restricting eating to promote weight loss but rather restricting eating to enable one to determine if there are particular foods causing unwanted physical symptoms like fatigue, GI distress, brain fog, headaches, etc. After eliminating all potential offenders for 2-3 weeks ideally the symptoms subside for a time and it is then that you systematically reintroduce the foods one at a time and observe for any adverse reactions. After 3 weeks without any wheat, soy, corn, peanuts, chocolate, or sugar I did learn one should not begin this type of diet without proper preparation. I mean making a comprehensive plan of meals and snacks with a corresponding trip to the grocery store to obtain the needed ingredients. Even the most die-hard kale and brown rice fan can get tired of these staple foods after 21 days of eating them for nearly every meal.

Despite my nearly 2 years following what many would consider a fairly "restrictive diet" in standard American diet terms...I still convince myself that I can easily find necessary edibles no matter where I am. I tell myself as I head to a restaurant, a friend's house, the school cafeteria, "SURELY, there'll be something I can eat." It wasn't until perhaps the 13th day of experiencing blurred vision, headaches, and no energy that I decided that I probably wasn't going about this particular dietary adventure in the healthiest way. So I stopped.

It's amazing what kind of cravings pop up the minute you deny yourself a particular food. And the cruelest part of it all is that the minute you don't allow yourself soy or bread or corn they start to show up EVERYWHERE. Suddenly everything their serving in the cafeteria is made up the exact ingredients you have sworn off. BBQ tempeh calzones, soy sausage and pepper sandwiches. .... I bet you if I told myself tomorrow that I could no longer eat liverwurst I would immediately crave it and tomorrow in the Bastyr lunch line what do you think you'd find?

With cravings,


  1. I think in the Spring the Bastyr cafeteria should have an elimination diet friendly entree every day, since doing the diet is almost a graduation requirement, and certainly a right of passage for all of us. But you learned what you were supposed to, which is that clients doing the diet need support, guidance and preparation. I salute your suffering-- I've done it twice and it is never easy! :)

  2. i like liverwurst and would be happy to see it at the Bastyr cafeteria.