Tomorrow will begin the start of my Elimination Diet to try and discover any food triggers for eczema. I will be eliminating the Big Seven (Eggs / Dairy / Soy / Wheat, Gluten / Fish / Corn / Nuts) plus a few other additional foods that I suspect could be a problem. I discussed this a bit in my previous post about this diet, but ultimately settled on the following:
- Nightshade vegetables (potato, eggplant, tomato). Tomatoes always seem to irritate my skin in a perioral dermatitis type of way, and I’ve been reading about eczema sufferers being sensitive to foods in this family. So why not start with a clean slate and really see if these things are a problem.
- Carrot, Celery, Banana, Apple. These are all foods that I eat somewhat frequently, but are also foods that are moderate to high as far as being cross-reactive with latex, which I get VERY itchy and rashy if I am exposed to.
- Chocolate. This is another food that I’ve read about eczema sufferers being sensitive to. Of course, any dairy-containing chocolate is automatically out, but I want to stay away from even the vegan chocolate chips and dark chocolate that doesn’t have dairy. I had some chocolate last week (given, it had dairy) and it seemed to give me a bit of the ol’ perioral dermatitis, so why not tease out if it’s the dairy or the chocolate (or both).
- Coffee. Wrote about this before, and I had a cup of coffee yesterday before I embark on this thing, just to see what would happen. Again, I’m not sure if it was the coffee, but I got pretty itchy and my face and lips got irritated and dry.
- Tea. I drink tea pretty frequently, especially at work. There’s a lot of different herbs and extracts and fruits in the various teas I drink, so I’m going to pull that out as well and see what occurs.
- Caffeine/Diet Pop. I know myself. I will go crazy and suck down fizzy beverages to keep sanity. Let’s not even open the door to temptation by just telling myself that these things are out for the moment.
- Garlic/Onion. Talked about this before as these are in the aloe family and I seemed to link garlic with a flare on two separate occasions.
- Honey. Same thing – I seem to be allergic to beeswax (bee propolis) so I’m cutting this out too. I don’t eat honey anymore anyway, but just adding this to my list.
- Beans. I really wavered on this one. I don’t seem to have any reaction to beans, but the problem with food intolerances/sensitivities is that they often can be delayed. Since my brother is allergic to beans, and they are a food that I eat quite frequently, I’m getting rid of them too.
This whole thing sounds very restrictive and spartan, but I approach it optimistically. “Hey! It’s like doing a science experiment on myself!”
Today I felt slightly like a prisoner eating their last meal. I lived it up a little by having a big vegetarian burrito for lunch, almond-milk yogurt, + a diet coke, and then chicken noodle soup, a BLT, and fries for dinner. Yeah, I know…. sodium through the roof. I did eat other good things like vegetables and of course oatmeal.
Out of the Big Seven, I think I will miss Wheat and Nuts (and Beans) the most since they compose a large part of my existing diet. I anticipate Soy being the hardest to avoid, because it’s in darn near everything. I already tried to ‘purge’ my fridge and cupboards as much as I could of any offending foods. Thankfully my husband and I eat pretty differently, so I shouldn’t be too tempted by his remaining foods.
Doing a gluten-free trial for a few days helped me become cognizant of how ingredients sneak into things. I ate gluten free for four days, felt great, and only fell through twice – Once when I realized my multivitamin had a wheat byproduct in it, and second when I went to church and ate the communion wafer. Oops. Then I went on a gluten-bender, because Christmas came, and with that two straight days of being with family. I didn’t notice any difference in my eczema during this time (given, not a very long period of time to tell), but I did feel overall just BETTER not eating gluten. So it will be interesting to see how I feel being gluten-free for longer.
Here is a pictorial representation of many foods that I WILL eat over the coming week. I will be eating these foods for ONE WEEK minimum and then re-introducing foods one at a time.