I am now going at this 'MI' from a different angle (see previous post).
Having done more research with Dr Google, I may be suffering from an intolerance to something I am eating or drinking.
What's the difference between an intolerance and an allergy?
When someone has a food allergy, their immune system wrongly sees the food as hostile and the body's defence mechanism springs into action. This produces a range of symptoms which can vary from mild itching to severe breathing difficulties or even shock. These symptoms usually happen immediately after eating the food.
When someone is intolerant to a food, symptoms take much longer to develop and are generally not life-threatening. However, a food intolerance can adversely affect long-term health.
Symptoms of food intolerance include:
Gas, cramps or bloating.
Irritability or nervousness.
Food intolerance can also lead to inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from harm. However, inflammation is harmful if it becomes chronic - and may lead to various health problems.
There are many ways that inflammation affects the body but I found some which were particularly relevant to how I have been feeling, these include:
Fatigue/loss of energy (tick)
Headaches (no tick)
Loss of appetite (I wish)
Muscle stiffness (tick)
Armed with this information from Dr Google I then looked into how you can find out if indeed you are intolerant to some foods and he came up with The Elimination Diet!!
What, you may ask, as indeed I did, is The Elimination Diet?
Apparently it means not eating anything........ well, not eating anything you want to eat.
Basically, you eliminate from your diet foods that are known to cause intolerance. You begin with a slightly harsh two-day smoothie detox and then you follow a slightly less harsh regime for 12 days, then you very gradually re-introduce the eliminated foods one at a time and see if you suffer any consequences of eating/drinking them. Another way of doing it is to eliminate one food item at a time....but what's the fun in that??
The list of naughty foods/drinks is quite extensive and bearing in mind I avoid animal products, the list of things I can actually eat and drink is quite tiny.
I cannot, in the first two days, have:.......wait for it........
Alcohol (hmm why did I put that first, is it because it will be missed the most??)
Chocolate (as above)
Anything from the Deadly Nightshade family - tomatoes, aubergine, chillies, peppers, potatoes (so no crisps....very sad face)
Citrus fruits - but also strawberries and kiwi.
Anything derived from wheat - basically everything like bread, cakes, biscuits and all nice things.
......did I mention alcohol and chocolate and crisps??
Any soya products - tofu, soya yoghurt, tempeh, miso, soy sauce. (basically everything I eat daily)
Nuts - no peanut butter!! mind you, I can't have the bread to put it on so maybe I'll cope, although eating it with a spoon is always good!
Legumes - chickpeas, kidney beans etc
Yeast of any sort, even nutritional yeast (which gives flavour to so many things when you can't have cheese)
Corn or anything derived from it.
By Day Three I can introduce brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, Jasmine rice and quinoa - things are looking up. I can also bring in some beans but pinto, black and white only together with one or two varieties of seeds.
I believe this is doable and may shed some light as to what is going on in my body.
The question is, after the first two weeks, when I am allowed to reintroduce one of the banned foods/drinks - which one should I try first?
Alcohol is a strong contender, but I do have kombucha to fall back on and at the end of the day I am trying to make myself better, so perhaps that'll have to wait a bit.
To be honest I think the things I will miss the most are the Deadly Nightshade family of foods - tomatoes and chillies particularly as who can eat a curry without them in it???
I will update after Week One has either been or not been completed!! I will also let you know what exactly I have been eating and whether I feel any different (if I stick it out longer than Tuesday).
Have any of you tried an Elimination Diet and if so please let the rest of us know how you got on.
Please note that there are many versions of the Elimination Diet, I am not recommending that you try this approach and indeed if you are going to drastically change your diet it would be wise to check with your gp before embarking, oh and warn your family because you might not be nice to be around when you can't eat crisps.....oh, that's just me then?
(For the first two days you can have any fruit/vegetables that are not on the above list and make them into smoothies for ease of digestion - I guess you could make them into smooth soups instead?)