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Tag: food allergies

Several Possible Reasons For Food Intolerance

It is possible for multiple people to be sensitive to the same food for many different reasons. Here, we’ll look at some foods to which people are commonly sensitive and/or allergic, and examine some of the possible explanations for their adverse reactions.

Although it’s very tempting for me to explore a lot of these topics in more depth with you guys, I want to keep it short and simple here. If you or a loved one is sensitive to several foods and unsure of the common thread(s) or factor(s), hopefully you will find this quick list helpful in your sleuthing – a resource of possibilities to research and test.


Dairy

A person could be sensitive to dairy for any of the following reasons (please note: this – and all subsequent lists – are not necessarily comprehensive):

A “lactose-intolerant” person may, in fact, be sensitive to dairy for one or more additional/other reasons.


Wheat

  • Celiac (a very severe form of gluten sensitivity)
  • A non-celiac form of gluten sensitivity
  • Lectin sensitivity (people with thyroid/autoimmune problems often suffer from this)
  • Wheat protein allergy
  • Glutamate (gluten contains glutamate (the gliadin breaks down into glutamine then glutamate), so gluten and glutamate sensitivities often go hand-in-hand)
  • Histamine intolerance (poor methylation)
  • Phytic acid
  • FODMAPs

Other Grains (Rye, Barley, Spelt, Millet, Oats, Rice, etc.)

  • Lectin sensitivity
  • Gluten sensitivity (particularly with rye, barley, and spelt)
  • Sulfur sensitivity
  • Phytic acid (binds to nutrients, making them unavailable to the body)
  • FODMAPs

Nightshades (Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggplant, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, etc.)

  • Lectins
  • Solanine
  • Calcitriol (hardens tissues in the body, can lead to chronic pain, hypercalcemia, arthritis)
  • Glutamate
  • Capsaicin
  • Nicotine
  • Histamine intolerance

What Are Nightshade Vegetables? How to Find Out If You’re Sensitive to Them (Note: ashwagandha is also a nightshade but is not mentioned in this article.)


Eggs


Spinach

  • Glutamate
  • Sulfur sensitivity
  • Oxalates
  • Histamine intolerance

Nuts

  • Nut protein allergy
  • Lectin sensitivity
  • Phytic acid
  • Glutamate
  • Sulfur sensitivity

Alcoholic Beverages

Wine:

  • Sulfites (can be problematic for those with SUOX genetic mutations)
  • Alcohol sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to cultures / fermented products (often seen with poor methylation, histamine intolerance)
  • Glutamate (glutamate is a factor in the creation of the “umami” (rich, addictive) taste of grapes, Chinese food, soups with MSG, etc.)

Beer:


Beans

  • Lectin sensitivity
  • Sulfur sensitivity
  • Phytic acid

Most (if not all) of the above reasons for food intolerance are applicable for me. This may not be true for you (hopefully it isn’t), but I am living proof that it is possible to be sensitive to a food for several reasons. 😛

In light of this, I’m still somewhat perplexed as to how I justified trying sheep cheese last week. (I definitely paid for it – skin problems, GI distress, head discomfort, aches.) I still want to try camel milk/cheese, as camel milk is in some ways quite different structurally from other types of milk.

However, although the sheep cheese and some exposure to environmental toxins set me back these past few days (…still recovering from the sheep cheese…), I do seem to be regaining some health in general. I have been able to tolerate some more foods lately. 😀

So there is hope! 😉

For more information on types of food intolerance and potentially problematic foods, check out Legit Excuses for Picky Eaters. It categorizes more by food problem than by food type/group, as I did here.


It should be noted that I omitted several potentially problematic foods here. If you have a question about a food not mentioned here, feel free to ask in the comments. But please also take into account that I am not a doctor, and although I endeavor to provide my readers with accurate information, you follow any and all information presented on this blog and in the comments at your own risk. PLEASE SEE DISCLAIMER.


Magnesium Deficiency – Approximately 80% of Americans

Sweeteners: Trash and Treasure

When You Can Only Eat Five Foods

raspberries - foods I can and can't eat #restricteddiet #glutenfree #food #nutrition

Foods I Can and Can’t Eat

Some of you guys have asked what foods I can or can’t eat.

This is sort of a reference post that I’m creating for those who are curious or who may have health issues similar to mine. I will probably link here from time to time, and I plan to update these lists as my diet gradually changes (once in a while I add or remove something), or as I remember items I forgot to list.

