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Semi-Elimination Diet

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I am trying, at the moment, to rid myself of fatigue, headaches, moodiness, and muscle aches. These things come and go, rather than being constant, so I am inclined to think they are food-related. I don't think CC can be an issue any more because I hardly eat out and I live by myself in an apartment that was totally cleaned when I moved in and hasn't had gluten in it since.

(n.b. -- I supplement iron and vitamin D, because when tested they were borderline low. I also supplement folic acid every few days and B12 once a week or so, even though my levels of b12 were tested at very high. And I exercise by walking 20-60 minutes a day.)

I don't have the heart to start on a 100% five-food elimination diet (and don't have the cash to pick exotic foods I don't regularly eat), but now that I have a flat and don't have to chance McDonald's chips to eat after the shops shut up, I thought that I would eliminate the top foods coeliacs have trouble with, and then see how to proceed from there. Here is what I am absolutely making sure to leave out:

gluten and soya (which I KNOW give me trouble)

casein (all dairy)

maize

nightshades

Does anyone else have things that cause them neurological problems? My gastric system is fine aside from mild acid reflux. Bowels, stomach, gas, etc is all more regular/painless than I've ever had in my life, so I don't think I would have problems with things like fructose, for example.

Here is what I am eating:

- rice

- olive oil

- millet

- sweet potatoes & honey

- all unprocessed/uncured meats except pork (known to give me stomach trouble)

- all veggies except nightshades (mostly canned peas & green beans)

- all fruit

- most teas; no coffee

- all nuts and seeds

(although I am about to cut out peanuts, since I was allergic as a child. But since I can no longer eat most candies, and usually have a raging sweet tooth, I have been using peanut butter as my candy/snacktime substitute to wean me off chocolate etc.)

I have been on this diet for about two or three days. Before I started this I had broken down and ate a ton of ice cream and caramels several days in a row. Perhaps that is why I am still having terrible muscle aches and headaches and fatigue and random crying sessions? Since I was mostly off dairy before I had this breakdown, could I have become very sensitive to it in the meantime?

Or perhaps I am having sugar withdrawals, since the last thing I did after giving up dairy was pig out on marshmallows (full of corn syrup and corn starch) and skittles?

From now on I promise to ease my sugar cravings with fruits and rice porridge with honey or maple syrup. Seems like every candy out there either has soy lecithin in it or some kind of milk or maize product... none of it agrees with me :(

Anyway, any tips or help with my diet would be appreciated. I want to enjoy Ireland while I am here for the next 12 months, and not spend the entire time holed up in my room sleeping and feeling ill!

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Do you take any MedS, prescription or over the counter???

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Quite a few here have problems with salicylates. Google salicylate allergy and read about it. I have an issue with chemical or preservative sals - so gluten free, chemical-laden food can give me neuro fits.

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You may be reacting to some or all grains at this time. It's not uncommon to have what is called cross-reactivity, which occurs when the body misidentifies the grains or dairy that you eat as being gluten. Drs. Peterson, who wrote "The Gluten Effect," say that you should remove all grains and dairy for three months and then begin reintroducing them into your diet. Many people are able to eat them after the three-month period, but some people take up to a year...and some can never eat grains or dairy again. After more than seven years of a very strict gluten-free diet, I was accidentally glutened. Not only did this single occurrence cause terrible health consequences (fractured feet, inability to absorb B12, zinc, and Vitamin D, the return of my breast cancer), I also began to react to ALL grains, including rice. I now eat what's called a primal/paleo diet and am much happier. I've lost 15 pounds and feel great. By the way, your intake of sugar is extremely high, which can have permanent, detrimental effects on your health. People consider fruits and fruit juices to be healthful choices, but it's the same as drinking sugar water since so much sugar is absorbed into the body all at once. Because I have a history of cancer, I chose to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats, which is recommended by just about all sources; however, I gained weight, felt fatigued, and the cancer came back anyway. If you're interested in learning more about this, a great read is, "Primal Body, Primal Mind." It's the best book on any subject that I've ever read--I learned more about biochemistry, physiology, and healthful practices than in all of my 54 years combined. I highly recommend it.

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Man, you've asked the question: there is SO much that can cause symptoms, yeah?

