Below are a few selected stories we have received from people who have done our 28-Day Detoxification and Elimination Diet in our cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. If you have a story you would like to share please email it to us. Enjoy!
Thank you for helping me to understand my body's synthesis of food through the Elimination diet. Before I started this diet I was in a great deal of intestinal pain after I ate and often when I had a BM. I was not diagnosed with anything specific, as I couldn't afford good health insurance, but daily eating and elimination routine was not fun or comfortable. I enjoy cooking and eating a great deal, so it was disheartening that so many things I ate made my stomach or intestinal tract hurt.
I had no idea where to start in determining what food could be contributing to my intestinal discomfort. I saw a number of elimination diets online that gave all the common causes of food sensitivities, which was a good first step. But what I like about the Whole Life Nutrition diet is that there is a wealth of delicious recipes to plan your meals around. This gave me the support that I needed to go ahead and experiment with basing my diet around vegetables, grains, and legumes-- and leaving out meat, fish, dairy, and soy.
This was a big change for me and there were a couple of weeks of very difficult and emotional withdraw from these foods. The result is that most of my intestinal discomfort and stomach problems are gone. I realized that before the diet I was in a mild amount of pain ALL THE TIME and had no idea because I had adjusted to it over years.
I feel a lot lighter as well as less anxious because I'm not in physical pain. Also I find that without meat, I crave food less intensely; by this I mean that while I feel when I'm hungry and enjoy eating to satisfaction, I don't feel the need to snap at people because they are getting in the way of me eating my dinner as fast as possible!
It also helped to have the support of my house-mate and therapist to take this diet week by week, until I learn some important things about my body's use of different foods as well as my reactions to transforming my diet. I think that it would be especially beneficial to have an elimination diet blog as well as a recipe blog, that would be the only suggestion that I have to improve this diet. My house-mates adjusted much of what they cooked to fit with the diet and one of them did the diet with me, it made it easier to keep daily food logs when I could communicate with another person doing something similar.
Walk in beauty, Eryn McGowan
This past week has been nothing short of a miracle for me and my family! In March 2009 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease - although removing gluten seemed daunting, I was extremely grateful to finally have a reason for my lifelong struggle with my health. For over twenty years I regularly visited the doctor with symptoms that were basically a bad flu that lasted for weeks without a fever. I have always had what I thought were minor digestive problems - it is amazing what a body thinks is normal when it is the only reality it has known. My late 30s/early 40s brought more severe muscle and joint pain along with periods of mental fogginess and severe digestive problems. ALL of my blood tests were always normal with the exception of a positive ANA, many, many doctors (including head of Rheumatology at a local university hospital) gave me the you don't have anything physically wrong with you so it must be mental look - sometimes even stating I simply had depression and prescribing antidepressants.
When I removed gluten I did not improve. I was told it could take 1-5 years for the digestive track to heal in older Celiacs. Slowly my digestive problems got a bit better, but my muscle/joint pain, sleep problems and mental fog all got worse. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I did a lot of research into lack of amino acids from lack of proper digestion causing Fibro symptoms. I started supplementing with amino acids and had better health then I'd had in 20 years! Unfortunately that period of good health lasted only 6-8 months. Over the past year I have had SEVERE muscle problems, loss of memory, lack of sleep and most recently my digestive problems returned. Often times those with Gluten Intolerance have other food intolerances develop after removing gluten, so I tried removing nightshades, diary and other items to no avail. Just over a week ago I was spending nearly every waking hour in bed or on the couch feeling nothing - part of me was finally starting to believe I had major depression. Thankfully I remembered that I've only been depressed in my life when my body is in extreme pain, I've never had pain due to depression. I decided that I needed to do a more complete elimination diet to include all possible food intolerances. In researching elimination diets I found this site and liked the idea of the first two days of detox with green smoothies as it would take the guess work out of what I could eat during those first days.
Day 1 Still in bed with all symptoms.
Day 2 Spent most of the day in bed, but felt some mental clarity and less pain.
Day 3 Woke up groggy, but within a few hours felt incredibly energetic. Was vertical all day and was still mentally clear at 10pm! Started a Phase I with no grains (I had read some people with autoimmune disease are intolerant with rice and quinoa - these are the first things I'll challenge)
Days 4-9 I've continued to improve each day. I have more and more energy, bloating all over my body has disappeared and my digestive system is improving greatly. I been riding my bike farther each day and the house is finally getting clean! A few days ago my husband said I was glowing and my teens have all noticed major changes and are very happy to their mom back. All this and I have only completed just over a week. I look forward to more improvements bringing my life back. I highly recommend anyone suffering with autoimmune disease or symptoms to try a two-day smoothie detox in addition to the elimination diet to determine food intolerances. Thank you for your wonderful site. I love your smoothie ideas along with the green apple salad dressing. Can't wait to try other elimination diet recipes as my journey continues.
