As I've mentioned before, I have eczema. Nothing major, but it's there to remind me that I'm either stressed or allergic to something I'm eating or touching, or all of the above. I also have joint aches, particularly in my knees and hips.
I've done tons of research and I can do a couple of things about these ailments: I can change my diet and I can exercise and I have to do both, not one or the other. The exercise part is coming pretty easily to me since I lug around a 23 lb infant all day, I live near a park with trails, and I belong to a really cool gym. My arms are toned and my back is stronger than ever and all the baby weight and then some is gone. The diet part, however, is the scary change.
In order to isolate the foods that I'm allergic to I'm going to need to do an elimination diet. Otherwise known as the "detection," "Cave Man," "rare food," and (most appropriately) the "challenge" diet. It limits your diet to those things which are proven to NOT be an allergen. That means no gluten, no citrus, no sugar, caffeine, alcohol, no standard meats, no nuts, no tomatoes, no dairy, and on and on and on. One website says it outright, "There is no way to make a sandwich, so get used to it."
I've known about this diet for 3 years, but have always been afraid to try it. First of all, I'm afraid of even attempting it because I don't want to fail. I feel like I'm set up to fail because I lack the willpower to power through a month of this. Then I feel stupid because it's just one little month out of a lifetime of months and isn't the possible outcome worth a little discomfort? I also don't know how I'll do it alone. Anthony insists on eating meat every single day. Once, I suggested we go vegetarian for a month and I was struck dead on the spot by the look he gave me (not that he's a jerk, he just has his preferences - and to be fair his cholesterol is great and he has a 32" waist. The guy's not hurting in the nutrition department, for sure.). I also don't want to "waste" all the food I currently have in the fridge and the pantry. What do I do with all that tempting food that's not on the list? I can't have it anywhere near me if I'm going to be successful at this.
You can see my list is lengthy and complex as to why I'm going to fail at such an extreme diet. I want to reiterate, though, this is not about losing weight. It's about investigating my body and its reactions to what I'm putting into it. I already know that a completely dairy-free diet doesn't really improve my joint aches or my eczema or my gassiness. Eliminating some dairy, though, does help me avoid stomach pain and sickness, though. And I'd say that that year-long experiment was definitely worth the discovery...
I don't know. I'm just so afraid of failing. Making changes is so hard! I gave up all sorts of things when I was pregnant, but I still couldn't eliminate bologna sandwiches. I'd eat a sandwich then be wracked with guilt over the possibility of having just contracted listeriosis.
Oh well, I'll keep you posted on whether or not I take the plunge. I'll just keep plugging away at my little changes in my life for now. I'm loving my new "green" household cleaning products, for example. They smell so nice and they're good for the fishies, too!