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Elimination Diet – Results

My husband and I finished up the elimination diet last Monday. We stayed on the diet for 3 weeks eliminating the following:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Peanuts
  • Refined sugar and cane sugar
  • Alcohol

The results:

At the end of the three weeks we both had a little bit more energy. My dandruff was significantly reduced, but not completely gone. My husband’s belly fat disappeared. I didn’t notice this as it was a slow change, but his mother pointed it out and she was right. Not that he had a huge belly, but just a little one. Now I wonder if he was constantly bloated or if he actually lost weight.

Food Challenge:

We reintroduced a new item each day, the reactions we had were as follows:

  • Wine gave us a horrible night’s sleep. This happened the first time and each time after that we consumed wine of any type. I’ll keep track to see if this continues long-term. Was it the alcohol or the sugar or who knows what other additives might be in there that caused us to sleep so poorly? I’ve heard there can be milk products and gluten as well as many other things. I’ve yet to have beer, but my husband has and he didn’t notice feeling any different afterwards.
  • Gluten gave us different reactions. We both had a small handful of multigrain cereal one evening as a snack. It was late and we both went to bed shortly after, not noticing anything. The next morning we had a bowl full of different cereals containing gluten. I felt very groggy/sluggish and it was hard to get motivated. Eric felt light headed and out of it. It was about one hour after eating the cereal that we started feeling this way and it lasted for an hour or so. Now we’re trying to limit gluten, but not completely rule it out from our diets. It seems if we have a small portion, it’s ok, but something larger than a couple of crackers isn’t worth the risk.
  • Sugar a non-issue for my husband, but the verdict is still out for me. I know that straight up refined sugar, like jelly beans, will completely zap my energy not long after eating them. Usually I’ll get a headache too. With baked goods, it’s less severe. Chocolate bars can be mixed. So, I had a dark chocolate bar with almonds, cranberries, and regular sugar, and milk. I felt awful the rest of the day….bloated, headache, no energy. Was it the sugar? Was it the milk, or something else? Not sure, but it probably wasn’t the milk since it was cooked milk, which apparently is easier to digest. I’ll blame the sugar.

We both know we cannot process a glass of cow’s milk without feeling a little bloated and sick, so when it was time to reintroduce dairy products, we had cow’s cheese and yogurt, but with no noticeable reaction. I was surprised. I really thought I’d have issues with all dairy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Our Takeaways

  1. Keep a journal. This was essential for the elimination diet. I documented how I felt each day during the diet and then how I felt after reintroducing certain foods. You cannot be too detailed. It’s really interesting to look back and find patterns you may not have noticed at first. This is also hugely important when managing eczema, allergies, or asthma in general. I keep a journal for Tristan noting when he has flare-ups, or gets really itchy. I document the foods he ate around then and I’m constantly noted when new foods can be added to his diet or something new bothers him and must be restricted. I also document when we test new creams and new treatments and therapies. It has been my lifesaver. My brain just cannot retain that much info.
  2. Refined and cane sugar is in EVERYTHING. Cereal that doesn’t seem sweet, salsa, relish, most alternative milks that are not the “unsweetened” variety, many nut or seed butters, etc. It’s insane and it’s really started disgusting me. I monitored sugar a bit before, but not much since it was one of the few things Tristan wasn’t allergic too. Now I realize that not only do I need to check the grams of sugar in each serving, but I also need to check which type of sugar the item contains.  Most, but not all, the health food store products contained cane instead of regular sugar, BUT cane isn’t really any better than regular sugar. Same for raw sugar, not supposed to be any healthier. I guess you could debate maple syrup, raw honey, molasses, and agave, but I can’t completely rule out all sugar (I wouldn’t survive), so I’m sticking with these “healthier” versions. Oh, and don’t let the sugar alcohols fool you. Xylitol, maltitol, etc. They are not all they are cracked up to be either.
  3. If we eliminated ALL sugar I’m sure results would have been drastically different. But, I’m not willing to go there. Besides, would that mean eliminating fruit too? Pass.
  4. I’ll monitor the amount of sugar we consume and try to keep it as unrefined as possible. This will be hard due to #2, so I’ll have to start baking for us a lot more. I can’t live without a piece of chocolate or a cookie each day…ok, so it’s usually more than one a day…..
  5. We’ll start limiting our gluten intake.
  6. We’ll continue to monitor our dairy intake.
  7. Hemp milk is an acquired taste J Especially the unsweetened flavor.
  8. Coconut Bliss ice cream is dreamy good!

Next Steps:

Since many of our minor health ailments are still present, we’ll be trying the following supplements.

  • Primrose Oil – for reducing inflammation and hopefully helping with the dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and redness.  Tristan, my husband, and I are all trying this. It can take up to 6 months to notice changes, so stay tuned.
  • Homeopathy – my husband is taking a blend of homeopathy (R65) in drop format specifically for his psoriasis. It’s been one week and no change yet. This shouldn’t take too long to see a difference, so we’ll give it a few more weeks.

