Why keep a food journal? When you participate in any elimination diet, it can be extremely helpful to identify what foods you’re eating, what foods you may be reintroducing into your diet and your corresponding symptoms. For instance, I can tolerate 1-2 cloves of garlic a day and I usually add garlic to flavor my dinners. Yet, the other day I ate a garlic burger that probably contained 9-10 cloves of garlic. The next morning I woke up with swollen, scaly and puffy eyes. Since not all our of symptoms are immediate after we consume certain foods, using a food journal is a great way literally to chart your progress. When you do wake up the next morning or become symptomatic after the fact, it’s helpful to review what you ate that could have caused your body to react.
The longer you avoid foods higher in nickel, the more likely the possibility you can sparingly reintroduce foods higher in nickel. What’s so tricky about a systemic nickel allergy is that everyone is different! Most of us can’t tolerate soy, whole wheat, nuts, seeds, chocolate, but you may be like me and you can eat white flour. I never recommend you do something that adversely affects your health. The more severe your reaction to eating foods higher in nickel, it’s best be in close consultation with your physician.
When I was initially diagnosed, I religiously avoided foods higher in nickel for 2 entire years! It was really hard, but a conscious choice. I loved the benefits of not having to deal with the itchy, scaly, redness of my skin. Now I closely follow the low nickel diet, but I will from time to time (like once or twice a month) I’ll enjoy a steak salad or slice of tiramisu cake. I know that the chocolate is going to cause me a worse reaction than the salad, so often I’ll choose to eat salad over the slice of cake because it’s a healthier choice. When I do indulge, I still experience terrible eczema, but I know it’s coming. I cannot eat foods higher in nickel regularly, or my skin would react all of the time.