One request for my dear readers:

Please do not comment here or contact me to tell me why I really should be able to consume a certain food, drink, or supplement, without first asking and seeking to understand the reason(s) why I cannot. I have legit reasons for avoiding the foods that I do, which are based on personal experiences with foods, research I’ve done, and other information picked up along the way – much of which I’ve learned from my doctor. If you have relevant info regarding my particular genetic conditions or are aware of ways to mitigate the effects of broken biochemical pathways, I’m definitely interested in hearing about it. 🙂 Other advisory messages regarding food – well-meaning as they may be – will likely be a waste of your time as well as mine.

You are more than welcome to share your experience here with fighting/recovering from a food sensitivity/allergy or GI/autoimmune condition. And most other well-considered comments are welcome. 🙂

I reserve the right to delete any and all comments with or without reason and with or without notice, and to choose not to reply to any emails.

Thank you. <3

This request comes after multiple experiences of people essentially arguing/suggesting that my dietary restrictions aren’t necessary or that it shouldn’t be necessary to eliminate entire food groups from the diet or that I’m “just not getting enough nutrition” (and should therefore resume eating the foods I’m avoiding), or of receiving messages from others to the effect of “You look almost anorexic!” or “Do you need to talk to someone?”.

Please don’t be alarmed. I care a great deal about my health, as evidenced (I think) by my willingness to actually follow this non-toxic diet and feed my body only the cleanest foods which it is also capable of tolerating. And I’ve actually been gaining a bit of weight recently (actually, maybe a bit too much). :/

I may have originally chosen to start the elimination diet on my own, but my doctor agrees that it is necessary, and certainly discourages me from introducing harmful or potentially harmful food groups – such as dairy or wheat – that many people seem to label as “important food groups”. (Btw, you know how people suffering from anorexia are often advised to eat pizza or hamburgers? On so many fronts, this is not sound advice. 1) If you feed a starving person a hamburger, you could potentially kill them, 2) a person suffering from anorexia ultimately needs nutritious foods [especially as anorexia can lead to electrolyte deficiencies], not simply highly caloric foods, and 3) Wheat and dairy are two of the most common food allergies, and sometimes people fighting anorexia are also fighting other gastrointestinal disorders, which may be exacerbated by these foods.)

(In all likelihood, I’ll probably never add wheat or dairy back into my diet. At most, it’d probably be sheep dairy. Not even goat.)

And it’s not like I don’t miss eating some incredibly delicious foods! 🙁 But I definitely don’t miss the physiological and mental torment they gave me (many of these foods seriously impacted my nervous system). Following this relatively “ascetic” diet will always be worth the health benefits (and more importantly, worth the avoidance of health problems).


Foods, Drinks, and Supplements I Can’t Consume

  • Eggs (whites and yolks)
  • Cow, Goat, and Sheep Dairy (except grass-fed ghee) (Wanting to try camel dairy soon)
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Anything containing gluten
  • Grains (rice, millet, oats, etc.) AND pseudograins (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa)
  • Nuts (except macadamia nut oil)
  • Peanuts (listed separately because not technically a nut)
  • Coconut (including coconut oil)
  • Most legumes (beans, lentils, etc.)
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee (regular or decaf)
  • Food or drink containing caffeine or theobromine
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, red pepper, paprika, ashwagandha, eggplant, okra, etc.) (I am sensitive to solanine as well as likely some of the lectins and  the calcitriol [a powerful hormone which acts as a tissue calcifier/hardener in the human body])
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, etc.)
  • Most other vegetables (thankfully I have been able to reintroduce some recently! See below). Recently tried beets and those are still a no, except small amounts of beet juice for coloring in foods. My blood pressure got too low (accompanied by symptoms) when I consumed a low to moderate amount of beets recently.
  • Most leafy greens – including arugula, kale, and spinach. Hoping to try chard again soon.
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Olives
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Most or all melons (definitely watermelon/cantaloupe)
  • Squash (including pumpkin)
  • Cucumber
  • Kiwi
  • Banana
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Most dried fruit
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Most fish
  • Farm-raised fish
  • Fermented foods
  • Vinegar (including apple cider vinegar)
  • Yeast
  • Cured meats
  • Chicken broth
  • Carageenan
  • Canola oil
  • Cottonseed oil (Honestly, no one should be consuming this [as of 2015, approximately 94% of U.S. cotton crops were genetically modified]. Cottonseed oil can be found in many snacks, such as roasted/salted almonds.)
  • Refined sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame or sucralose
  • Nutmeg
  • Curry
  • Chamomile
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Wine (I’m sensitive to alcohol, as well as the glutamate in grapes and the sulfites in wine)
  • Beer
  • Unfiltered city water (by the way, some popular filters like Brita® don’t remove the fluoride [a neurotoxin and magnesium binder])
  • Grape Juice
  • Calcium Carbonate (found in many multivitamins)
  • Iron supplements
  • Copper supplements
  • Vitamin D
  • Chlorella
  • MSM
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Milk Thistle
  • Folic acid (my system cannot process this form of B9, due to MTHFR mutations)
  • Methyl-B12 (methylcobalamin) (Problematic because of CBS mutations)
  • Probiotics
  • Baking powder (I make my own with baking soda and cream of tartar)

