There is a downside to investigating your diet. Favourite foods have to be excluded, you have cravings when first on the diet, many other important people, even some your relations, and maybe even your doctor, may not be supportive. You just feel like going bust and eating lots of off-diet foods. Remember that liked foods do not usually cause your symptoms to happen quickly. There is a pleasant lag time, but then symptoms hit during the night or next day. And you have cravings and you wish it was all easier. It can be so frustrating!
How do you make yourself more assertive about what you know is right for you. First look at what you wrote about what changed on the Low Chemical Diet when you first excluded all the suspect chemicals: additives, salicylates, amines, MSG and smells. Keep that note somewhere important to you. Remember that it is only 40 years since the idea that diet could help with skin rashes, hyperacitivity, concentration, mood and impulsivity in ADHD, headaches, migraine, eczema, IBS, was beginning. In those days you would have just had to put up with your symptoms. Now you know what changes (and the list of symptoms that improve is much longer now) you have to keep letting others know too. And if you know that smells add to your problem chemicals you have to work out how to minimise your exposure. This is not easy when you live in a block of flats near people who use high smell products. Increase awareness where it may be accepted. Control what you can, which is the food you eat.
By the way, did you check with your doctor on all the meds which may also help with your symptoms. Have you discussed antihistamines, treatments for gut discomfort and where to use Panadol when you have reactions. Do check on the colour coating of any tablets by rubbing your coloured tablet in a bowl of water and seeing just how much colour comes out. If you soak a coloured capsule it will also release colour just as it will your warm moist gut. Ask your chemist what are uncoloured and unflavoured options. Sometimes you just have to put up with a med knowing that the reaction will pass a three to five days after the med is finished.
Rather than “going bust” and having big diet breaks do make sure you have as broad a diet as possible. It is better to have a diet with more low risk foods rather than a strict one you can’t stick to. Note the pages in Are you Food sensitive? that show the full range to begin with, and then gradually test the foods you really want. Test the fruit you really love, and other foods. I have watched people who have had bad reactions to a bag of coloured lollies or a mint-flavoured reflux med tolerate just one glass per day of their favourite mixed drink or wine. The more scared you are the smaller the amount you eat at the beginning of the challenge food trial. But keep testing foods.
Check out whether things that are annoying can be managed. If you ask a butcher which cut of cryovac meat has just been opened he will tell you. You then learn if the amine level of that cut is low enough for you if eaten that day. Check on canned fish. If you don’t find the flavour strong use it. The same applies to peanut butter, also a handy source of protein. Of course leave out foods you have been advised to exclude for allergy reasons. But amine tolerance varies so you can test what adds to convenience.
Convenience matters. Those who do not need an elimination diet spend more than you on convenience foods and eating out. So on your diet you should allow yourself to buy easier-to-prepare small but good cuts of meats, poultry and fish and use frozen vegetables wherever you can.
Lastly you can remember how annoying life was for you before you found diet helped. As one mother said “A rotten awful diet is better than rotten awful symptoms!”