Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Learning about TED

In an effort to be informed and prepared for the TED (Total Elimination Diet), I've been doing some research online. Forums have been particularly helpful; reading firsthand accounts from fellow breastfeeding moms has been interesting. Here are a few questions to which I found answers:

  • What are the most commonly allergenic foods? These 8 foods account for 90% of food allergies:
    Milk & dairy products (from cows)
    Soy & soy products
    Tree nuts

    Most of these are considered "healthy" sources of protein! And those first 3 are heavily subsidized by our government, so they are cheaply produced, processed, and in almost everything. Next time you're at the store, try to find a box or package of food that does not contain cow dairy, wheat, or soy. Unless you look in the produce section, this could be difficult.

    Corn & corn products are a swift runner-up, possibly due to its relatively recent subsidization and introduction to most processed foods as additives.
  • Why only range-fed/free-range? won't cage-free and/or organic do? Range-fed animals eat a healthy, natural variety of grasses and plants (and bugs). Most animals are fed, or at least finished on, grains like wheat and corn. Wheat and corn are two of the most common allergens. If you are what you eat, then what you eat eats matters, too. Think of the whole food chain. (Note: the USDA has some sketchy requirements for the use of these terms.)
  • I can still take my multivitamin supplement and get all the nutrients this diet lack, right Not if it contains any of those top allergens. I checked the label of my Women's One-a-Day vitamin and it contains soy lecithin as well as partially hydrogenated soybean oil (how did I miss those when I bought it??). The best bet is individual vitamin supplements, like a straight calcium or iron pill. Actually, the best bet is to get from food! So my first choices for foods to add back into my diet will be very healthy choices.

I still have a lot of questions, though!
  • Can I use olive oil to cook?
  • My rice milk has evaporated cane juice and other stuff in it. Does that mean sugar is ok? How about honey? Brown sugar? Maple syrup?
  • Can I use spices other than salt and pepper? I know I can't use stuff like garlic or onion yet, but what about cinnamon or thyme?
  • Obviously caffeinated drinks are not allowed, but what about herbal teas? I can get a good amount of vitamins and trace minerals from raspberry leaf, and iron from nettles. Herbs are great supplements! Are there any that aren't ok on the diet?
  • What kind of rice cereal is allowed? I've read a lot of forum posts mentioning boxed, processed rice-based cereals. I thought it meant something like this.
  • What's the best way to test a food for a threshold issue? For example, if a little bit of egg is ok, how do I go about figuring out the allowable quantity?

I've still got a lot of learning to do! But at least I know I'm on the right track for discovering Miles's food sensitivities.

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