I went to a cookout this weekend. It was with a great friend that has known me (and my allergies) for years. He double checked everything, read the ingredients on the spices, and even cooked my grass-fed steak separately. He literally did everything he could to make sure he was keeping me safe. I hung out, ate, drank, and felt just fine. However….within an hour or so of getting home, I started to feel like I was getting the flu – achy joints and body, headache, sniffles – generally blah. I was so exhausted the next 36 hours I could barely get off the couch to interact with the kids (and usually we like to go on bike rides or Water Country during the summer, so that was a huge disappointment). I thought for sure I was coming down with a summer-cold or something similar….but when I went to take a shower that night, I found this lovely sight….
Holy hives batman, I’ve been corned! It’s amazing that some random cross-contanimation or corn derivative snuck in there and I never even noticed. At least I am far enough into my food-allergy journey that I am now able to identify what’s going on and move forward; which brings me to my point regarding trying to eliminate offending foods.
When eliminating a food, or group of foods, from your diet, research shows that you need to give it about 2 weeks before being conclusive about your results of an elimination diet. (Sadly, it only takes minutes-to-days to react to something and then start the 2 week process all over again!). As completely annoying as it is, it is best to keep a food journal and write down everything that you eat for a specific amount of time and then create a second column to record how you are feeling right then, or shortly after you ate. How does your digestive system feel? Do you have any joint pain? Itchy skin? Headache? Runny nose? Really pay attention to your own body and everything that it does as you are currently eating and within the next 24-48 hours. Unfortunately, some of your symptoms may not show up directly after but within the next day or so. As you continue doing this for several weeks or a month, hopefully you can begin to at least guess at some correlations and then start the elimination process.
Once you eliminate a food, give yourself at least 2 weeks to take a strong, decisive look at yourself and your body – does something feel different? better? worse? If you notice that many of your symptoms are gone, congratulations, you are free of an offending substance! If you are still struggling with concerns, “rinse and repeat” until you are able to nail it down. Be patient, find your will power, and trust your body. Your skin, headaches, joints, digestion, or whatever else ails you, will be your ultimate gratitude and prize in the end.
Side note – I have found that drinking a lot of water, sitting in a sauna, practicing yoga, and drinking my Yogi Detox Tea all seem to help speed up the allergen/intolerance elimination process. Of course, it could be completely psychosomatic, but if I feel like I’m making progress, it’s worth it 🙂