How Do You Do The First Part Of The Diet?
During the first week, most meats, fruits and vegetables can be eaten. (The “allowed” and “forbidden” foods are listed in Table1.) Keep detailed records in a food diary of exactly what is eaten. Most individuals who are going to respond favorably to this diet do so about the 6th or 7th day; others respond as early as the 2nd or, rarely, as late as the 14th day.
If your child or you are better in a week or less, begin Part 2 of the diet on the 8th day. Improvement noted on day 2 may greatly increase by day 7. The object is to see the maximum amount of improvement which can be noted during the first 7 days.
If you want to help your entire family, urge everyone to try the diet at the same time. Typically, several family members will note improvement in how they feel or act when this is done.
If you or your child are not better within a week, re-check the diet records for the initial week of the diet. Were only the allowed foods eaten? If your child repeatedly forgot and ate the wrong foods or drank the wrong beverages at school or at home, the item which was not deleted or omitted from the diet may be the culprit. Try Part 1 of the diet again, but this time try much harder to adhere strictly to the diet. It’s best to do the diet only one time, but do it right. This fast, inexpensive method of food allergy detection can sometimes provide rapid, safe relief of many chronic medical and behavioral complaints. [Editors Note: It is not uncommon to undergo some moderate withdrawal and worsening of symptoms and cravings when offending foods are first eliminated. These usually pass after the first 7-8 days on the elimination diet].
Occasionally, a person is severely worse during Part1 of the diet. If this happens, immediately stop the diet. A frequent cause is that the patient has begun to ingest an excessive amount of an unsuspected offending food or beverage. A child who substitutes apple or grape juice for milk, for example, may act or behave much worse if apple or grape juice, is the cause of this child’s symptoms. Retry Part 1 of the diet, but stop the suspect food or beverage which you think made you or your child worse.
Rarely, someone who was not helped during the first week will dramatically improve with a more prolonged diet. Continue Part 1 for two weeks, not one week. If Part 1 of the diet is tried and has not helped by the fourteenth day, this particular diet is probably not the answer. The medical problems are not related to foods or are possibly due to other frequently eaten or craved items, i.e., mushrooms, cinnamon, coffee, tea, tobacco, etc., which were not removed from the diet.
If an infection occurs during the diet, stop the diet until you are well. It is too difficult to interpret the results if it is continued.
During Part 1 of the diet, the following foods are omitted in all forms: milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheese, ice cream, casein, sodium caseinate, whey), wheat (bread, cake, cookies, baked gods), eggs, corn, sugar, chocolate (cocoa or cola), peas (peanut butter), citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit), food colorings, food additives and preservatives. No luncheon meats, sausage, ham or bacon are allowed. If there is some question about a specific food, do not eat it. Also, exclude any other food or beverage that is craved in excess because such items are frequently unsuspected causes of various medical or emotional problems.
|Cereals - Rice (rice puffs only), Oats – Oatmeal made with honey barley||Cereals - Foods containing wheat flour, (most cakes, cookies, bread, baked goods), corn, popcorn, cereal mixtures (Granola).|
|Fruits - Any fresh fruit, except citrus. Canned if in their own juice & without artificial color, sugar or preservatives.||Fruits - Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)|
|Vegetables - Any fresh vegetables, except corn and peas. Potatoes & homemade French Fries.||Vegetables - Any frozen or canned vegetables, corn, peas or mixed vegetables.|
|Meats - Chicken & turkey (non-basted), Louis Rich ground turkey, veal, beef, pork, lamb, fish, tuna.||Meats - Luncheon meats, wieners, bacon, artificially dyed hamburger/meat, ham, dyed salmon, lobster, breaded meats, meats with stuffing.|
|Beverages - Water, single herb or plain tea with honey, grape juice (bottled – Welch’s), frozen apple juice (Lincoln or pure apple), pure pineapple juice (no corn or dextrose).||Meats - Milk or dairy drinks with casein or whey, fruit beverages except those so specified, kool-aid, Coffee Rich (yellow dye), 7-Up, Squirt, Teem, cola, Dr. Pepper, Ginger ale.|
|Snacks - Potato chips (no additives), RyKrisp crackers & pure honey, raisins (unsulfured).||Snacks - Corn chips (Fritos), Chocolate/cocoa, hard candy, ice cream or sherbet.|
|Miscellaneous - Pure honey, homemade vinegar/oil dressing, sea salt, pepper, pure maple syrup, homemade soup.||Miscellaneous - Sugar, bread, cake, cookies, (except special recipes), eggs, dyed (colored) - vitamins, pills, mouthwash, toothpaste, medicines, cough syrups, etc., jelly or jam, Jello, Margarine/diet spreads (dyes & corn), peanut butter/peanuts, Sorbitol (corn), cheese and soy.|
How Do You Do The Second Part of The Diet?
