by: Elysia Arseneau
[This is Part Five of the series called My BCB Journey.]
Five weeks ago, I began a journey to optimize my health. It started with having a complete analysis of my body’s biochemistry using NutriChem’s Body Chemistry Balancing (BCB) Test and beginning a supplementation protocol that includes a custom compounded multivitamin formulated for my body’s exact needs. I started taking my Custom Multivitamin 3 days ago, and have no significant changes to report thus far.
Last week, I had a Nutritional Consultation with Laura Mierzwa, one of NutriChem’s Registered Holistic Nutritionists, and made changes to my diet. You can read her recommendations for me in last week’s post, but basically Laura told me that some of my physical and emotional symptoms could be related to food sensitivities, inflammation in my body, and damage done to my stomach and intestines from decades of eating foods and using antibiotics that I should’ve been avoiding.
First off the bat, for anyone interested in starting the Elimination Diet, plan ahead and go grocery shopping first! Do not do what I did and basically starve yourself for 2 days because everything in the house is on the “foods to avoid” column and you have nothing else to put in your belly. I ended up grumpy and hungry for most of the first 2 days because I couldn’t go for the “quick fixes” I usually go for: they were processed, contained foods I had to avoid and way too much sugar. I was miserable and ended up snacking on expired brown rice cakes and consuming a few foods I shouldn’t have simply because I was so hungry.
However, once I went grocery shopping and my fridge and cupboards were fully stocked with the “allowed” foods, my mood greatly improved and my stomach starting loving me again.
The great thing about booking a Nutritional Consultation is that within a week of my appointment with her, Laura emailed me fantastic information that is specific to my dietary and lifestyle needs. She sent me:
I am very excited to try Laura’s recipes: in addition to being a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, she’s also a Culinary Nutritional Expert who creates edible delights that are healthy and nutritious and won’t spike sugar levels. If you haven’t tried any of her Foodie Friday recipes, I highly recommend them! See below for the link:
While I’ve only been properly doing the Elimination Diet for 3 days, I’ve definitely noticed changes in my body and have come to stunning realizations about my eating habits.
Even after less than a week, I have an increased awareness of just how many processed foods I was consuming. I snacked on high-sugar protein bars more suited for people after their workout, and consistently used store bought tomato and stir-fry sauces.
It turns out that my regular bowel movements were entirely related to caffeine consumption: once I removed coffee and caffeine-containing teas from my diet, I was definitely less regular than I thought I was.
Carbohydrates and animal products
I realized that my vegetarian diet has been far too reliant on carbohydrates, dairy, and eggs. What’s more surprising though, is that many products have hidden dairy in them (see next point.)
I’ve discovered that there are hidden ingredients in many of the foods I was used to eating. You truly do need to read the ingredient list before you buy! For example, I thought I was buying quinoa spaghetti but the main ingredient was actually corn flour (corn isn’t allowed on the Elimination Diet). More alarmingly, there were milk ingredients in the PC Splendido Basil Pesto I was looking at. While the website clearly states that there are cheeses in it, they are not “advertised” anywhere on the bottle’s label itself: you would only know if you read the ingredient list. I ended up skipping the milk-contaminated processed pesto and invented a simple and delicious Avocado Basil Pesto recipe instead.
Tracy from the website Incredible Smoothies has a fantastic blog post called “Common Detox Symptoms and What They REALLY Mean”. In it, she explains how our bodies are constantly detoxing: “The very notion that your body requires a cleanse in order to detox is one of the most pervasive (and profitable) myths in the natural health movement. Whether you eat the purest of pure diets, or you live on pizza, beer and ice cream, your body never stops detoxification. As long as you have a functioning liver, kidney and colon, your body is always removing toxins.” [emphasis her own]
Like Tracy, when I refer to “detox” symptoms, I’m actually referring to reducing the consumption of unhealthy or "toxic" substances through changes in diet. When you start a new regime like juicing or the Elimination Diet, you aren’t necessarily “starting up detoxification": rather, you are making the entire process more efficient by supporting it. Toxic substances can include certain food ingredients (refined sugar, refined wheat, alcohol, caffeine) and chemicals (pesticides, fungicides, food colorings, MSG).
I experienced withdrawal symptoms while I was reducing caffeine from my diet this week, and another person also on the Elimination Diet experienced sugar withdrawals. Our bodies can become addicted to caffeine, sugar, and other stimulant substances, so it only makes sense that our bodies will react when these substances are removed.
However, many of the symptoms that people feel when they switch to a whole foods, plant-based diet are not detox symptoms at all: they could actually be clues from the body indicating that something needs to be tweaked in order to be fully effective. Next week, I’ll explain how “detox” symptoms like headaches, constipation, breakouts, fatigue and extreme cravings might actually be pointing to something else going on in your body as you change your diet.
So, tune in every Monday until the end of March to follow “My BCB Journey” to better health!
In Part Six, I will:
[Part One] Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!
[Part Two] Don’t Just Survive… Thrive!
[Part Three] The Results Are In! Here’s What’s Really Going On
[Part Four] Are We Really What We Eat?
[Part Five] What The Elimination Diet REALLY Looks Like
[Part Six] Optimize Your Health by Balancing Your Body's Chemistry
[Part Seven] 7 Ways My Health Improved in 1 Month
[Part Eight] When it Comes to Supplements, YES Quality Matters!
[Part Nine] Is Your Food Making You Miserable?
[Part Ten] Be Healthy Again / For the First Time!
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The microbiome is rapidly emerging as a central pillar of health, and although the best way to improve gut health is through diet, there are lots of beneficial microbiome supplements out there.