Foods, Drinks, and Supplements I Can Consume! (Thankful It’s No Longer Only Five Foods)

  • Tiger nuts (these are root vegetables, not nuts)
  • Cacao butter, in moderation (bothers my stomach and head if I eat too much)
  • Ghee, in moderation
  • Olive oil
  • Macadamia oil (new food introduction!)
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Hemp oil
  • Turkey
  • Turkey broth
  • Wild-caught cod and salmon, in moderation (I typically use the fish from Orca Bay). Have had to avoid this lately, and it might be going on the “can’t eat” list soon. Thinking I might be allergic to fish….
  • Celery (reintroduced!!!)
  • Butter lettuce (probably) (reintroduced!!!)
  • Asparagus, in moderation (reintroduced!!!)
  • Cilantro (reintroduced!!!)
  • Parsley
  • Clementines
  • Limes
  • Lemons, in moderation
  • Cherries (note: helpful for reducing inflammation and relieving pain, but can feed candida infections)
  • Apples, in moderation
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries, in moderation
  • Raspberries, in moderation
  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Dragon fruit
  • Tulsi / holy basil
  • Raw unfiltered or gently filtered honey
  • Monk fruit
  • Gluten-free vanilla extract
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon, in moderation
  • Cloves, in moderation
  • Basil, lavender (used to not be able to tolerate this!), rosemary, thyme, and (I think) sage and oregano, in moderation
  • Cream of tartar
  • Baking soda
  • Rock rose
  • Stevia
  • Xanthan gum (reintroduced!!!)
  • Arrowroot
  • Spirulina, at least in very small amounts (for coloring)
  • Water, filtered (including fluoride-filtered)
  • Well water
  • Magnesium citrate/malate
  • Zinc Picolinate
  • Vitamin B6 (P5P form)
  • Silver
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Molybdenum
  • Boswellia
  • White Willow Bark

For more specs on the food and supplements I use, please see the Resources page.


Please see disclaimer.


© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, corn-free, soy-free quinoa crackers

Crackers – Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free

Hey guys!

Thought I’d share today a recipe that works with my limited diet and actually (IMHO) tastes pretty good too!

The other day, my baking adventures finally generated a product that I really wanted to repeat and replicate! So today, I worked on recreating and testing the recipe.

It went against all my inner grains and brains to actually turn this into a recipe with measurements! 😮 I generally measure practically nothing when I bake, but figured if I was gonna share here, I’d need to have some reliable numbers so that I’m not leaving you guys to shoot in the dark for optimal ingredient quantities, should you decide to give this a try.

Quinoa – technically a pseudograin – is the only grainy thing I can mostly tolerate. However, I do find that I can only eat so much quinoa before meeting/exceeding my low sulfur intake threshold.

If you can’t eat (or don’t like) quinoa, feel free to replace the flour in this recipe with something else. I have only tested this recipe on quinoa flour so far, but wouldn’t be surprised if it works just as well with many other flours. (I’m a huge new fan of tiger nut flour. Tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts, and they’re one of the few foods I can eat, despite all my food allergies and sensitivities.)

UPDATE: I’ve had to completely eliminate quinoa from my diet, but I use a lot of tiger nut flour in my baking. It’s great in crackers!

My Journey to Recovery: An Update

Okay. To business….


Some Non-Edible Supplies You’ll Need

Coffee grinder

Bowls/spoons/measuring spoons/cups/etc. (the usual baking things) 🙂

2-3 large baking sheets (approx 12″ x 17″, give or take) – size/quantity depends on how thinly you want to spread the crackers.

Parchment paper


Ingredients

4 c. quinoa flour or tiger nut flour

1½ tsp. salt

Extra salt for sprinkling

1/2 tsp. monk fruit powder

10 tbsp. (1/2 c. + 1/8 c. or 5/8 c.) dry chia seeds

3 c. water

1/4 c. honey

1 c. ghee

ingredients for gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, corn-free, soy-free quinoa crackers

Preheat oven to 375° – convection bake, if possible.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa flour, salt, and monk fruit.

quinoa flour, salt, and monk fruit

Grind chia seeds in coffee grinder.

In a small bowl, combine ground chia and water. Mix just till chia begins to gel or absorb the water. It’s okay if you can’t mix out all the clumps and lumps.

ground chia with water - egg substitute

White or black chia is fine – it’s largely a matter of aesthetic preference. See Nutritional difference between white and black chia seeds. Chia combined with water makes an excellent egg substitute in many (though not all) baked dishes. It’s quite the glue. 🙂

Pour chia mixture into flour mixture. Add honey and ghee. Mix well.

