I decided to do an elimination/food cleanse diet this year. Thankfully my husband jumped on board which made it a whole lot easier. So after looking at the GAPS diet and the Maker’s Diet I settled on the latter. So I picked up The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin from our library. We didn’t follow his diet strictly but we started off with phase 1 which is the most restrictive. We picked a start date and started eating up all the no no foods and only buying the foods on the list. We ate up our bread, tortillas, snacks, chips, and sweets. I didn’t want to be tempted to eat any of it but I also didn’t want to throw it away and waste money/food. I started buying lots of organic eggs, meat, fruits, veggies and nuts.
For breakfast I still ate eggs like normal but instead of toast we ate veggies. I would sauté broccoli or zucchini with mushrooms to go with our eggs.
For lunch we would eat chicken with sautéed veggies or we would have a green salad with chicken or fish and tomatoes, cucumber, celery, etc.
For dinner we ate spaghetti sauce over zucchini “pasta”, fish with big piles of veggies or chicken.
For snacks or dessert I would eat berries in coconut whipped cream. I felt like I was in heaven with this dairy alternative. We also ate a lot of nuts. I learned how to soak raw almonds help make them more easily digestible.
To make buying organic meat affordable I stuck to ground beef and whole chicken. For fish I would buy the cheapest wild caught fish I could find (canned or frozen).
We were really missing the carbs and were worried about wasting away. So on day five we decided to add sweet potatoes. Those sweet potatoes tasted so amazing. School Girl ate up a whole pile! Then I gradually started introducing more foods. Sweet corn and white potatoes completed our list of veggies. We felt rich eating nothing but berries for our fruit but it was great to start adding in more fruit. By week two we were eating whatever fruit we wanted. Processed food, grains and dairy were still off limits.
The weirdest part of this diet was shopping. I would buy lots of fruits and veggies, grab my meat and nuts and then leave the rest of of the store alone as I headed to check out.
Around week three we started adding grains back but we waited for wheat and other grains with gluten until the six weeks were up. I found paleo recipes for banana muffins and zucchini bread. I got creative with cooking and enjoyed making everything from scratch. This diet helped me to get out of the rut we were in and really change up our eating. I noticed that I felt really good and didn’t have bloating or digestive discomfort. But I also lost weight. School Girl on the other hand gained over a pound on the diet.
Now I’ll talk about how much this cost us. We were able to eat all organic (except for nuts and spices/herbs) during our diet. Our diet was basically a paleo diet for the first three weeks and then small amounts of grains were added for the last three. We managed to eat this for around $600 a month. Busy Baby eats very little but I need more calories for breastfeeding so I basically was eating her share. We were able to eat like this on food stamps! People say that eating healthy on food stamps cannot be done but I know that (depending on where you live) it can be. Once we cut out expensive processed foods like bread and cereal we were able to afford organic on the basics. We shopped at Costco and Trader Joe’s for everything. I know that food stamps are assigned per body so if you have teenage boys you won’t be able to eat all organic on the same amount. But we were eating really good.
Fast forward to now. We have gone back to eating certain processed foods but we are eating way more cooked from scratch. We eat lots more veggies than before the diet. We eat less grains. I don’t buy bread every week and try to bake my own muffins (paleo) and be creative with no sandwich lunches. I bake with small amounts of honey instead of sugar. I haven’t bought sugar since before we started our diet and don’t plan to. We eat most of our sweets out of the house with other people and eat healthy at home. Our food stamps were cut in half because our income went up. So we are purchasing our veggies and some fruit with cash from a farm stand where we get a good deal and the rest of our food at Costco and Trader Joe’s with our food stamps. We still eat mostly organic for now. It can be done.