All my best to you both and your children,
Lisa, San Diego, CA
I am a 48 year old woman, who was diagnosed with SLE lupus with CNS involvement 10 months ago. My doctors wanted to treat me with immunosuppressants and chemotherapy medications. From the beginning I chose to treat it with diet, exercise and supplements. To make a long story short 9 months ago I went gluten free and then 2 months after that went vegan. But it wasn't until I did your elimination diet that I felt the greatest improvement. I have so much more energy, fatigue is a lot less, and more mental clarity. I have followed the elimination diet very strictly and have been on it for 41 days. I still haven't added everything back in but just adding the last of phase 3 and the challenge phase back in slowly. I love all the healthy options I have to eat, helps that I love to cook. I love the cookbook and the website. I haven't come across anything that I react too as I add it back in, so not sure what I can pinpoint giving up that caused improvement. I have told so many people about this diet and your website, just can't help but share what is making such an improvement in my life.
Valorie, Port Townsend, WA
"I am a 42 year old mother to five children, ages 16 - 4. I have been married for 20 years. In September 2009, I was diagnosed w/ Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) which is a rare, auto-immune, umbrella disease that includes: Lupus, Scleroderma & Polymyocitis. Finally, a label for the constant pain I had been in since May 2009. My specialists kept offering narcotic pain medicines to 'keep me comfortable', so I could try to function at my old levels to keep my family & home running. I refused all of them, fearing an addiction on top of the already debilitating pain. I started down alternative avenues for other options - I needed help, I needed relief that my specialists couldn't offer. My wonderful family Doctor referred me to his nutritionist for a workup. The nutritionist immediately suggested the elimination diet to me, because of the many, many triggers with auto-immune diseases. I had never dieted in my life & I was scared of the 'starving deprivation' to say the least. However, knowing it was my chance to not only extend my life & be here for my family - AND be pain free (plus, hopefully drop the 20 lbs. that the failed Prednisone therapy packed on me in such a short time) - I was committed to trying the Elimination Diet.
I am on my 7th week of the Elimination Diet... I have learned more about my body in 7 weeks, than in 42 years. I have learned what it feels like to eat, feel full & satisfied, what it feels like to NOT be bloated, to NOT have constant pain in my gut & to feel a new found 'clarity' in my head. I had come to believe all my previous discomfort to be normal & not question it - just pop Tums, Gas-X & Protonix as needed. THAT was my first revelation. The second - I have lost 16 pounds in 7 weeks - no exercise, just feeding my body the way it wanted to be fed. My sleep has also improved, WITHOUT using a sleep aid every night. I have also learned through this process - in combination w/ blood food allergy testing - that I have Celiac disease, as well. Which was a HARD thing to hear for a woman w/ a one year supply of professionally stored wheat in her basement that was used to make all my family's bread! I have also learned that I actually feel really good when I eat chicken - I had stopped eating chicken a few years ago, because I realized I felt sick & terrible after I would eat it. It was either what I was eating it with or the way I was preparing it - it wasn't the chicken! However, the most important discovery has been - my tendons & joints are rarely in pain anymore! No drugs, no pain shots - just eating foods that aren't triggering my disease. I have a long way to go in re-introducing foods back into my diet. But, the difference that I have felt on this diet has been a firm confirmation & testament to me that we need to get back to the absolute, pure basics in this country in regards to our diets & the diets of our children. As we strengthen the health of those in our homes & educate ourselves & our families on healthy eating practices, we can eradicate & avoid the plethora of health issues & diseases that have ravaged our country & start our children on the road to a healthier generation.
Sincerest thanks for this opportunity,
Angela McCleery Miller
"When my daughter was very ill from Celiac, before we even knew what it was, I did a strict elimination diet with her. I lost weight and felt great. I maintained that eating plan at home, but over the years I would eat a cookie here and a tortilla there, away from home, not really noticing the ill effects. I didn't have the same symptoms as my daughter after all. I began to put two and two together, after one to many tortillas, and realized that gluten was having a very negative effect on my body. Even then I would still succumb to temptation and pay the price in my stomach, intestines, joints, head (both foggy and painful,) mood, and who knows where else!
