How My Husband Found Out He Had A Food Allergy
In yesterday’s video I briefly mentioned that recently we discovered my husband Gede is allergic to eggs. Over the last few months he developed an itchy rash that covered his entire body, and through experimenting with various elimination diets and juice fasting, we’re finally able to pinpoint exactly what was causing the problem.
I thought I’d share with you today what we did to figure out what he was allergic to, in case you suspect you might have a food allergy or food sensitivity.
Gede’s Allergy Symptoms & Rash
Gede developed a rash a few months ago while we were in the peak of the rainy season, which in Bali is the hottest time of the year. At first he thought it was a heat rash. The rash itself made his skin very rough and itchy, but didn’t appear red, nor did he have hives or welts. At first it was just isolated on his upper chest, shoulders, and back.
Within a few weeks, the rash began slowly spreading all over his body (except his face, palms of his hands, and soles of his feet).
Experiment #1 – Changing Laundry Detergents & Soaps
Since his rash was spreading everywhere but his face, at first we thought he might be having an allergic reaction to something that is in contact with his skin, like soaps, skin care products, or the laundry detergent used to wash his clothing and bed linens. We experimented with trying a different laundry detergent and body soaps (all of which are made from natural ingredients and fragrance-free). This had no effect on the rash.
Experiment #2 – Juice Fasting
If changing the detergents and soaps had no effect on the rash, we suspected it must be something in his diet. He eats a predominantly asian diet, and therefore no dairy, he barely eats anything with gluten, and rarely eats corn (these foods are all allergenic foods). He does occasionally eat tempeh and tofu (which are made from soy), and he eats eggs daily. Here in Indonesia many foods can be prepared with MSG or ingredients that contain MSG and food additives, which are known allergens. If you’re eating out here, there’s always the possibility that these food additives are added to your food. So there were a few things we were suspecting!
At first we decided to put him on a Juice Fast for a week to see if by eliminating all allergenic food this would help to eliminate the rash and give us an indication that it is a food allergy that’s causing the problem.
Gede did the Juice Fast for a week, but his rash didn’t improve. I have to say I was really surprised, I thought by at least the 5th day, he should show some signs of improvement, but he didn’t!
Experiment #3 – Eliminate the most loved allergenic food
In my line of work, what I see most often with my coaching clients is the one food they love the most and have the most difficult time giving up, is usually the one food that is causing the most issues. Every time a coaching clients comes to me with a health or weight issue and says “What do you think of this food, can I still eat it?” or they say “I know a lot of people say I shouldn’t eat it, but what do you think?” – it’s usually the very food that is standing in their way. Not many people will ask me if they really need to give up celery or broccoli, but many people ask me if they really need to give up bread, cheese, and alcohol.
Even though Gede already did a week on a juice fast and consumed no allergenic food, we decided he needed to continue experimenting with an elimination diet, and eliminate one allergenic food at a time, for a length of time in order to figure out what exactly was causing the problem.
The first food we decided to eliminate was eggs. Gede loves eggs, and he eats them every single day. Gede loves eggs like many people love chocolate, and because of that I knew this was the first food that needed to go (and would most probably be the source of the problem).
It actually took 3 weeks of being on a diet that was 100% egg-free for him to start seeing improvements in his rash and for it to eventually heal completely. That’s 3 weeks, plus a one week juice fast. 4 weeks in total to see improvements! I’m emphasizing how long it took to see improvements because many people suspect they have food allergies or sensitivities but only do an elimination diet for a few days and if they don’t see any improvement, they give up. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than just a few days, and in Gede’s case it took a month to see any change.
After he did a few weeks on the egg-free diet and the rash was clearing up, for some reason Gede went back to eating eggs again (I guess he was in denial that it really could be his beloved favourite food that was causing his problem), and you know what, that rash came back within 3 days. He quickly went back to his egg-free diet and it looks like he’s too scared to eat eggs ever again!
If you suspect you have a food allergy
If you think you have a food allergy or food sensitivity, do an elimination diet, and eliminate one allergenic food at a time for 2-4 weeks.
For Gede, he was much more open and “ready” to doing the elimination diet after doing a Juice Fast for a week, as opposed to just jumping into the elimination diet first. I think the juice fast strengthened his willpower and made him feel really good, that by the end of the fast, he was much more willing and open to make further changes to his diet.
I wouldn’t recommend just doing a juice fast to know for sure if you have food allergies because you need the elimination diet to figure out exactly what you are allergic to. A Juice Fast is great to jump start things and get you used to be on a restrictive diet, but the elimination diet is key in targeting the source of the problem.
Should you get allergy tests?
Yes! Here in Indonesia allergy tests aren’t as readily available as they are in the West, so we did an elimination diet, which is an accurate option (especially if you’re having signs and symptoms of a food allergy). We also consulted with a doctor to look at the rash to verify it is in fact an allergic reaction, and not some other skin issue.
For more on how we figured out Gede is allergic to eggs, watch today’s video below!