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Day 51 - Time flies when you are a human guinea pig...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Currently I have my favourite lamb stew simmering on the stove. It's been the first day since last Friday that I've gotten out of the house to do groceries (or anything for that matter). Most of the last week has been holed up on the couch, surrounded by Ricola lozenge wrappers, kleenex, many blankets, my new stuffed valentine's frog pillow (thanks big brother - you're super awesome), and my permanently plugged in iPad. In the last week I've watched two and a half seasons of Drop Dead Diva, part of the first season of Fringe, part of the first Season of The Glades, and trying to salvage my raw vocal chords and not hack up a lung.

Being sick is fun.

Being sick is even more fun when you have to make ALL YOUR FOOD FROM SCRATCH.

Now I'm not complaining... don't get me wrong. But it's awkward being wrapped in blankets while you feel like your head may explode, and making chicken broth from scratch just so you can have soup. By the end of the week I was down to very little in my fridge. Thank goodness that I felt human enough to go grocery gathering today.... and buy more Ricola.

I swear these little all natural candies have saved my life (and my throat) this week!

So now that the "sick" is out of the way (crossing many fingers here), I can finally report on my elimination diet progress -- which i know is long LONG overdue.

Here is how it's been going:

As of February 1st, I was able to start adding some foods back into my daily life. Each food is introduced over 3 days: a small amount the first day, a moderate amount the second day, and the third day, a bit of an overload of the food.

I've been pretty much doing this... Some foods I am bleeding together day 3 and day 1 as I've not had any reaction to them, and I've only had one reaction so far that's turned out to be a fluke... or a "bad egg". Not quite sure which.

So Food #1 (Day 32-34) was COFFEE.
Oh my. So this is the "food" I was looking forward to most getting back into my hands and let me tell you I was NOT disappointed. My first sip made me weep with joy. Literally. I am not exaggerating. It was finding a long-lost love. Again, no exaggeration. I wrote a pretty lengthy journal entry on the experience as it was so mind blowing. Let's just say I am thankful to every deity out there that I did not react to it. And since then, I will just say that (as I like my coffee a bit sweet) DARK MAPLE SYRUP is the ONLY way to supplement coffee. Seriously. I now carry a small bottle of it with me wherever I go. Sugar has nothing on maple syrup. Best. Thing. Ever.

Food #2 (Day 35-37) was Hard Cheese.
Another great and amazing addition. All of a sudden my entire food world opened up. There was now a plethora of amazing flavour to be added. I will say that I don't think a single day has gone by since day 36 that I haven't had some sort of cheese every day. I even expanded to soft cheeses with no problem. Life was definitely looking up at that point. After coffee, cheese was absolutely the best addition I could have made. Happy happy, joy joy!

Food #3 (Day 38) was supposed to be Butter but I got a craving -- I have been avidly dreaming of food these past few weeks! -- for PANCAKES. So I delved into my gluten free flour mix from Cloud 9 Flours and made pancakes. And they were DIVINE. I had them for breakfast - no problems whatsoever. I had a few leftover pancakes with dinner (they weren't sweet so they worked with savoury foods as well) and IMMEDIATELY got a headache, body aches, stomach cramps, and an hour later, a very extended trip to the washroom. Life was NOT good any longer.

When a food reaction occurs, the concept is to isolate the food you ate and remove it from your roster, then revert to the last item you added as your last "safe" food and not add anything else for a week. The only problem was that the flour was not just one type of flour - it was a blend. So now I had to isolate each item within the flour... or figure out if I had actually eaten something else that had gone bad.

Eating "safe" kept me going through days 39-44. During this time I tried to go back to the other foods I'd eaten during that dinner. My instinct wouldn't allow me to retry the meat or the cheese I had eaten that night so both went directly into the bin. Otherwise, there was no reactions to anything all that week. I also started taking ALIGN probiotic supplements at this time... though I do admit that I forget to take them everyday, I'm trying to remember. They really seem to help.

Day 45-47 I tried again. FOOD #3, was really meant to be CORN - AS A GRAIN (not fresh) but I had to retry the CLOUD 9 GLUTEN FREE FLOUR. And this time no problem at all. Which, may I say is the biggest relief as CLOUD 9 is the BEST gluten free flour I've ever tried. It's the most comparable with regular flour and far more flavour. Too bad it's so challenging to find! I also tried popcorn and corn meal with no issues. Happy day!

Day 48 & 49, was BUTTER. Now I certainly didn't want to have an "overdose day" of butter so I only tested it for 2 days. No issues. I discovered that I don't really LOVE butter the way I used to anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still love it but I now prefer a drizzle of olive or avocado oil on my pasta or rice when I used to put in a bit of butter. Strange. I guess it just doesn't taste as "clean" to me as the oil.

