My Elimination Diet
Back in August 2017, I saw a natural pathetic doctor to get an IgG test done. I was tired of feeling crappy. I knew I had a dairy intolerance, a possible gluten intolerance, and also a possibility that almonds could be bothersome. Why almonds? I was eating a TON of almond butter and would constantly feel bloated and gaseous. It didn’t take long for the IgG test to come back. My natural path went over the results with me. She said it was pretty clear what was causing me issues and that I had a major inflammatory response in my gut that I needed to address asap. Intolerances happen over time. An intolerance isn’t quite like an allergy as you do not get an allergic response from what you are eating, like hives, anaphylatic shock, or a compromise to your breathing. Your body sees food as a foreign invader and tries to fight it. Over time, your body is so stressed that it no longer is able to fight the foreign thing in your body and your symptoms get worse. The inflammatory response builds up. This is when certain symptoms, can be extreme.
My plan was to go on an elimination diet, and eliminate the big ticket items from my IgG test, which were dairy, eggs, gluten, almonds, and pineapple. I was feeling anxious at the time. Thinking dairy is fine, gluten ok, but eggs? That is something I ate as a good snack or an easy protein in my salads. After going through my elimination diet for 4 weeks, I could slowly incorporate the food items back in, and determine exactly the response my body gives me. This will help me understand if they are extreme or if I could deal with it if I do decide to eat them in the future. For example, an extreme response would be diarrhea. A minor response would be bloat.
She handed me a packet of information to look over, that gave me some guidance and also suggested to take some glutamine, to help my gut repair the damage it was experiencing as it recovers during this elimination diet. I went home and shared the news with my partner and decided to make a date to when I’d start. I decided to start after Labor Day Weekend 2017. I had a few functions that I had to go to and felt it was reasonable to eat what I wanted and then start the true investigative work.
The first week was hard. I had come off of a sugar high and was craving all these glorious desserts that I could not have. I went to every vegan gluten free dessert location and loaded up on my desserts. After a few days of that, I felt a bit sick, and realized this was not sustainable. Then I started to do some digging into what I could make at home that would be gluten free and vegan. I found a few recipes that substituted a flax seed egg for a real egg, and used coconut flour instead of flour. I wanted to stay away from gluten free flour as I’d rather have pure ingredients and I felt some of these products had so much mixed into them. Did you know that fillers can cause a disruption to your gI lining?
I finally found a decent gluten free vegan banana bread, thanks to ambition kitchen and the minimalist baker and was excited!! I added apple cider vinegar which I learned from some of my instagram foodie friends, helps to plump up any vegan/gluten free recipes.
The 2nd week was not bad. I noticed my gut feeling better, I had less bloat, my bowels were regular as well. One surprising thing was that my weight remained consistent. Normally it fluctuates 1-3 pounds each time I had weighed myself, and yes I was weighing myself at the same time every day. I also think that because of my elimination diet, I wasn’t eating crappy food, or a lot of snack foods. Which I have to say I am such a snack food junkie.
I also made more meals at home, since it was the easiest. During the 3rd week, I started to go to restaurants, mainly ones that I knew provided me with no egg, no dairy and gluten free options. Plum Bistro in capital hill of Seattle, is such a hot spot to give you good food that is vegan and gluten free. It saved me. I was able to enjoy pizza!!! Pizza of all things that I’ve not had for quite some time. Before I went gluten free, I would take the cheese off and basically eat the toppings and bread. It is such a disgrace to the pizza eating experience right? LOL. The pizza at Plum Bistro is quite delicious. The cheese melts, and it is stacked with veggies. The crust is crunchy and tastes like real pizza crust. You have to try it out.
Toward the end of the 3rd week, I was managing much better. It was still hard, especially the gluten free and no egg part. I wasn’t able to have any beer and luckily I could still have wine. There are a few hard alcohols I could have but I was fine with drinking wine. I begin to explore others who had similar issues and saw what products they were using and how they were making their food. It helped me a lot. Social media can be a bad thing at times but it helped me to get so many ideas for what to eat and feel like I also was not alone.
By the end of week 4 I felt so good and yet was ready to be done. I wanted to see what would happen when I reintroduced things back into my diet, what I could tolerate and what I couldn’t tolerate.
My medical doctor suggested that I take the celiac disease test to see if I have celiac. She doesn't 100% support the IgG test as it can create false positives and miss other foods that could affect me based on what I have been eating at the time. So that is something I need to consider in the future. But that means that I would need to incorporate a lot of gluten into my diet.
Here is the pattern in how you reintroduce things into your diet:
Introduce a food group (like legumes) or just one particular food within a group (like black beans) throughout the first day, have a lot of it, while keeping the rest of your elimination diet exactly the same. Then on days 2-3, take notes on your body’s responses, then on day 4 introduce another food item. Intolerance can rear its head in many forms... Look out for things like: headaches, acne, stomach aches, diarrhea, bloating, gas, mood swings, loss of energy, and anything else outside of the norm. I kept a diary as I would add certain foods. How it affected me, the exact symptoms, how many days I ate it for. I was a bit shocked that eggs effected me in the way it did. And it mattered whether the yolk was cooked or not. Egg whites seem to be better for me rather than the yoke part. I knew dairy was out, so there was no reason to reintroduce it. Although I have yet to experiment with goat cheese again. I just decided to stay away from it. Gluten on the other hand, I’ve been nervous to reintroduce it in. There are so many gluten products and the process in which to reintroduce a food items is pretty rigorous. So I’ve been doing it in little stages. I’ve noticed that certain items do cause cramping that is uncomfortable for me.
As far as pineapple goes, I haven’t reintroduced it. I decided to stay away from it. Almonds, I have eaten just a little bit here and there but I clearly stayed away from anything that contains almonds, like almond butter, milk, almond paste or the main base includes almonds.
When I saw my natural path again, she said this to me, it is up to me now, how I want to take it since these are intolerances. I know the symptoms that they would give me. Based on that, decide if it is worth it to eat those items. If I know that I am going to a party or get together and there are some desserts or gluten items, I could have some but be aware I’ll be dealing with the consequences afterward. So I've decided to stay away from them as much as I could.
Click here to learn tips to surviving your elimination and reintroduction phase