My crazy diet to uncover food allergies

Remember the “Fat, Tired, and Out of Control” tagline? The whole reason I started this blog was to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle in order to feel better. Why the heck would I give up meat, dairy, and grains? To see some big changes…

So I this all started a year ago when a coworker encouraged many of my office mates and I to do a Blue Print Cleanse through a group discount. The cleanse started on the first few days of the New Year and was our trial at starting it off right! There always also a 30 day sit-up and squat challenge that failed miserably, but that’s besides the point here 🙂

So if you’ve ever done a cleanse you know that you need to prepare your body for it prior to starting so that the juices aren’t as big of a shock to your system. So in the 3-5 days before the cleanse start date, you will need to remove dairy, meat and bread-like food in progression so that you are left with just fruits and veggies that are uncooked, which you do for 2 full days. So for instance Friday you cut dairy, Saturday you cut meat, Sunday you cut bread and Monday and Tuesday you only eat raw fruits and vegetables. Wednesday starts the juice cleanse, Friday ends it, and the weekend you go raw again and then slowly reintroduce the dairy, meat and bread.  It’s quite a process, but believe me you do not want to shock your digestive system. Neither of you will be very happy. For further reference you should definitely check out the FAQ on the blueprint website, they have so much interesting information about what happens to your body and why they prescribe the order of the juices (1-6).

But, what I got the most out of, for the whole cleanse was the pre-juicing raw diet…

So my opinion on the cleanse was that I was pretty tired for most of the juicing phase, I loved the lemon agave pick me up and could have used 3 more of them throughout the day and I also really liked the cashew milk each evening. But, what I got the most out of, for the whole cleanse was the pre-juicing raw diet (I didn’t follow the end portion to a T as I was eager to eat bread and meat and cheese again 🙂  At the time I was still deep in the phase of working to get my thyroid levels correct and had actually just come out of a depression over the holiday break. On eating those fruits and veggies, I felt a tangible difference in myself that I hadn’t in a few years. From feeling numb, tired, depressed, full, foggy (mind) demotivated, lethargic, swollen, and awful things like that, all of a sudden I felt alive. I felt awake and clear headed. It was shaded by something that I never figured out, maybe the fatigue from the too-low dose of thyroid hormone or maybe the lack of calories (1100 versus my original 2000+).

I have clung to those two days and more importantly, those outcomes for a year now, promising myself and others that I would do something about it.

Around the time of the cleanse I went and got a physical and had some General blood work done. All was normal except for some unexplainable inflammation that would normally be present in arthritis patients, which I do not have. Due to these results, my doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist. The outcome of multiple visits to that doctor over the course of 6 months were not as significant as I had hoped. She seemed to do some testing for food allergies but all came back fine. There was one inconclusive test for gluten intolerance. There were never any lactose intolerance tests done even though before seeing her I had removed dairy completely from my diet for 3 months already, with no noticeable change. Her final recommendations were to see a dietician, to get the colonoscopy she kept recommending, and to avoid certain foods that would make some people gassy.

In the spring of that year after my first unhelpful visit to the gastroenterologist, I did some of my own research on gluten sensitivity and intolerance and found the Elimination Diet concept. I felt I was really on to something and wanted to do this special diet but never worked up the nerve to do it.

That brings me to December 2014, I realized this was what I needed to do and with some motivating conversations with friends, family, and some coworkers I finally felt ready to take the dive.

I reinforced this with my New Years resolutions and the realization that I could blog about this and share my journey with others who are confused but feeling unwell.

I set the date as Monday January 19th and I set the game plan as 5 days of raw, because that’s what triggered this whole process and I knew would provide some results I needed to consider, then the last 18 days following the elimination diet, which is much more sustainable since it included animal protein and certain grains, and most importantly, hot/cooked food.

After the 23 days begins the process of reintroducing the elements of a regular diet that one could be allergic to or are causing you discomfort. This medical doctor’s outline and the provocative Dr. Oz’s guide are great resources to explain this is more depth but the idea is that you introduce one food on a single day during all three meals, and you gage your reaction over the next minutes and hours. If there is no reaction, you test is a second day, and if all is good then you may reintroduce it to your diet as you know now that there is no issue. If you do find an issue with a food, for instance an upset stomach, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, etc, then you know there is an issue with that item. In this case, you remove it completely from your diet for 4-6 months and can then try and reintroduce it. To my understanding, if you are able to successfully reintroduce it in the future, it may have been an issue to do with the bacteria in your gut.

I think we can all agree that it’s not completely natural to be eating out of season produce whenever we feel like it, just because can be imported.

Anything in excess is bad news and this could be the case with food sensitivities. There is of course the possibility that you have an actual allergy, which could be lifelong, in which case that item should definitely be avoided.

I do highly recommend getting a professional allergy panel done if you are worried about allergies and prefer to be guided by medical professionals. I had one done as a child and it came back with grass and house dust. I think I’m due for another one ;).

And of course, the disclaimer: Every thing mentioned above was done through my own discretion based on doctors advice and sources I chose to trust on the Internet. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, dietcian, or any other kind of medical professional, just a reasonably well educated woman trying to change her life. You should by no means do exactly as I did, rather tailor these concepts to your needs and above all else, do your own research. Double check everything and be sure you’re willing to take on the risks when altering your diet so radially. I feel as though I’m in a desperate position but have tried to do this in a safe and structured manner. I do think patients should work for and educate themselves related to anything that is a concern to them.
Overview:

Part one: going raw (5 days) January 19th-January 23rd 2015
Part two: elimination diet (18 days) January 24th– February 10th
Part three: reintroduction (4-10+ days) February 11th – ongoing

Check out these pages as I write them, I will be posting the recipes, how I am feeling, and general thoughts on the process! Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications of things I have mentioned.

Have you ever changed your diet dramatically for life-changing results?

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