The next step.

Countdown Status: 35 days since beginning my elimination/detox diet with the Functional Medicine Center in Cleveland, Ohio. A whopping 52 days (at least) to go…but more on that later.

My first follow up appointment with my nutritionist was Friday, March 4. I was hopeful that some of my blood work would point to the culprit behind my acne, and that my diet would become a bit more relaxed. I was wrong…

But, before I get to the appointment itself, I wanted to take a quick moment to reflect on the last 5 weeks. In terms of progression to wellness, I’ve lost 6.6 pounds (~4.2%) since beginning the elimination/detox diet on February 1. Granted, weight loss was not on my list of goals for this process, but it’s a nice bonus. I’ve also been running and strength training a bit more as well, and as a result I’ve also lost 2.2% body fat, 1″ from my waist, 1/2″ from my hips, and 1/2″ from my calf. I also increased the number of push-ups I can do in 60 seconds from 42 to 46. I had a post-assessment at my gym on Friday morning as well (the source of my progress tracking), so I was pretty excited heading into my nutrition appointment.

In preparation for the nutrition appointment, I had to get a $208 “IgG Food Antibody Assessment” blood test done. Basically, the purpose of this assessment was to test my blood against 81 different foods to see if I react negatively with each food. I was so hopeful that this test would provide answers, and that I would be able to reincorporate many foods back into my diet. Instead I learned that based on my current gut health, I have the potential to negatively react with cottage cheese, string beans, egg whites, egg yolks, sole, walnuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, yeast, and almonds.

So, instead of adding more options into my currently highly-restrictive diet, I get to remove all of the above foods (if not already removed). This includes removing eggs and almonds, two of my dietary staples. I was eating eggs daily, and almonds multiple times each day in a variety of forms (almond milk, almond butter, almond cream cheese, raw almonds).

I also learned that I tested for high levels of candida (yeast) in my gut and will likely need to be treated with a course of anti-fungal medication. I’ve done a bit of research on my own and will post more this week about the possible cause for high levels of candida as well as its probable impact on my skin, however for now the important dietary consideration is also the removal of fermented foods. I was encouraged to eliminate many fermented foods already, but I now must also avoid mushrooms, and any vinegar other than apple cider vinegar.

All in all, I left the appointment pretty disappointed. I was hopeful that my diet would be expanded, not further restricted. But, I committed to this journey 100% and am still very fortunate that my limited diet is the biggest hardship in my life right now.

In terms of good news, I am able to slowly reincorporate 1 serving of quinoa or brown rice each day (after following a food reintroduction plan). I also was granted permission to add 1-2 cups of green tea into my regimen to help with my energy levels. Finally, my allowable servings within each food group (except fruits) were expanded to accommodate my current level of daily activity. I’ve been so hungry (and cranky) for the past five weeks, and even after only two days of the changed diet, I am much, much happier.

To keep me sane until my April 27 follow up appointment (with both the doctor and the nutritionist this time), I am going to try to branch out in terms of recipes. I’ll be posting my daily food intake with greater frequency, and will continue to explore the impact of my candida levels on my skin!

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