Process of Elimination (Part 2)


As many of you know from reading this post, I recently began a strict elimination diet to determine if I have developed new food intolerances or allergies and discover a possible link between my diet and symptoms I experience on a regular basis, particularly eczema. For full disclosure, I began this trial with a very small, red, itchy patch of eczema on my left ring finger and wrist. My plan included eliminating all wheat and gluten from my diet for one week, possibly two, and monitor my progress and symptoms. Three days in to this food experiment and I already notice major flaws. In the last 72 hours, I have consumed fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade soup, baked salmon, lean beef, and gluten-free grains like brown rice and quinoa, but the eczema patches on my left hand have gotten WORSE, much worse.

Here’s a quick recap of my last few meals:

Lunch // homemade vegetable soup (onion, potato, sweet potato, corn, cabbage, and tomato juice)
Dinner // chopped salad (romaine lettuce, Manchego cheese, cucumbers, black olives, broccoli, green onion, cherry tomatoes, and poppy seed dressing)
Snacks // banana and clementine oranges

Breakfast // scrambled eggs with shredded Manchego cheese, a banana, and sliced strawberries
Lunch // baked salmon (garlic, Sriracha, and sweet-n-sour sauce) with vegetable and wild rice-quinoa mixture (onion, red bell pepper, corn, wild rice, and quinoa)
Dinner // baked salmon, vegetable-rice mixture, and chopped salad

Breakfast // Banana and sliced strawberries
Lunch // Ginger-Broccoli-Beef Stir-fry (ginger, gluten-free soy sauce, rice vinegar, corn starch, green onion) with brown rice
Dinner // baked salmon, vegetable-rice mixture, and chopped salad

While I like the gluten-free recipes I’ve made using fresh, wholesome ingredients, and I have yet to feel hungry or crave bread or pasta, my eczema has gotten much worse in the last three days. This is not good. Even worse than the painful, itchy, embarrassing, bright red rash on my hand is the realization that I must go deeper into the elimination diet than I wanted. I have to go where I did not want to go. I must eliminate more food and food groups. Not just any foods, but foods that I really enjoy and have gotten accustomed to eating on a regular basis. This is outside of my comfort zone, but I’ve got to do something in order to find relief. Plus, I feel as if this elimination test is proactive, preliminary work before going to an allergy doctor for extensive and pricey testing.


Perhaps I’ve been feeding myself “poison” all along. Similar to when I ate ice cream, pudding, and cheesy pasta dishes that were soft and creamy when my mouth and digestive tract were full of painful ulcers and lacerations only to be diagnosed with a severe dairy (cow’s milk) allergy. Foods that were soft on the palette, easy to swallow, were actually the culprit. Go figure. Is history repeating itself?

WHEAT // Until three days ago, I ate a considerably amount of simple carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and processed foods containing wheat and gluten. Until I find relief with the eczema, I will continue avoiding these ingredients. But that doesn’t mean I won’t crave a piece of toast or granola or pasta.

EGGS // Scrambled eggs are out … and I was just beginning to like them again after a 10-year hiatus.

DAIRY // In regards to cow’s milk, this is a non-issue. But it looks like Manchego cheese (made from sheep’s milk) is out.

SOY // My optimistic, positive attitude just took a nosedive. When I was diagnosed with a severe cow’s milk allergy in 2003, I transitioned to using many soy-based products including butter, sour cream and cream cheese made from tofu, edamame (whole soybeans in the pod), soy yogurt, and soy milk. This is rocking my boat and meddling in my business. I really, really hope my eczema is not caused by soy.

RED MEAT // Are you kidding me? I live in Texas, the beef capital of the world. I’ve never met a ribeye steak I didn’t love. Unless, of course, it was overcooked. But eliminating red meat, really? This is a two-edge sword because Husband and I do not buy the over-priced, over-processed, hormone-laden beef found at the local grocery store. Instead, Husband’s father and brother raise steers and we have the meat butchered and packaged for our families.

CITRUS FRUITS // I’ve always enjoyed fruits, including citrus. Fortunately, there are lots of options of non-citrus fruits in the produce section: watermelon, apples, cantaloupe, pineapple, pear, kiwi, mango, peaches, tomatoes and dark berries, including cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.

SHELL FISH // My sushi days are over. Besides the soy paper used to wrap rolls, most sushi rolls contain some type of fish, seafood, or shell fish like crab or shrimp. Another sad revelation: imitation crab (most often used to sushi rolls) contains gluten. FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC.

SUGAR // This might not be as obvious as one might think. While I stopped drinking sweet tea the day I found out I was pregnant (May 20, 2013), and have had no caffeine either, there are still several ways sugar sneaks in to my regular diet: high fructose corn syrup (sauces, salad dressings, ketchup, etc.), dextrose (Jawbreakers candies, chewing gum, breath mints, etc.), packaged snacks and cereals, baked goods (cakes, pies, and cookies), and maple syrup. If I crave something sweet, I need to eat a piece of fruit. But not citrus fruits. UGH.

I guess this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where I’m supposed to put my big girl panties on and move forward … without wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, red meat, citrus fruit, and sugar. If you need me, I’ll be in the corner pouting. On a brighter note, I’ve been to the gym every day this week. If I can’t eat foods that I love, then I might as well go to the gym, right?

Hopefully a complete elimination diet will have positive results and I’ll have better news to report next week on my progress … stay tuned!

By |2014-10-09T08:15:44+00:00October 9th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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  1. Celeste Zachry October 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm - Reply


    • Nicole October 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      By the time the 18th rolls around, I might be swimming in a pool of Ranch dressing and saying SCREW THIS!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, I’m up for anything. HA!!!!!!

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM, Three 31 wrote:


  2. Lisa October 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    Ugh. That sucks that it’s still getting worse instead of better. 🙁 Sorry I haven’t kept up w/your elimination diet! You know I know how that is. I decided to drop gluten on a whim on day last January, and almost 2 years later, I’m still avoiding it like the plague most of the time. (Sometimes I have some at certain restaurants or on vacations, but for the most part, thanks so keeping super detailed food logs and symptom logs over the first 6 months of my experiment, I know when to stop before I’ll end up with a monster headache the next day.) Here’s hoping it gets easier and gets you some answers!

    • Nicole October 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      Lisa, if you’ve noticed an increase “page view” on your gluten blog posts, it’s ME. Guilty. 🙂 I’m sending you an email, I have some questions for you.

      On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 11:01 PM, Three 31 wrote:


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