This is the fourth post in our allergy elimination diet series.
Hello a.e.d. participants. Congratulations! You made it through 28 days of massive diet upheaval, intense hunger and cravings, and pull-your-hair-out confusing trips to the grocery store. Well done! Now, the time has come to slowly and carefully reintroduce the foods you have eliminated.
No, that does not mean you go and grab the first double stack cheeseburger you see. In order to accurately determine which foods may be problematic, each type needs to be tested in its most basic form. Wheat- not bread, because that could be gluten, wheat, soy, yeast or an additive (if you use a prepackaged bread). Instead buy some cream of wheat and eat it plain. For dairy products, reintroduce basically and individually. Milk, cheese, yogurt (unflavored), and ice cream should all be done separately and days apart. Cow, goat, sheep and other milks should also be tested separately. This allows you to determine if one type of dairy is problematic and not others, if all dairy is problematic, or (for the lucky among you) no dairy is problematic.
You get the idea; every reintroduced food, from Almonds to Zesty lemons, should be in its simplest state. After eating, carefully observe the effects each food has on you. Consider keeping a record of the results for your doctor and yourself. Give yourself roughly a day with each food, and have that food two or three times over the course of the day. If you have a bad reaction to a food, wait until you are symptom free before moving on to a new item.
Also, if you find a problem, educate yourself. Don’t wander through the rest of your life a victim to this allergy or sensitivity; find out if there are treatments, make sure you have a clear enough understanding of the problem to keep yourself safe and healthy. Look for or create alternative favorite recipes; educate your loved ones, patiently and graciously. On that note: after this intense a.e.d. experience, food and your personal restrictions are looming large in your mind. Don’t assume that they are in everyone else’s; you friends and family have their own problems and health concerns and, simply, lives to keep up with. If they offer you a problematic food, don’t melt down; calmly decline and explain. You may have to do this a dozen times with the same person. Also, for group meals and parties: it is easier (and safer) for an individual with allergies to make provision for themselves than to expect others to do it for them. So take a dish that fits your dietary needs, and make it so fantastic that others want the recipe! If someone does go out of their way to cater to your allergy, show them how much you truly appreciate that consideration. Bottom line, extend a little grace to those around you.
I sincerely hope that the allergy elimination diet information provided here on One is Hungry has been helpful. I will be continue to post new a.e.d recipes and stories of other people’s a.e.d. journeys from time to time. The more accurate and in depth information that is made available, the greater the chance that someone with find the answers or help they are looking for! If you have completed the a.e.d. journey and would like to share your story, tips or recipes, please contact me.