Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Dietician and a New Acronym

This winter, I attempted to fix my ongoing tummy problems with the FODMAP elimination diet. I purchased a book that suggested consulting a dietician, but I don't need no stinking dietician. It's just food. How hard can it be?

In short, it is very, very hard. I came out of my exploratory phase of eating nothing but Tostitos and Rice Krispies cereal knowing one thing: I can't eat fructose. Beyond that it was still a guessing game. Lactose was okay unless I had it with too much wheat. Or was fruit the culprit? It occurred to me that I still wasn't feeling well and had no idea why.

This is a meal that didn't bother me.
So I took the plunge and found a dietician. She suggested a Mediator Release Test of 150 foods and chemicals that would give a very scientific basis for my personal sensitivities. Obviously, I have some.

The test scored each substance and assigned it a point value. 0.0 foods are the ones that cause no reaction (inflammation, burning, general misery). The higher to point value, the greater my discomfort.

The testing is outside of the medical establishment in that my doctor's office wouldn't order a blood draw for it. The dietician is able to get around this by having an order prepared by the doctor that works at the lab in Florida where my blood was eventually sent.

If you're skeptical about this at all, keep it to yourself. It's important that I believe.

After FedEx-ing my blood vials to a lab in Florida, I met again with the dietician to go over the results. I'm not happy about what she had to say.

This is the handy wallet sized card of foods I might never be able to eat again. The two listed in pink, soybean and cranberry, are the very worst of the worst. The yellow ones are still bad. You'll note that fructose is on the list. I am vindicated and not a complete idiot. Apple, pear, and honey go along with that as they are high in fructose. But cocoa? My beloved chocolate? I couldn't think straight after seeing that. The dietitian's voice morphed into the sound grownups make in the Peanut's cartoons. I'd just eaten a bowl of oatmeal with CHOCOLATE CHIPS before walking into her office. If I'd have known those were going to be the last chocolate I would ever eat.... I would have... I would have... eaten them all individually after giving them special nicknames.

Another stunner on the list is that sneaky candida albicans or as we like to call it, yeast. Now I can eat wheat, but not yeast.


The dietician and I decided to start my LEAP ImmunoCalm Dietary Management Program at the beginning of August. Right now I'm focusing on awareness. I'm aware that I was eating a ton of soy and that it is nearly impossible to avoid in processed food. Hence, not eating many processed foods. I've given up chocolate. It seemed for several days that this might cause me to sprout a second angry head, but the most dangerous period is over. All family members are still alive. I almost don't crave it at all anymore. Except for all the time.

In August, I will start calming my immune system by eating only the foods my body tolerates really well. I got to pick foods that scored less than 0.7 on the MRT. The dietician kept track of the mix to make sure my total number stayed within the appropriate range for the first week of what they call "food reintroduction."

For the first seven days, I can eat:

I can have that burger in the picture. Just not with the onion or the lettuce or the bun. I can have the burger patty. I look forward to that.

August will be a challenge, much like those that the TV chefs do. Except they always stumble into homes that have fresh basil and fancy mushrooms in the refrigerator. This is going to be more like sandwiches made out of just meat.

Each week, I get to add foods with increasingly higher reactivity numbers. Eventually (as in 3-6 months) I can try cocoa again. I will mark that day on my calendar! Until then, I hope this works.