Elimination Diet – A Cure for What Ails Us
Today is day two of our food elimination diet. My husband and I are embarking on an adventure together, no, more of a challenge. Between us we have the following minor health ailments:
- Blotchy patches in face
- Itchy neck
None of them are severe, but they still plague us and I’ve decided enough is enough. Since determining that food triggered our son’s eczema, we figured we’d try to conquer our health issues by eliminating certain foods as well. It may work. It may not. It may work for some ailments and not for others. Time will tell. I just hope we learn something from this because it won’t be easy by any means.
Here is what we’re eliminating:
Dairy (Cow, Goat, Sheep)
This won’t be so bad as we don’t drink dairy milk (we do almond milk instead) and only occasionally eat cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. There are great ice cream alternatives, thank goodness, but we’re not Diaya “cheese” fans. So, cheese will be the most missed in this category.
A definite challenge. We love bread. I’ve tasted Tristan’s gluten-free varieties and they just don’t compare. Poor kid, he doesn’t know any better, but we do. Thank goodness my in-laws recently purchased a bread machine. They make wonderful gluten-free bread, so we’ll be relying heavily on that during this diet. I’ll need to spend a few days cooking up some good gluten-free muffins to keep on hand, which will make Tristan really happy. And we have an amazing pancake recipe. We do eat a lot of quinoa, brown rice, and millet, so we’re set for the gluten-free grains. While we’ll miss certain types of bread, we do have some good alternatives lined up.
Not a problem at all. They really aren’t very healthy compared to all the other wonderful nuts available, so we don’t keep peanut products in the house. We use SunButter (which I realized today has cane sugar, so it’s off limits now to my husband and I L), almond butter, and pumpkin butter. All very yummy. We also enjoy nuts by the handful like almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.
Oh man. This will be the next hardest thing I’ve ever done after drug-free natural childbirth. But unlike birth, I’m not looking forward to this AT ALL. Sugar is my friend. I love sugar and it loves me. We belong together. Removing it from my diet goes against everything I’ve ever known. I come from a long line of sugar fanatics. My husband will be ok, but I may not make it out of this in one sane piece. If you know me, you understand that I’m not exaggerating – I really wish I were. BUT, my addiction to sugar is EXACTLY why I need to remove it from my diet. I’m sure my body will thank me even if my mind is unable to do so at the end of all this :)
I really enjoy a nice glass of wine and the occasional beer. Liquor, I can take it or leave it. My husband has a beer every night and enjoys wine with me on the weekends. This one will be hardest on him.
Why eliminate these foods? They cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to most of the health ailments listed above, plus things like cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Yikes! Some of these foods also cause too much acid in the body, which can lead to a very long list of health issues. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/are-you-too-acidic-symptoms.html So, the plan is to cleanse the body of these foods, then see how we feel.
*If you plan to start an elimination diet, always speak to your healthcare professional. These diets can be very hard on the body and you want to ensure you maintain a healthy, balanced diet containing the appropriate vitamins and minerals.
How long is an elimination diet?
That varies by source and I suppose there is no right answer. For Tristan, we removed certain foods from his diet for 30 days before beginning to reintroduce the foods in the food challenge phase. I told my husband we’d do this diet for two weeks. I’m hoping we start seeing changes in our bodies by then because if not, I’m sure I’ll have a hard time encouraging him to continue. Ideally, I’d like us to go for one month.
How to reintroduce the foods?
This part is known as the challenge phase and is another part of the diet that really fluctuates depending on the source. For Tristan, I used Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children by Janice Vickerstaff Joneja PhD RD. Dr. Joneja recommends giving small quantities of the food three times per day, each time building up in the dose. This is done on Day One of the food challenge. Day Two no challenge food is given. Day Three the food is given in larger quantities than Day One and three times per day, again each time building up in dose. Day Four no challenge food is given. If at any time any sort of reaction occurs, no matter how small, the challenge is stopped. So, I suppose my husband and I will stick to this method since it worked really well for our son.
*Like with the elimination diet itself, the challenge phase should only be done under the care of a healthcare professional as a serious allergic reaction could occur.
I purposely waited until after the holidays to start this diet as it’s hard enough feeding my son on a special diet when we’re visiting family and friends, much less the entire family. Since there was no urgency to tackle this diet my husband and I elected to ring-in the New Year with our last glasses (hopefully only for a short while) of celebratory champagne. Cheers!
Happy New Year! I hope 2012 brings you much happiness with your loved ones!
Click here for an update on our diet progress.
Click here for the diet results.