You may be wondering what an elimination diet is. The point of an elimination diet is to eliminate one food or category of food from your diet. Sometimes people do this permanently, like if they’ve become allergic to gluten they want to get all the gluten out of their diet. But my elimination diets were to see which foods I was sensitive to, which foods were irritating my system. The first food I eliminated was dairy. This means no ice cream, butter, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. So, no milk for granola for breakfast, no yogurt snacks, no cheese sticks (one of my kids’ favorites), no milk in the gravy, no pancakes, almost no baking because it nearly all has some form of dairy in it. This started me on a great obsession of reading ingredient lists. Wow. You will be amazed at what you’ll find. I found corn syrup in my vanilla!! WHAT?? Why in the world do you need corn syrup in your vanilla?! And there is some form of sweetener in everything that comes in a package or a box. Seriously. So don’t start reading labels unless you’re prepared to make some changes.
Anyway, back to my diet. I eliminated dairy for 30 days and at first I was really craving it!! I’m not someone who drinks a lot of milk. I’d have it on my cereal in the morning and then maybe once a week I’d have a glass of milk, but now I was jonesing for a tall cold glass of milk! This was a warning sign that milk was a problem for me. And at the beginning of my fast off dairy I was spending a lot of time in the bathroom. But by the end of it, my digestion was better than it had been in recent memory. Ok, so milk was an issue.
Next I did a fast off chocolate and caffeine. I didn’t notice much, if any difference. I stopped this one after 2 weeks and moved on.
I combined Dr. Pescatore’s wheat and corn eliminations. Because I was pretty sure I’d have issue with both of these as I’ve had severe cravings for both. So, for 30 days there was no bread, no oatmeal, no granola, no tortillas, no flour (I did start experimenting with coconut and almond flour at this point), no hotdog or hamburger buns, no cookies, no pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits, nothing. This was by far the hardest of the eliminations. But not only did I discover some sensitivities, but I discovered that my middle son (who is 6) also had some sensitivity. His showed up as behavior problems. After several weeks with no grains, he went to grandma’s house and had cheerios for breakfast and a hotdog in a bun for lunch and when he came home he was so disobedient and defiant he ended up being sent to his room within an hour. Wow. Way out of character for him! I tested this again about a week later with the same result. And once again, at the beginning, I was spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom, and had serious cravings.
The last thing that Dr. Pescatore suggests eliminating is salicylates. These are found in aspirin and many preservatives, artificial flavorings and colorings, etc. We had already decided that we didn’t want these kinds of things in our diets, so I didn’t have to worry about them.
So, other than the chocolate/caffeine category, I was sensitive to everything!! That seemed awfully strange to me. I mean, I’d never had any problems before and trust me, I never ate what anyone could call healthy since I was an adult. How could I be sensitive to all these things?! But my breathing was so bad, I was ready to try anything. By this point the doctor had basically given up on me. Nothing he had tried had made any difference except an unbelievably strong steroid that was not safe to use long term. However, through a friend, I had discovered an essential oil that worked BETTER than any of the rescue inhalers he’d given me to stop attacks and regular old Ricola lozenges seemed to control the throat tickle coughing I’d get in the mornings from nasal drainage. I figured what the heck, it couldn’t hurt and it would be cheap. After all, it was a list of foods NOT to eat!!
In addition to the foods I was sensitive to I had to stop all forms of sugar, including fruit so I could stop feeding my candida overgrowth. Wow. Back to that label obsession?? You would not believe how difficult it is to find anything with more than about 4 ingredients that doesn’t contain some sort of sugar!! Sugar can be called: sugar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup (basically anything with “syrup” in it), honey, cane juice (and anything with “cane” in it), dextrin, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose (yep, lactose is the sugar part of the milk), maltose, saccharose (basically anything with “ose” in it), maltodextrin, molasses, sorghum, treacle and xylose. I dare you. The very next box or package of food or drink you pick up, check the ingredients. You will be amazed. When I was growing up, we decided which breakfast cereal to eat by how far down the ingredient list the sugar was since the ingredients are listed from most to least. If sugar was the first or second ingredient, then it was only for a treat, not for eating every day. But these days, the manufacturers get around that by using 3 or 4 different types of sugar so they use less of each type and therefore they can be further down the list. So the first thing I had to do was find enough foods without all these ingredients to feed myself and my family! We mostly did this by cooking for ourselves and not buying any prepackaged food.
After about 3 days without any sugar I was jonesing BAD. That candida in my body was screaming, “Feed me, NOW!!” And my brain was screaming, “I need it, I need it. I don’t know how to feel good without it!” I have a history with drug addiction. I have been addicted to both heroin and cocaine, and I’ve been told that these are about the hardest substances to detox from so I’m not exactly new to cravings, detox and addiction. Now, physically, sugar was not as severe as other detoxes I’ve gone through. There was no vomiting and night sweats, but mentally it was almost exactly the same!! There was that itchy brain, I-need-something-I-gotta-have-something-or-I’m-gonna-burst feeling. It was TERRIBLE! I had started out by packing up everything with sugar in it into some bins but I was digging through the bins by that 3rd day so I finally gave away all that food. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. And when you’re used to rewarding yourself with a treat, it’s hard not to do that for yourself.
I had heard about stevia and we did use stevia some to have some sweetness during that time, but I have since stopped using stevia for anything except sweetening our homemade toothpaste. There’s a couple of reasons for this decision. First off, stevia is MUCH sweeter than sugar, so most companies add something to it so that the volume can be used straight across, cup for cup like sugar. And usually what they add is dextrose. Which is sugar!! No good. The other problem is that stevia may taste sweet, but because it doesn’t have any actual sugar in it it doesn’t help a sugar craving. You see, sugar is essentially a drug in the way it works on your brain. Take a look at this article about sugar and your brain: Sugar is a Drug
So you can see there are some more good reasons to get the sugar out of your diet. But more importantly, when your mouth tastes sweet it sends a message to your brain to release more insulin to take up the sugar that it’s anticipating is about to enter your system. Then, when no sugar is there it has to draw sugar from your organs to make up the deficit. This is not good. This happens any time you taste sweet without consuming sugar like when you use any artificial sweeteners or chew gum.
So you can see how sugar can become a slave master. It works on your brain just like a drug, making you feel great and setting you up to want more and more. And it feeds the candida and other yeasts in your system making everything get way out of whack. When your digestion isn’t running smoothly, nothing else can work right. Your digestion is like your gas tank, if you can’t get the nutrition out of your food it’s like your gas line is clogged. Your body just can’t function the way it was meant to function.
It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 6:19 that says that our body is temple. My temple was a mess. I felt like King Josiah in the old testament when he had the temple cleaned out and they found the Bible in there and read it and went, “Wow, no wonder our lives are such a mess!! We’ve been doing it all wrong!” So now it was time to make it right. Time to get my temple cleaned up!!