How I Survived A Leaky Gut Diet...

August 18, 2018

...while working at Italian restaurant. 

 

 

We all have circumstances and temptations that make restrictive diets very difficult to complete, but trust me if I survived and succeeded at this one, while facing a delicious deluge of gluten and dairy while working at an Italian restaurant, you can too!

 

I've broken down my survival methods into 10 actionable tips:

 

1. PLAN AHEAD & PUT ASIDE EXTRA GROCERY MONEY

2. CARRY WATER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES 

3. REPLACE HABIT SNACKS & TEXTURE CRAVINGS WITH ALTERNATIVES 

4. CLEAN OUT YOUR PANTRY & FRIDGE BEFORE YOU BEGIN

5. CARVE OUT 3 DAYS/WEEK TO COOK MEALS AHEAD OF TIME 

6. ALWAYS READ FOOD LABELS TO FIND HIDDEN INGREDIENTS

7. YOU CAN'T BUY TOO MANY VEGETABLES 

8. YOU CAN'T COOK TOO MUCH BONE BROTH

9. KNOW YOUR RESTAURANT HACKS 

10. NAIL DOWN AN ALLY 

 

Before you read further into how to implement the above, perhaps the most important tip to coming out on top of any diet or cleanse is to full heartedly know WHY you're doing it in the first place. Your will power builds its unwavering strength from motivation. In the past, I failed a few times because I was never fully committed to its reasons and rules. Yes, I wanted more energy, fat loss, and hormonal balance, but I didn't yet have enough motivation or will power because I had not reached my wellness tipping point yet. That point came when I realized that I could not be the person I wanted to be until I did this 30-day elimination diet. For more on this revelation, read my blog post, "Is Leaky Gut A Real Thing?"

 

Moving on. Here are the details to achieving each elimination diet survival tip!

 

1. PLAN AHEAD & PUT ASIDE EXTRA GROCERY MONEY

 

When you decide to take on this huge change, plan ahead and budget some extra grocery money because you might be buying some new, slightly more expensive ingredients. Sign up for Thrive Market and receive discounts on your first purchases to help with the cost. 

 

2. CARRY WATER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES 

 

Like, 48 fl. oz. large. Add lemon slices. A general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces. Add 8 fl. oz. for every cup of coffee or other diuretic you drink, and up the volume if you’re strenuously exercising (an extra 8 fl. ounces every half hour). Hydration makes you feel satiated and keeps all your systems in top shape while you detox from disallowed foods. 

 

3. REPLACE HABIT SNACKS & TEXTURE CRAVINGS WITH ALTERNATIVES 

 

Replace your habit snack foods with alternatives. For example, carrot sticks instead of pretzels. Or grain free chips instead of corn tortilla chips. Nut butter and cacao powder balls instead of chocolate chip cookies. Be sure find go-to snacks that you don’t have to cook and that you can carry around with you at all times in case you get hungry. Fruit (in moderation), beef jerky, homemade beet chips, etc.  Find alternatives for your favorite food textures. For example, zucchini noodles instead of pasta, or flourless banana pancakes (they actually taste like pancakes, I promise!). Need something crunchy and salty? Carry sprouted nuts, and those grain-free chips with you. Subbing minced cauliflower for rice is one of my favorites!

 

4. CLEAN OUT YOUR PANTRY & FRIDGE BEFORE YOU BEGIN

 

Clean your pantry of any tempting and disallowed foods. If you know you’ll use them later just store them in a hidden place for a month. If you notice ingredients that should probably never be there, toss them. Your body will thank you for it. Also, make room in your freezer and fridge. You’ll be making lots of food ahead of time, and you’ll need the space. Like the pantry, take this time to clear out any foods that you’ll never want to eat again. For example, are there condiments that have loads of sugar? 

 

5. CARVE OUT 3 DAYS/WEEK TO COOK MEALS AHEAD OF TIME 

 

Cook ahead of time and quadruple a recipe unless you want to starve yourself. And you really don’t want to do that. Intense cravings come from hunger. I particularly recall a night at the restaurant when I felt myself transforming into a werewolf wanting to attack the pizza that kept floating by me and leaving whiffs of cheesy bread temptation behind it. It was either cave in, pass out, or sit down and remove myself from the situation. I had to choose the later at the disapproving look from my manager. Point of the story: carve out 3 days during the week when you can commit at least 2 hours/day to cooking. Split up and put extra in the freezer if you won’t use it within the week. It’s almost impossible to buy this food on the go, so just cook. 

 

6. ALWAYS READ FOOD LABELS TO FIND HIDDEN INGREDIENTS

 

Always read food labels. In relation to the two tips above, you may not even know what’s in your food, because well why would sugar be in chicken stock? Or wheat in sauces? Or corn and soy in just about everything? You’ll become a pro at recognizing a food that has a “no no” ingredient without even having to turn it over to peep at the label. Here’s just a sampling sugar incognito: corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose,

fructose, maltose; and be aware of artificial sweeteners including saccharin, sucrolose, and neotame.

 

7. YOU CAN'T BUY TOO MANY VEGETABLES

 

Which means you can’t cook too many either. You may find yourself eating more protein and fats then you’re used to because grains are usually the easiest foods to find. Eat as many veggies as you want. They go fast. This is the biggest mistake I made. I ended up eating too much protein because it was easier to grab in a bind than cooked vegetables. 

 

8. YOU CAN'T COOK TOO MUCH BONE BROTH

 

As you know, bone broth is the main elixir in a leaky gut diet, so be sure to make a batch beforeyou start. Buy a whole chicken, or bone-in roast from a clean source, like a local meat CSA. As with the veggies, you really can’t have too much. 

 

9. KNOW YOUR RESTAURANT HACKS 

 

Know your restaurant hacks. After following all the tips above, you're now feeling like you have solid control over this crazy diet. Until you're invited to go out to eat. Working at an Italian restaurant, I know the cravings for forbidden foods can

be pretty insane (as noted above.) I also know how frustrating it is to have a guest ask: do you have a gluten-free menu? Or, is this dairy-free? And you’ll probably never ask if they cooked with sugar. But alas, you have to be this person if you want to stay true to this diet. It would be a shame to slip-up when you don’t even intend to. Salads are safe bets if you ask for no dressing, but plain lettuce ain’t gonna cut it! Be sure to pocket a small vile of your favorite condiment or dressing so you’re not left to munch on dry leaves while your friends & family mow down on the goodies.

 

10. NAIL DOWN AN ALLY 

 

Unless you've decided to completely cast aside society during this diet, chances are you won't be alone for an entire month. While this may seem like a strategic move--to let the tide of societal temptation pass you by while you hunker down in your leaky gut grotto--you will still face situations that could result in imminent slip ups. Having another human to hold you accountable is vital for success. You need someone to give encouragement and tough love. Someone to text if you feel like you might cave. Someone that will participate in the strict meals with you. They don't have to eat exactly what you eat all the time, but your ally must have a genuine respect for the journey you are on. 

 

So there you have it—seven actionable tips to help you not only survive, but succeed at a restrictive diet or cleanse, such as the Leaky Gut Diet. Hopefully, by now you feel empowered and excited to start your journey!

 

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