So, let's see. Thoughts:

1. You may wish to call the companies that make your supplements and determine if they test their products for gluten, if you are in the USA. Testing is not required to make a gluten free claim here, so some products may have a higher risk of gluten cc sneaking through. If a company doesn't test, you may want to think about finding a company that does.

2. Have you checked out any corn allergy sites? If not, I would really suggest it while trying to eliminate it. I tried eliminating corn from my diet, too, and I missed lots of things that contained it. My iodized salt for example (corn-derivative stabilizes the iodine in salt, typically). Or some places where corn was in the processing and cc'ing my food - like between some paper plates, to keep them from sticking together. Weird, huh? Some honey contains corn cc, too, so you might want to check your honey brand against some of the corn allergy sites.

3. Make sure to wash your produce thoroughly. I don't know if you have children, but you may have seen that many stores are offering free cookies to the little ones, while their moms shop. I've seen the little ones eating a cookie and touching produce that their mothers then put back in the produce section. Gluten cc all over the place, there. Sigh.

4. Have you called up the companies that process your nuts and seeds? Many of these are processed in facilities that process wheat. I even noticed recently in the Cecelia's Marketplace Grocery Guide that all nuts sold by Great Value Brand (wallmart's brand), Hannaford brand, Publix, and Hy-vee have been removed from the gluten-free list. All Safeway nuts, except their baking nuts, were removed from the gluten-free list as well.

....And, just read the important part. You're in Ireland, you were saying, yes? In that case, disregard some of what I just said, LOL.

You may wish to check on ingredients for your supplements, however. There are different ingredients allowed in gluten-free foods in the UK than there are in the USA. Some folks there have reported feeling crummy after eating things where hydrolyzed wheat used. Nothing official, however, just anecdotal reports.

For sweet tooth craving management, though?

1. Glazing nuts in a pan with honey and oil can work nicely.

2. If you decide to try sorghum, you can make popped sorghum like popcorn, and then melt a little honey with olive oil. mix it up, pour it over the popcorn, and add a little salt - it's kind of like kettle corn. :-)

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I don't take any medicines on a regular basis, just gluten-free vitamin supplements and melatonin at night. If I do take any medicine it is usually generic Tylenol, which is gluten-free, but I don't take it regularly enough for it to cause my general malaise.

I don't think I am reacting to rice, because I eat rice every day and have good days and bad days. I would imagine that, with the amount of rice that I eat, if I couldn't handle it I would feel really crummy all the time. Also, I do not have enough money to cut out rice at this juncture. Adding a cup or two of rice to a dish doubles the size of a meal for mere cents on the euro. I need it in order not to go hungry... :/

Also, I allow all fruits into my diet, but I do not eat fruits every day. An apple for snack from time to time. Fruit salad every once in a while. And I have canned peaches and pineapple in juice for when the sweet-tooth craving gets to be too much (for now mashed sweet potatoes & honey are working for me).

I think I need to give this diet time. I had a great day yesterday. Then I bought a gluten-free teacake and now I feel ill. I think it may have been the xanthan gum in it. I know I am not supposed to eat that on an elimination diet, but I went out with a friend and wanted to get SOMETHING besides just apple juice... next time I will not do this.

Fyi, I am only 22 and was diagnosed rather quickly after onset of symptoms, compared to other stories. While I will accept that I may react to dairy and maize and a lot of other things, I really don't think I have a leaky gut or the kind of damage that people will get when they've been undiagnosed for a very long time...

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UPDATE. ADVICE IS STILL WANTED.

I discovered that my multivitamin has cornstarch as one of the main ingredients. I have stopped taking them, but still take vit D and iron and B12 and melatonin at night. I am sure that the melatonin and B12 is safe for an elimination diet (I have the ingredients) but no longer have the ingredients for the others. I think they are ok tho, I made sure to get the most hypo-allergenic pills I could. I need the vit D and iron because my levels were low but I will hold off on the multi until I am ready to test corn again.

I have eliminated the peas now. Since I have trouble with soy and peanuts I thought it made sense that it could be all legumes. So I got rid of that.

