Monday, January 14, 2013

Elimination Frustration

Our daughter developed some health issues over the past couple of months that suddenly became worse about a week ago.  She became concerned and went to see a doctor.  He feels that it could be a food intolerance and put her on an "Elimination Diet".  

We've made significant changes to our diet over time and especially over the past year.  We've even experimented with eliminating or cutting back on certain foods that could possibly not be agreeing with our bodies.  We found that dairy is one of those foods and have cut it out of our diet completely.  It was hard at first but we don't miss it now that we feel so much better and know what it can do to us.  We have less headaches and sinus troubles and DD also has less stomach troubles too.  But, that must not have been enough.

We've decided to go on this diet with her to support her and see if removing any of these items might improve our health as well.  The elimination diet is NOT easy.  So many things have to be eliminated and it leaves so few choices that planning meals and shopping have become a very big challenge.  The foods that are eliminated are common allergens or can cause inflammation in body.  The things we have to eliminate are:

Red meat, processed meats, eggs and egg substitutes
Strawberries and Citrus
Canned or creamed soups
Coffee, tea, alcohol, citrus drinks, sodas, caffeine
Margarine, shortening, butter and spreads
Peanuts, pistachios
Brown sugar, sugar, honey, fructose, molasses, corn syrup

The "allowed items" are...

Meat - chicken, turkey, lamb or cold water fish
Non-dairy "milk" - rice or nut
Fruits and veggies (except corn, strawberries and citrus)
Breads and cereals - made from rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, millet, potato or arrowroot
Soup - clear, vegetable based
Beverages - unsweetened fruit or veggie juices, herbal teas, filtered water
Oil - cold/expeller pressed, unrefined light shielded canola, flax, olive, pumpkin, sesame or walnut
Nuts - almonds, cashews, pecans, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds and butters of these nuts
Sweeteners - brown rice syrup, fruit sweeteners

The frustration we've run into is that just about every food label we read has at least one of the elimination items in it.  That basically leaves a few kinds of meat, most fruit and veggies, and very few other things that we're lucky enough to find that fit into the limitations of this diet.  Even gluten-free items often have eggs, dairy, yeast or corn products.  And, many other products that seem like they'd fit into the rules, don't.  We were label readers before but this puts a whole new spin on things.  

We're also running into road blocks with finding recipes.  Even in our vegan cookbooks and our Forks Over Knives cookbook, which is all plant based, aren't helping much.  We've been searching on the internet too.  Many of the recipes we've found on there have items we can't have.  DD tried to bake some muffins from one of the recipes she found yesterday.  They were edible but were dense, didn't rise, and didn't have much flavor.  We'll keep searching for recipes and trying though.  Our meals aren't always fabulous but they're healthy and we're figuring more and more things that we can cook.  

We've been on the diet for a week now.  DD just started feeling a bit better yesterday.  Hubby said he's feeling a lot better and his weight is going down.  My weight has dropped below my goal (I was close before we started) and my psoriasis may be improving.  After two weeks, we'll go through a process of adding one food back for a day, removing it, waiting a couple days, and removing another one.  Hopefully, we'll know in a few weeks if we need to remove anything for good.  We're hoping we won't have to eliminate anything that's a big part of our normal diet that we love or that's an ingredient in lots of things.  The doctor also advised that DD take probiotics.  I'm hoping that will be the thing that helps her.  It would be so much easier than having to remove something like gluten from her diet.  

Have you ever been on this diet?  How did it work out for you? Or, do you know someone who did this?  What was the outcome?  I'd love to hear from others that have experienced this.


Sel and Poivre said...

I've worked on a variation of this for some time - I've found the most helpful approach is to accept there is a withdrawal period that is both physically and mentally unpleasant but once its over, its done.

Don't try to approximate butter and eggs baking with alternatives. I just avoid baked stuff altogether.

You don't mention oats. I do eat them as my primary grain along with sprouted grain bread in very small quantities.

