The Total Elimination Diet, known as TED is a wild ride. TED is that guy at a party that takes a joke just a little too far and makes everyone feel awkward and ready to scatter. You know that guy?
TED can also look different for different people. Which is an example of what makes allergic colitis confusing. As a caregiver, you want to fix everything right away for your little one, but it can be extra frustrating when you don’t know where to start.
When I first started Iz’s pediatrician’s version of TED, I cut out the top-8 allergens plus corn, but I was still seeing blood in Iz’s diapers every other day or so. My anxiety really took over. I became obsessive over every crumb I consumed, and soon I stopped eating very much out of fear. I dropped 10 pounds in a week. Every former pregnant women’s dream, right? No, not really. My lack of eating was dangerous for so many reasons but especially because it dropped my milk supply. Iz started tugging at my breasts so frustrated that she wasn’t getting everything she needed. She’s a bottle refuser, so a low milk supply needed to be nipped in the butt quickly. My anxiety heightened, and I knew I needed help. The internet and her pediatrician alone weren’t cutting it.
My advice to anyone that is embarking on the TED is to link up with a certified dietician. Connecting with one can be intimidating especially since most insurance companies won’t cover the cost and some doctors feel their guidance is sufficient. You might find that your insurance covers the cost or that your pediatrician is also a secret dietician but if you’re in the same boat as me, then pinch your pennies for a couple of weeks to pay for a session and get some professional guidance. The dietician shared a whole list of resources with me that made eating and grocery shopping far less scary. After getting the help I needed my weight steadied, my milk supply rose, and Iz started gaining weight again.
Once working with a dietician, I started keeping a food log which helped me pinpoint foods that were giving Iz trouble. For us we avoid the following foods and their by-products:
- Tree nuts (except coconuts)
- Gluten (Rye, Barley, Wheat)
- Heavily processed foods (for example vegan cheese)
- Nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers)
Getting to this list took trial and error, and learning food substitutions, and new recipes took time. But it’s important to note that the TED is temporary. The goal of going on a TED is to eliminate symptoms and then gradually add foods back into your diet. This will allow you to have a better idea of foods that are causing negative responses. You’ll get conflicting advice on when to add foods back in, how much, and what first, so the only advice I’m going to give is that it’s really is important to get professional advice that is tailored to your needs and your baby’s. The TED is hard. You are going to get really hangry sometimes, you are going to have to take the time to meal prep, and you are going to have to be okay not eating out. Lastly, you are going to need to be really patient with your friends and family, as they will inevitably offer you Girl Scout cookies even though you’ve told them over and over again about your restrictions. But, your reward is a happier and healthier baby which in return will make you happier every time you see your baby’s thigh rolls. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your nugget.
Do you have experience with a TED? What did you have to cut out? I’d love to hear about it!