For the past 2 days I have been eating diced lamb and boiled parsnips and carrots with olive oil. I will switch to sunflower oil (less salicylates) when the olive oil runs out but I can't afford to waste it atm.

I have cut rice out for three days as well. I will reintroduce rice tomorrow. I know three days isn't long enough to really learn anything. I will cut it out for a week next time if I think rice is seriously my problem. I am hoping it was just the cornstarch or the legumes, or my impatience during a time of withdrawal from casein or something else.

This is my intended diet now:

- all unprocessed/uncured meats sans pork. (I can't afford lamb constantly but I will watch sales. beef mince is cheapest so I may have to go back to that. Or I will get whole chickens, maybe?) Seafood: White fish and mackerel only.

- all nuts and seeds.

- boiled parsnips and carrots. mashed sweet potatoes. (I need something green, maybe? for health?)

- peaches and pears only.

- olive oil or sunflower oil only.

- rice, including rice milk, but in smaller amounts than before.

- one cup of tea w/ sugar and/or rice milk in the morning.

ABSOLUTELY NO gluten, dairy/casein, maize or maize derivatives, nightshades, legumes, etc.

My symptoms have worsened. The fatigue is unbearable and the reflux is terrible. I am stupid because I started taking Nexium again to combat the reflux and it just got worse. So I threw all my nexiums away. My reflux has never been this bad since I went off gluten. I don't understand.

How long should I wait on this diet before cutting out rice? my morning tea? (I have never had trouble with tea in the past.) sugar? What is the next culprit I should get rid of? I need the tea at the moment because without it I simply cannot get going in the morning, my fatigue is so bad. I need to hunt for jobs so that I can afford better food in future.

It HAS to be food because acid reflux for me is only food-related. If I can just get the reflux to stop I will take the headaches and fatigue! The only meal I can ever think of that I don't have reflux after is a bowl of rice with olive oil in. idkidk.

someone help me... I try to follow the rules but just keep getting worse...! Maybe I will go back to eating everything except gluten, casein, and soy if I keep getting worse!!

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This is my intended diet now:

- all unprocessed/uncured meats sans pork. (I can't afford lamb constantly but I will watch sales. beef mince is cheapest so I may have to go back to that. Or I will get whole chickens, maybe?) Seafood: White fish and mackerel only.

- all nuts and seeds.

- boiled parsnips and carrots. mashed sweet potatoes. (I need something green, maybe? for health?)

- peaches and pears only.

- olive oil or sunflower oil only.

- rice, including rice milk, but in smaller amounts than before.

- one cup of tea w/ sugar and/or rice milk in the morning.

ABSOLUTELY NO gluten, dairy/casein, maize or maize derivatives, nightshades, legumes, etc.

My symptoms have worsened. The fatigue is unbearable and the reflux is terrible. I am stupid because I started taking Nexium again to combat the reflux and it just got worse. So I threw all my nexiums away. My reflux has never been this bad since I went off gluten. I don't understand.

How long should I wait on this diet before cutting out rice? my morning tea? (I have never had trouble with tea in the past.) sugar? What is the next culprit I should get rid of? I need the tea at the moment because without it I simply cannot get going in the morning, my fatigue is so bad. I need to hunt for jobs so that I can afford better food in future.

It HAS to be food because acid reflux for me is only food-related. If I can just get the reflux to stop I will take the headaches and fatigue! The only meal I can ever think of that I don't have reflux after is a bowl of rice with olive oil in. idkidk.

someone help me... I try to follow the rules but just keep getting worse...! Maybe I will go back to eating everything except gluten, casein, and soy if I keep getting worse!!

I'm just wondering, are you eating these foods separately or mixed together in one meal? I know this makes it more complicated for you to figure out, but for some people only one type food at a time causes reflux. For others they need a combination of things--like the right combination of carbs and fats to not have reflux. I know for me if I eat just plain rice I sometimes get reflux. But if I eat rice with some protein and some veggies I don't get reflux. If I have too much carbs sometimes my stomach is not pleased with me and I have to eat more protein to balance it out. You could have this problem or you could be the opposite and need more carbs than protein. What clued me in to this though is you say above a bowl of rice with olive oil is fine for you. Olive oil is a healthy type of fat and so it may be balancing out the carbs in the rice. So try different combinations if you have not been mixing meat and veggies with your carbs all in one meal.

