I could attribute my recent blogging absence to lots of things – vacation, summer fun, crazy schedules – but the big change that has happened in the past few weeks is that I received my results back from an IgG Blood Test for Food Sensitivities. My sister had this done about a year ago when she was struggling with her health, but I have been in denial of needing it. I have my gluten intolerance under control, and I mostly just didn’t want to find out what else my tummy doesn’t like. Finally, I hit my breaking point when I had spent weeks on end dealing with minor and sometimes not so minor stomach issues. I knew it was time to figure all of this out – I know it’s not normal to feel like this all the time!
When I went in to receive my blood test results, I was welcomed by the nurse saying “Are you ready for this?” and the Doctor entering saying “I always say, if you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question”. GREAT. In the test of 50 common food items, 40 of them were on a sensitivity scale high enough to need to avoid. This test gave foods a ranking ( 0 is great, 1’s are ok to eat, and 2’s,3’s, and 4’s get progressively worse). I had a few 4’s (some nuts and eggs), a ton of 3’s and a lot of 2’s. It’s pretty overwhelming to look at a sheet of paper that basically says you can have lettuce, chicken, coffee and peas. I was also given a personalized booklet from the testing center with a rotation diet I am supposed follow. *Take a DEEP breath…*
I spent the next week going through the rotation diet, as well as using the book “The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide”. This book is a great resource for anyone who needs to or wants to follow a rotation diet. Some of you may be wondering what a rotation diet is all about, or if it’s for you. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“If you have multiple food allergies, one of the best ways to help yourself is to “rotate” your foods, or eat a rotation diet. A rotation diet is a system of controlling food allergies by eating biologically related foods on the same day and then waiting at least four days before eating them again. Such a diet can help those with food allergies in several ways.
Rotation diets may help prevent the development of allergies to new foods. Any food, if eaten repetitively, can cause food allergies in allergy-prone individuals or people with “leaky guts.”
A rotation diet helps you pick out allergies to foods for which you were not tested and may not have suspected were problems. If you eat a food on Monday, for example, by Friday, when you eat it again, the “masking” antibodies your body makes specifically for that food will be diminished. Therefore, you will realize you are reacting to it, even though you did not have obvious symptoms when you ate it on a daily basis.
A rotation diet allows you to eat foods to which you have a mild or borderline allergy and which you might not tolerate if you ate them often. Sometimes your reaction to borderline foods may depend on your stress level, other illness or infection, lack of adequate rest, or the season of the year.”
The way I have been advised to follow a rotation diet, is to completely eliminate my 2’s,3’s and 4’s for 3 months while rotating the foods I CAN eat. After the 3 months (provided I’m feeling great) I can start slowly adding foods back into the rotation.
I’m still learning, and this diet is definately taking a lot of time and energy to figure out, but I’m hoping that it pays off in the end. I am taking the opportunity to eat a bigger and better variety of foods and I will be using A LOT of creativity in the kitchen to try to put meals together without a lot of ingredient choices! I’m hoping these positive thoughts will help me get through this first trial month, and I hope to be able to share some of the recipes I come up with on the way!
I will leave you with this morning’s breakfast. One of the biggest challenges of being gluten free AND on a rotation diet, is that most days there is only a few grains that are allowable, so I have to start working with single grains. For breakfast this morning, I whipped a single serving of Cream of Buckwheat and topped it with a whole fresh chopped mango, a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut, a Tbsp chopped cashews and a dash of cinnamon sugar. The juice from the deliciously ripe mango made it so I didn’t need to add a milk substitute, and it kept me full and satisfied for hours!