The fast (5-7 days)
Although a fast is the ultimate approach in tracking down hidden food allergies, I don’t recommend it lightly. It is quick (fast!), inexpensive and an absolute yes-no statement on whether your illness really is caused by food allergy. Although it can be tough at first, by the morning of the fifth day, you can expect to feel wonderful! That’s why fasting is popular as a religious exercise and why sometimes people with a severe attack of gastro-enteritis, who expel almost all the food content of the bowel by diarrhoea and vomiting, are suddenly “cured” of some other health condition.
The real problem is that sometimes it can then be difficult to get back on to any safe foods. Everything is unmasked at once and the patient seems to react to everything he or she tries to eat. This can cause great distress.
Undertake a fast only if you are very determined or you still suspect food allergy and the other two approaches have failed.
Fasting is emphatically not suitable for certain categories of patient:
- Pregnant women
- Anyone seriously weakened or debilitated by chronic illness
- Anyone who has been subject to severe emotional disturbance (especially those prone to violent outbursts, or those who have tried to commit suicide)
The fast itself is simple enough – just don’t eat for four or five days. You must stop smoking. Drink only bottled spring water. The whole point is to empty your bowels entirely of foodstuffs. Thus, if you have any tendency to constipation, take Epsom salts to begin with. If in doubt try an enema! Otherwise the effort may be wasted.
It may help to do what I call a grape-day step-down. This means eating grapes only for a day, as an easy-in step towards fasting.
Special note: A variation, which I call the ‘half fast’, is to eat only two foods, such as lamb and pears. This means taking a gamble that neither lamb nor pears are allergenic, and it is not as sure-fire as the fast proper. It is permissible to carry this out for seven days, but on no account go on for longer than this.