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I usually have the meat (with oil from stir-frying) and vegetables mixed together in one meal. When I reintroduce rice tomorrow I will add it to the meat and veg and maybe that will balance it out. I don't know what to do for carbs, though, if I don't have rice... which again makes me think that I shouldn't eliminate it unless it is the last possible neurological culprit...

um. maybe I will test this theory by eating a small meal/snack of only pears and see what my reflux is like after that. and so on with different combinations.

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I usually have the meat (with oil from stir-frying) and vegetables mixed together in one meal. When I reintroduce rice tomorrow I will add it to the meat and veg and maybe that will balance it out. I don't know what to do for carbs, though, if I don't have rice... which again makes me think that I shouldn't eliminate it unless it is the last possible neurological culprit...

um. maybe I will test this theory by eating a small meal/snack of only pears and see what my reflux is like after that. and so on with different combinations.

Sweet potatoes or root vegetables can have plenty of carbs--carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, beets, etc all have a healthy carb count--just not white carbs. If you are not doing white potatoes because of the nightshade thing you can make a decent shepherd's pie with meat, root vegetables of choice and mashed sweet potato or mashed cauliflower on top in place of the mashed potatoes. I would not eliminate rice however unless you suspect it is bothering you--it sounds like it's not bothering you.

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I am keeping a food journal. How long do I need to persevere with this diet till I know I am over all possible withdrawals or getting-used-to-it-pain and need to rethink my diet or even consider the possibility that my fatigue and headaches are not caused by food?

Because if I can't get over the headaches and fatigue, there is no point testing new foods for reactions or any of that. I need energy... TT_TT

p.s. gluten CC cannot be a problem because I live alone, all my dishes and serving stuff was new, and I stopped eating out.

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Parsnips and butter nut squash have carbohydrates if you can eat them.

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I am keeping a food journal. How long do I need to persevere with this diet till I know I am over all possible withdrawals or getting-used-to-it-pain and need to rethink my diet or even consider the possibility that my fatigue and headaches are not caused by food?

Because if I can't get over the headaches and fatigue, there is no point testing new foods for reactions or any of that. I need energy... TT_TT

p.s. gluten CC cannot be a problem because I live alone, all my dishes and serving stuff was new, and I stopped eating out.

You can persue testing for other possible causes of fatigue without waiting and you probably should have things like your thyroid tested anyway just because a large number of people with celiac have other autoimmune diseases. If you have a vitamin deficiency it could take several months to feel better even with the right amount of vitamin supplements.

ETA: I did my elimination diet for one month but I felt much better/got over the withdrawals within two weeks. Two weeks is usually the norm from what I have read on here. Then people start adding things in one at a time.

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- all unprocessed/uncured meats sans pork. (I can't afford lamb constantly but I will watch sales. beef mince is cheapest so I may have to go back to that. Or I will get whole chickens, maybe?) Seafood: White fish and mackerel only.

- all nuts and seeds.

- boiled parsnips and carrots. mashed sweet potatoes. (I need something green, maybe? for health?)

- peaches and pears only.

- olive oil or sunflower oil only.

- rice, including rice milk, but in smaller amounts than before.

- one cup of tea w/ sugar and/or rice milk in the morning.

ABSOLUTELY NO gluten, dairy/casein, maize or maize derivatives, nightshades, legumes, etc.

I am so sorry to hear you're still felling sick.

Have you eliminated the possibility of fructose malabsorption? You may be eating considerably more fructose than before your elimination because so many of the foods you've chosen have moderate to high fructose. I don't know about neuro with fructose intolerance, but it can be a big reflux trigger. Poor sleep from reflux will add to the fatigue. Sweet potatoes and pears have a LOT of fructose, and parsnips and carrots also have enough to cause trouble if you eat a lot of them. Peaches are iffy too because of a high natural sorbitol content. You've mentioned honey, which is almost pure fructose. Also, if you're eating brown rather than white rice, it has fructans in it which folks with fructose malabsorption can't tolerate. My mom has fructose malabsorption and your diet would make her horribly ill.

