After 10 weeks on the Elimination Diet our experiment has come to an end. It's really hard to put into words how this has impacted our lives. Much has been discovered about not only our bodies, but our personalities as well. Here are some of the highlights:
1. This is the first time EVER that I've truly controlled the eating environment in the house. If just wasn't here, so we couldn't eat it. (Well, actually it was all in the garage and way to cold to go out there.) This was probably the most helpful thing ever. If it's not here, it can't call my name to come and consume it. It's true.
2. I think we would all testify that we feel not just good, but healthy. High energy levels. Able to sleep well at night. Fewer winter colds/flu this year. Better skin. Stamina for exercise. More than anything, I believe this to be the absence of preservatives, chemicals and dyes in our foods.
3. GREAT progress has been made for those who were having sensory issues related to clothing. I don't think I can explain the battles that had been waged and tears shed over clothing, cutting clothing/tags, inability to sit still due to itching and scratching and general grumpiness. It was wearing us all down and I was at a loss as to what to do. Nearly three months later, the skin discomfort is gone. Jeans, turtlenecks, coats in the car are the norm. I never imagined a change in diet could bring these results.
4. The eczema, though not completely gone, is on its way out the door. The actual patches of inflammation are gone. The skin is still rough and cracked in some areas, but this is healing quickly. It certainly has taken its time working through her system, but we are hopeful that with diligence in time it will be a thing of the past.
5. There has been a marked improvement in spelling and multiplication retention. What once was there one day and gone the next is sticking. When she looked up at me the other day while doing math and asked, "8x6 is 48. Right mom?" I just about cried. She knows the answers, but is still lacks the confidence to know that she is actually right. We'll get there. What she has been trying to grasp for the past four years through frustration and tears, is now finding a place in her brain to stay.
6. We've all lost a healthy amount of weight without deprivation or a particular exercise program to the sum of about 50 pounds. But more than that, I believe we've been reset on what it means to be satisfied. It's not so much about quantity as it is about quality. Some of the kids were really a concern to me with the amount of junk food we could consume and constantly be asking for more. It was as if the stop button was broken. Perhaps this will be a recurring struggle, but for now it seems that we have been able to reset it.
7. We've grown closer as a family through this time. It's not always been easy, but it's been tolerable knowing that we were all in it together. Not many times are we asked to sacrifice what we could have to make it easier for another who can not have. This reminds me of the passage in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. I pray this time will bear fruit in our relationships with one another as we've lived this verse out.
8. Finally, each of us has learned something about our own weaknesses and resolve. There is something very powerful about saying, "No," again and again to little temptations. It builds up a muscle that is essential in resisting the larger traps. Temptation does eventually take a back seat. It's easier to walk away and turn towards what is good. Sure, this is useful for things such as diets, but essential if we are to grow strong in any area of weakness. I know Sean and I have grown so much in this area over the past three months. We pray that this is a spring board for our children to know that with God's help and accountability, they can say, "No," and choose what is best in all areas of life.
We set out to learn about potential food allergies and learned so much more! Tomorrow I'll post more about our specific allergy results and where we will be going from here.
I so appreciate all of you that have commented here on the blog or in person. Your support and encouragement have blessed us tremendously.