Day 8 – Add milk
Day 9 – Add wheat
Day 10 – Add sugar
Day 11 - Add egg
Day 12 – Add cocoa
Day 13 – Add food coloring
Day 14 – Add corn
Day 15 – Add preservatives
Day 16 – Add citrus
Day 17 – Add peanut butter
During Part 2 of the diet, one food is reintroduced into the diet, in excess, each day. Keep detailed records of how you or your child feels at the beginning and the end of each day, and observe carefully for one hour after a food is tried or eaten again. Start with a teaspoon or ½ cup of the test food item and double the amount eaten every few hours, so that by the end of the day at least a “normal” amount has been ingested. Do any symptoms suddenly reappear? If there are no symptoms during the day, during the night or the next morning before breakfast, the food tested the day before is probably all right and may be eaten whenever desired. If the test food causes symptoms, stop eating it in all forms until you can secure the advice of your physician. Do not try another test food until the symptoms from the previous food test have subsided. Usually you will notice that symptoms caused by a food occur within one hour. Symptoms such as canker sores, bed-wetting, tight joints, ear fluid, and bowel problems can be caused by a food and tend to cause delayed reactions several hours later.
If symptoms persist, Alka-Seltzer Antacid Formula without aspirin (gold foil) or Alka-Aid can be purchased from the health food store. (Dose is 1 tablet for a 6 year-old, 2 tablets for a 12 year-old.) Don’t use if liver or kidney disease are present. The usual allergy medications can be taken, so your symptoms subside quickly. If concerned, check with the doctor. Remember: If one of the listed foods causes a reaction which is not helped by Alka-Seltzer in gold foil and which lasts over 24 hours, DO NOT TRY to check the response to another possible problem food until the reaction has entirely subsided.
Watch closely to see what happens each day. One food might cause a stuffy nose, the next, no reaction at all, the next a bellyache. Some reactions occur immediately, others in several hours. Once again, if a food obviously causes serious symptoms, it should not be tried. NEVER TEST ANY FOOD WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR’S ADVICE IF IT CAUSED SERIOUS MEDICAL PROBLEMS IN THE PAST. FOR EXAMPLE: IF EGG OR PEANUT CAUSED IMMEDIATE THROAT SWELLING OR FISH CAUSED SEVERE ASTHMA, IT IS UNSAFE TO TRY EVEN A SPECK OF THESE FOODS.
If you are uncertain whether a food causes symptoms or not, discontinue it until the other foods have been checked. Then try the suspect food again at a five day interval, i.e.: Tuesday and Saturday. See if symptoms recur each time.
If you want to learn even more about what each food does when it is eaten again, do the following:
1. For children, have them write and draw. Does either change or deteriorate before and 20 minutes after a food is eaten? If it does, the items ingested could affect your child’s school work.
2. Take the pulse. If it increases by 20 to 40 points after eating a particular food, once again your body could be warning about some food sensitivity.
3. Use a pocket peak flow meter if you have asthma. Use this before and 20 minutes after each food. If the reading on the gauge falls 15%, or over 50 or so points, that food or beverage could be the cause of wheezing.
Specific Details of Part 2 of Diet
Day 8: The day you add milk. Add lots of milk and cottage cheese. No butter, margarine or yellow cheese unless you are absolutely certain they contain NO yellow dyes.
Day 9: The day you add wheat, add Triscuits or pure wheat cereal. If you had trouble from milk, be sure NOT to give milk products. Use Italian bread or kosher bread because these should not contain milk (casein or whey), but always read labels to be sure. You can bake if you like, but you must not use eggs or sugar. Remember, eat no dairy products and do not drink any milk if these seemed to cause medical problems. If milk caused no problem, milk products can be eaten.
Day 10: The day you add sugar. Eat sugar cubes to eat and ad granulated sugar to the allowed foods. If milk or wheat caused trouble, they must be avoided or you can’t tell if the sugar is tolerated. Many react within one hour after 4-8 sugar cubes. Yeast overgrowth can cause sugar reactions as well.
Day 11: The day you add egg, eat them in usual forms, cooked or as eggnog. Remember, again, no wheat, milk or sugar can be consumed if any of these caused problems. Be sure to skip this food challenge if you already know egg is a problem.
Day 12: The day you add cocoa, use dark chocolate with water, cocoa (pure Hershey’s cocoa powder) and honey or pure maple syrup. No candy bars are allowed because they contain milk or corn. Remember no milk, wheat, sugar, dyes or eggs are allowed if any of these caused symptoms.
