Phase 1. Gluten free diet trial
We went gluten free for two weeks then reintroduced it for one day. Shocked by how different I felt I went right back to the gluten free diet.
Phase 2. Dairy challenge and mold allergies
This was entirely unplanned. Once we had cut out gluten for a week or so, I started noticing abdominal pain after having dairy products. Around the same time I realized I had reactions to mold as well. It was odd to suddenly be able to sense these patterns.
Many of my favorite foods are dairy based but I couldn’t stay in denial much longer and finally did a dairy challenge.
Phase 3. Food chemical intolerance trials (salicylates, amines, free glutamate)
As I still suspected there was something that was bothering my partner we decided to look into this after tracking our diet and symptoms for a month and finding a suspected correlation.
Phase 4. Premature attempt at a less restricted diet
We thought we knew our problems and rushed back everything else only to have near constant reactions sending us back to the drawing board.
Phase 5. Series of eliminations and allergy testing
The more severe, sensitive, and immediate the reactions were, the more obvious they were to catch early on, once I recognized the possibility that I might be allergic or sensitive to things other than gluten.
Allergy testing partly confirmed what I already knew and illuminated a few that I had missed. But for a couple that I suspected but tested negative, I trusted this too much and ended up having dangerous reactions. A reminder that the ultimate test for food reactions is if you actually react when something is eaten, which may or may not correlate to skin test results.
Once the culprits were removed for good, the worst reactions were behind me. Also my tolerance level of salicylates improved to the point that I no longer have to think about it.
Phase 6. Finding the sneaky problem foods
There was still something causing headaches and diarrhea. It took more than a year of tracking food on and off until we finally nabbed soy and understood more about mold in food.
Phase 7. A new normal and gradual expansion of diet
Feeling healthier than ever with much fewer surprise reactions, I am now gradually expanding the diet again and enjoying foods that turned out to have been needlessly eliminated.