Dear me, readers! We have got a ton of catching up to do. The last time we met, I was heading over to an integrative clinic to be tested for food sensitivities. I was feeling bummed about my newly discovered rosacea but also felt cautiously optimistic that a food sensitivity test would help unravel most of the mysteries of the universe for me…or at least indicate which foods I should be avoiding to maintain optimal health.

That’s not my cake, by the way. That’s the cheesecake that Marty bought himself on my birthday. I wasn’t able to indulge in anything sweet by then, and Marty has since left the dairy train as well.

Of course, because I had hoped and prayed beforehand that oats would not show up as a red flag on the test, guess which food I tested the worst, by far for? Yes, readers– you guessed it: rolled stinking oats. Other foods that came up in the “Probably Avoid” category included: garlic, onions, lemons (NOOOOOO!!), yeast, artichokes, potatoes, leeks, and– strangely enough– lettuce. (Honestly. Who on earth reacts to something as innocuous as lettuce? Only the cool kids, dear readers: only the cool kids.)

Vowing to adhere to the test recommendations, I promptly cut out all of those foods from my diet. I’m not going to lie– it was difficult, especially because we were in the height of harbour season and even the organic, vegan takeout place that we normally frequent in the summer has onions and garlic in basically everything. I stuck to it, though, crafting salads out of kale or spinach and dousing them in a makeshift apple cider vinaigrette, drinking green smoothies for breakfast every morning (the one main component of the Beauty Detox Solution that I was still able to maintain), and requesting onion-free options whenever we had to stoop low and order a dinner from the Noodle Box.

My skin slowly improved but was still a long way from clearing up completely before Labour Day hit. I did pretty well over the Labour Day weekend, food-wise, but then the stress of the whole summer collapsed on me. Before I knew it, Marty and I were declaring it our first day off after 51 straight days at work (!!), and we were riding our bikes 25km to the famed Butchart Gardens.

So what, I haven’t ridden longer than 5km for half a year? Let’s do this 50km round-trip ride!

En route to the Gardens, we stopped at the Red Barn Market, where I ordered a sandwich. My first slices of bread in nearly 2 months.

No condiments, mostly veg, but omg! There are two pieces of bread on that there sandwich!!

Emboldened by my bread-eating bad-assery, I ordered a whole apple pie on the way back and downed about a third of it before hauling myself back on the bike saddle and riding the rest of the way home. I know. I never would have thought that marble rye bread was a gateway drug, but there you have it. I suddenly– and unceremoniously– fell off that Holistic Health bandwagon hard.

At least the Gardens were beautiful

September and October were blurs of eating anything and everything I could get my hands on. I rationalized. A lot. I was craving something warm and satiating for breakfast, so I cooked up big pots of rolled oats every morning. They can’t be *that* bad for me; after all, they’re gluten free! I started making thick soups and stews using onions, garlic, and potatoes. Maybe the test was wrong! I ate a lot of cookies. What! Nobody’s perfect! Then, those brutal candida devils multiplied en masse in my gut  and  started rearing their ugly heads. My body became a living warzone, with my mind trying in desperation to resist incredible cravings for sweets, starches, and breads but my body roaring FEED ME SUGAR!!” with startling ferocity.

Recently, I took a simple, at-home saliva test for candida overgrowth, and when I failed it with remarkable speed and efficiency,  I knew what I had to do.

Not at our recent art exhibition, but notice the cutesy (or sickening/nauseating) matching outfits. Pink and brown couple for the win!

Obviously, I waited until after our art exhibition had opened, and then Marty and I embarked on an elimination diet together. We eliminated soy, dairy (him), corn, gluten, processed sugars, fruit (me), eggs, yeast, and all of the foods that tested high on our sensitivity tests. For two weeks, we will eat a clean diet and then will start introducing items back into our diets  individually to see if we show any adverse effects. So far, we’ve done a week, and I’m definitely noticing a positive difference.

I’m trying to keep our meals really simple, but what’s struck me at this point is how much I usually rely on Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy) to season our foods. I’m literally lost without it. There have been no soups to speak of lately, mainly because I can’t figure out how to make them (as) delicious without a base of onions and garlic, and I also haven’t been eating any cold salads for this 2-week period. I usually make my salad dressings with lemon (out), Bragg’s (out), and apple cider vinegar (out for Marty), so I’ll have to wait until we challenge those foods to see whether salads will come back into regular rotation.

Mostly, I’m ready to feel like myself again, and if an elimination diet will help me get there, so be it. What about you, dear readers: Have you ever done an elimination diet? Any suggestions or tips? Is there a particular food that you’d be lost without?


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