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Tag: food sensitivities

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.


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.


  • 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

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)

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.)



  • Glutamate
  • Sulfur sensitivity
  • Oxalates
  • Histamine intolerance


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

Alcoholic Beverages


  • 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.)



  • 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.

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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


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





Rouge To Ruin: Facial Redness Causes

Very informative piece by Christy B on When Women Inspire on skin redness and possible underlying health conditions.


When You Can Only Eat Five Foods

Yes, you read that right. Earlier this summer, my diet was reduced to about 5-10 “staples”. Chicken broth, apples, turkey, carrots, olive oil….

This diet was not a doctor’s order. But it was my last stab at trying to feel better.

Migraines, cluster headaches, brain fog, chronic fatigue, persistent infection, excessive hair loss, dizziness, low/high blood pressure, unstable blood sugar levels, chronic acne and skin issues resembling rosacea/psoriasis, extreme depression and anxiety, hormonal imbalances, neurotransmitter deficiencies, and widespread, chronic aches. And…allergies.

Any of this sound familiar? Read on.


Over the years, I have developed sensitivities and allergies to every food on the planet. (Sound like leaky gut?) While leaky gut was certainly a factor in my rapidly declining health, there were definitely more bugs crawling beneath the carpet.

If I were to tell you that approximately 50% of the population has a gene variant associated with impaired detoxification abilities, would that surprise you?

The gene is appropriately abbreviated MTHFR. Which actually stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Chances are (50/50), you have at least one mutation on this gene. About fifty percent of us are waltzing (or stumbling, fumbling, bumbling) through life un-detoxed.

When one has an MTHFR mutation, the ability to produce MTHFR – the detox chemical – is severely impaired (by at least 30%) However, if you got this mutation from both Mom and Dad, production impairment can reach 70%.

Upon taking a genetic test, I learned that I have at least thirteen broken (disadvantageously mutated) MTHFR alleles. My ability to remove toxins (heavy metals, fluoride, excess histamine) from my system is essentially nonexistent. I am an undermethylator.

Undermethylators frequently suffer from histamine intolerance. They may react to foods such as avocado, tomatoes, bananas, and spinach. Other possible food intolerances include citrus, berries, nuts, cured meats, and fermented foods.

Well, if detoxing is the issue, there are solutions for that. Chelation, sulfur, garlic, lots of cruciferous vegetables…. Right?

Alas, if only the solution were that straightforward.

CBS Gene

The catch-22 is that I also have variations on the CBS (cystathionine-beta-synthase) gene, which cause me to react strongly to sulfur, chelation, and cruciferous vegetables. Not only do these substances cause reactions, but their detoxification properties actually don’t even work on me. In fact, consuming these sulfur-based foods and medicines increases toxic buildup for me, by promoting extra production of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide in the system.

All this toxic overload creates a massive burden on the liver. When the liver struggles to filter out toxins – because there is too much junk (ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, histamine) to handle – the toxins spill into the bloodstream and take a ride all the way to the brain. As the blood-brain barrier is very weak when it comes to ammonia, this caustic substance easily accesses brain cells and burns them. This is why people with CBS mutations frequently experience brain fog.

To make matters worse, those who have been poisoned by mercury (which, these days, would be most of us) AND who have CBS mutations suffer more intensely when sulfur is consumed. The sulfur (in the form of cruciferous vegetables, chelation, MSM, and other foods/supplements) binds to the mercury and drags it along throughout the body, but DOES NOT eliminate it. The mercury stays in the system of a CBS sufferer, after it has inflicted much damage to cells by binding to the sulfur and being pulled around everywhere.

So. No broccoli, kale, garlic, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, egg, dairy, wheat, beans, or nuts for me (there are also additional health reasons I avoid some of these, but I won’t get into that now). I also have to limit my intake of high-protein foods, as complete proteins contain the sulfur-based amino acid cysteine. When I do consume heavy amounts of protein, I try to take claycharcoal, L-Ornithine, yucca root, and/or magnesium (magnesium is important for SO many chemical reactions in the body). These protect the body and brain from ammonia.

I reached a point where I could barely function. My skin was itchy all the time, and my brain also felt “itchy”. It was just constantly tired and irritated. As if it were on fire.

Well, once I started avoiding all things sulfur, these symptoms went away. My skin began to clear up, and itched much less. My foul-smelling flatulence also disappeared. 🙂

The Next Step in My Recovery

However, I still felt pretty crappy overall (very tired and sluggish, blood sugar would drop, pain in the gut). And I was continuing to develop or notice more food sensitivities.

To balance my blood sugar, I had to cut out all grains. (I was still consuming rice and rice products at the time.)

I realized that if I was going to avoid developing allergies to the precious few foods I could still eat, I would have to heal my leaky gut.

So I took a three day “fast”, during which I consumed only homemade broth (rich in gut-healing properties, especially if you keep the fat), ghee, and licorice pills (no candy). 🙂

It made a difference. After this fast, I was able to reintroduce a few foods into my diet (including wild caught cod/salmon, cherries, and some berries, and eventually amaranth flour, which is now my baking flour of choice). [UPDATE: This has changed. I had to remove amaranth from my diet. I suspect the lectins were affecting me. However, I’ve been able to use quinoa flour in moderation, and lots of tiger nut flour! See My Journey to Recovery: An Update.] I also noticed that some smells (eggs, laundry detergent) bothered me somewhat less than they used to. I still have food sensitivities though. Pumpkin is a no-no.


Once I was able to add some nutrition back into my diet, I began to feel a little better, but my emotions were noticeably off. While taking some informal neurotransmitter deficiency tests online, I came across a test for pyroluria. Based on my indicative results, I decided to research this condition further.

I learned that pyroluria is a genetic condition, estimated to be present in 10-11 % of the population. It is not recognized by much of the medical community (I have cynical theories as to why), and it is one of the most common undiagnosed conditions.

Symptoms of pyroluria can include anxiety, depression, poor gut health, and skin problems. I think pyroluria deserves its own post, so I’ll leave it here and just say that taking vitamin B6 (in the enzymatic, P5P form), and zinc has made a phenomenal difference for me here. My energy and outlook have significantly improved, and I can tolerate protein slightly better (though I still have to be careful).

I’ve also been experimenting with the ketogenic diet. When going keto, I notice significantly improved physical energy and mental clarity.

Equal, or perhaps second-best (for me) to the keto diet, is a high-fat, med-carb (mostly fruit), low-protein diet. Kinda counterintuitive, but the foods that make me feel the healthiest are not meat and veggies, but rather (healthy) fats, fruit, and salt. YesLots of salt. Makes the adrenal glands happy. High salt consumption has also stabilized my blood pressure! (You also need to replenish electrolytes more when on the keto diet.)

I still consume homemade broth nearly every day, to continue the process of healing my gut.

2-3 months ago, I feared that at 24, I had a life of chronic illness ahead of me. But I finally believe that I’m getting my life back.

So many of these topics deserve their own post(s). So I will wrap it up here for now.

Have you dealt with chronic illness? Did some of the symptoms or solutions I mentioned resonate with your own experiences? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Each individual is, well, individual. Different genetic combination. Different environmental and life factors. Consequently, appropriate treatment will, no doubt, vary from person to person. I am not a doctor, just someone who has studied genetics a lot, has some “interesting” genetics, and has experimented on herself because of that. Please do not treat this information as medical advice.

© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

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