Piece of cake….
Well, it was a good journey, but not as sweet as a slice of cake. (Strawberry cake, please!) However, surprising to me, giving up dairy, gluten, and peanuts for three weeks wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be considering how much I like all three.
Dairy and I have always had a love-hate relationship, but I honestly couldn’t imagine living without it. Going into this thing with that in mind, I knew that dairy was something I probably shouldn’t eat too much of or eat at all anyway. A nibble of cheese or scoop of Ben & Jerry’s every once in a while, okay, but anything more than that within a 48-hour span is trouble (Bloating, severe gas mostly).
Gluten? Who doesn’t love take a chunk of fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and slather it with butter? Or cheese if you prefer?
And peanuts? Peanut butter? Peanut butter cheesecake? Oh, my goodness, REESE’S? Come on, life doesn’t get any better than that…Unless eating these things make you sick as a dog.
Some of you may remember my previous post in which I talked about embarking on an Elimination Diet journey in order to get rid of a chronic sinus infection from hell, but unfortunately, after only four days, my motivation tapered off. Given that I’d gone to every type of doctor on the planet in search of an answer for the cause of my dizziness, body shakes, headaches, and more and after coming up empty handed every single time, I thought I’d take a closer look at my diet (Can you say run-on sentence!). It seems like there’s more and more research out there linking what we eat to many ailments.
So why was my elimination diet a F-A-I-L? The program was extremely strict and although I had a general plan of how to tackle my cravings, it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t eating enough food and staying hydrated. I was also lacking the necessary vitamins and minerals needed daily to sustain myself. Why not take a multivitamin you might ask. In the many years that I have taken a multivitamin, I can honestly say that I haven’t noticed any difference in my overall health, but maybe that’s just me. I’m multivitamin resistant? In my mind, I thought that by eliminating most food groups following the plan, this would make eating a lot simpler and easy with limited choices, but I was living in la-la land. Folks, I was hun-ga-raaay! Even with eating these beautiful babies!!!!
Could you handle not eating the following foods for 3-4 weeks?
NO Nightshade Vegetables (Potatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Tomatoes…)
NO Nuts and Seeds
NO Beef, Chicken, Pork, Bacon (I repeat, NO BACON), Eggs,….(Only fish, lamb, turkey, and wild game allowed)
NO Green or Black Tea
After the big FAIL, I took a week off and went back online researching the many causes of sinus infections and inflammation, reading testimonies. I even came across sites that suggested an even more restricted plan than the one I described and needless to say, I couldn’t close those pages fast enough. No way was I going to do THAT. By the end of the week, I had basically concluded that the only way to deal with my potential food sensitivity was not to eat at all (Yeah, right!). Okay, that was bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt. Eat this, don’t eat that…blah, blahh. AHHHHH!!!!!!!
After calming down, what I decided to do was to try eliminating certain foods in phases, starting with the ones that I knew I wouldn’t have a big problem giving up: Dairy, Gluten, Peanuts. Something to give me a boost of motivation when the time came for me to give up foods that I knew would be difficult to phase out like sugar and soy. Sugar, because I’m addict and soy, because it’s everything, including the healthy stuff I try to eat to NOT get sick.
During my gluten-dairy-peanut phase, I wasn’t eating 100% clean and I still found ways to still have junk food while avoiding these groups of food, which I’m sure hindered my progress, but honestly, I was proud of myself for sticking to my ultimate goal.
I cooked more, ate out less, told people “no” when asked out to eat. By week two, I was still going strong, but I didn’t notice much difference in my symptoms except that they were not as severe. I still had headaches and fatigue, but not nearly as bad as before and more spaced out so I knew something beautiful was happening with this approach. Mentally, I could think more clearly, but still felt a bit groggy. I still had insane popping in my ears during both week 1 and 2 (imagine your ears sounding as if they’re making popcorn), however, I developed a bit of a head cold during week 3. I thought this was my body’s way of trying to detox since it was mostly mucousy-yellow stuff (TMI) and I wasn’t running a fever and actually started having a little bit of energy. But the most amazing thing happened. After the mucous cleared up, so did the popping in my ears. Six months of constant popping in my ear, poooof, it was gone. The pressure in my ears somehow equalized and for me, that was enough proof that my horiable diet has finally caught up with me.
I’m making myself sick with food.
Sticking to the modified plan, I started reintroducing foods after week 3 and after most of my cold symptoms had disappeared. The first food that I introduced was peanuts because I didn’t think it was a major problem or a problem at all really, but I knew it would be the easiest to give up. I know for a fact that I’m not allergic to nuts or seeds or any food for that matter given I’d been recently tested for allergies. However, I knew there was a posiblity that I could be sensitive to some foods and sure enough, I was right. After eating a tablespoon of peanut butter in the morning and a gas station pack of peanuts later in the day, I developed migraine headaches that lasted a few days. I haven’t had peanuts since then nor have I had any headaches. Who would’ve thunk it?
A few days later, after my body had enough time to process the peanuts, I re-introduced gluten and waited a few days before finally adding dairy. I did not have a noticeable reaction to dairy or gluten right away, but I know that these particular foods can take some time to cause problems unless you are allergic to them. However, over the next week after adding gluten and dairy back, I’ve noticed that on some days my nasal cavity seems a bit inflamed. I’m almost certain that it’s either dairy or gluten, but it’s slow acting. Regardless of my discovery, I don’t want to go back to eating dairy or gluten as frequently as I use to. Less is best.
I’m feeling noticeably better these days, but I’m not feeling 100%. I’m working out more and drinking more water, taking my vitamins, but I’m still not done with my elimination journey. I’m thinking of eliminating soy for a few weeks and sugar ( A BIG BIG BIGGY for me).
In the meantime, I’m eating more vegetables and fruit (Stay tuned in for my garden post!!!), more quinoa and brown rice. And I’m learning that I’m fine without many things like pasta and bread. It’s not the end of the world.
This is only the beginning.
MY PHOTO JOURNAL