Kim Taylor beat chronic headaches and knee and back painCourtesy Kim Taylor
The chronic headaches and knee and back pain that Kim Taylor of Austin, Texas, experienced increased dramatically after the birth of her second child at age 40. It was at that point that she knew there had to be a missing link between her chronic pain her lifestyle. After speaking to a friend who had successfully completed Kim Love’s Personalize To Thrive program, a program that walks individuals through a specific diet that eliminates common problematic foods to target health concerns, she became convinced she had the answer to her problem. “I immediately began to wonder whether there was a direct correlation between my chronic pain and the foods I was eating,” she recalls. Though eliminating the foods she was accustomed to eating was difficult, Taylor pressed on. “By far, the first three days were the hardest,” she says. “I wasn’t hungry, but I had a headache and felt slightly ill. I had to resist the sugar cravings. I was very surprised at how physically addicted I was to sugar,” she says. After the rough beginning, Taylor began to see results shortly after. Kim Love, founder of Personalize to Thrive, says, “Elimination diets allow people to more easily shed weight while also discovering high energy, improved sleep, better digestion, and reduced inflammation. If done correctly, these improvements can emerge as early as 10 days, and will occur in the absence of any cravings or hunger.”
“I won’t ever forget the feeling I had on day eight,” Taylor remembers. “I jumped out of bed around 5:45 a.m. and had more energy than I could remember having even in my twenties. I slept soundly all night and nothing in my body hurt. I didn’t have a lull in the afternoon and stay energized until around 10 p.m. The biggest surprise was that my headaches and pain were gone. As I slowly introduced new foods, I was amazed at the foods that my body was reacting negatively to—they were actually foods I always thought were the healthier option: chicken and corn,” she explains. “I discovered that chicken was causing my migraines. It didn’t matter whether the chicken was boneless, skinless, organic chicken or not, but every time I ate chicken I got a migraine. When I introduced a single corn tortilla, the very next day I gained over three pounds! I’ve tried corn in every manner since, and it now makes me physically ill if I accidentally ingest corn,” she adds. Even nutritious foods can make you gain weight. Here are 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about losing weight.
Today, Taylor uses her newfound information about her own body to drive her diet decisions and encourages others to do the same. “It is one of the most impactful, common sense actions I’ve ever taken for my health,” she says. “Too many doctors are quick to prescribe medication to mask the pain. The pain is there to tell us something is wrong with our bodies. Masking the pain does not fix the overall health issue. If changing what you eat can make you healthier, why wouldn’t you? I fully understand being addicted to food, but I’ve also been able to overcome that addiction. I’m not saying I never eat other foods that are not good for me, I do. But, now I know I can reset my body any day and feel years younger within a week,” she says.
Charlie Pace beat heartburn, allergies, migraines, and moreCourtesy Charlie Pace
The many symptoms that Charlie Pace of Austin, Texas, experienced due to complications of food choices were not readily apparent when he began to consider trying an elimination diet. “I was somewhat oblivious to many of them, but I struggled with heartburn, allergies, sinus infections, migraines, weight gain, achiness, and restless sleep,” Pace told Reader’s Digest. Pace had celebrated his 40th birthday in 2009 and knew his diet needed a change, so he enrolled himself and his wife, Kendall, in Kim Love’s Personalize to Thrive Program. “I signed us up and positioned the program as a Valentine’s Day gift! Long story short, we had no idea what we were getting into, but we loved working with Love and trusted her process. In the end, it paid huge dividends,” he recalls.
Pace says his adjustment to the diet affected him both physically and mentally. “I was hungry and angry as my body was adjusting to having no gluten, dairy, animal protein, sugar, or caffeine. It was a mental and physical shock, which in retrospect was a good thing,” he recalls. After the initial period of adjustment, he began to see results during the first week, including sleeping much better and feeling more refreshed in the morning. “During the second week, I was more energized in the afternoons and had no mid-afternoon energy zap. During the third week, I noticed my clarity of thinking was remarkably better and had less brain fog,” he explains. Charlie also credits the diet with the many discoveries he made about his health, including an intolerance to gluten. “At that time, I had no idea what gluten was, and was not happy when I learned which foods typically contain gluten. Bread was a major staple in my diet. I’d have a bagel or piece of toast in the morning, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta—or some other form of gluten-filled food—for dinner several times a week. My allergies, and the side effects of my allergies—sinus infections and migraines—disappeared,” he recalls.
Not only did Pace’s symptoms begin to disappear, but so did the stubborn pounds that had mysteriously appeared over the previous two years. “An additional benefit was a loss of weight,” he says. “It was clear to me that when I ate food that agreed with my body, my weight was optimized. Given I was carrying a few extra pounds when I began, the runway was long. By the end of my first elimination diet, which lasted six weeks, I dropped 35 pounds and was feeling better than ever,” he adds. Just smelling these foods can help you lose weight!
What was once a Valentine’s Day gift for Pace and his wife is now a lifestyle for the couple. “The more you know about how your body processes food, the better off you will be in the long run,” Pace says.
Mandy Webster fought off nausea, fatigue, and brain fogCourtesy Mandy Webster
Mandy Webster, a neurosurgery physician assistant in Austin, Texas, has had unwanted symptoms affecting her daily life since she was in her teens. As she grew older, the symptoms intensified, until she was desperate to find help for her problems. Webster tells Reader’s Digest, “I was experiencing severe bloating and gas anytime I ate, nausea, and fatigue. In the mornings I woke up foggy-headed, and in the afternoons I felt a drop in energy. At night, I experienced poor sleep, and my exercise performance mildly decreased. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I began the food tests. I knew it was food related, because most of my symptoms occurred with anything I would eat, or even when I wouldn’t eat in fear of having symptoms.”
Webster eliminated dairy, soy, gluten, animal protein, eggs, nightshade vegetables, grains, caffeine, nuts, alcohol, and sugar, and focused on combining certain foods with fruit at the optimal times. She continued her intense exercise routine throughout the elimination period, but found one bad habit most challenging to beat. “I craved sugar, and my candy eating habit was difficult to break but all the difficulties passed quickly once I started feeling the benefits of the diet,” she recalls. (Here’s how to crack your sugar addiction.)
Today, Webster has taken the knowledge she gained during the experience of removing and adding foods to apply to her daily diet choices. She’s quick to admit she alters her diet according to what she feels her body needs. “I try to pay attention to what I discovered initially, however, I have considered starting from the beginning again—because as a female I think hormones change and what worked for me before is not necessarily right for me now. For example,” she says, “I might now benefit more from plant protein than animal protein. I always grab a green juice when I’m feeling really off and have intense sugar cravings,” she says. These are the top sources of plant-based protein.
As a healthcare provider, Webster now recommends the elimination diet to patients to help with chronic pain, fatigue, weight, joint pain, recovery, and athletic performance, among other symptoms. “I think anyone could benefit and change a few poor habits in the interim,” she says.