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Identifying Other Food Allergies
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I was diagnosed with Celiac coming up on 4 years ago I guess. Lately I have been having severe GI issues and fatigue (reminding me of the days before I was Celiac diagnosed). I had an endoscopy and my GI doc told me everything was good in going gluten free. This was confirmed by blood tests. I have been going crazy trying to find where gluten was leaking in, but am coming around to the fact that my symptoms are not me being glutened, but maybe a different food allergy.

I get:

Severe pains that appear all throughout my stomach and back

I had a duodenal ulcer up until a month or so ago

Gas and diarrhea

Severe reflux

Extreme fatigue (back to sleeping 10+ hours a night)

So yesterday I decided to try some elimination dieting. I cut out dairy as of yesterday morning. Anyone have any advice on how to prioritize my elimination dieting? I am starting a food journal (I know I should have done it long ago).

Any guidance or insights from folks who have already walked this path much appreciated.

(and apologies if this is the wrong forum for this).

ERR

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If you are doing it on your own, the food journal is the best way to start. I would focus in on the most common allergens then work out from there.

We didn't do anything fancy or use special forms. We just wrote out what we ate with brands/ingredients and listed any symptoms with severity (0-10 for example).

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Anyone have any advice on how to prioritize my elimination dieting? I am starting a food journal (I know I should have done it long ago).

ERR

Just from reading postings on this forum over the last few years, I'd say dairy seems to be the most common problem for celiacs here. Soy, corn, and nightshades are also mentioned frequently. And I am meeting more people online and in my local celiac group who seem to have trouble with all grains, as well.

That said, there's one problem with elimination diets: if you have one or two foods that are an issue, they work great when you figure it out. If you have multiple food issues, or an issue with something that is IN multiple foods, then it's trickier.

I know some people take it slow. They take one food away and then if that helps, but not all the way, they try to keep off of that and take another food away and then another, until they feel completely well. And then they slowly try to add some foods back in to see how it goes.

Some, during the elimination phase, add back in foods that don't seem to have much affect, some don't add back in foods until the end of the elimination trials.

And some people just pick a few foods to eat and drop everything else entirely, and if they feel better, then they slowly add foods back in.

I went the 'drop them all' route, but it was a fluke - I reacted very suddenly, very quickly, and thought I had the stomach flu! So I literally was just having basically water for a couple days, felt great, and then whenever I tried to eat, I would be suddenly sick again.

I ended up having multiple food issues (I never even knew I had even one, before that!), so it would have been very difficult for me to find what they were if I'd dropped only one ingredient at a time, I think.

That said, here's some things I learned during my elimination dieting.

1. Keep track of when you eat and when you are reacting. It may help to set a timer for every 30 minutes for a wellness check, if you have symptoms that sneak up on you. This matters because some reactions will consistently happen X amount of time after ingestion, so they can help pin things down. There are some reactions that are delayed for over 24 hours, so you'll want to have a good record keeping system to be able to see a pattern like that.

2. Keep track of EVERY ingredient. You never know what's going to be the issue. Salt has anti-caking agents in it that can be problem for some people. Some oils have sulfites which are a problem for some people. Baking powder has a starch added that can be a problem for some people. You never know what's going to be your 'bad' substance, so tracking them all will potentially save you time later.

3. Keep track of companies and farms for your food. Sometimes, it's not the food itself that's the issue, but contamination of the food when it was processed in the company facility, a pesticide used on the farm, etc.... This actually happened to me with oil, where I had a number of oils from one company and contamination on the line was making me sick. I thought I was reacting to all these different oils!

4. If you think you are reacting to a food, make sure to check out different forms of it. Cooked vs. raw, different companies, organic vs. conventional - different variables may affect the food and your reaction, so it's good to be as sure as you can be that a food is getting you. Although re: cooked vs. raw - some foods' proteins are denatured by the heat used in cooking so they can be tolerated cooked, but not raw, if you are allergic. This is not true of all foods (wheat protein takes a higher heat to denature), but many. Another variable? What pan/pot you cooked the food with. Twice now I've had pans that must have become contaminated with something, because every dish I cooked in them made me sick. I finally caught on once when I made a double batch of something and cooked it in two different pans. One pan's food was fine, the other's made me ill. Testing it out with some blind taste tests confirmed it: bad pans. :-/

5. Keep track of how MUCH you eat of something, too. Many intolerances are quantity sensitive. So you can eat up to X amount and be fine, but once you go over the threshold, you get sick. This can make it tricky to figure out sometimes. You could have, say, a glass of milk one day and be fine, because it's your first glass of the day. But three days later, you could have your third glass of milk of the day, and that's enough to put you over your threshold and you react.

6. I would research like mad. If you are dropping a food, go and check on allergy sites for that sucker and find out everywhere that thing is hiding in our food supply. I've seen a lot of elimination diets have to be redone because someone was unwittingly eating the food they thought they were eliminating. For some people, a little bit doesn't screw up the test. But for some, if they don't completely eliminate the food, their body still reacts. And there's no way to know which category we fall into until we try it, you know?

Wishing you good luck. It's a pain, I won't lie to you, but it's amazing when you figure out what makes you feel so bad!

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You might also want to consider trying the specific carbohydrate diet or one of the similar ones that takes out most allergens and leaves you with food that is easy to digest. You can slowly try adding stuff back in which may be an easier way to figure out what food is causing you issues.

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