Hypoallergenic Diet – Worth a try

I’ve been working with my naturopath to determine if I have any food sensitivities that trigger or worsen my asthma.  Mid summer I went on a 3 week hypoallergenic diet which eliminated all foods that are known allergens. Included were caffeine and alcohol.  The first few days were rough.  I felt hungry and tired most of the time and had a headache which I think was due to caffeine and sugar withdrawal. I was also not used to so much water intake so I felt like I was living in the bathroom!!

 By the end of the first week though I started to feel better.  Clearer somehow.  It was hard on the weekends because it was BBQ season and we had a lot of family get togethers planned!  I continued until the 3 weeks was over and found out that I definitely can’t do dairy and I am choosing to stay away from gluten and caffeine as well as limiting my refined sugar intake.  The diet made me more aware and now I read labels more carefully.  It has really had a positive impact on my life.  I have found healthier alternatives to the foods I used to enjoy that weren’t good for me.

A few friends at work also did the diet and we have come up with a few tips on how to make the 3 weeks (and thereafter) easier:

  • Plan meals ahead of time – Most diets are broken when we are too hungry!
  • Make sure to have leftovers – then you can take it to work or have available when rushed for time
  • Buddy up – it is always easier to do something together with a friend – they feel your pain and together you can keep eachother on track
  • Find your staple – ours was rice cakes, almond and apple butter.  Always have it on hand for times you are starving - it will get you through so you can prepare a proper diet compliant meal
  • Sea Salt in your purse/bag – I now carry sea salt with me in my purse.  That way if I am out for dinner or at a friends, I don’t have to use regular table salt
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – I found servers at restaurants really helpful when you ask questions or request modifications to your meal.
  • BYOB – Bring Your Own Bread – I now bring my own gluten free bread/wraps to my favorite lunch spot.  Since they don’t currently offer a gluten free option they are happy to accommodate me!
  • Timing is everything –  planned vacation time, BBQ season, holidays, teething toddlers etc. are NOT ideal times to be doing a diet.  Pick a solid 3 week block where you know you will have the least distractions
  • Your health food store is your new best friend – you will find a lot of things that you CAN eat there and I found that the staff are really helpful if you have questions

If you are struggling with your health or are wondering if you have any food allergies, I highly recommend this diet.  You can find the hypoallergenic diet online or through your Naturopath or Doctor.

 -Heidi

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