Day 13: The day you add food coloring, try Jello, jelly or artificially colored fruit beverages ( soda pop, Kool-aid), popsicles or cereal. Try to give lots of yellow, purple and red items because the patient might react to only one of these colors. Remember to avoid milk, wheat, cola or sugar in all forms if any of these were a problem. If sugar caused symptoms, use honey or pure maple syrup as a sweetener or add food coloring to plain pure gelatin. If milk, wheat or sugar were tolerated, they may be eaten.
Day 14: The day you add corn, try corn, corn meal, corn flakes and plain popcorn. The latter can be made with salt. If milk, wheat, sugar, dyes, eggs or chocolate cause trouble, you can’t give them on the same day you give corn. If you do, you won’t be able to tell which is at fault. Do not use butter on popcorn if there is a milk sensitivity.
Day 15: The day you add preservative, eat foods which contain any preservatives or food additives. Read every label. In particular, eat luncheon meat, bologna, hot dogs, bread, baked goods or soups which contain many preservatives and additives.
Day 16: The day you add citrus, eat a large amount of lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange as fresh fruit or in juice. Avoid artificial dyes if food colors were a problem.
Day 17: The day you add peanut butter, eat lots of peanut butter or peanuts. Test for this only if it’s a favorite food. Use Rykrisp if no wheat is allowed. Use pure peanut butter without additives (Smuckers).
Special Tips For The Food Elimination Diet
The “allowed” foods can be selected, combined and eaten in any quantity. If you are a bit suspicious, start with a tiny amount and increase during the day if no symptoms are revealed.
For beverage, you can mix the allowed fruits in the blender with spring water and honey (or pure maple syrup). Use these on cereal to replace milk. Use carbonated water to create pop.
Your usual medications can be taken during the diet. If you improve, you may find that certain antihistamines are needed less often by the end of the first week. Try to use only white pills (crushed for small children and placed in applesauce or mashed potatoes) or colorless liquids. Most liquid medications contain corn, sugar, artificial flavors and artificial dyes which can cause symptoms. Check with your pharmacist or physician about any questions you may have regarding this.
Once you determine which foods cause specific symptoms, you must discuss the problem with your physician. Some foods cannot be omitted for indefinite periods of time if proper nutrition is to be maintained. Call The Allergy Research Foundation at 716-875-5578 for the phone number of a dietician/nutritionist if you have any diet questions.
Do not try the diet when you have an infection or are receiving an antibiotic which contains dye, sugar, flavoring or corn.
Although symptoms from a single food vary, food sensitivities are often evident in several family members. For this reason, urge the entire family to do the diet. One person might develop headaches, another a stuffy nose and a third, hyperactivity, and another might wet the bed. The same food allergy, i.e., milk, can be a problem for several generations of a family. For this reason, make cooking easier by placing the entire family on a diet. A fringe benefit may be that you relieve some “emotional or learn-to-live-with-it” type health problems caused by certain foods or beverages in several family members.
If your child refuses the diet, try offering a reward. Promise a gala party if there is no cheating and if it is obvious that the child is truly trying very hard to cooperate in every way. The party should take place AFTER both parts of the diet are completed. At that time give your child the foods that caused the symptoms providing they were not severe or incapacitating. This will be a double check confirming the effect of these foods on your child. Alka-Aid (available at health food stores) will prevent or stop reactions in many children in 10-15 minutes depending upon whether it is given before or after a problem food is eaten.
If you or your child have asthma, add the test food back into the diet with extreme care. It is possible that an unsuspected food could precipitate a sudden severe asthma attack. Have asthma medications on hand during Part 2 of the diet and use the Pocket Peak Flow Meter to help find out exactly what is causing you or your child to wheeze. If you are concerned or your asthma has ever been severe or frightening, check carefully with you doctor before trying the diet.
If you or your child are worse during the first 2 to 3 days after the diet, this could just be “normal” withdrawal symptoms (i.e., nausea, headache, irritability). These usually subside by the fourth day. If you or your child are worse by the 5th or 6th day, suspect whatever you substituted for milk or whatever you are eating in excess while you are on the diet (i.e., potatoes).
If you are routinely worse (impatient, angry, tired, irritable, headachy, hyperactive) before meals, think about hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. If this is your problem, merely eating a small protein snack every hour or two all day might make you stay on a more even keel and feel much better.
What Else Is Inexpensive and Possibly Effective?
1. Stop all scented items, aerosols and chemical-smelling personal or cleaning preparations in your home (particularly in the bedroom and bathroom).
2. Compare to how you feel, act, behave, your pulse, your breathing, your writing, and your drawing before and 10 to 40 minutes after you eat or drink, go into every room at home/school/work, go outside versus inside, smell an unavoidable chemical or engage in your hobby. If you feel, act, or behave worse in some way, your pulse increases by 20, your breathing (Peak Flow Meter) drops 20%, or your writing or drawing is worse, find out what you ate, touched, or smelled that is a problem.
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