August is going to be an interesting month for me. First the good stuff: In August, the Fall issues of Twist Collective and Knitcircus will be published. I have a garment in each of those ‘zines and am very excited to see the final layout and photos of my garments. I will also be devoting much of August solely on a very large secret project that I’m cooking up.
Above Left: Snippet of one of the projects on the needles. You can see my draft pattern in the background. Right: Part of the main body of the 2nd project and a tiny sliver of a contrasting element. C’mon, did you really think I’d reveal the secret and actually show you details? This is all the hints I can give. Y’all will just have to be patient and wait for a few more days until the publications’ release.
And now, something not so exciting, but hopefully will be very good in the long run…I plan to start an elimination diet on Aug. 1. I’ve contemplated doing the diet for a while now, but I always came up with some sort of excuse and lacked the motivation. Given my lifelong problem with allergies, which seemed to have worsened in the last 2-3 years, I definitely need to do it now.
For over 6 months, I’ve been undergoing Allergen immunotherapy. And while I’ve seen some minor improvements already, the process is slow, time-consuming, frustrating and not to mention, costly (insurance covers most, but those copays add up). The treatments involves me getting weekly injections of custom-formulated serums of chemical and environmental allergens. My allergist generally starts patients on a tiny, tiny injection (we’re talking about like 1 drop) serum that’s diluted to 1:5000 (1 part serum to 5000 parts saline). Whereas the majority of people tolerate that very well, I was so sensitive that I experienced an anaphylactic reaction to that first injection and the Doc had to administer epinephrine as a result. So, she had to take me waaaay down and started me on a 1:50,000 serum. I am finally on the 1:5000 serum that “normal” people tend to start on.
Anyway, even with the immunotherapy, the highest allowed prescription for Allegra (other allergy drugs like Claritin & Zyrtec do nothing for me), inhalers, Advair (low-dose steroid), lots of $$ spent on super expensive mattress covers & filters and regular sinus rinses, I still get random eczema, hives, and other allergy-related reactions and breakouts that require me to supplement with OTC drugs like Benadryl and Sudafed.
Whatever the cost, difficulty or inconvenience, I don’t want to ever go back to this:
I’m really tired of it all, especially since my allergies aren’t that controlled on top of all the medications I’m taking. I suspect that there are foods contributing to some of these other issues, whether I’m just sensitive or even truly allergic to them. I already know that I’m sensitive or allergic to sulfites, preservatives, citrus and some melons. While the process will be very hard as I’ll have to give up things I love to eat, I think (I hope) that in the end, I will be much happier, more energetic, sleep better and just be much healthier. I am scheduled to have some food allergy testing done in December, and while food allergy testing can help, the tests can also register false positives and false negatives. With me playing my own food detective, I can probably pinpoint some of the other culprits and help my Doc to formulate a better diagnosis for me.
So with the Doc’s approval and my desire to have a better daily life, hopefully free of daily headaches, more energy, more sleep, better breathing and no more itching, I’ve committed myself to start the diet starting August 1. After doing more research and reading, it appears that given my ultra-sensitivity to so many things, I will need to eliminate lots of foods that other people on elimination diets can eat, which is a bit of a dismay. 😦 Because of some of my known and tested allergies, I need to eliminate foods that are commonly associated with those allergies. I’ll have to cut out all fruits, some of my favorite veggies and all grains (even rice or quinoa!) during the elimination period; it’s the only way that I can really test to see if I am sensitive or allergic to some of those foods.
The plan: Make my diet public to hopefully help me maintain the motivation. I’ll do a 3 week elimination period and only test low-suspect foods like broccoli, carrots, bananas and rice first. All other foods will be eliminated for 1 month before I start challenging and re-introducing them, slowly and one by one. I’ll be keeping a food diary of everything I eat (or rather, don’t eat!) and my reactions and how I feel everyday and before/after each meal.
Saying goodbye: It’s so hard to say goodbye to some of my favorite foods, and it’ll also be hard to see all the food-related post my foodie friends make on Twitter and Facebook. In “prepping” for this upcoming very restrictive diet, I downed lots of swiss cheese and a quart of ice cream in the span of 3 days. The rest of this week will be filled with indulgent meals of pasta, sweets, chocolate, breads, tofu and sushi.
Goodbye, my friends, I hope I get to see you again. I know that I may not taste some of you for a very long time, if ever again…