Cover each baking sheet with parchment paper, then distribute batter (at approximately 1/8″ thickness) over sheets.

quinoa cracker batter

If desired, sprinkle salt on top.

With a fork, poke holes in the distributed batter.

poking holes in quinoa cracker batter

You can either cut the batter into sections now (although the dough fissures might melt together again rather than holding their place) or you can cut/break the crackers after baking (this is what I like to do).

Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes (periodic checking even prior to 30 minute mark is advised), or until desired brownness and crunchiness is achieved. 🙂

gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, corn-free, soy-free quinoa crackers

For more specs on ingredients and supplements I use, please see the Resources page.


Please see disclaimer.


© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

journey to health symbolized by journey through mountains

My Journey to Recovery: An Update

Hey guys! Just wanted to log a brief update on my health journey here.

I think I’m finally seeing a new wave of improvements!!

The past few days, I’ve generally had a little more energy and better balance (less dizziness). I’m sometimes feeling hot/overheated (rather than cold most of the time, though I am still sensitive to cold if I’m in a cold place). It also seems that I’m generally requiring a little less sleep.

My gut health and adrenal strength seem to be gradually improving.

So what’s working? What’s making the difference?


Turkey bone broth (instead of chicken broth)

I recently made this change (around Thanksgiving), and I’ve gotta say, turkey broth is working waaaay better than chicken broth ever did for me. It doesn’t give me the weird feeling in my head (pressure, tension) that I got with chicken broth.

Turkey broth doesn’t have the lectins that can be so harmful to those with type B blood (my blood type). I think chicken broth was causing about as many problems as it was solving (damaging the gut with lectins as fast as it was healing it with amino acids).

Some other foods I’ve introduced recently:

Cacao butter (But not cacao powder, as I am sensitive to the stimulants and intolerant of the sulfur in the cacao bean. But cacao fat [butter] – which is from the same plant, but chemically a “different animal” – works for me.)

Clementines

Sprouted quinoa (I was eating quinoa, but not in sprouted form). Sprouting makes the nutrients of grains and pseudograins (like quinoa) more bioavailable. Quinoa is the only “grainy” thing I’m eating (I stopped eating amaranth because it was beginning to make me feel tired/sick. Again, probably because of the lectins. I am very lectin-sensitive, and this may be due to my homozygous (double, or from both parents) mutation on the CNR1 gene [rs1049353]).

And…*drum roll*…

TIGER NUTS!!!


Tiger Nuts

2017-11-30 13.58.37

Tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts, and tend to be safe for most people with nut allergies.

Tiger nuts (at least dried ones) look like mini, shriveled-up potatoes. Like potatoes, they are tubers, but the tiger nut boasts a much richer supply of healthy fats, with a fatty acid composition similar to that of olive oil.

Tiger nuts are rich in antioxidants and fiber, possess antibacterial properties, work as a prebiotic, help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and may be beneficial for those suffering from diabetes.

For more info on tiger nuts, check out Tiger Nuts: Facts, Nutrition, Benefits, and Healthy Recipes from doctorshealthpress.com.

They also appear to be a fairly decent source of magnesium! I’ve been able to get away with taking a little less magnesium lately (doing so would normally cause me to feel pretty crappy – muscle cramps, aches, fatigue), but I think tiger nuts (and possibly cacao butter, but I have yet to verify this) might be the reason for the decreased supplementation requirements.


Other Foods

Technically, the tiger nut probably counts as a vegetable, but other than that, I’m not eating any veggies.

As far as meat goes, I am eating turkey (in moderation) and occasionally some fish.

I am still avoiding or limiting high-sulfur foods.


Vitamins/Supplements

Some vitamins that have been helping (besides B6, zinc, and magnesium):

Silver (for gut infection)

A supplement for candida (yeast) infection (containing undecylenic acid, caprylic acid, Cat’s Claw, Uva Ursi, and Pau D’Arco).

An essential oil combination (BFB-1), which I apply to my thumbs and big toes – to combat the biofilm in the gut (this was at my doctor’s recommendation, and it seems to be helping! He also recommended applying it to the earlobes, but I got the OK to avoid that because the smell is so strong).

Charcoal (from bamboo, not coconut) – this is an excellent binder, helping to flush ammonia and other toxins from the system. However, it is important to try to take it apart from food or other supplements, because it will also bind to those things, removing beneficial nutrients from the body!

The charcoal I use: Takesumi Supreme Capsules, 90 capsules


Additionally, I’ve noticed I generally feel better when I consume more:

  • salt (sodium)
  • olive oil*
  • cherries (within reason 🙂 )

I am so excited, you guys! 😀

We’ll see if these improvements continue. Stay tuned!


