Elimination Diet: Food Intolerance Journey Part 3

Welcome to part three of my four-part series on food intolerance. I’ve already written about my reasons for undergoing food intolerance testing and the process itself (Part 1), as well as my food intolerance results and what they meant for me (Part 2).

I began my elimination diet in March 2015. No dairy, eggs, yeast or gluten to be consumed at all. So what did I eat?

This mainly visual post will show you many of the items I did include in my diet for the first month on the elimination diet…

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Breakfast smoothie – with vegan protein rather than whey based protein powder.
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Breakfast: Protein Smoothie
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Chocolate Proats (Protein Oats) with ground almond and a homemade dark chocolate heart. I used unsweetened almond milk or rice milk in place of dairy milk, I also used gluten-free oats. The protein powder I added to this recipe was vegan rather than whey-based.
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Breakfast Smoothie – for thicker and creamier smoothies I used the likes of chia seeds, avocado or coconut milk as opposed to dairy based ingredients like greek yogurt.
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Snack: Papaya and Coconut Yogurt (Coyo)  with Pumpkin Seed and Ground Almond

 

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Lunch: Tuna Salad with red onion, avocado, spinach and sesame seed.
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Dinner: Salmon and Stir Fried Veg
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Dinner: Courghetti (spirallised courgette) with turkey breast an avocado sauce.
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Lunch: Vegetable soup with lentils
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Gluten, Yeast, Egg and Dairy Free homemade Loaf (Not exactly the same as real bread of course but was nice to have a substitute with a bowl of soup!)
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Dinner: Indian Curry
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Dinner: Another Chicken Curry with Brown Basmati and Homemade Garlic and Onion Flat Bread
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Tomato and Herb Bread – yeast, dairy, egg and gluten free

 

Elimination Diet: Results One Month In:

Of course all of the above meals were entirely gluten, dairy, egg and yeast free. As you can see, my diet was super ‘clean’ and very much non-processed. In combination with eating this way and cutting out all dairy, eggs, gluten and yeast (including alcohol of course), I also took on a new weight training programme which involved full-body weight-training three times a week (about an hour or so per session). After four weeks on the elimination diet the before and after photos looked like this; 
elimination diet, before and after

I was delighted with the results. However, I still wasn’t convinced that the elimination diet (i.e. removing dairy/eggs/yeast and gluten from my diet) was the major reason for the physical change. I knew that eating a healthy diet and training consistently would get me back in shape regardless of elimination; I was extra bloated in the before photo because I had not eaten well leading up to the intolerance test. I had wanted to make sure that all possible allergens were present for the blood test, this meant eating too much processed food, and it shows. I also had not been training regularly before the testing – fitting gym sessions in sporadically rather than consistently. It was my healthy, unprocessed diet and my training that got me these results in such a short space of time, but thus far, four weeks in, the elimination diet it wasn’t the miracle cure I expected.

Elimination Diet: Dietician’s One Month Review:

Having initially consulted a dietician upon beginning my elimination diet, I now arranged a follow-up call and explained to her that despite four weeks of total and careful elimination of dairy, eggs, yeast and gluten, I was still experiencing some digestive discomfort and bloating. She agreed that by now this should have resolved, and whilst she encouraged me to keep going on the plan she suggested I also explore other avenues. At this point I had finished my four week supply of Symprove (the probiotic she had recommended). It would cost another hundred euro to get the next two month supply and I was apprehensive about splurging on it as I wasn’t experiencing the results I had hoped for. The dietician encouraged me to complete the course of Symprove even if I wasn’t going to continue the elimination diet, so I went ahead and got another month’s supply (the third month would be free once I had already paid for two months in a row, so it cost a total of 200 euro for a three month supply).

I also continued the elimination diet for another month, with a few exceptions on the yeast part – I had some alcohol (gin) on two occasions during the following month (clear spirits and champagne contain the least amount of yeast). I suppose as I wasn’t experiencing any major change in terms of digestion, I was feeling less motivated than the initial four weeks, when I had really put my all into carefully following the process. I will say however that my skin was absolutely crystal clear following this first month on the elimination diet. I had tonnes of energy too. I was back in shape and happy to be eating well and training consistently. Ultimately however, eliminating dairy, eggs, yeast and gluten from my diet had thus far not resolved the issues I had hoped it would.

Week five of my elimination diet marked the turning point for me.. I’ll write about it in my next update

The Clean Coconut x

 

Click here to find out my verdict on food intolerance in the final instalment of this four-part series.

 

Food Intolerance Journey: Part Two

Welcome to part two of My Food Intolerance Journey. I’ve already discussed why I went for testing and what results I obtained, now I had to begin to learn more about the changes that would be necessary in order to correctly implement my elimination diet.

Food Intolerance: Talking to a Dietician

Having consulted with a dietician after receiving my results, I discovered in further detail what items I needed to restrict from my diet. Eggs and dairy were pretty straight forward. Lactose-free also doesn’t cut it – it wasn’t the lactose (the milk sugar) that I was intolerant to, it was the milk protein (namely whey and casein). I had already been off gluten, and whilst I had reintroduced it to my diet in the lead up to my testing, and it hadn’t shown up as a food I was intolerant to, I decided to keep it out too. It was almost out by default, because if you can’t have dairy, eggs or yeast, you kind of don’t have the option to include gluten. In fact the majority of processed foods were out really, because dairy, eggs, yeast and gluten are found in a myriad of packaged foods.

