Eliminate! Eliminate!

The Daleks were a recurring enemy in the Doctor Who series that went around destroying people and worlds with one mantra, “Exterminate! Exterminate!” I thought of that mantra often, but exchanged it with a similar sounding word, when a doctor told me that I needed to eliminate some foods to see what some of my food triggers might be.

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com – My smoothies are usually reddish blue, chocolate brown, or green. Eating better, and avoiding specific foods has helped me regulate many of my systems – even the mental ones.

I respect people making their own dietary choices. Aware of the advantages of cleaner food, I had already made some changes over the years in what foods I try to avoid. I never became a strict vegetarian, but I enjoy that cuisine, and do appreciate the health benefits of those meals. There are a lot of conflicting thoughts on whether we need animal proteins or not.

After I finished my last round of neurofeedback work, the therapist recommended that I should see a functional medicine practitioner to “take it to the next level.” We took her recommendation and I began seeing a board certified chiropractic neurologist that she had worked for in the past. After a few months of working on supplementation and hand-eye coordination training, I began an “elimination diet.” I had to stop eating a long list of foods – cold turkey. And surprisingly, turkey was not on that list.

I could still eat poultry, but it had to be clean, not deli-style equivalents with lots of emulsifiers. No gluten, no beef or pork, no eggs, no peanuts, and even no corn. No dairy and no canola oil. I had once said years ago, “As long as a doctor tells me I don’t have to give up coffee or pizza, I can comply.” Guess what…no pizza (dairy and gluten) and no coffee (caffeine). This diet offered a list of good foods to eat as well. I was able to find an avocado oil salad dressing, which I still enjoy to this day.

Corn was hard; it’s in so many foods! I was already drinking “half caff” coffee, so switching to full decaf was not a major issue. We had to check the sources of the decaf because some manufacturers do not certify their coffees are gluten free.

After 12 weeks of this diet, I felt great. Something was working. I lost about 12 pounds. I had energy and I seemed to sleep a little better. Was I mentally improved? I had heard about the gut-brain connection a long time ago. I agreed with the doctor that if I was at optimal health physically, my neurology would work better.

The reintroduction process was difficult, but interesting. Starting with one of the eliminated foods at a time, I would eat it at each meal for one day, and then observe. Would this food give me a headache? Indigestion? Increased anxiety? Most of the ill effects were in my gut. I may share more about specific foods in later posts.

Some of these foods caused me no issues upon reintroduction, but others I found I needed to continue to avoid. I did discover that I didn’t do well on beef. So, I now usually pass it up. I’ll have a nice steak maybe once a year. Funny, I had a taste of beef this past weekend for lack of other choices at an event. It was about 2 ounces. No side effects noted. Now, is that because I was working it off for the next 5 hours? I don’t want to trigger myself any further by starting to make beef a regular addition to my meals.

I do enjoy the benefits – digestively speaking – from focusing my diet on vegetables. But a little chicken or turkey is a pleasant change, and they seem to cooperate with my system. I have an omega supplement that is all vegetable, and my smoothie mix is made with pea proteins. But I still eat eggs, and recently I’ve tried real butter in my coffee. Dave Asprey, the inventor of Bulletproof Coffee (he has recently sold the rights to this name and formula), believes the butter gives the MCT oil and the caffiene more to work with. His goal was not a Keto meal replacement, but a brain food. Will the decaf version do anything? I do enjoy the MCT oil in my decaf, so I’m going to stick with it. But I am now using an oat milk butter substitute, or no “cream” at all. (I’m enjoying one while editing this post!)

I do eat some vegan burgers, but I can also eat a turkey burger and still avoid some of the other things that the vegan patty might have that I should be avoiding. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be to eat clean, and limit animal proteins.

I think I can live with a few animal proteins if I focus on getting enough variety of plants in my diet. Just like the oil in the Mini, the cleaner the better. Fried chicken is one of the delicacies of the Standard American Diet (notice the resulting acronym is SAD) that is hard to pass up. I have to remember that the breading is usually full of gluten. Maybe I should try my hand at frying my own chicken in arrowroot flour and avocado oil! If any of you have tried any substitute recipes to avoid certain trigger foods, I would enjoy hearing from you. Keep shiftin’.

#ASD #gut-brainconnection #Autism #plantbaseddiet

Published by Bart Shoaf

Blogging about victories and challenges as a middle-aged man with a late diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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