Finally, it’s nearing the end! We can almost say, so long elimination diet, but not yet. Not yet.
It’s a slow process getting back to health and finding the perfect diet to accommodate food intolerances with the right nutrients for you to thrive. Don’t forget that a few well chosen (prescribed) supplements can bridge the gap while your diet or health is lacking.
When we retested salicylates for Sofia, we discovered a clear connection with her eczema, especially the itchiness. So for the time being, we need to be really careful with those. We need to swap berries, onion and hidden spinach for lettuce, carrot, peeled cucumber and zucchini, pear, red delicious apples, bananas and the occasional piece of mango. Avocado is already the hardest thing to give up, but hopefully it’s just for a short time. We have salads or veggies at least twice, usually three times a day, to make sure everyone gets enough.
We also discovered amines are ok in small doses, but we can all get really cranky if we have too much! So nitrate-free bacon once a week is cool, or smoked salmon every now and then, or a piece of dairy-free chocolate, but not every day, and no other high amine foods on those days. (If you have any angry little people in your house, this is certainly one to consider for a lot more peace and love.) Sticking with fresh fish, meat and legumes works really well to ensure protein requirements are met for growing bodies, while keeping amines low.
Glutamates are easy to avoid if you eat a diet based on fresh, whole foods with no additives. Luckily our kids love fish or meat with veggies and rice for dinner, soft goat’s cheese on gluten-free bread with carrot sticks and cucumber for lunch… that sort of thing. If you want to cook a risotto, use home made stock/bone broth with leeks instead of onions, with the added benefit of gut-healing nutrients. Steer clear of packaged and processed foods, especially if they’re full of flavour, like meat pies or salami (which have no nutritional value anyway). Even tomato-based dishes, which are healthy for most, are really bad for many people with food intolerances. Plain is often best.
Soy and even eggs are common allergens and gluten is fast-becoming a real problem for many people’s digestive systems (especially if you have any sort of inflammatory condition, such as psoriasis, Crohn’s, IBS, arthritis, eczema, asthma, depression, cancer and the list goes on). Anyone with a chronic health complaint like this really should see a nutritionist about how to address it and prevent flare-ups through healthy diet and lifestyle choices. For Sofia, gluten is definitely off the table and so is soy. We are still looking at whether eggs are a problem, and she may need to be on low salicylates and no eggs for a while before we can accurately test eggs again.
Even when the elimination diet is over, we will always avoid the worst additives. The nastiest are the 100s (colours), 200s (preservatives), 300s (antioxidants) and 600s (MSG and flavours). If there is any food intolerance in your family, or even if there’s not, make it a general rule to avoid these– and don’t forget to tell daycare and school too.
Finally, it’s really important to use products around the house and on our bodies that are low irritant, no fragrance and as natural as possible. Choose no-soap wash and shampoo with no sulphates, parabens, SLS, SLES, mineral oils, petrochemicals etc. Choose ‘sensitive skin’ washing detergent and moisturiser. Avoid coloured medicines and aspirin. And don’t use any sprays in the house – these can be really toxic to those with intolerances – even get dad to switch to roll on deodorant. For more on this, check out my top 10 toxic chemicals in everyday products and how to avoid them.
- the stricter you are with the diet, the quicker you’ll discover your intolerances
- if you choose the ‘simple’ method, you may take longer to reach your goal because reactions are less obvious (this was me with Sofia!)
- get some help, it’s always easier if you have someone to talk to and raise issues with when times get tough.
If you’ve done it already, I’d love to hear how it went and what you wish you did differently. Please leave a comment below.
If you’re somewhere down the track and perhaps even a bit lost, please contact me and let me help you navigate the path back to full and natural health. Food intolerance can be managed.