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What's Your Operating System?

Carol Frilegh


Remember DOS? It was the most commonly used operating system for the PC back in the 1980's. Since it is now as extinct as the Dodo, we can amend the acronym for our Celiac Diet in order to ask, "What is your DOS (Diet Operating System)? When my allergist and I were uncertain about what was suddenly ailing me eight years ago, I was handed a printout for a two week EXCLUSION diet. Different foods or groups of foods were to be removed from the diet, with the possibility of being reintroduced once it could be ascertained if any were causing the symptoms. My symptoms were bloat and pain after eating. I was advised to cut out wheat and dairy, the obvious foods which most often cause intolerance. Rye and rice were allowed. I never did progress to cutting out citrus fruit, and caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee but might certainly try now, even after so many years.

Once on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I noticed there were a few people either implementing or asking about using it in the mode of a ROTATION diet (when a food is eaten repetitively, it can trigger a reaction in allergy-prone individuals or people with “leaky guts”). A rotation diet consists of eating biologically related foods on the same day and then waiting at least four days before eating them again. Naturally, we will never want to include grain or glutinous foods in these trials since they are the established culprits in the life of a celiac and strictly forbidden. Rotation is helpful in identifying foods you may not have thought of as problematic. Allowing a few days of relief diminishes the effects of the antagonizing antibodies and obscures them and can highlight a reaction that gets masked when a particular food is consumed daily.

Using the rotation approach means you may be able to eat foods not implicated as a major allergy triggers, foods classified as "borderline." Keep in mind that reactions are also associated with stress levels, illness or infection, lack of adequate rest, or the season of the year. We know our grain allergies are often heightened in pollination and grassy seasons. It is imperative to use some sort of food tracking method. I find Fitday a useful Internet tool to record what is eaten daily; (www.fitday.com) Trying out EXCLUSION or ROTATION methods separately does not require you to make them your permanent DOS. Employing either one as required for separate periods can be useful in pinpointing allergies and sensitivities, lessening dietary discomfort and help to make you "A Smooth Operator."

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I just found your blog on celiac.com and love it. I first started using specific carbohydrate diet 5 years ago and it did wonders for me before I was diagnosed with celiac. I switched to a gluten-free casein-free diet then and am doing well on it except I keep gaining weight now. I think I'll go back on the SCdiet and see if that makes me decrease.

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