For previous logs on #myjourneytorecovery, check out these articles:

It’s All In Your Head

I Thought Avocado Was My Friend

When You Can Only Eat Five Foods

Also see:

Legit Excuses for Picky Eaters

Genetics: A Brief Glance

Adrenal Fatigue

Misconceptions about Optimal Health

What is Pyroluria, and Do You Have It?

hippocrates-quote-food-medicine

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates

Food is medicine. We can actually change our gene expressions with the foods we eat. – David Perlmutter

Food Choices Change Our Gene Expression – David Perlmutter, MD


* I drink olive oil, which bothers my stomach temporarily, but also tends to give me more energy and help with digestion. Olive oil can also be an effective natural pain reliever for some.


PLEASE SEE DISCLAIMER

For more info on the supplements I use, please see my Resources page.


© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

cutting board with potentially allergenic foods

Legit Excuses for Picky Eaters

Is your child a picky eater? Do they gag, eat slowly, or not want to finish their food? Have you been labeled a “picky eater”?


My Story

When I was a child, I vomited a lot and frequently suffered from diarrhea. I was also frequently the last one at the table, because I ate SO. SLOWLY. It was hard to digest much of anything, and many foods made me feel sick.

At that age, however, it was hard to know what was going on, or to realize that any of the food I was eating might not be healthy for me. I was about six at the time. I had no clue that I had food allergies and sensitivities or leaky gut. I didn’t know about genetically modified foods, or that they were being widely embraced by the food market in 1999 – just around the time my vomiting ramped up. Around the same time (age six), I also began suffering from migraines.

My parents tried to keep our (my siblings’ and my) diet pretty nutritious. Whatever they knew to include or avoid, they did. None of us realized we were guinea pigs for biotechnology. None of us knew much about lectins and solanine, or their potential impact on the thyroid and the nervous system, respectively.

None of us were aware that broccoli, kale, peas, garlic, onion, kidney beans, dried fruit, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, coconut, or chicken could be harmful for more than a small fraction of the population.

For additional background on my health journey, check out my posts, When You Can Only Eat Five Foods and It’s All In Your Head.


What’s the Deal?

You try your best to make sure your kid eats healthily, yet they still seem lethargic, rowdy, or depressed much of the time. While there could certainly be other (or additional) reasons for any of these symptoms – which is worth checking into – diet can play a major role in the manifestation of these signs.

If your child is expressing or indicating an aversion to certain foods, this may be a signal that there are substances in those foods which their body cannot tolerate, and the body is trying to give your child the message “stop putting that into me”.

I’ve noticed that many of the foods to which I’m sensitive or allergic have either been extremely addictive or extremely repulsive to me.

Your child’s nutritious meals may contain hidden enemies (e.g. antinutrients, indigestible sugars, neurotoxins) in surprising places. Foods like broccoli, banana, or tomato.

And if they’re affecting your child, it’s quite possible that they’re having an impact on you, too.

So what are some of these enemies?


Lectins

Lectin sensitivity be can linked with autoimmune issues, and/or related to something as simple as your blood type. Different blood types are susceptible to agglutination by different food lectins.

According to Joseph Cohen at selfhacked.com:

You can identify lectin sensitivity by a combination of symptoms, blood tests, and genes. The more of these that you have, the surer you can be that you’re lectin sensitive and the more you’ll be affected by lectins.

I have a homozygous mutation on the “lectin sensitivity gene”: CNR1 (rs1049353).

I also have type B blood.

Chicken has bothered me for a long time, but the severity of my sensitivity has worsened in recent years. And sure enough, I learned not too long ago that chicken meat contains a lectin that can cause agglutination (blood cell clumping) in type B blood. At last! An explanation for why such a seemingly “harmless” meat makes me feel unwell.

Are You Lectin Sensitive? Using Genes, Symptoms and Blood Tests to Assess Lectin Sensitivity


Glutamates

If you’re sensitive to MSG (monosodium glutamate) [which is likely, if you suffer from migraines], then other foods containing glutamate (such as spinach, grapes, and gluten [gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt]) may be problematic for you.

From leavesoflife.com:

Too much glutamate/excitation causes anxiety and sleeplessness, among other symptoms, depending on the person. Over time, excessive levels of glutamate cause neurological inflammation and damage.

Check out their website for a list of glutamate foods.


Solanine

Solanine is a poisonous glycoalkaloid found in members of the nightshade family such as tomato, potato, eggplant, red and green peppers, paprika, tobacco, and ashwagandha. For a more comprehensive list of nightshades, click here.

