After sticking to my elimination diet for 2 weeks and being symptom-free for at least 5 days in a row, I did my first challenge. I finally decided to go with something I thought was relatively safe: creme fraiche! High in fat, low in protein and lactose, I thought it would be a yummy treat and indeed, it was! I wanted to check if dairy products were a problem for me. I was still eating butter but not quite sure whether it was a good idea or not, so I did this creme fraiche challenge.
I ate the whole tub at once (200 g or something like that). It was like delicious fatty yogurt. It didn’t take long before I had bloating, abdominal pain, insomnia, increased heart rate, nausea, headaches, bad mood, brain fog, lack of concentration and fatigue… It lasted 2 days and I even had withdrawal symptoms (pretty much the same symptoms) three days after.
Although my challenge was unsuccessful, at least I now know for sure that dairy don’t agree with me. The full tub of creme fraiche I ate contained 4 g of protein (mainly casein I suspect) and 6 g of sugars (which are lactose in this case). Because I didn’t have diarrhea, I suspect that the casein was probably the culprit. So I decided it was probably better to let go of my beloved butter and fully transition to ghee instead to be on the safe side and avoid eating any casein that could prevent me from fully recovering.
It took me almost a week to recover and then I waited until I had 4-5 days in a row without symptoms before doing my second challenge… dark chocolate! If you read my blog in the last month, you know how much I love my dark chocolate and I haven’t had any for…. quite a long time! I actually never thought I could live without chocolate… but wait a minute, I also thought I couldn’t live without my oatmeal, cheese and peanut butter either! lol Nothing is impossible!
To make sure I would be able to detect symptoms without making me too sick, I decided to have 20 g of 85% dark chocolate (without dairy, but with a bit of soy lecithin) to check my tolerance to amines… It was good, but not as good as I expected actually after wishing to eat chocolate for so long, my expectations were a bit too high I guess!
I had some symptoms within a few hours: loud and fast heartbeat, abdominal pain and a restless night. The next day was not so bad, but the day after, I had cramps, nausea, bloating, brain fog, fatigue and insomnia…
So no more chocolate for me… It is actually sad for me to admit that I am completely turned off by chocolate for now…
Just as I started to feel better, I had a delicious Australian grass-fed rump steak last Sunday and started feeling sick within a few hours and the next day… Because I didn’t eat anything different, I suspect it is the meat, which has either 1) been aged to long or 2) be browned too much.
Fresh beef is relatively low in amines, but aging it over 14 days increases its amines content. Cooking it until it browns also increases its amine content and as you can see on the pic below, I wanted nice grill lines on my steak… Next time I go to the butcher, I’ll ask about the aging of the meat to figure out if it was their fault or mine!
After my few unsuccessful attempts, I will not be challenging any new foods for a few weeks. Up to now, I have been working for home and I am happy I did because I don’t know how I would have managed to keep a “real” job in the last months. It is only a 6-wk contract and I don’t want to be sick while working and being away from home.
I will take advantage of the next 6 weeks to stick to my safe foods to make sure I feel good. I believe it is probably a very good timing because I am actually pretty happy to have figured out a list of foods that I tolerate well and that help me be symptom-free. In the last months, my ratio of bad days to good days is pretty high and I think my body probably needs more good days to heal and recover fully.
Each time I get a bad reaction, I gain 2-3 lbs, probably because of the inflammation and cortisol I suspect and it takes me almost a week to recover. Once I get better and become symptom-free, I can lose the weight relatively easily.
Here are my safe foods combining Paleo + low food chemicals (FAILSAFE) + low-FODMAPs (fermentable carbohydrates): beef, chicken, ghee, peeled zucchini, peeled cucumber, green beans, carrot and bean sprouts (except for the bean sprouts, which I can have 2 cups a day of, I limit the other vegetables to less than 1 cup a day)
My goal is to be symptom-free until the end of September and I hope my body will then be ready to try new foods…. Wish me luck!