Elimination Diet Day 1

I started the dreaded elimination diet today. Blech.

For those of you who are unaware, Hula Girl had very bad reflux, plus constipation (yes, an exclusively breastfed baby can get constipated) and eczema, when she was an infant. We finally saw a GI doctor when she was 4 months old. He was not super concerned about her reflux (she was gaining weight VERY well, even though there was blood in her vomit), but her constipation and eczema issues suggested to him that Hula Girl might have a food allergy or intolerance. Being the extremely patient person that I am I just plain ol’ jumped straight into a total elimination diet. And I kept it up for 4 months straight. And guess what- all her issues cleared up nicely. We still have yet to find more than one food she’s actually allergic to… so who knows what was up with that. But it worked for us for that time, and it made our little daughter much more comfortable.

Now, being the very calm and rational person that I am, I am terrified that Gelato will have some of the same issues. There is no guarantee that one child will have reflux just because his sibling had it. But there is also no guarantee that he won’t. I decided to be proactive and clear my system of the usual allergens for about a month prior to his birth. So here we are.

My food options have just become severely limited. I will say I am not going as hard-core as some diets like Dr. Sears’ Elimination Diet. Even though I am going to stick to the rice only for grains rule and the range-fed organic turkey only for meat rule, I am going to have a wider variety of fruits and veggies, and I’m going to eat beans. Dr. Sears’ ED is really only meant to be followed for about 2 weeks, after which time the mom starts adding extra foods back in, in order of their allergen-prone-ness. For example, one of the first things a mom would add back in is peaches since hardly anyone on the planet is allergic to peaches. Avocado as well. (Although I know several people, Jonathan included, who claim an allergy to avocado simply because they do not like it.)

Anyway, today I have eaten a bowl of Rice Chex with rice milk, a nectarine, a sweet potato, and rice. For dinner I expect to have some zucchini (cooked with a little salt and pepper- whoa! I’m going crazy!) and some more rice. The whole point of an elimination diet is not to starve oneself; rather, one is encouraged to eat lots and lots… of a very limited variety of foods.

My wider variety includes grapes, peaches, nectarines, avocados, spinach, carrots, and some other random non-citrus, non-gas producing fruits and veggies. I am thankful it’s summer.

I will continue to keep the top 8 allergens (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, and tree nuts) and citrus out of my system until after Gelato arrives. Once we’re all settled in, probably around 3/4 months old, if we are not experiencing any major issues like reflux, constipation, or eczema, I will slowly start to add some of these delicious foods back in. It’s always a slow process, but I expect that I’ll be on a fully-incorporated diet again by the time he’s about 8 months old. Fortunately, he’ll be able to try some of the foods himself at 6 months (yogurt, for example). I figure it’ll be easier to link a reaction to foods if he’s the one eating them!

Last time I did this diet, when Hula Girl was 4-8 months old, I lost a lot of weight really quickly. I am rather concerned about this since a nursing mom MUST keep up her caloric intake in order to produce ample milk. One of the bes ways to boost a milk supply is by eating a bowl full of oatmeal daily. Sure, sure, oatmeal has no gluten… but it is processed in plants that also process wheat, so the threat of cross-contamination exists. So no oatmeal for me. Sad. Oatmeal cookies are the BEST when nursing.

Because of the limited foods, I will also have a longer road ahead of me before I can exercise again. This is not good, people. As previously mentioned, I am ginormous enough that people think I’m having twins (and I still have a month and some change to go)! But I am very excited to go ahead and start at least walking again. I told Jonathan that I’d really like to just take it slow for a while and then start training for a marathon again. I did that a few years back and it was great! I really enjoyed running. And I got in really good shape, too! So, that’s my long-term goal.

Wish me luck and send me lots of encouragement as I watch my family scarf down delicious burritos! 🙂

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