The difficulty with having a digestive disorder and being a food lover is, the two just don’t go hand in hand. In fact, quite the opposite, as soon as you present as ill any health professional in the educated world is most likely going to put you on some kind of a restricted diet. The first time I went to a GP with what we thought was gastro, he advised me to go on a 24 hour fast, drinking only lemonade to sustain my energy. Years have passed and since then I’ve tried gluten free, dairy free, grain free, paleo, primal and GAPS… all without success. Tempting as it is to throw in the towel and gorge on ice cream sandwiches, I’m still seeking the answer to my symptoms (I might add, if you are reading this blog in chronological order, my “transit time test” has thus far proved to be inconclusive. *sigh*). And so… another day, another “crazy diet”!
Many of you with long term health concerns will be familiar with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH)elimination diet, designed to isolate and ascertain food allergies and intolerances or, as it’s more commonly known on the interwebs, the Failsafe Diet. The diet eliminates salicylates, amines, glutamates and additives. Having read Sue Dengate’s enlightening book on the subject, Fed Up, I was already aware of the myriad of problems intolerances could cause, ranging from an itchy throat to a foul mood. As digestive problems didn’t feature strongly in the text, I dismissed the Failsafe Diet as being a last resort for me, something I probably wouldn’t need to do. Yet here I find myself, stationed firmly at the last resort, considering all kinds of desperate measures.
Having undergone Vega testing with my new naturopath (the Vega machine reads your body’s energy and then contrasts how that changes when you are in contact with certain food substances… yes, I told you I was considering all sorts of weird and wonderful methods!) we established that salicylates are probably not an issue for me. While I confess, I’m not 100% sold on the effectiveness of Vega, I wasn’t about to argue with a decision which had just opened up a whole world of edible possibilities. Salicylates, you see, means a whole gamut of fruit and vegetables and, as such, the cornerstone of my eating habits.
With salicylates included, but dairy and most grains out, my diet looks less like the classic RPAH diet and more like Toria’s Modified Failsafe Diet. For the next 2 weeks I will consume only the following:
Green vegetables (including peas, leeks, avocado and scallions, but not cabbage, kohl rabi or any herbs bar parsley)
Fruit (max 3 serves per day)
Stone fruit (including mango!)
1 cup of freshly brewed espresso coffee per day (phew!)
Herbal tea (not fruit tea though)
Diluted pear juice
White sugar (used sparingly)
By the end of 2 weeks, any benefit or lack thereof should be realised and we can being to “challenge” my stomach with amines, glutamates, dairy or the much maligned grain group of food products. Strangely, I’m actually feeling a little bit excited about the whole experience!