My Elimination Diet: Part 1
I've resigned myself to something I really don't want to do, for multiple reasons: I'm going on a strict elimination diet to see if I can identify what, if any, foods are adding to my inflammation and pain. This will be my second one. My first was a few months after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, so about 6.5 years ago.
Why do I need to do it again? Because a lot has changed since then.
- I've developed autoimmune arthritis, which has really upped my inflammation.
- My liver has made it clear that it will no longer tolerate anti-inflammatory drugs or a higher dose of arthritis meds than I'm currently taking.
- I'm already on a slew of anti-inflammatory supplements that help, but not nearly enough.
- If I don't find something that helps, I'm afraid the continuing damage to my hips will have me unable to walk, and the damage to my hands will make me unable to write. (As a journalist and fiction writer, this idea is scarier to me than not walking!)
The funny thing is, my first elimination diet didn't make me feel any better at all. My fibromyalgia symptoms didn't even flinch, nor did they change when I went back to eating normally. However, I know that my body (like those of many people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome) tends to change its mind about what it does and doesn't like on a fairly regular basis.
For example, several years ago I was having new abdominal and digestive symptoms as well as what appeared to be narcolepsy. I noticed a pattern that made me suspect gluten was the culprit. I eliminated it, and voila, the new symptoms vanished. A couple of years later, I went through a really stressful time and wound up cheating on my diet a lot. Every time I ate something gluteny, I'd tell myself I was going to pay for it. After a few weeks, I noticed that I hadn't paid for it at all. I went back to the gluten-free diet and then went off of it, and nothing changed. I was fine either way.
So now I'm wondering - did the gluten issue just shrink, only to re-emerge with a different presentation? Or is this something entirely new? I'm hoping to have an answer in the near future.
I know a lot of us struggle with inflammation, as does just about anyone with chronic health issues, and digestive problems are also really common in us. A food sensitivity can also increase myriad symptoms of our illnesses. For these reasons, I'll be updating you on how this diet is going for me on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, you can learn more about how an elimination diet works:
- The Elimination Diet for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Readers Respond: Elimination Diet Experiences
In my next post, I'll go over some of the particulars of the diet my rheumatologist has recommended, the results she's seen from it, and how I'm planning to handle some aspects of it.
Have you been on an elimination diet? What did you learn? What were the hardest parts for you? Leave your comments below!
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