Whew. We did it. We made it through our 3-week elimination experiment as a family. It takes longer than a week to really reap the benefits of food elimination. However, we did learn a lot during the process. We also decided to dedicate one day a week to each of the elimination categories as we move forward.
Here’s a quick look at some of the things we learned each week:
Week 1: Dairy
Dairy-free week was a little easier than we all thought it would be. Breakfast was tough, though, because our go-to on most mornings is homemade oatmeal (made with milk). I was able to curb my kids’ oatmeal craving with other options like eggs, oat bars, banana muffins, smoothies and our favorite pancakes made with homemade almond milk.
Which brings me to our biggest success of the week – we made homemade almond milk! The time commitment was extensive for the soaking process, but the actual effort level was low. After a bit of research, it was evident that homemade was the only option for almond milk with REAL ingredients. It turned out to be the perfect dairy substitute for baked goods.
We have a greater appreciation for people who have a true dairy intolerance and aren’t left with many real options for dairy substitutes.
Check out the Three Plates dairy-free Pinterest page for more inspiration!
Week 2: Meat
This one was harder than expected. Especially for my husband who was in St. Louis for a work trip and had to pass on some of the country’s best BBQ. He was successful, though. We both discovered that we were substituting carbs and dairy for meat. And, yes, the bread and cheese we eat are real, but should still be eaten in moderation.
Our favorite dinner during meatless week was taco night! We stuffed homemade whole-wheat tortillas with beans, rice, guacamole, cheese, salsa, and lettuce. Didn’t miss the meat at all. In addition to taco night, we relied on wild-caught seafood, eggs, beans, pasta, and veggies to get us through the week.
We also noticed that our grocery bill during meatless week was about 20% less than usual. I’ll call that a win any day.
We’re happily adding organic meat back to our menu, but will work on smaller portions at each meal.
Check out the Three Plates meatless Pinterest page for more inspiration!
Week 3: Gluten
Thank goodness for almond flour during gluten-free week. It was our saving grace. However, it retails for about $12 for a 16-ounce package. What?!? That’s downright crazy. We used it for homemade brownies (amazing!), cookies, and pancakes. We also loved the brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s. My kids didn’t even bat an eyelash at the change which tells me it really is a good substitute to our normal whole-wheat pasta. 4-year-olds are the world’s most honest food critics, aren’t they?
We realized that this was the one food category that required a bit of research in order to understand gluten and which foods contained it. The first two weeks were easier because it’s quite obvious if something contains dairy or meat.
Gluten-free week was the easiest and seemed to be the most beneficial.
Check out the Three Plates gluten-free Pinterest page for more inspiration!