I started out 2 months ago by cutting out all of the most common food allergens. What a lengthy list:
-Gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats)
-Dairy (cow, goat, sheep)
-Shellfish and canned fish
-Peanuts, cashews and pistachios
-Nightshade vegetables (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes)
-Coffee/tea (anything caffinated)
-Alcohol of any form
-All sugars and sweeteners, natural or artificial (except Stevia)
-Hydrogenated or vegetable oils
... and the list goes on.
At first, I wasn't too scared of cutting out all of these foods because I don't eat a lot of them to begin with. Also, I have gotten used to a restrictive diet and have a lot of self-discipline in that way. As time went on however, I found it harder and harder to be so optimistic about the strict diet. I missed bananas and peanut butter more than I thought I would. I stuck to the diet for 3 weeks, making sure my body was completely clean and detoxed before re-introducing the possible allergens.
I had to feel completely rid of any symptoms I have been feeling for years. That way, I would be completely accurate with noting the reactions I was about to induce on myself.
Once the three weeks was up, I was more scared than excited to begin introducing. For the first time, in a long time, I felt amazing! Symptoms that I did not realize were reactions to food were gone. I was living with a lot of symptoms I thought were normal. Apparently, not so. Introducing the potential intolerable items to my diet again meant that I would have to suffer through the symptoms I had just gotten rid of. Oh well, for the greater good right?
I was to introduce one item at a time, consuming it for at least 2 meals of the day, and do so for 3 days straight with no reaction, or stop if I notice any reactions.
I am not half way done the list and have already discovered a lot about my diet, my body, and what I have been doing to it over and over again. My diet was always so restrictive without gluten, eggs or dairy I never thought I would have more allergic reactions. I did not want to be told I had, yet another food to cut out and also, I did not know what I should even be suspecting. Ignorance is never the answer though, right? I knew there was something else that was harming my body.
Now, I am by no means an alcoholic, or "wino" of any sorts (at least not 360 nights of the year hehe), but, the first thing I chose to introduce was red wine. I have been skeptical of it in the past, but this beverage is a "No! please don't let me react to this!!!!" item. I consumed my "two", greatly anticipated, servings of red wine during dinner with a good friend (she was excited to share my first introduction experience). The next morning was a complete nightmare, as expected... ughhh it was confirmed, no more red wine. I realized a while ago that every time I had red wine, the next day I would feel like the world was crumbling beneath me. That morning, I experienced anxiety beyond what I could imagine, shaking, nervousness, heart palpitations, the list goes on. Now, this has happened a few times before. I suspected red wine but, I did not connect all the various times I experienced this kind of reaction to make a sound conclusion. Looking back, nearly every time I can remember drinking red wine it has been the exact same reaction. Red wine is OUT, but I am planning to test other sulfite containing food later on.
The testing continued with black coffee, peanut butter, canned fish (tuna), mushrooms, corn, and now, with soy.
Results thus far:
-Red Wine: -ve
-Peanut Butter: +ve
YAY! haha So, three more items to throw onto my "food intolerance" list. :( At least I am learning... right??
As much as this has been a struggle some days, especially finding quick snacks or meals on the go, I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who suffers undiagnosed, chronic illnesses. There is always a reason behind any symptom you may have. Sometimes, it just takes being proactive and not totally relying on your medical doctor to tell you why. My naturopathic doctor is the genius who has lead me along this healing journey. She has provided me with more answers, solutions, remedies and hope then I have had in a very long time. Now, you do not necessarily have to be under the care of a doctor to do this diet, just make sure that you are extremely regimented with it, and take a lot of time to get in tune to your body. I have often been labeled as someone who is ridiculously in tune to my body. I do not think that I have a whole lot more intolerances than the average person, I believe that I recognize my body's reactions and feel them more intensely than most. For example, I know of people who have had gastric pain their whole life and just got used to the feeling thus, dismissing its cause. Again, ignorance is not an answer.
On a yummier note, to help matters during these past few months I have been making some pretty interesting meals. All of them have turned out quite good, if I do say so myself :) (except the burnt buckwheat porriage...)
I may as well share one! What is a post without a recipe, after all!
Savory Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
-1 sweet potato (medium size)
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1-2 Tbsp chopped garlic (I love garlic, so I use 2 Tbsp)
-1 tsp Parsley
-1 tsp Paprika
-Black Pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Chop sweet potato to yield ~1/3 inch thick round medallions. I usually vary how thick I cut the sweet potato to have some crispier and some softer slices.
Throw the sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Coat with olive oil and toss to cover. Add spices, varying amounts to preferance and again, toss to coat.
When sweet potatoes are equally covered in spice mixture, spread on a baking sheet and put in the oven.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes, turning once, or until potatoes are golden and tender.
Serve and savour! These simple gems are great on their own, or try dipping in old fashion Dijon mustard :) mmmmmmmm droll...