Among other symptoms, there is believed to be a link between solanine and:

  • Joint pain, inflammation, swelling (arthritic symptoms)
  • Muscle aches, stiffness, weakness / Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Gout
  • Hypothyroid conditions (as solanine can disrupt the endocrine system)
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Birth defects, such as spina bifida
  • Appendicitis

Of course, solanine may or may not be the cause of these symptoms for you or your child, but eliminating solanine from your diet is certainly an inexpensive place to start the diagnostic process.


FODMAPs

According to dietsolutions.net.au:

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed. In people with gastrointestinal symptoms, a diet high in FODMAPs can induce diarrhoea and/or constipation, bloating, wind and abdominal pain.

FODMAPs are essentially fermentable carbs. If these carbohydrates make it past the small intestine unabsorbed, then they can be fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. This can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, and irritable bowel syndrome for some people.

Some major FODMAPs are:

  • Wheat
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Fruit (because of fructose)
  • Vegetables (due to the fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), fructose, mannitol, and sorbitol)
  • Legumes and Pulses
  • Sweeteners (such as agave nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, added polyols in sugar-free mints and chewing gums [check the labels for sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol or isomalt])
  • Other grains/pseudograins (such as amaranth, barley, and rye)
  • Dairy (especially foods like cottage cheese, cream cheese, milk, ricotta, and yoghurt)
  • Beverages, such as chai tea, chamomile tea, coconut water, dessert wine, and rum

You may find that you or your child can tolerate certain FODMAPs but not others (for example, fructose but not sorbitol).


Salicylates

Salicylates can be great for you, unless you are sensitive to them or can’t remove them from your system.

Salicylate sensitivity symptoms may include – but are not limited to:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Asthma
  • Bed wetting
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough
  • Psoriasis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Skin problems
  • Stomach irritation
  • Swelling of face, hands, and feet
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Bouts of excessive energy followed by fatigue
  • Distraction
  • Excessive or constant talking
  • Impatience
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Visual disturbance

For a more complete list of salicylate sensitivity symptoms, check out this site.

If your body is unable to effectively eliminate salicylates, then these compounds can begin to irritate your skin. You’re sort of getting an internal acne “treatment” 24/7. Your skin gets pretty tired of this, and it’s possible for conditions like eczema or psoriasis to develop.

Low Salicylate Diet


Celiac and/or Gluten Sensitivity

If you or your child has celiac, then even a tiny amount of gluten exposure (such as cross-contamination of gluten-free foods with non-GF foods, counters, or utensils that are gluten-contaminated) could potentially elicit a reaction.

In individuals with celiac disease, gluten can actually damage the gut villi (villi are tiny projections/protrusions in the gut which increase the gut’s surface area, optimizing nutrient absorption). This can result in malabsorption of other beneficial nutrients, so it is not uncommon for those with celiac to also suffer from several nutritional deficiencies.

Additionally, gluten contains glutamate, which can cause MSG-type reactions in glutamate-sensitive people.

Individuals with mutations on the HLA-DQA1 or HLA-DQB1 genes have a genetic predisposition for developing celiac disease (but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will).

A blood test for gluten antibodies can be helpful. Just be aware that even if the test isn’t technically positive for celiac (doesn’t show a high enough concentration of antibodies for gluten), it’s still possible that you or your child may have celiac, especially if you’ve been off of gluten for a while.

This was the case for me. When I took the blood test earlier this year, my gluten antibody levels were pretty high, but not quite high enough to be positive for celiac. However, I had been avoiding gluten for some time at that point, so the fact that many antibodies were present at all was pretty suggestive of a gluten allergy (a couple doctors who saw these results believed that I likely have celiac, despite a “negative” result. I also have mutations on the HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 genes).


Protein Intolerance (can be related to pyroluria and/or sulfur intolerance [see more below])

Take an (unofficial) pyroluria test.


Heavy Metal Toxicity

Mercury poisoning from dental fillings, fish, and immunizations can cause serious problems for individuals whose detox and sulfur-processing (transsulfuration) pathways are broken (often due to MTHFR and CBS mutations). Eating fish may cause distress for someone who cannot remove mercury from their body. (There are, however, other reasons that you or your child might react to fish – including histamine intolerance and a true fish allergy.)


Sulfur

If your kid has an aversion to broccoli, brussels sprouts, or onions, it’s possible they have genetic mutations that can lead to sulfur intolerance.

An Incomprehensive List of High Sulfur Foods and Foods that CAN have sulfur additives:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Other cruciferous vegetables (cruciferous vegetables also contain raffinose, an indigestible sugar)
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Legumes (Beans, Peas, etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Wine and grape juice

Some fruits that are higher in sulfur:

  • Banana
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Coconut
  • Avocado

You or your child may not have problems with all of these foods (although every single one of these is problematic for me).

