Recently my friend Michael Crocker—who is 59, a serious athlete (He calls himself “an over-the-hill jock”) and, because of his family history, at risk for prostate cancer—decided that he was not paying half enough attention to the his diet. He was exercising and getting regular PSA evaluations, but he was eating as he always had, gaining weight and feeling that something in his diet was causing him bloating and discomfort. He decided he might be having an inflammation reaction from foods that, while not allergy based, created a food intolerance that might be irritating his gut, leaving him depressed—and adding undesirable calories/weight. He put himself on what the profession calls “a food restriction diet.”
Michael made a list of what he called possible “food triggers” and going one week at a time, began eliminating them from his diet—and watching for improvement like decline in acid reflux, better sleep, more energy.
Here is Michael’s list of foods removed from his detoxing diet. He began by subtracting soy, then moved on to wheat and dairy and shellfish, He severely limited his sugar intake, cut out artificial sweeteners entirely, allowing himself honey in small amounts.
After about eight weeks, Michael told me, “I’m eating lean and clean, and probably eating more vegetables and fruit than I ever have before in my life.”
He started reading labels, something he had never done before. (“Jocks don’t read labels. Or at least they didn’t use to.”) He discovered that the FDA had called for labeling of “food allergens” in any packaged food (most of his items) and that even if items like soy were not specifically branded, they must be labeled somewhere on the package.
By the end of three months, Michael was eating limited amounts of lean meats, concentrating more on vegetables and fruits, and adding a side order of brown rice or sweet potato when he craved carbs. He rarely felt hungry on this diet. He dealt with his craving for snacks by carrying a bag of “Trail Mix” in his briefcase.
Here is a menu he found from Dr. Amy Shah on “RiseEarth”. As Dr. Shah writes in mindbodygreen
A typical day may look like this:
• When you wake up: 1 glass green juice
• Breakfast: Chocolate Cherry (Green) Smoothie: spinach, raw cacao, frozen organic cherries, chia seeds, coconut milk
• Snack: Herbal tea
• Lunch: Large salad with avocado, olive oil, balsamic dressing, and tomato soup
• Dinner: 3 to 5 Black bean burgers (no bun) with guacamole, and salsa. (Optional: sweet potatoes, veggies, and kale chips)
• Dessert: 1 serving of dark chocolate (my favorite is Green and Black's 85% dark)
Michael found that he was never hungry on this type of diet, and that while he wasn’t sure exactly which of “the usual culprits” had been causing his discomfort, he was happy to live with the results (including significant weight loss) of what he calls “The Aging Jock’s Anti-Inflammatory Detox Diet.” Aka AJAIDD.