I eat a lot of fresh food and almost no prepared foods. You can't win with pre-made. Expensive and unhealthy - no matter what the label says!

Finally and most important I don't talk about what I eat or don't eat. It just leads to me having to defend my decisions to the uninitiated - a big waste of time.

Bottom line there is no losing with this approach - you will only feel better whether you do it a little or a lot!


Anne said...

Hello, Dear! This has got to be so frustrating...we have not been on this diet, but my daughter is trying to eat vegetarian, and is even working toward vegan...I myself am trying to eat much less red meat...a real lifestyle change, that's for sure! I've come to your blog from the blog of one of my sweet commenters ~ you know how that goes ~ :) ~ Now following you!
So nice to "meet" you!

Anonymous said...

I was on this diet some time ago. The most difficult part was eating in restaurants. But if you let the waiter know your dr. put you on a special diet they will usually help you out. As for eating at home - I didn't worry about recipes - I just cooked around it as usual( I'm not a big starch/bread eater). As I recall I couldn't eat potatoes either.
My issue was a cough that wouldn't go away and allergy symptoms. the diet made no difference in how I felt. But since I went through so much eliminating coffee (headaches for a month) I decided not to go back drinking coffee.

Alejandro Ponce said...

I have no idea how you can stick to the list so well. I don't think I would be the best at sticking to my guns. Congratulations on the weight loss! Keep on the good blog.

Benita said...

Well, except for dairy products, the occasional steak, and eggs, this is pretty much the diet Scott and I have been on for a while due to food allergies and other health issues. I agree that it is hard to work around this, and eating out is very difficult. I don't eat breads much and we eat a lot of just plain meals that I cook. Luckily, we both love stir-fries and that is pretty easy to mix up some. A bit of chicken and lots of veggies over brown rice is good and filling. By mixing up the veggies, it can taste different each meal. Plus we use lots and lots of different herbs and spices.

Also, we love quinoa, beans, etc., and we eat oatmeal every day with different fruits in it - my favorite is dicing up a couple of dates (I buy mine whole with the pit still in them).

I wonder if giving up dairy and eggs would help with my psoriasis...

Also, giving up my green tea would not be easy. Caffeine is a necessity of life during tax season. :)

Pickyknitter said...

Try searching under "clean eating"; it was a big fad about 2 years ago.

Noel Bressler said...

Hey there, swinging by from the Grow follower, hope you can swing by my site and do the same!

happy Saturday!

Whimsey Creations said...

I haven't had the courage to quite cut out everything yet but have cut out anything with "white" in it (processed flour, sugar, etc.) and did feel much better when I did that. There is a wonderful cookbook I found recently called Small Plates, Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga that has all sorts of wonderful gluten free recipes of every type in it for each season. And to boot she is a wonderful food photographer - the pictures make you want to just go right out to the kitchen and cook! LOL Good luck in your food journey - it is hard but feeling better sure will be.

Shannon Meyer said...

I found your blog from the 'Grow Your Blog Party'. I'm posting a comment on this post though as I may have one meal idea for you. I haven't been on this type of diet, but I am gluten free as a way to control my RA symptoms. One meal we have that sounds like it would work for you is Turkey-Apple Meatballs with spaghetti sauce served over Speghetti Squash. If you would like the recipe e-mail me.

Hope you can find relief using this diet.

Countrywoman said...

nice to meet you

Jane said...

My grandson has been on this diet a few times and as a result my DD has found that he can't tolerate or is allergic to gluten, milk products, corn and nuts. The really hard one is corn. It hides in everything. My DD is constantly telling me that if something has the word acid in it that it is usually derived from corn. She does call manufacturers sometimes for clarification. Luckily my soon to be six year old grandson is thriving and is quick to tell you what he can and can't eat.

Jennifer Shelby said...

we had some of those troubles with diet too, but someone recommended 'babydophilus' since I had a c-section and was on antibiotics when my daughter was born. Worked like a charm for us, I recommend it if you may have had a similar birth experience