Day 49 & 50 and FOOD #4 was ORGANIC TOMATOES. Yes, I doubled up on day 49... I figured I would never be eating butter in such quantities that it would need more than a "small" amount. I have certainly grown out of my butter sandwiches stage that I had as a kid! But although the tomatoes were heavenly, (I tried both organic fresh and sundried) I was SHOCKED at how EXPENSIVE they were. Four organic tomatoes for just over $10.00!! This has certainly put a new fire under me to get going on the garden this year again. Although last year I didn't have time, the year before I grew over a dozen heirloom tomato varieties. And we grew them organically. What an amazing year! So much flavour! I am definitely doing that again this summer... I mean honestly. $10.00 for 4 tomatoes. I know it's the middle of winter but really??

Day 51 (FOOD #5) - GREEK YOGURT. And my new love of choice is Liberté's Greek Organic Yogurt. (or as they print it: YOGOURT - which apparently is the true "Canadian" way of spelling it -- I guess you actually do learn something everyday). Costco just started selling it in a case (black cherry, blueberry, strawberry & vanilla) and I grabbed one today. I looked at all the labels and this was the only one without any additives or unusual sounding ingredients. So far so good!

So other than the "fluke" a couple weeks ago, all is good so far. I'm still unable to eat out unless it's a designated "health restaurant". (We ate at FRESH in Toronto while I worked a bridal show two weekends ago and it was AMAZING!!). And I've only attempted the one meal out so far. I just don't trust that there won't be hidden ingredients.

I bought bell peppers today to test this week as well... I cannot believe how excited I am to get to peppers! And I've been craving apples like mad so they I'm sure will come up quickly on my to-try list.

All in all the elimination diet has been labour intensive but well worth it. I lost 21 pounds as of February 10th and have stuck right about the same number since then. I'm sure it didn't help that I was so sick this week (yet still with an appetite - go figure). Now that I am up and moving around again, hopefully that will change my dynamic and keep the scale on it's downward slope. But besides the weight, I feel good about my achievement and stick-with-it-ness which of course is a victory all in itself. Now to finally shake this cold!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD9556574
    Instead of telling someone to walk in my shoes, walk in their shoes :-}
    1792 days ago
  • KIPPER15
    Glad to see you back. hope you have recovered. emoticon
    2605 days ago
    Hope your feeling better now
    2606 days ago
  • DR8561
    Glad you're back! Have you found any foods so far that you will have to avoid? Wishing you luck with this process.
    2608 days ago
  • ANNIE1114
    GIad that you are feeling better.
    2610 days ago
    Welcome back. I hope you continue to recover.
    2610 days ago
  • TANYA602
    I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better. What a fascinating - yet intensive - process you are going thru here. Thank you for sharing the details!

    2610 days ago
    hope you feel better soon and back to "normal". It has been an education reading your blog and I am not sure I could have managed all the eliminations. I like coffee but it is Tea that I adore and would miss. As a nurse who works with cancer patients I am always interested in things that help or hinder and food comes up a lot (literally :))
    You are amazing emoticon
    2610 days ago
  • no profile photo BABYSOX
    I hope you are over your cold soon and good luck with your elimination diet.
    2610 days ago
    Glad you are feeling better:) you're doing great, keep it up.
    2610 days ago
    welcome to my world love.because of zakariya and his allergies i have been cooking everything from scratch for the last 11 years,lol.even when ill as i have no choice.on the plus side though at least we know what has gone in the stuff and it is cheaper in the long run believe it or not the only downside to me is the time it takes,lol.i think you are doing great.hopefully you will eventually get to the bottom of your allergies.take care and keep smiling,above all keep on keeping on.you are worth the effort. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2610 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3468195
    Been busy, do hope you feel all better soon. emoticon
    2611 days ago
    Little by little, bit by bit, you are finding out what works for you. Hope your cold goes away and you can have the good life again!
    2611 days ago
    Marvellous to hear that you're carrying on carefully, despite rotten intruders like head colds and bizarre gut-reactions, M.

    Like you, I love Liberte Greek Yogourt but have to stick to the kinds without all that extra sugar in 'em. Instead add my own sweetening agent ... maybe just fruit and a dab of honey. It's a drag having sugar as a major appetite stimulator, yet as long as I limit my intake to 5 gm or less at a serving of anything sweet, all's well.

    Maple in coffee, huh? Sounds yummy. Honey is nice too, but maple ... wow!~

    2611 days ago
  • _JODI404
    Hope you are feeling better very soon!!

    It's so interesting to hear about this whole elimination and reintroduction process.
    It really is extremely labor intensive!! It will be interesting to see what items do make the cut to add back in. Very happy for you that coffee was OK!!

    Thanks for sharing this experience!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2611 days ago
  • UNICORN212
    WOW! I hope you identify the culprit soon so you can eat "normally". I am glad the cold is on the way out. Take care of yourself!
    2611 days ago
    You are doing an amazing job!
    2611 days ago
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