This is, by far, the hardest part of the diet. You'd think it was eliminating additives or preservatives or colors, but no. On the contrary, it's not getting rid of the bad stuff that's hard. It's getting rid of the good stuff.
For the first 6 weeks of the FG (Feingold) diet, you eliminate foods that are high in salicylates. These are a natural pesticide a food makes to protect itself; it's also the active ingredient in aspirin. These products include: almonds, apples/apple juice/apple cider vinegar, raisins, all berries, currents, cucumbers, peppers, paprika, tomatoes, and others.
Now, if you know Max, you know that EVERY DAY he was eating at least 5-6 servings of these foods. He had almonds and raisins in his trail mix. He had berries with lunch and sometimes with dinner. He had cucumber and peppers all day long. Eliminating these foods has been more than challenging -- it's been all-consuming. Reading every label of salad dressing to find the one without apple cider vinegar, picking out the clear organic gummy bears because he can't have the ones with natural black currant juice -- this is my life right now.
The good news? It's temporary. This is literally an elimination diet, getting all the salicylates out of the body and bloodstream. After six weeks, we introduce all these foods back in one by one. We find which ones are behavior triggers and which are okay to eat any time. The other good news is that, for the most part, most of these things are a 1 to 1 swap: almonds for cashews, berries for kiwi or banana or mango or melon, etc.
But I've had a really hard time with this one because SO MUCH of our current pantry and fridge are chock full of these (not-so-inexpensive) items. Also, Max eats them and loves them. Up until now, I haven't really felt like I'm punishing him. But when he asks for an apple or an orange or blueberries, and I have to say no, it's terrible. It's far harder to say no to the good foods than to that food-dye-laden Flavor Ice from yesterday.