Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Allergy Elimination Diet Results

It's been over 4 months since we began the elimination diet, and all foods have now been tested.  I did not find any allergies, but I did learn about some food sensitivities that I never would have uncovered had those foods stayed in regular rotation.  I also lost about 15 pounds (even though I was within normal BMI range), primarily from the elimination of flour and sugar.  This experience has made a fresh-baked loaf of whole grain bread look far less appealing!

Other observations:
- The chronic nasal congestion that I've had as long as I can recall is gone.

- So is the on-again, off-again back pain that I've experienced for about 10 years.
- I've had fewer headaches than my baseline. I averaged about 1-2/month before - but now I've had one or two in the entire last 4 months.
- I dropped more weight with less effort than ever before in my life, including when jogging 4 mi/day and breastfeeding.
- Mosquito bites didn't itch at all.  I assume this is due to the anti-inflammatory diet.
- No asthma problems.
- Total cholesterol dropped from about 160 to about 140, despite eating more poultry and fish than usual, and occasional meat.

We traveled for 2 weeks in August and my diet was not ideal.  I could feel it, too, and was really ready to come home to my fridge full of veggies, because my back was aching, I felt mild asthma, and in general, my body just did not feel as comfortable.  I cleaned things up after we got home but fell in to a bad pattern a few days ago and had too much sugar.  After the second day of not eating optimally (and those days weren't terrible by most people's standards - I had a couple of granola bars and some tortilla chips), I felt terrible and my joints ached, and I got a terrible headache.

But a great benefit of being off junk for so long is that most of it just does not taste good anymore.  I had a bite of a chocolate-chip cookie at a meeting and it didn't taste like anything at all.  It was store-bought or made from a mix and just tasted like a bunch of greasy chemicals.  I left it untouched after the first taste.

So, there it is.  I feel like this was a valuable experiment and I have a new way of eating, with minimal dairy (occasional homemade yogurt), minimal grains in their whole form but no wheat and no "whole grain flour," and no sugar or other concentrated sweeteners (with exceptions for special occasions).  Breakfast is usually fruit and nuts, sometimes yogurt/granola, sometimes leftovers.  Lunch is generally a salad with legumes or nuts or a legume-based soup.  Dinner varies a lot, but vegetables are the highlight, and probably 5 out of 7 nights includes some form of animal-based protein in a modest serving (0.25 lb or less).  (This is highly ironic for me since i was a no-dairy vegetarian for over 10 years.)

Last night I made pasta for the family, but I steam-sauteed a bunch of baby summer squash for myself and had the pasta toppings on that instead.  (This actually works out pretty well since I love sauteed summer squash and they do not like it at all!)  While I'm still cooking grains for them, I'm also cooking more vegetables - both in quantity and in number - so that their serving sizes of pasta, rice, or other grains are decreased (which so far has gone unnoticed).  Our total family bread consumption over the summer was about 3 loaves of sprouted grain bread.