Lupus and Food: The Success of the Elimination Diet - Exploring Gluten Free and Dairy Free

It's not chocolate!! Woohoo! 🍫🍫🍫 (Insert chocolate victory dance here.)

After a week of eliminating coffee and chocolate from my diet, I saw major improvements in my skin's tone and texture. Then, after about 10 days, I slowly added chocolate back in  I waited a couple of days to call it, because I learned that sensitivities can take up to two days to appear. (This is opposed to an allergy, which would cause an immediate or fairly immediate reaction.) But now, I can confidently say that chocolate is not the primary cause of my skin redness. Woohoo!!! 

I'm not ready to try coffee just yet. This is the second time in my life that coffee has disrupted my skin, so I think I'll hold off for a while. Plus, I've been reading about a ban on decaf coffee (or at least the decaffeination process), so I don't see any reason to rush back to a cup of joe until they get all that sorted. 

In the meantime, I'll focus on helping Deirdre adjust to the food eliminations she's making, based upon the results of her comprehensive food sensitivity test you see here on the left: 

*Severe Reactions to Gluten, Gliadin, and Whole Wheat

*High Reactions to Casein (protein in dairy), Sweet Potatoes, and Oranges

*Moderate Reaction to Cow's Milk, Lemon, Agave, Grapefruit, Pear, and Cow's Milk Whey. 

It's been a fairly big adjustment, but we are very impressed with the results of eliminating these foods from her diet so far. And we're SUPER impressed with Deirdre's commitment to the elimination. She's discovering new foods and different combinations of old foods to eat the way her body needs. She's been an absolute rock star about it!  

Here's what I want you to know about our experience with Food Sensitivity Testing: 

1) We had a choice of three levels of testing - each one testing a larger, more comprehensive range of foods. We were torn - because we were pretty confident that the majority of foods that Deirdre ingested every week fell into the first tier of testing, which was also the cheapest. 

But then we studied the list, and thought maybe the second tier would capture a few more foods that might be causing her discomfort. (The foods are color coded on the list to the right - and the key, though difficult to make out, is in the bottom right corner.) 

We talked to friends and family who'd done the testing before, and they highly recommended the third, most comprehensive tier - just so no food was left untested. And we are so glad we went with that! I don't think the milk proteins would have shown up - so we might have mistaken her sensitivity for a lactose issue, which it is not. Read about that here. 


2) This was not the first time we'd suspected foods might be an issue for her. I'd suggested cutting out dairy years ago - so Deirdre reluctantly cut out milk and cheese. It wasn't complete, nor did we cut out gluten, so she saw little to no improvement. So she stopped. 

As well, we tried a period of cutting down on bread - to see if gluten was an issue. But while she was foregoing sandwiches and toast and cutting down on pasta, it wasn't a complete elimination. Plus, she wasn't cutting out dairy. So again - she saw little to no change. Now we understand that for a severe or high sensitivity like Deirdre's, it has to be complete to see results. 

3) Having actual test results gave Johnny, Deirdre, and me common ground from which to work. It was no longer me against her - a so-called almond mom suggesting dietary restrictions on her kid (which I just hate to think about.) The suggestions I made were based on my own success in reducing lupus symptoms by cutting out certain foods, but she definitely didn't see it that way.   Even though my intentions were good, and I was trying to problem-solve for her sake alone, she saw it as me limiting her diet and trying to change the way she ate. 

But with lab results to prove it, she now understood that her body can't process certain foods, and that because of the inflammation and malabsorption they cause, those foods are like toxins in her body.  We keep saying how sad we are that we were unknowingly poisoning her body for who knows how long - and I think she appreciates the fact that we accept partial responsibility while saying we just didn't know what we didn't know. 

4) Mood swings, anxiety, depression, brain fog, moodiness, low energy - they can all be related to gut issues. Deirdre wasn't severely experiencing any of these, but enough that there were moments when we wondered, "Is this just typical teenage behavior, or something else?" Parenting is hard. And guessing is even harder. That's why we are so thankful for irrefutable results on both the food sensitivities and the vitamin deficiencies and imbalances we tested for. More on that later! 

5) Lastly, but maybe most importantly, do we think we are reducing Deirdre's chances of developing a chronic, autoimmune disease like lupus by going through this whole process? Absolutely. We are thrilled to be taking steps today that could improve her health and wellness down the road. 

Comments

Kate said…
This is inspiring me to get a panel done!

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