Check out the beginning of our Elimination Diet:

Elimination Diet – A Cure for What Ails Us

Elimination Diet – Update 1

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rona #

    Great post! I’ve elimated all gluten from my daily food intake and that journey was tough in the beginning but I’ve seen a vast improvement in my overall health and my psoriasis. How is you’re husbands psoriasis after doing the homeopathy? I just converted my friend to go the gluten-free way for a few weeks and passed your informative blog her way. 🙂

    Like

    September 26, 2012
    • Hi – That’s great! Congratulations to you! Sadly, the homeopathy didn’t help my husband, as it did my son, so we’re still looking for options. Good for you for spreading the gluten-free health benefits on to your friends. And thank you for your support! Jennifer

      Like

      September 26, 2012
  2. malawer #

    This was a great series of posts. I have tried eliminating gluten and it wasn’t easy. But I felt better as well. The food/mood connection is so interesting to me. Great to get the word out on this from firsthand experience.

    Like

    February 15, 2012
    • Thanks! It was really interesting to do this little experiment. It’s made me really more aware of my body in general, which is of course a good thing.

      Like

      February 16, 2012
  3. I know how difficult it is trying to single out a specific trigger…I spent years trying to work it out for my son. In the end, I think boosting his immune system has been the most helpful healthwise. I have mentioned before the types of supplements I have added as his diet is missing so many in food form. The most frustrating, I find, is it takes nothing to mess up the body system and yet forever to fix it! Go figure! I hope some of the supplements you mentioned taking make a difference. Certainly an increase in omega 3’s should help with your dry skin ie dandruff. Good luck!

    Like

    February 9, 2012
    • Thanks! I hope the supplements work too! I’ve been taking 2TBS of flax seed for years and so far that hasn’t helped my dandruff or skin, so we’ll see about the other things we’re trying.

      Like

      February 10, 2012
      • My son takes his flax seed in capsules…there are 450-659 mg of omega 3, per softgel and he takes three every morning. I was giving him twice a day when his skin was very bad. There may be more omega 3 in the flax seed oil capsules than in the 2 tbsp of flax seed (do you use flax seed or flax seed meal…I believe the meal is better from what I have read) Our flax seed meal only has 3 g of omega 3 per 2 tbsp. You may want to check the quantity of omega 3 in seed vs oil form.

        Like

        February 10, 2012
      • Yes, it’s meal. I know it’s not a huge amount, but honestly, we didn’t see big skin improvements when he was taking omega oil supplements. So, the meal is just for overall good health really.

        Like

        February 13, 2012
  4. Nice writeup and thanks for sharing.

    I’ve heard that when it comes to reintroducing foods after an elimination diet, one should wait for two weeks to see if there’s an effect.

    About alcohol–almost always a bad idea when it comes to eczema, because (my explanation) it dilates the blood vessels in your skin and irritates it–both wine and beer contain yeast, which can cause reactions, and wine can contain sulfites (causes headaches I believe) as well as various levels of histamine depending on the variety. Burgundy is the worst. For booze the safest thing is probably vodka, if you’re into that!

    Like

    February 7, 2012
    • Hi there –

      There are many theories – I’ve seen as much as 1 week and as little as a day, so I guess it depends. It’s probably best to err on the side of caution though. We were much more careful with my son. My husband and I just wanted to see if we could improve any of our health ailments, which didn’t happen. So, adding the food back in was less of a concern for us than removing them. I wish I could say we say results as we did with our son, but no.

      I know alcohol really isn’t good for the body in any format, but gosh, a glass of wine can be so nice. I’m going to start looking for organic wines with reduced levels of sulphates – hopefully that will help it go down easier. Didn’t know that about burgundy – wonder why?

      Jennifer

      Like

      February 8, 2012
  5. It sounds like you both are on your way! Just be careful when you reintroduce to be really specific about what you are having. You mentioned trying a multigrain cereal but was it all the same kind of grain? You may have different reactions to different, specific grains (try oat one day, wait 2-3 days, then try just wheat, wait 2-3 days, etc). I know that makes it take even longer but by doing this specifically, you may find there are more foods you can eat rather than less.

    Kudos for having the strength to do this! Not many people are up for it.

    Like

    February 7, 2012
    • Hi Tracy –

      Yes, we were a lot more careful with my son when we reintroduced foods. I really just wanted to see if eliminating any of the foods would help improve our various health ailments, but they didn’t. It’s possible we didn’t do the diet for long enough, but it’s a start. I’m quite thankful my husband and I are allergy and sensitivity free, unlike my little guy.

      Jennifer

      Like

      February 8, 2012

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