Well, it has now been 7 weeks since my son, Jamie, and I started a gluten-free and dairy-free (and oat-free) diet, on the advice of a biochemist/dietician we have been consulting for Jamie ( see previous post for the details).
Jamie says he has not noticed any difference. He is definitely running out of patience for the restricted diet! He's been at college for three weeks now, and, although his college has an excellent gluten-free diet program, it is tough to be 18 and watch all your friends eating your favorite foods when you can't. He says his GI symptoms actually worsened a bit, but that is almost certainly due to the change to on-campus eating. Though he is eating healthy foods, it is a different diet than at home, and his GI system is always sensitive to changes (like when we travel).
As for energy and overall well-being, he is definitely doing much better, as I reported earlier this week , though we think that is mainly due to starting beta blockers. It is impossible to tease out individual cause and effect, as he started the diet 7 weeks ago, started beta blockers 4 weeks ago, and we have added a bunch of new supplements (on the advice of the same specialist) over the past 3 weeks. However, during the first 3 weeks of the dietary restrictions - with no other changes - we didn't see any change. It is possible, though, that some of his improvement is due to the dietary changes and "unblocking" his methylation pathways.
As for me, I have definitely not seen any improvement overall nor in energy, but my GI symptoms are much better. I have grown accustomed to constant GI discomfort - cramps, gas, bloating - every day (I am usually OK in the morning, then the symptoms hit me hard in the afternoon and evening). These are almost completely gone on this diet! Now, I'm not sure whether eliminating gluten (and oats) has anything at all to do with this improvement or if it is just because I have been so much stricter in avoiding dairy. I developed a dairy-intolerance when I got CFS, but over the years my habits have slipped, and I was "cheating" a lot! Now it is clear to me that I need to be strict about it, and that my problem is not just lactose but likely casein (a milk protein). On the other hand, I have been a bit constipated on this diet, despite lots of fruits and veggies - my body is definitely missing my daily oats and whole grains!
So, that's where we both are. Jamie agreed to try this diet for six weeks and it has now been seven, so he wants to quit. I am hoping to convince him to go slowly and gradually when adding foods back in so that we can really watch the effects. It has been a struggle to get him to continue the daily record-keeping on his own - I have done it for him for the past 8 years! But he will be home today for his Sunday morning gluten-free pancakes and his medicine refills, so hopefully, I can convince him of how important it is to keep careful records while transitioning back and to go slowly.
As for me, I will probably try adding oats back in first because I really miss my morning oatmeal! Being gluten-free doesn't bother me that much, so I may continue it - not sure yet. I do know I definitely need to remain strict about the dairy-free part.
I meant to list some of our favorite gluten-free and dairy-free foods also, but that will have to wait for another post later this week - this one is too long already!
I am interested to hear about other people's experiences with restricted diets - anyone experience significant improvement?
Time to make the pancakes!
Sunday Evening Update: Jamie decided to hang in there with all the diet restrictions for 1 more week since we are changing something else this week (adding D-ribose and creatine back in - he has been forgetting to take them since he started college!). He says he wants to start adding foods back in when there are no other changes going on so we know for sure the diet didn't affect him and he never has to do this again! lol I will let you know how it goes...