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No more whey based protein supplements! I had to substitute my whey with vegan protein powders because of my food intolerance to dairy.

Yeast Intolerance?

Yeast was the item I was most confused about. It had never occurred to me to cut yeast out whenever I had previously trialled elimination diets or cleanses. It seemed to be present in so many foods, both naturally and as an additive for the purpose of flavour enhancement (yeast extract). The obvious foods I had to give up were alcohol (especially beer/cider/wine – clear spirits and champagne are relatively low in yeast and would be better options for me according to the dietician) pizza and bread (I didn’t really eat bread anyway) are also mainly made with yeast. Dried fruits, mushrooms and fermented foods were also out. Ripe fruits and fruit skins also have natural forms of yeast on them. In fact, yeast will grow naturally on most food after a while. The dietician advised that when it came to yeast, I should just cut out the main culprits.

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My favourite goji berries were out – dried fruit is a common home for naturally occurring yeast

Supplements

I had actually been taking a yeast based probiotic supplement which I obviously had to stop – the Saccromyces Boullarri from my Clean Cleanse. When I mentioned this to the dietician she recommended I try a different probiotic called Symprove, as this was gluten, dairy, egg and yeast free. Generally it is to be taken for three months, so I could include it alongside my elimination diet. She also said I should include lots of papaya and avocado as they are very healing for the digestive system.

food intolerance, Symprove - the gluten, dairy, egg and yeast free probiotic recommended to me by my nutritionist
Symprove – the gluten, dairy, egg and yeast free probiotic recommended to me by my dietician

I was told that most people begin to see results within two weeks of cutting out the offending foods. I was so motivated to find out if this diet held the answer for me. I knew three months of eating in this entirely new way would be tough, but I was determined.

Whilst so many foods that we all depend on on a daily basis were cut out of my diet due to food intolerance, there were also a lot of foods that I could eat. In my next post I will share a lot of my ‘food diary’ which I kept throughout my food intolerance journey.

The Clean Coconut x

P. S. Read more about the food intolerance test I took on the Lorisian website here.

Find part three of my Food Intolerance series here.

My Food Intolerance Journey: Part 1

Having completed my Clean Cleanse in November 2014 (which you can read about here) I began 2015 with the intention of learning a little more about food intolerance and discovering whether the food I was eating on a daily basis was contributing to my dull, dry skin, break outs, and bloating. To be clear, I had developed some mild (but very annoying!) acne having never had any skin issues before – even through my teens, and the bloating I was experiencing was not your typical after dinner food-baby bloat. I really wanted to fix these issues and felt like I could maybe do it through correcting my diet, once I knew what I needed to avoid. I was already eating what I thought to be a fairly ‘clean’ diet so it made me all the more curious about what could have been causing the consistent digestive discomfort I was experiencing. I wasn’t putting myself through all this detox and cleansing for the craic. 

I knew I could endure another strict detox regime like the week I had previously completed, and be more careful about slowly adding foods back into my diet,  hopefully getting some clear answers, but I also knew this would be a long and laborious way of finding out my exact food intolerances (if any)…

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Food Intolerance: The Testing

I had heard of a variety of food intolerance tests conducted at various health food shops, but none of them seemed to have any hard science behind them, so I was unconvinced. My Doctor recommended I contact Allergy Counts in Dublin for testing. I learned about the York Test which tests your IgG antibody reaction to over 100 different foods including typical culprits like gluten, milk, eggs, nuts etc. I was excited to have the test done and see if it would give me some answers.

Whilst waiting on my test kit, I spent two weeks eating an all-inclusive diet of many of the things that I had been avoiding; wheat, gluten, milk, peanuts etc. I have to say that my symptoms were worse than ever in those two weeks! However, if one does not eat certain foods prior to the York Test then the test will not be able to determine if you have an intolerance to the food as it has not been in your system to cause a reaction. While York Test do not recommend you eat foods that you know cause a bad reaction for you, I personally wanted a comprehensive picture of my own food intolerances so I decided to include everything in my diet!

I received a testing kit in the post which I had to return with a finger-prick blood sample that would then be sent to a lab in England for analysis. (Sending an actual blood sample to a laboratory made this particular test seem far more legit than the other health-food-shop food intolerance tests I had read about!) I was told I should have my results back in ten days and would then speak with a dietician who would go over my results and advise what foods I needed to eliminate from my diet.

So… What were my results?

I was told that there were three foods I needed to avoid; dairy, eggs and yeast. These were to be cut out immediately and kept out for at least three months from the point at which I became symptom free.

In Part Two I will write about how I got on with the elimination diet. I can say that I learned something very surprising, and discovered what had been the missing piece of the puzzle for me.

The Clean Coconut x

P.S. As far as I am aware, food intolerance testing using levels of blood IgG is not scientifically proven to be a reliable marker for food intolerance. Opinion is divided on the efficacy of this testing. I’ll give you my opinion over the course of the posts which follow. You can read more about food intolerance and the York Test on their website here.

Check out part two of my Food Intolerance series here. 

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