Six Months Gluten, Dairy, Peanut and Banana Free.
As of today, I have been gluten, dairy, peanut and banana free for six months. When I first started this, it was daunting. My doctor recommended that I eliminate these foods from my diet for a full year to see what it would do for the inflammation in my blood and how I felt overall. About a week into this diet, I stated there was no way I could do a full year and I reduced it down to six months.
As a brief backstory, as a baby, I was allergic to milk. I'm actually not sure I ever got over this because milk and I have never been good friends and I've tried to avoid it most of my life. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was in high school. I had a positive biopsy for celiacs disease in my early 20s. I actually followed that diet for nearly a year back then but didn't notice a real difference. Since my 20s though, I have followed a fairly organic, all natural diet. It is VERY apparent to me when I eat preservatives, fried or fatty foods and just crap in general. My crohn's flares and my body doesn't feel good.
Since around this time last year, my body started really feeling off and I had noticeable physical changes including a lot of pain in my feet (read more about that here). By December, my head was feeling super foggy and I had no energy. While part of me thought, "Oh, this is what 35 feels like," another part of me believed something wasn't right. I have blood work done every three to six months and for ages, it has been off. Not super off, but also not right. One of my doctors in Belgium asked if I had had allergy blood work done. Not since childhood, so we pulled more blood and got the above results.
The gluten didn't surprise me thanks to the celiacs and the milk didn't surprise me because I feel awful after I eat it. The banana and peanuts super surprised me. Most of the grains are on the lower scale of inflammation but basically every meal I ate these foods. It wasn't enough to cause major problems, but I believe it was enough to keep things off. I had blood work done at three months into this diet and it was still slightly off but improving. I recently had blood work done at six months and it was basically completely normal. I also feel much better; that sense of brain fog as gone away. My feet haven't improved at all....
When I said I could only do this for six months, it was while it was hard. I missed foods, I thought about all the things I couldn't have. At one point, I think around May, I started noticing how different I felt and could see physical changes in my body, so I embraced this diet. I realized it isn't that hard. I simply eat real food, real fruits, real vegetables and real meats. I rarely try to come up with GF/DF substitutes because they are rarely good and I don't actually need them. I can find sustenance and enjoyment in real foods.
So as of six months in, I don't see myself going off this diet anytime soon. It might actually be a lifestyle, not a diet. I feel so, so, so much better eating this way. I try not to be one of those people who makes a big deal out of it. I make it as easy on me and everyone else as possible. I travel a lot, often in countries where I don't speak the language, so I simply aim for the best. If I get it wrong, it'll be okay. I also always carry my own snacks. And occasionally, like while at Oktoberfest, I can choose to go off the diet. I can count five times that I've knowingly gone off the diet and yes, I felt bad afterwards, but they were all worth it.