I am now more than halfway through the week of taking more things out of my diet, prolonging the Elimination Phase of the TQI Diet. Two and a half more days to go, and then another reassessment.
If I haven’t started to feel a lot better by then, I might go searching for more information in a book Abascal recommends, called “Food Allergies and Food Intolerance: The Complete Guide to Their Identification and Treatment” by Jonathan Brostoff, MD and Linda Gamlin. Abascal says that although most people will see significant improvements in the first few weeks of the Elimination Diet, there are those, maybe including me, whose food sensitivities are harder to tease out and may take longer and require more research. If it’s not dairy, wheat gluten, alcohol, peanuts, tree nuts, fresh or dried corn, soy, citrus, the nightshade family, bananas, chocolate, strawberries or pineapple, what could it be? Well, there are further groups of foods she recommends testing: Group III is eggs, grains, legumes and shellfish; and Group IV is fish, meat and fruit. Abascal also mentions that certain groupings of foods, which we may not realize are related, can cause issues in rare cases. For instance, cashews, mangoes and pistachios are all related to poison ivy and poison oak, and some people may react to them.
So that my diet does not continue to be so terribly restricted, I still plan to start next Monday on the Testing Phase. This will entail picking one food from the most recently eliminated group and eating it at all meals and snacks for two days, while carefully noting any changes in health on a chart provided in the Abascal book. If there is no obvious reaction, I can add that food back into my diet immediately, then begin with two days of the next food on the list. At the end of this testing period, I can decide which additional foods I may wish to remove for a week and then perform the same type of testing with them. All of this means that my basic Elimination Phase will need to continue a while longer, but I am fine with that. Honestly, I do feel like I have made what feels like it will be a long-term lifestyle change in terms of my eating/drinking habits. So, a while longer of the most difficult part of it is really not that big a deal – it will all end up being worth it if I find a food that is bugging me and can feel better after it is no longer in my diet!
I am taking heart from Abascal’s own experience when she was developing this regimen – she had a number of persistent, painful and troublesome health issues, and she ended up staying on the Elimination Phase for six months because that’s how long it took her to see the real improvement she was hoping for. When I first launched into this journey over a month ago, I thought I would be counting the days until I could begin testing and get back to all my old favorite foods, but in that time my perspective and priorities have shifted, and for the first time in my life, I feel truly motivated to eat what is healthy and pass by what is not with no regrets. It doesn’t mean I will never eat sugar or drink wine again, but right now I can’t imagine going back to consistently eating the old, bad way. I will hang in there with this as long as it takes. And if I really can’t figure it out myself, I will contact someone at Bastyr Clinic or elsewhere to help me really sort it out. It’s worth it, for my hope of a healthier life to follow.
Thanks for reading.