But if you’ve noticed gastrointestinal discomfort, brain fog, skin itchiness or breakouts, nausea, headaches, or any other symptoms when you or your child consume any of these foods, then it’s worth skipping them for a while to see if you and/or your kid feel better. Of course, there are several other reasons that certain foods in this list could be bothering you. I’m not going to go into detail about each food here, but if you have questions, ask me in the comments! I’d be glad to help and provide more information where I can.

Additionally, there are some bacteria that feed off of sulfur, creating hydrogen sulfide. While a very small amount of hydrogen sulfide is actually beneficial for the body, too much can cause the liver to become overburdened, causing you to be poisoned.

If your gut is overtaken by bacterial colonies that feed off of sulfur, then this may be another reason sulfur is making you sick. The more sulfur you feed them, the more hydrogen sulfide that gets created.


Histamine

Do you or your child hate vinegar, hot dogs, bananas, citrus fruits, tomatoes, avocado, or spinach? You might be suffering from histamine intolerance. This is often related to genetic mutation(s) on the MTHFR gene, and sometimes also mutation(s) on the DAO (diamine oxidase) gene. Diamine oxidase is one of the enzymes responsible for the processing of histamine, mainly in the gut.

Histamine can increase intestinal permeability, so if the body is unable to effectively remove histamine from the system, this can eventually lead to a lectin sensitivity or other food allergies.

Histamine intolerance works in a cumulative fashion.

Everyone needs (and produces) a little histamine. The body needs histamine to function properly.

However, we each have a histamine threshold. When that threshold is exceeded, symptoms begin to appear.

For undermethylators [people with MTHFR mutation(s)], that threshold is lower, because they do not effectively clear histamine from their bodies. So the histamine builds up, and can eventually and potentially lead to some heart problems.


Specific Macronutrient Aversions

Macronutrients are: Protein, Fats (Oils/Lipids), and Carbohydrates.

Most of us need a “normal” balance of all three of these.

Some people, however – due to genetics or other factors – may feel unwell when consuming one or more of these macronutrients at a “normal” or “average” level.

I feel sick if I eat very much protein (even a smaller amount than the average American woman might consume). I’ve noticed I have the least reaction to fats – especially certain medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), and generally process oils and certain healthy carbs better than I do most proteins.

Some people cannot process carbohydrates effectively. For example, if one has a harmful version of the APOE gene (specifically, APOE4 [vs. APOE2 or APOE3] from one or both parents), this can increase one’s risk for Alzheimer’s, and is linked with an earlier onset of the disease. Individuals with this genotype may benefit from a high-fat, low-carb diet (of course, do your research and consult with your doctor before taking any action. As with nearly any medical topic, there are certainly dissenting opinions regarding the best diet and course of action for individuals with this genetic variation).

Pyrolurics and those with sulfur intolerance may find it difficult to digest protein.

However, the symptoms of pyroluria can often be mitigated.

If protein intolerance persists, sulfur intolerance may be the culprit, or at least co-implicated with another condition.


Other Food Allergies

You can develop an allergy to just about anything – especially if you have a leaky gut.

With leaky gut, undigested food particles can “fall through” the gut lining and into the blood, triggering an immune response. Antibodies are then created to tackle this “foreign” substance (i.e. your undigested food). So the next time the food is consumed, your body is ready to attack with antibodies, creating the miserable allergic reactions we recognize as rash, itchiness, hives, brain fog, gastrointestinal discomfort, increase in pulse, and just about any other symptom you can imagine.


Wrapping It Up

As a child, I had no clue that I was dealing with lectin sensitivity (leading to thyroid problems), celiac and other gluten sensitivity (leading to a damaged gut), glutamate and solanine sensitivity (leading to neurological issues), heavy metal poisoning (creating autoimmune problems), sulfur intolerance (leading to liver toxicity), histamine intolerance (leading to heart problems), and other food allergies. I just thought I was a picky eater because I hated some foods or they didn’t settle well with me.

It is sometimes difficult for very young kids to express or even know what type of discomfort they are feeling when eating certain foods. Additionally, they may assume that everyone feels the way they feel, and it’s just normal to feel yucky. I did.

If your child is indicating a disinterest in consuming a certain food, try to ascertain the reason. Ask if they have stomach bubbles or pain, are feeling nauseated, or are experiencing muscle pain or dizziness. Watch for rashes (these won’t appear for every child with food allergies or sensitivities, but if they do, that’s a pretty good sign that there’s a food issue).

Watch for migraines, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and insomnia.

If your child is struggling with school, this also could be a sign of a food intolerance or allergy. However, other links could include bullying, unfair academic expectations from teachers, relationship issues, or depression (which can be food-related or not).

