The Elimination Experiment

Our family has been lucky (*knocks on wood*) to NOT live with food allergies.  However, I know that many other families are living with food restrictions either by choice or by necessity.  I wanted to put our family to the test in a few popular food elimination categories for a few key reasons:

1.) To appreciate the challenges that families face who don’t have a choice.

2.) To figure out if we really need these foods in our lives.

3.) To understand how we feel without these foods.

We’ll be eliminating the food categories below one week at a time (beginning Monday, June 29)*.  At the end of each week, we’ll re-introduce the food before eliminating the next.  Along the way, I’ll post related recipes, articles, and will document our successes and struggles.

I’m a true believer in balance and moderation with all foods.  We will most likely re-introduce each of these food categories to our diet once the experiment is over.  The knowledge we gain along the way, though, will be worth the effort to live without dairy, meat, and gluten for a short period of time.

Wanna join in?  Use #ThreePlatesEE to join the conversation.

Week 1: Dairy

This is one category I’ve eliminated in the past before an important (running) race.  It’s a new one for the rest of the family, though.  There are many benefits to consuming dairy: calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.  However, too much dairy – even real and pure varieties – adds a significant amount of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet.

  • Foods we’ll be eliminating: milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt
  • Foods we’ll be increasing in our diet as alternatives: broccoli (calcium), kale (calcium), figs (calcium), salmon (calcium, vitamin D, and protein), white beans (calcium, potassium, and protein), almonds (calcium and protein), mushrooms (vitamin D), eggs (vitamin D), sweet potatoes (potassium), tomato sauce (potassium), bananas (potassium)

Note: Because our kids are still growing, we’ll continue to allow them to drink milk throughout this week.  They each drink approximately 8-10 ounces per day.

Week 2: Meat

Even though we try to follow the “Meatless Monday” trend, we otherwise rely heavily on meat to round out our meals – especially dinner.  While there are many humane issues with meat consumption, there are also others.  Meat is expensive – especially organic meat that we choose to consume.  Meat production also negatively impacts the environment.  Did you know that 30% of the world’s ice-free surface is used to raise grains, fruits, and vegetables just for the chickens, pigs, and cattle that we eventually eat?  That’s a mind-boggling statistic.  Despite all of that, meat is an excellent source of protein which the body needs.

  • Foods we’ll be eliminating: chicken, beef, turkey, and pork
  • Foods we’ll be increasing in our diet as alternatives: fish, eggs, nuts, beans, quinoa, nut butter, and chia seeds

Week 3: Gluten

Oh, gluten.  How I love thee.  I’m anticipating this to be the most challenging elimination category for my family.  We rely on (and love) many whole-wheat staples: pancakes, bread, pasta, muffins…I could go on forever.  However, too much gluten can cause bloating and can distract tiny eaters from eating other healthy foods.

  • Foods we’ll be eliminating: everything made with flour
  • Foods we’ll be increasing in our diet as alternatives: rice, quinoa, brown rice pasta, and nut flours.

*This is not a typical elimination diet to identify true food intolerances.  If you believe you may have a food intolerance, consult your physician for guidance.

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