If it's fructose you should get relief from the reflux in under a week eating white rice, meats, celery, leafy greens like leaf lettuce or chard, green beans, seeds and nuts, NO fruit, NO root vegetables (until you learn what you can tolerate), and NO sweeteners. Skip the rice milk if it has a sweetener or is made from brown rice. You can have your tea but it will need to be unsweetened. If fructose turns out to be the issue, you can mail order dextrose to use in place of normal sugar (sucrose).

The usual meat to use along with lamb on an elimination diet is turkey. You can get a LOT of meat if you can find a whole turkey on sale and roast it. Slice it and freeze so it keeps. Turkey drumsticks are usually inexpensive and they bake very nicely. Brush them in olive oil and salt them lightly. I bake them uncovered at 350, basting occasionally. They take about 1 1/2 hours.

You also have two major allergens on your list, nuts and fish. If fructose isn't the issue, I would strongly suggest you eliminate tree nuts for a week, then eliminate fish the next. Allergies are well known to cause fatigue.

As far as greens, I ate leaf lettuce on my elimination diet. Lettuce allergy is unusual. I don't know much about natural food chemicals in lettuce though.

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Look into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. You should eliminate the rice, not have canned vegetables/fruits. I just read the book Breaking The Vicious Cycle - Intestinal Health Through Diet By Elaine Gottschall B.A., M.Sc. and plan to start the diet soon. Here is a link to give you more info. I'm trying to do extensive research and get all supplies needed to start this diet properly. The con is that it's time consuming and takes a while to prepare some of the food, but the pro from what I've been told and have been reading is that if you follow the diet you can CURE yourself for life.

http://www.pecanbread.com/new/begindiet1soup.html

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update.

I had started to feel better yesterday, after reintroducing rice & olive oil. My reflux went down immediately to only after meals for a short while rather than persisting all day. My bowels are a little gassy from time to time, but overall much better. I think it might've been legumes-- I was eating peas and chickpeas constantly. I think with time this diet would do the trick, getting rid of the last traces of maize and legumes.

But then I went to a friend's house for tea today. I accepted only tea in a bag from her, and a clean cup. I took over my own snacks, my own sugar and rice milk for the tea (in case her sugar was CC'd). But her house was covered in crumbs, and I know I must have ingested one or two. And it is possible that I accidentally took a sip of her tea with real milk in it. I wiped off her silverware before using it but that may not be enough.

I swear I got some gluten there. My head feels fuzzy, my reflux is absolutely RAGING, heartburn and choking feeling, and I feel close to tears and sleepy. All I ate there was rice cakes with sunflower seed butter and tea, which does not make reflux like this for me. I want to vomit. I only felt like this on gluten. I eat sunflower seed butter by the spoonful and only get reflux if I do it on a full stomach. Rice is not a reflux-food for me as I have demonstrated.

AUGH I WAS SO CAREFUL but I bet even the tea bags had crumbs in them because she grabs them after making toast and so on.

This will throw my diet off balance for the next week. I will have constant reflux for at least three or four days no matter what I eat or don't eat. I will cry and have insomnia and C or possibly D.

I want to cry. I hate food and am often tempted to stop eating altogether. I would rather starve and know why I hurt than eat and not know why.

Until this gluten clears from my system, and possibly casein or I-don't-know-what, diet is irrelevant.

p.s. fructose malabsorption, according to wikipedia, can cause neuro issues, but I don't think it could cause neuro issues only and not gastro issues as well. I get the burps sometimes, but no C or D (well... I had some recently that I attributed to xanthan gum), no vomiting or nausea, and not too much intestinal gas. I do get gas whenever my diet changes dramatically but then it settles down.

again, though, like I said, until the gluten goes away it doesn't even matter. why do i try anymore. i don't know.

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p.s. fructose malabsorption, according to wikipedia, can cause neuro issues, but I don't think it could cause neuro issues only and not gastro issues as well. I get the burps sometimes, but no C or D (well... I had some recently that I attributed to xanthan gum), no vomiting or nausea, and not too much intestinal gas. I do get gas whenever my diet changes dramatically but then it settles down.

Luv, fructose malabsorption can cause REFLUX!!! Reflux can cause neuro issues.

