July 1, 2019

Vegan Elimination Diet: Week 3

How to survive the third week of an elimination diet. Tips on making it through days 15-21 and what I ate each day of Week 3.

oil-free zucchini chips

I’m chronicling my elimination diet and have a Week 3 update for you. In case you missed it, two weeks ago I introduced the concept of a vegan elimination diet and talked about why you might want to do one yourself. Check it out: Vegan Elimination Diet! And here’s my Week 1 and Week 2 updates.

Day 15: On Day 14 my friend came in town for dinner, I tried to find a restaurant where I could eat foods on my ‘good’ list. It’s usually very hard to find a restaurant I will eat at and this elimination diet just made it more complicated. We ended up eating at CoreLife Eatery. I was able to build my own bowl so I made a bowl with spinach, quinoa, carrots, ginger, and cucumber. If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll notice that I added both quinoa and cucumber to my diet. While that isn’t ideal, cucumber is in the same family as zucchini and I had planned on adding quinoa in the coming week, so I wasn’t too upset. Honestly, I was lucky to be able to eat at a restaurant at all!

Pro Tip #1

If you’re following the type of elimination diet where you add a single food per day, like I am, try to avoid adding two foods in one day! But don’t freak out if you do. Just give yourself a few extra days to process these foods. Depending on the type of food, you may even be able to tell if one of them gives you a bad reaction.

Day 16: Since I technically tried two new foods on Day 15 I didn’t try any on Day 16. I didn’t have any reactions to the foods I ate the day before, but I still wanted to let my body rest.

Day 17: On Day 17 I tried beets! A serving of beets is considered low FODMAP so I only had one serving which is about a half cup. It was super exciting to try a new food. I didn’t do anything fancy, just ate some sliced beets. So far, so good.

Pro Tip #2

Pay attention to serving sizes. A food may become high FODMAP if you eat too much of it. If you’re unsure, Google it!

Day 18: One of the foods I ate regularly before my elimination diet was bananas. Bananas are one of my top five favorite foods (they might actually be #1!) It was really hard for me to go without my frozen banana for dessert every night. So I was super excited to add bananas back into my diet. There is some debate about bananas and their FODMAP levels. Officially, 1/3 of a banana is considered low FODMAP. Since I was trying to stay low FODMAP for the first three weeks of my diet, I made sure to only have a small amount. I ended up eating about an ounce of frozen banana. It was delicious!!

Day 19: I noticed that I was more bloated than usual during the evening of Day 19. I didn’t add any new foods so I wasn’t sure what caused my symptoms. That day I ate about 2 ounces of banana, so it’s possible that I ate too much. I decided to keep testing the banana over the next few days.

Day 20: I tried banana again and again had some symptoms. However, I noticed a different pattern going on: when I eat a larger serving of food in one sitting, I experience a lot of bloating. This sounds obvious, but I don’t eat a ton of food in general, so it was somewhat surprising to me. I realized that the closer to bedtime that I eat food, the worse my symptoms were.

On Day 19, I finished eating at 6:15 and woke up on Day 20 feeling pretty good. Previously I was following a 16:8 intermittent fasting diet where I started eating at 12 p.m. and finished eating at 8 p.m. It’s very possible that this schedule is not right for my body. After realizing this, I decided to start testing the time of day that I eat.

oil-free sautéed spinach

Pro Tip #3

While an elimination diet is about food, that doesn’t mean you should only pay attention to the food you’re eating. Keep track of everything you can – your sleep, what time you eat, how much you eat, when you go to the bathroom, your stress levels. Anything can trigger symptoms.

Day 21: I made it! This was technically the last day of the elimination phase. After 3 weeks any symptoms from FODMAP foods should have gone away. As you may have picked up on, this was not the case. I had a few days throughout the elimination phase where I felt good, but most days I had moderate symptoms.

This wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for. If I had noticed a large improvement in my symptoms, I could’ve started to add in high FODMAP foods and foods from other groups which I eliminated to see which foods were my triggers. But since over the course of the elimination, I still had moderate symptoms.

It’s very possible that I don’t have a sensitivity to FODMAPS, citrus, nightshades, cruciferous vegetables, beans, or any of the other foods I went without. It’s also possible that I need another week or two on the elimination phase before I reintroduce foods that commonly cause symptoms.

Despite the inconclusive evidence, I created a plan to move forward. It involves testing some food groups as if I was still on the elimination diet. The plan also involves experimenting with the times of day that I eat and the quantity of food that I eat at each meal.

My elimination diet journey isn’t done. I still have symptoms and I still want to figure out what is causing them. So I decided to keep chronicling my diet and plan until I discover the root of the issue. Look for my next post with more details on my next steps of this elimination diet.

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September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography