What are some common foods to swap when going from eating the Standard American Diet to the Elimination Diet?
Let’s go through each category and talk about some healthy swaps and things to watch out for!
For the preparation phase, when going from drinking a lot of caffeine, whether it be multiple cups of coffee or even Diet Coke, you must start slow. Why? Because going cold turkey can result in seriously painful headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. Try decreasing it every day by ½ cup portions until you are down to none. Green tea or Yerba Mate tea can be substituted for coffee or caffeinated sodas during this weaning phase.
If you normally drink OJ in the morning or have a grapefruit with your breakfast, now is the time to swap it to something else. For example, you may want to have a seasonal fruit instead or berries
All veggies are appropriate on this detox except corn and white potatoes. Be sure to check ingredients for corn and corn products, especially in gluten-free products.
If you suffer with painful joints, arthritis or inflammation, you may also want to eliminate tomatoes, eggplant and peppers during this time to find out if you are one of the many people sensitive to the nightshade group of vegetables.
Avoid your usual condiments like ketchup, sour cream, BBQ sauce, and be careful not to use soy sauce at this time since it is made from wheat and contains gluten. Feel free to indulge in all the spices and herbs, sea salt, peppers, garlic, onion and Dijon mustard or Stone ground mustard are all great options!
Apple Cider Vinegar
How much bread do you eat? Do you eat a lot of snacks, crackers, baked goods, doughnuts, muffins, etc.? If so, you will need to start weaning those out and replacing them with gluten free options and making sure that there is no soy or corn in those ingredients. Of course, the very best option is to avoid anything from a package, although different people are at different stages of change, so with that said- Try swapping breads for brown rice breads and wraps, and crackers for ones made with brown rice, seeds, and other gluten-free grains or nut flours. Start getting rid of all of the breads and baked goods in the house, change your cereal to gluten free oatmeal, etc. Swap over your bread to gluten free rice bread or Paleo Bread, gluten free/Paleo everything… (as a starting transition)…this way by detox time you will be weaned off of those addicting carbohydrates (like anything that contains wheat flour-breads, muffins, pancakes, cookies, crackers, etc) completely.
See the “Helpful Links & Resources” page for a few great alternatives!
The only thing to watch out for in the legume family is soy. That means no tofu, edamame, miso soup, soymilk or soy protein, etc. Be sure to check ingredients for soybean oil too! You’ll be amazed at all the products that contain soybean oil! Feel free to enjoy all other legumes such as: Split peas, lentils, chickpeas, black, red, white, navy, pinto and kidney beans.
“Sprouted” versions of these are best since they are both easier to digest and the nutrients become more bioavailable!
Nuts & Seeds
Believe it or not, all nuts and seeds are allowed on this detox with the exception of peanuts (which is technically a legume not a nut, although most people are not aware of this which is why I still have it in the nut category).
Meat & Fish
Avoid processed meats! So no sausage, hot dogs, cured deli meats, or smoked meats. Also avoid pork. Instead, choose lean organic meats like turkey, chicken and grass-fed meats.
Stay clear of all cow’s milk and cow’s milk products like creams and cheeses- The only exception here is a little GHEE if needed. Try coconut butter for a great spread replacement!
Avoid the vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, soybean oils, roasted or honey coated nuts/seeds, etc. This means mostly all processed/boxed foods so check your ingredient labels! Instead choose extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, olives, avocado, nut/seeds and their butters.
If you are drinking sodas or juices or energy drinks on a regular basis, now is the time to start weaning them down and out! Start replacing them with herbal teas sweetened with stevia or monk fruit if needed or just plain water. Make your water fun by adding frozen blueberries or cucumber and mint! See the “Flavored Water Ideas” in the Resources section for a few fun ideas on how to make water taste a little more interesting!
Sweeteners & Sugar
Do you use artificial sweeteners like Equal, Sweet and Low or even Splenda? How much sugar do you use daily?
This week, try replacing your sugar with natural sweeteners that don’t affect blood sugar levels.
And avoid the sugary baked goods altogether! If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll notice fruit is going to be your best friend! There are also some delicious treats listed in the recipes that are detox-friendly that I think you’ll enjoy as well!
Overall, stock your pantry with the foods on the grocery list, and get rid of processed foods and/or sweets that you may be tempted to eat while on the program. Out of sight, out of reach!