I struggled through many years of school (especially as a little kid), and looking back, I can see that some of my most challenging years academically were those in which I ate a lot of foods that were especially troublesome for me, or when I consumed foods with lots of artificial additives.


Diagnosing Food Allergies and Sensitivities

It can be difficult to diagnose a food allergy or food sensitivity, especially if multiple offending foods are present in the diet.

If you eliminate one problematic food (while you are, in fact, suffering from multiple sensitivities or allergies), you may not feel much better, and therefore decide to reintroduce that food. It is possible, however, that another food was responsible for the continuation of your symptoms after you eliminated the other food from your diet.

In order to effectively identify problem foods, your body must be a “clean slate”. This will require the removal of most foods from your diet for a period of time. Work with your doctor on this. Everyone has individual dietary needs. (See disclaimer at the bottom.) You may not be able follow a strict bone broth or soup cleanse before reintroducing foods. However, if you can do this, you’re likely to identify problematic foods more accurately.

In general, I’d recommend eliminating all grains, nuts, coconut, legumes/beans, beef, lamb, and chicken (except chicken broth, though I’d recommend using homemade turkey broth instead, if possible – especially if you have type B or AB blood).

Additionally, I’d recommend avoiding all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, arugula, mustard greens…click here for a more complete list), as well as spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, and all peppers (except white and black pepper).

If possible, skip fruit for a day or two as well. If you are FODMAPS sensitive, some or all fruits may be a problem for you.

After following this cleanse for a while (there are differing opinions on how long – it really just depends on your gut health), slowly reintroduce foods, one at a time. I’d suggest introducing no more than one new food every other day, but approaching the reintroduction more gradually than this is advisable (one food a week is great, as sometimes it can take a week to fully recover from a previous food reaction).

One caveat: It may be tempting to think that the reason for a reaction upon reintroducing a food is that the body is trying to “break out of starvation mode” and it’s “just normal to feel sick while adjusting to eating ‘real’ food again”. This can be the case, but if you’re experiencing a headache, irritability, sensitivity to smells, anxiety, mood swings, pain, stiffness, insomnia, difficulty breathing, brain fog, fatigue, a rash, a rapid pulse, or much gastrointestinal discomfort when you reintroduce a food, you can be pretty sure you’ve got a food allergy or sensitivity, so don’t ignore that. <3

Again, run all of this by your doctor before trying it. This information should not be treated as medical advice.


Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance, anyway? It is a common misconception that a food allergy always manifests as anaphylactic shock or severe, instantaneous symptoms.

mayoclinic.org:

For some people, an allergic reaction to a particular food may be uncomfortable but not severe. For other people, an allergic food reaction can be frightening and even life-threatening. Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food.

My gluten allergy has escalated to the point where I feel sick if I’m in a high-gluten area, or close to people who are consuming gluten. My head will almost immediately begin to feel light and/or tight, and I sometimes develop a headache shortly after. It’s not a life-threatening thing, but it can be very debilitating.

How do I know this is an allergy?

My body contains gluten antibodies which respond at the smallest amount of gluten. The presence of these antibodies is indicative of an immune response. Immune responses to food are typically linked with food allergies.

A food allergy, then, is typically present when a food elicits a reaction from the immune system.

A food intolerance typically involves an enzymatic or other digestive deficiency of some kind, which impairs one’s ability to adequately process that food.

Lactose intolerance is an apt example. While some people have true allergies to milk (often the protein casein), lactose intolerance tends to involve a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. People who don’t have enough lactase can’t process lactose, hence lactose intolerance.

I am sensitive to or intolerant of* the glutamate in gluten. I cannot adequately process this substance in large amounts. The glutamate I get from food often doesn’t convert to GABA for me to the degree that it should, resulting in neuroexcitotoxic symptoms (my nervous system goes haywire). So I am both allergic to gluten, and gluten-sensitive/intolerant.

<3 <3 Fun fact: Envelopes contain gluten, so don’t lick them, and wash your hands after using them. 🙂 <3 <3


What to Do

I would highly recommend testing your genetic profile (the test 23andme.com offers is pretty popular, though I should mention that they’ve been cutting back recently on the amount of genetic data they provide. You can also check out other DNA testing companies. Just double-check to make sure the company will provide you with raw genetic data). Then upload your raw data to a site like livewello.com to interpret your results (I think they charge $20 or so). I like Livewello because they offer this thing called the “SNP Sandbox”, where you can look up a lot of specific genes and run them against your genetic profile to see if you have any mutations for those genes.


There’s way more here than I could elaborate on in this article. If you have any questions for me, please let me know in the comments! I’d be happy to offer what help, information, or resources I can. And some of your questions just might turn into future posts! 🙂

To you and your family’s health. <3


* One school of thought identifies food intolerance and food sensitivity as separate entities.

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