I decided to embark on a green smoothie cleanse and strict elimination for myself in February of 2008. I love the elimination diet in the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook! It was the easiest to follow of any cleanse I have ever done, and I not only was I able to release some weight, about 10 pounds the first 2 weeks, I was also able to create some new habits for health. Green smoothies are my new favorite convenience food! I take them everywhere, they give me tons of energy and have helped me to eat more regularly, which was always a challenge before with my busy schedule. I highly recommend this cleanse over any others I have experienced. It goes by really fast and has plenty of food choices from day 3 forward. I have to say, I felt so fantastic that I did not crave or want to eat anything else."
Sincerely, Jenna Boudreau
"When I was a kid my mother made me a big bowl of Cream of Wheat cereal nearly every morning before school. She thought she was giving me a healthy start to the day and I thank her for that. But everyday at school I sat with gut-wrenching pain during my morning classes. It didn't get any better after lunch. I thought this was normal. Last year I saw Tom and everything has since changed. I ordered the Entero Lab tests as he suggested and then started the 28 day elimination diet. The diet actually took much longer than a month but that's OK because I was feeling so great. The tests and the diet discovered that I was intolerant to gluten (we suspected that) and dairy. I am happier now living gluten and dairy free and could not imagine going back to my life before seeing Tom. My digestion is strong and I feel great!"
Thank You, Sarah
I started the elimination diet to appease my wife. Our daughter was allergic to gluten which I have been told can be linked genetically. Her great grandma, grandma and my wife are all allergic to gluten. (they all worked with Tom earlier) I thought I had it made and was only trying this for the occasional upset stomach. Everyday I would get a mildly gaseous belly and some days it would turn into a very uncomfortable round of cramps. About twice a week I would have trouble sleeping because of it. No big deal, if it makes her happy, I will try it.
By day three of the elimination date, I started to drop a few pounds. By day five the rosacea (red peeling skin on the face) I have had since my early twenties disappeared. In the middle of winter in Idaho, my hands and feet stopped cracking and my lotion use went down. My internal thermostat dropped five degrees. (I have always been very hot) For the first time I can remember I put on a sweatshirt in the house. By day seven I realize I am losing close to a pound a day. I have lost much of my hunger cravings and am really happy with the food I am eating. My only thought was "if I can add goat cheese back into this diet, I can eat just like this forever" The dark circles under my eyes disappear. By day fifteen I am down twelve pounds and feeling good. On day twenty I realize that when I wake up my limbs are not asleep nor have I woken up to them falling asleep for awhile. My wife says I have stopped snoring and I have gone down one pants size. On day twenty seven I get my haircut. My stylist freaks out. My hair has grown much faster and I have no flakes on my scalp, eyebrows or face. I notice my nails have been growing faster as well. By day fifty people start telling me what a good mood I am in. I don't notice it much, but they sure do. By day sixty, I know what they mean. I tested bananas and was in an instant bad mood. Towards the second day of testing them I was almost depressed. (I have had rolling dark clouds about every three months since my early twenties) By the end of the second day, my stomach jumped in with the upset and I took them out of my diet permanently.
Now at day 115, I am down 41 pounds and two pants sizes. I am no longer a xxl. At 6'2 I am by no means skinny but I am wearing a large. When I test something that I am allergic to, everything mentioned above reverses. I am hot, don't sleep well, retain weight, get dandruff, my hands and feet crack, my stomach is upset, my face peels and I am either angry or depressed or both. A coworker describes me as a hot mess. I am being incredibly diligent with the diet at this point since it seems to have more of an impact on me than I had guessed. Since starting this, more than twenty friends, family, clients and coworkers have started as well. They must be seeing the value. I am no longer eating, grapes, gluten, coconut meat, cayenne pepper and bananas. I am actually looking forward to finding out what else I will be taking out.
"A few months ago I went to see Tom for nutritional counseling. I have been to many doctors and specialists and finally a Naturopathic doctor suggested I try to get an appointment with Tom. It seemed to be apparent to him right away what was going on but he suggested I try the elimination diet to find out for sure. My main concerns were fibromyalgia like symptoms, frequent headaches, sleeplessness, and well, uncomfortable digestion, to say the least. At 28 years old I felt these issues shouldn't be going on or debilitating me to the degree that they were. I felt so great the first day I started the diet that I called to thank him! My headaches went away almost instantaneously. I have since discovered that I cannot eat walnuts, gluten, eggs, yeast, and dairy. Now I recommend this diet and Tom's cookbook to everyone who doesn't feel healthy! Thank you so much!"