Two possible allergens, two reactions.

Just 4 days into my Challenge phase, I’ve already been through the ringer!
I picked citrus and gluten to start and they both gave me unpleasant, but different reactions. I decided on the strategy to pick things I thought would give me a reaction so I could get it over with, and as long as there aren’t too many more, it will get me to a place of better health sooner.

1. Citrus

Background:

The reasons I think citrus would be an issue are because of the quantity of it that I consume. I love lemon and I had been eating a lot of grapefruit the last few months. When I tried my raw diet, I was eating it multiple times each day and something I consumed during that week made me incredibly tired and uncomfortable.

The challenge:

On Friday I re-introduced citrus at all three meals of the day. I started with my usual oatmeal and ate some very cold/partially frozen grapefruit with it.
For lunch I had left over broccoli slaw, sweet potato and chicken sausage from the previous nights’ dinner and I ate a clementine. With each of these I checked my pulse before, during and after looking for some change. The start was around 68 and the lowest it went was 60 while I was eating. So not a huge change, but maybe a sign.

With dinner we had fish, broccoli, brown rice and lots of lemon. I didn’t do the pulse test but within a few hours I was in a lot of discomfort with bloating and abdominal cramping.

The aftermath:

So I’m not 100% sure, but I wondered if the tangerine and grapefruit were not as reactive as the lemon. I had a pretty quick and much stronger reaction in the evening. I’m also not sure if the broccoli had something to do with the bloating. I will have to re-test them both separately.

Wheat:

Background info:

So I’ve had my suspicions about gluten and wheat since I realized that fatigue, brainfog, bloating, stomach and bowel issues were common symptoms of this intolerance. I was never sure if they were caused by my hypothyroid situation or by gluten and wasn’t ready to go gluten-free at the time. There is also a strong connection with gluten intolerance and hashimotos , a precursors and common cause of hypothyroid as they are both auto-immune diseases. I have been tested for celiac multiple times and all tests but one came back negative. The other was inconclusive. This left me to believe it may be a sensitivity if anything.

The challenge:

I broke my own rule on this one! On Saturday night while at a party I indulged in ziti, which had cheese, tomato sauce and of course pasta. So instead of trying just one thing at a time, I had 3… I was drinking wheat beer and also ate as much bread as I wanted so the ratio was at least more gluten-heavy. I should also say I wasn’t planning on starting the wheat introduction until the following day but there was nothing for me to eat at the party and alcohol makes it so easy to skip out on the diet you’ve just spent 4 weeks preparing yourself for! I suffered from some bloating and sneezing (this is actually a big issue for me) on the way home that night but nothing severe.

On Sunday I woke up feeling really tired and it took me a while to get going. I tried to get as much wheat into my diet on this day. Breakfast was cheerios, strawberries and almond milk which about half way through I realized wasn’t wheat.. It’s oats. So I found a frozen wheat bagel in the freezer and ate that too with some blueberry jam. For lunch I was out with a friend at Chilli’s and I ordered a toasted chicken sandwhich. On my way home from the lunch I started to feel some discomfort (bloating and gas). For dinner we made some whole wheat pizza which I had with veggies and olive oil and I covered one half in non-dairy cheese that I had left over from the previous week. I also decided to indulge with about 10 Oreos because they have wheat in them and no dairy and were on sale at the grocery store. I’m all about treats after healthy dinners and who knows when I’ll ever have Oreos again!

The aftermath:

I woke up on Monday feeling just as tired as on Sunday. I felt slow, unmotivated and generally unwell. I had a slight headache before lunch so I put my reading glasses on because they normally subdue my headaches and left the house for a regular appointment with my endocrinologist, almost an hour away. By the time I got to the doctor the headache was pretty bad and after I left the office it was getting even worse. I had a snack in the car as I knew my blood sugar was getting low even though I wasn’t hungry. By late afternoon I was really miserable. I took 3 Advil and laid down for an hour to rest. Thank goodness because when I woke up I felt 1000X better than I had the whole weekend. I was even able to go to the gym and have a great workout!

I woke up this morning feeling alert, awake and overall well. So it seems I was having the reaction for 48 hours in the moderate form of fatigue and in a more severe form for about 12 hours after the last wheat ingestion. It hard to say what a small amount of gluten would do but I think the fatigue would become present. It’s also in my best interest to not cause unnecessary inflammation to my body so it can heal. So I think in 6 months, on or around 21st of August, I will try some more wheat. Until then I will avoid it as best I can.

I hope I don’t have to be gluten free forever, but I’ve made it a priority in my life now. Plus the gluten free options are really going mainstream now.

Moving forward:

I plan to try dairy for three meals on Thursday with yogurt, cheese, and milk! After that it might be on to some of the curious vegetables I’ve been avoiding.

Do you have any experience with diet sensitivities or true allergies? I’d low to hear about how you became aware of them and what you do to avoid triggers!

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Week 3 Elim. Diet in review:

Man the cravings for Mac and cheese are strong!

But overall, I am so close to finding out my potential triggers and it is really keeping me going now.

I’m excited and I’m nervous to move into the next phase, but boy am I ready…

I have roasted half of a 24lb turkey this weekend and have a broth from the bones on the stove right this minute. So turkey leftovers, brown rice and turkey/rice soup will be heavily eaten this week. I also have some red chard, bok choy, butternut, broccoli and sweet potatoes to roast and eat throughout the week.

On Wednesday I plan to have 1-2 drinks with my co-workers as it is a going away party for some of them and I am eager to celebrate them properly! Since it wasn’t part of the diet I want to tread carefully with this.

I plan to introduce citrus on Thursday/Friday as I think it could be my big trigger and I’m ready to find out. So I have some cut grapefruit to go along with my breakfast, I have an orange to go with my lunch, and will put lemon on my fish for dinner.

Next will be bread, tomato, then dairy, eggs, and then eggplant, peppers and finally red meat.

Wish me luck!

Have you had any elimination diet experiences? I’d love to hear about your trials and how it all worked out!

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