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ah.

maybe I should just eat meat and white rice for a few weeks.

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ah.

maybe I should just eat meat and white rice for a few weeks.

Meat, white rice, white potatoes but NOT sweet potatoes, leaf veggies like lettuce and chard, green beans, seeds, nuts, eggs, avoid all sugar and fruit. It shouldn't take too long for things to start to settle down on that diet if fructose is the problem. Probably a matter of a week or two at most.

Fructose malabsorption is one of the intolerances that can make it feel like you're reacting randomly to everything and it's not that uncommon. I might be totally wrong (kind of hope I am because FM is a pain) but you have nothing to lose by ruling it out!

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again, though, like I said, until the gluten goes away it doesn't even matter. why do i try anymore. i don't know.

We keep trying again and again and again because we know what the future holds if we don't get it figured out.

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in one of your posts you state you are using rice milk,, are you sure your rice milk is gluten free???

Some rice milk actually say gluten free on the carton but use barley in the processing.

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shoot. I switched from something else to rice dream because it was only rice, sunflower oil, and salt, and the other one had sweeteners and chemical things I didn't recognize and so on.

rice dream is the one with barley in the processing, right? But it TESTS gluten-free so if I were reacting to that it would mean I was super-sensitive, would it?

I have 2 choices of rice milk, one has maltodextrin and the other is processed with barley enzyme. They use wheat to make maltodextrin in Europe but it is supposedly so highly processed that the gluten is totally gone. They both are labelled gluten-free... So which milk should I choose?

If I am going to give up sugar in my tea to test for fructose (once I get over the glutening) then I need milk to put in my tea so don't tell me neither TT_TT

p.s. -- people mentioned thyroid a couple times. My thyroid has checked out normal consistently over my entire life, once the fatigue started up (about seven years ago, when I was 15). my thyroid was tested recently along with my vitamin levels and was normal again, and the vitamin levels were all in normal range but vit D and iron were on the low end, so I do supplement those. B12 was high but I supplement every few days anyway, and folic wasn't tested but I supplement that as well.

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I have a choice at this juncture. Do I test for salicylate sensitivity or fructose malabsorption?

I don't see how I could test for both without eating only like three things.

ah, whatever. I just bought a multivitamin that doesn't have corn etc and is suitable for an elimination diet, so here goes nothing...

I think I will eat rice and meat for the next week, cutting out the tea and just having warm water with lemon or rice milk in the morning and pretend it's tea. I will also have carrots and parsnips and I think cashews are ok for both diets? And I have sea salt also.

(damn, I just bought tahini to eat on my rice cakes. sesame = high salicylates. I should have bought more sunflower seed butter...)

Reading up on salicylate sensitivity... this sucks hard. Everything that tastes good is on the high or very high list.

I hate food, and I hate eating. Can't I just get a stomach tube or something?

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I have a choice at this juncture. Do I test for salicylate sensitivity or fructose malabsorption?

I don't see how I could test for both without eating only like three things.

ah, whatever. I just bought a multivitamin that doesn't have corn etc and is suitable for an elimination diet, so here goes nothing...

I think I will eat rice and meat for the next week, cutting out the tea and just having warm water with lemon or rice milk in the morning and pretend it's tea. I will also have carrots and parsnips and I think cashews are ok for both diets? And I have sea salt also.

If you feel like eating two or three things is too restrictive, test for one and then the other. The only problem is you won't feel well out on the off chance you have both.

I've been trying to explain the FM diet. Lots of carrots and parsnips are NOT ok for fructose malabsorption. I know they're on some of the FM lists but it's wrong. Carrots bother my mom if she eats more than a few pieces in a salad. I don't know about parsnips but why mess with root vegetables when you are going to the work of an elimination? Leafy GREENS are super-low fructose. Lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, collards - that sort of thing. Green beans and celery are good too. It looks like iceburg lettuce, celery, and cabbage would work for both diets if you want to test both at once. Hardly anyone reacts to iceburg lettuce.

I'm so sorry you're having so much trouble with food. It sounds just miserable. I feel for you because I was gluten-free, cow dairy-free, soy-free for a year in there and it wasn't much fun.

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