The Elimination Diet

I HATE the word “diet”. Nothing is worse than that word. Saying diet is voicing a symbol of restriction – just the sound of it makes me cringe with yearning for a plateful of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It makes me think of heroin-chick models of the 90s who need to eat a burger STAT. Nothing good can come of a diet….right?!

And yet, I’m doing it. I’m going on a DIET.

OK ok so before I whip myself with a wet noodle, I’ll explain myself.

My husband has been battling acid reflux for the past many years. His only symptom is a chronic cough. His voice sounds like he’d been out partying the night before, but never once has he have the feeling of heartburn. His symptoms never went away…the catch in his throat, the hoarseness, the coughing…was it a chronic cold? Pneumonia? Lung cancer? What could it possibly be??

Doctor after doctor, medication after medication and finally a GI doc did a scope and we had a diagnosis. He found that his esophagus was “like a Florida sunset” – red, inflamed, and angry due to constant acid reflux. This reflux was going allllllll the way up his esophagus to his vocal cords and causing his chronic cough.

Silent symptoms of Acid Reflux. Courtesy of:

So we tried the classic medication for reflux. A proton pump inhibitor (aka PPI – something similar to Prilosec) twice a day. Everyday. For the rest of his life.

And it worked!! But we didn’t like this as a long term solution. The doctor suggested he take calcium supplements as a PPI can inhibit your absorption of calcium. We figured this CAN’T be good in the long run. So we tried to ween him after a few months.

But the cough came back.

So we tried to take out the highly acidic foods from his diet.

And the cough came back.

And then we tried a glycemic index diet that was described in a book titled Heartburn: Fast Tract Digestion by Norman Robillard.

And the cough came back.

Back to the point where my husband is on the pills again twice a day. It progressed to the point where it is embarrassing to be with him coughing all the time. People look at him as though he’s contagious in public places.

So I looked into the most drastic thing we could do diet-wise where we could potentially find the culprit foods. An elimination diet fits the bill.

Soooooo what the heck IS an elimination diet??  It’s just that – you eliminate ANY potential allergen or irritation causing food for a few weeks and slowly work in other foods to see what’s causing the symptoms.  Foods such as: gluten, soy, corn, dairy, eggs, beef, alcohol, caffeine, citrus, legumes/beans/peanuts, nightshade vegetables, and anything processed. It sounds pretty simple in concept, but in reality?

courtesy of:

What the heck do you eat???

In a lot of ways, this is probably the simplest diet you could ask for. Chicken, rice, and veggies are going to be staples for the next few weeks. But eating the same thing every day in this household is NOT an option.

So I’m going to have to get creative with recipes and finding ways to keep the husband’s belly happy throughout this journey – there has already been one breakdown (OK I admit it was me having a fit when I realized that I couldn’t have eggs for breakfast and there are VERY limited options in the cereal aisle!)  I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.

I know this won’t be easy. But I’m hoping it’ll be worth it in the end. If this is what it takes to find out the culprit of my husband’s reflux, then I’m there 100%. I want him to be happy and healthy, and I’ll do anything I can to get him there.

Keep following for recipes and grocery lists – coming soon!

2 thoughts on “The Elimination Diet

  • March 19, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    My name is Vicki. I currently live in Seattle and found your blog via MRF sight. I have stage 4 melanoma. Gamma Knife and Ipi have been my current treatment. Ipi was a diaster. I have been on steroids since Feb 1 as it attacked my liver and has now left me with a lung met. Last round of blood work showed my liver enzymes going up instead of down. Do you have any natural suggestions I can try. I am using blood thistle and Dandelion root tea. I need to get off of steroids to start treatment. Scans and appoints next Wed and Thursday

    Also as an FYI I have reflux issues off and on and I swear by kimchi or fermented veggies.

    Thanks for the blog

    • March 20, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Vicki,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your progression and incredibly difficult journey. The Ipi/Nivo combo also wrecked havoc on my liver, forcing me to also go on steroids. Steroids are used to decrease the inflammation caused by the treatments – so the best way to help your body heal from the havoc and wean from the steroids (and hopefully get those enzyme numbers down) is to naturally decrease the inflammation. Dr. Weil (who I LOOOOOOVE) has some great info on an anti-inflammatory diet on his website:

      Other things to add in: Turmeric (the yellow spice in curry) has been repeatedly proven to be a great anti-inflammatory. You may also consider using essential oils such as frankincense, myrrh, and clove in a diffuser (with lots of deep breathing so they can get closer to the lung met). And never underestimate the power of visualization and meditation – everyday, visualize your body fighting the cancer and see yourself cancer free.

      Thank you for the kimchi suggestion – I’ll have to add that into the diet! Please keep us all updated on how the scans go next week! I’ll be thinking about you.



Leave a Reply