Elimination Diets Suck.

It’s been over a year since I gave up gluten. It’s been over 6 months since I discovered the magical supplement that lets me eat gluten without problem (CoQ10, can never say enough about it, seriously helped my fibro as well). Which makes my life a lot easier, but we’re still a mostly GF household because my toddler still needs to be gluten free.

Now it’s pretty much second nature. Grocery shopping isn’t hard once we figure out how the specific stores distribute gluten free stuff. Menu planning is simple. We just automatically focus on recipes that are either already gluten free or easily converted, and know where to look to find them. Today we went to the food court and discussed what we wanted to get- there was no agonizing over menus to figure out what’s safe for our toddler. We just know. We’re fortunate that it’s a pretty easy one to spot and also that our toddler’s severity of gluten sensitivity is low enough that some cross-contamination isn’t an issue. There are some people who can’t eat anything in a kitchen that works with gluten due to cross-contamination. That sucks.

It can be easy for me to forget what this was initially like. The first few months were absolute hell.

Before going gluten free, I had severe digestive problems. I had a very narrow range of foods I could eat. Gluten was a huge part of my diet. Gluten free breads were so expensive that I couldn’t just switch them out and gluten free baking is not easy to start with. It took trial and error to figure out which gluten free brands didn’t totally suck.

I spent a month basically starving. I spent many, many months going to restaurants and staring at menus and wanting to cry and scream because everything I wanted was something I couldn’t eat. A few times I cheated and suffered severely for it.

Every time I see talks of elimination diets, though, the memories come flooding back. Whenever I see parents talking about having to try eliminating something from their kid’s diet I sit there and go “How could I have survived putting my child through that?”. The learning curve is steep and unforgiving as an adult- it gets even worse when you’re starving your own child and panicking that it won’t really help and your kid is suffering for no reason. I also cannot imagine going through it while breastfeeding.

So to anyone facing an elimination diet:

Yes. It sucks. You can try to prepare yourself better than I did, but there is a steep learning curve no matter what you do. But you can do it, and you can come out the other end.

To anyone who hasn’t had to face an elimination diet and doesn’t get what all the fuss is:

Please be patient with whoever it is that’s going through it. It is very, very hard at the start. It sucks. And you may not get it, but just trust that most people aren’t going to go through it unless they seriously need to.

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