As a multiple food sensitive, I was pleased to read Dr Janice Joneja’s recent Q&A on identifying and managing food intolerance, written for foodsmatter.com. I have read and done Janice’s food elimination and challenge process myself and I agree wholeheartedly with her approach.
There’s just one problem: what happens when you remove the foods, except a few, for the elimination stage but then can’t get any of the ones you cut out back in?
Ah, Janice would say you then need to go on an elemental formula.
And therein lies the second problem: what if you can’t tolerate the formula either?
I know this sounds far-fetched, and of course I am aware this won’t happen for the vast majority of sensitive people, but it has happened to me and to at least 10 others I know. Bummer.
Elimination & challenge is by far the most effective, if achingly-tedious, way to find substances you are sensitive to. As I say in the title, though, I do wish it was as simple as that to find a diet that suits you, and it is for most, but for some removing the foods actually ends up restricting the diet even more. I snorted at the advice to replace the lost foods with nutritionally-equivalent ones. Of course, that is superb advice for most. For me: chance would be a fine thing.
In my case, I cut myself down to 20 foods I knew I was pretty much OK on – I thank goodness I didn’t go the whole hog and do the traditional lamb and pears approach! I stayed off them for about 6 weeks, from memory, because this was how long it took my symptoms to calm down. I felt fab and such relief.
I then took almost 6 months trying to incrementally add foods back in. I felt rubbish and reactive the whole time. I did persevere but then took the decision that it might be a good idea to stop causing inflammation with the trials and maybe just let my body heal without all that extra stuff to deal with.
I tried to take supplements to support myself nutritionally but couldn’t get those in either, despite using my own grain and dairy free supplement master list. Neither could I tolerate any of the pre-digested formulas – most of them have corn in, a key allergen for me. It was the same for others I know too who took it as a lesser evil because they had even fewer foods than I did. It made them feel ill.
I have now been on this 20 foods diet of wild fish and some fruit and veg for almost 2 years. Oh dear.
A big part of me wishes I had never done the elimination in the first place. But then another part of me thinks: what choice did I have? Continue to suffer or cut the culprits out? You simply can’t carry on eating stuff that gives you pain all the time. But, equally, you can’t maintain such a restricted diet for so long either without there being consequences eg. anaemia, nutrient deficiencies causing low glandular output such as hypoadrenals, hypothyroid etc, effect on bone, major fat loss – I now have to sit on a pillow whilst I’m typing (nice image, I thank you ;))
After about 6 months of the diet, I started becoming sensitive to my RO water. And that’s where the lightbulb went off (is that right?!). Sensitive to RO water? I don’t think so, matey; there has to be something else going on here, doesn’t there? It just ain’t normal to be this super-sensitive, is it? And off I went with exploring the new healing approach.
As I sit here today, I am still very much on that restricted diet but I am slowly becoming less fearful of food. Just today, I have introduced a new coffee, eaten an apricot and sprayed myself with magnesium spray. That may not sound much to you, but for me that is huge.
Anyway, have a read of the healing series if you are one of these people who seem to react to everything. Perhaps you need a different – or additional – approach?