Elimination Diet Q&A with Brianna Herman, RD from Austin UltraHealth
Diving head first into a cleanse or elimination diet can be overwhelming. Luckily, by doing a guided cleanse, like The Myers Way (TMW), you have the help and support of a nutritionist. After being on The Myers Way for over a week, I had a few questions for Brianne Herman, Austin UltraHealth’s nutritionist.
Why exactly do people feel side effects (headaches, lethargy, etc.)
I like to think of it like spring cleaning. When we start sweeping under the rugs, scrubbing the bathroom counters and cleaning out the closets things tend to get messier before they get better. While cleansing, your body goes through a detox process just like your house. Detox symptoms such as headaches and low energy are signs that your body is eliminating toxins. You may even be experiencing some withdrawal symptoms from the toxic foods like, caffeine or sugar, or even from the inflammatory foods that you feel addicted to like cheese or bread! To lessen uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms you can gradually wean off caffeinated beverages likes coffee or tea. Your body is readjusting to using whole foods as natural energy rather than supplementing with caffeine for artificial energy. When it comes to sugar and the inflammatory foods it’s best to cut them out all at once as you push through and look forward to feeling great. In a few days people notice they are feeling better than they did before starting the food-based cleanse and the detox was more than worth it!
What are your suggestions for people with specialty diets?
If you are on a specialty diet The Myers Way can be personalized for your needs/preferences. Vegetables are the foundation of any healthy diet so enjoy your fill of bright colors, crunch and flavor. The Myers Way can be easily modified to accommodate for special diets including Paleo and Vegan and in some cases is even suggested. While browsing the approved foods and recipes skip over any foods you do not choose to include and make nutritionally equivalent substitutions. If you are eating Paleo it is still very important to consume your leafy greens and choose lean, preferably organic meats. If you are eating Vegan also consume mostly veggies and don’t go overboard on starchy grains and beans. The Myers Way is a great foundation for anyone, with any special diet.
What are your tips for keeping the diet interesting?
#1 Keep eating the foods you love just make substitutions. If you love a certain stir fry with red peppers just substitute with sweet potatoes, zucchini or parsnips. Use new flavors for sauces such as almond butter, tahini or coconut milk. Make your favorite salads with a mashed avocado and drizzled with olive oil and lemon instead of reaching for the balsamic vinaigrette.
#2 Try a new recipe each week. We have over 60 recipes in the eBook that are delicious and easy. Find one that appeals to you on a day that you are not rushed to cook. Enjoy making a new dish and expanding your recipe catalog.
#3 Go out with your friends. Just because you are eating differently doesn’t mean you have to stay at home when your family and friends are going out. Look at the menu in advance to find foods that are close to TMW that you can modify – OR don’t look at the menu at all and just ask the server to bring you some grilled meat with seasonal veggies or a fresh salad topped with grilled chicken and olive oil and lemon on the side. Enjoy sparking water with lemon for some fun fizz during great conversation.
# 4 Find a friend to join you on The Myers Way. Anything is easier and more fun with support and accountability. We find that people are typically most successful with The Myers Way when they have someone to partner with. Recommend The Myers Way Guided Cleanse to a local friend for grocery shopping dates, potlucks, accountability and tips.
What is the biggest challenge that clients face? What’s the solution?
The biggest challenge for most people is getting started. Changing your diet can be very overwhelming at first but I find that once people get started they get the hang of it pretty well. A lot of people find The Myers Way Guided Cleanse very helpful for the personalized sessions so we can find practical solutions together to overcome their unique barriers.
I have been drinking smoothies for breakfast everyday, is that something you recommend? What are other good breakfast options?
That’s great! Smoothies can be an easy no-brainer in the morning. Be sure to include a variety of nutrients in your morning shake like fruit, veggies, protein and even healthy fats. This morning I made a green smoothie with almond milk, banana, UltraCleanse protein powder, 2 handfuls of spinach, ½ cucumber (peeled and seeded), almond butter and a few teaspoons of avocado. This winter I have enjoyed some left over sweet potato soup in the morning topped with pumpkin seeds and maybe a side of fruit. A TMW participant recently shared a link in TMW facebook community for gluten-free porridge with coconut, some seeds, walnuts, cinnamon and water that looked delicious.
As some one who already has a limited diet (vegan), what do you recommend to keep me on track?
Make sure you’re getting enough variety. With any limited diet we can sometimes get caught into eating a lot of the same foods rather than practicing variety. Focus on your non-starchy veggies at every meal and avoid having too many starchy foods, like grains. If you choose to avoid meat then I recommended using a protein powder or nut butter in your smoothie and enjoying nuts, seeds and healthy fats throughout the day!