Gluten-free?? Dairy free?? What’s the big deal?
Subtle food allergies give us low-level inflammation and toxicity, which cause weight gain and auto-immune illnesses. Not to mention the discomfort that goes with them.
This isn’t the classic IgE-antibody allergy where the guy bites into a shrimp and suddenly goes down wheezing. No. This would be an IgG-antibody allergy reaction, which may take a half-day or three days to appear, and might not bother us much. Maybe we’re a bit congested, fatigued, achy, puffy, bloated, or have joint pain somewhere. We don’t blame it on that food we ate this morning or three days ago. We’re clueless.
The GLITCH is that this subtle reaction sets up low-level inflammation in the body that continues to build because we keep eating those particular foods, in fact we crave those foods.
This inflammation, over time, becomes steady weight gain and/or an auto-immune illness such as Rheumatoid, Lupus, Scleroderma, Psoriasis, Fibromyalgia, IBS, colitis, and more.
(Not to say you’d acquire a particular ailment, yet if you are even borderline on any of the above, you can find relief here.)
How did I get allergies?
Food allergies begin with tiny breaks in the innermost ultra-thin lining of the intestines. These leaks allow large food molecules into the bloodstream. Our immune system thinks the large food molecule is an invader, so it fights it, forms antibodies against it. Now we have a subtle allergy. We don’t feel like we’re allergic. In fact, we may develop cravings for this very food. We become further inflamed and acidic, even though we feel more or less ok.
Why would my gut leak? I don’t believe it . . .
Our Standard American Diet (SAD) tends to upset the healthy balance of flora (good digestive bacteria) in our intestines. Eating plenty of vegetables supports the good bacteria. Our typical diet of high-sugar, high-snack, cheese, dairy, high-carbs and gluten kills off the good bacteria.
Our good bacteria also die when we take antibiotics, steroids, hormones, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, acid-blockers, antacids, and more.
As the good bacteria fall away, bad bacteria multiply and produce toxins that damage the one-cell-thin lining of the intestines. In particular yeast overgrowth wreaks havoc (Candida).
Other causes of intestinal damage include parasites, mold, Free Radicals, vitamin deficiencies, nicotine, alcohol, and a high-stress lifestyle which reduces blood flow to the gut and increases free radicals.
This damaged innermost lining of our food tube is called Leaky Gut, or Intestinal Permeability. The lining is inflamed. It’s such a thin lining, only a one-cell barrier at the microvilli. The spaces between the cells break open, allowing those big molecules of food to enter the bloodstream. Our immune system does not recognize the molecule as just a bit of bread or beef, so it attacks. It sets up antibodies – against gluten, for instance. A subtle allergy forms. We barely notice it, maybe a little more mucus in our nose or throat, some fatigue, fogginess, sluggishness.
Yes, all this is subtle, who cares? We care because it sets up inflammation in our bloodstream, which hurts our arteries (heart disease) and can settle in our joints, our connective tissue or anywhere else. As time goes on, more acidity accumulates in the body’s tissues, causing more inflammation, swelling, water retention (false ‘fat’), and degenerative diseases.
Aging doesn’t “cause” the diseases of age. This chronic subtle inflammation causes them.
HOW TO GET RID OF ALLERGIES:
Wheat, corn, peanuts, eggs, soy, all dairy products, and sugar– these are the most common allergens. You could begin by avoiding some or all of them, and see how you feel. However if you really want to clear yourself for excellent health, you’ll want to find those allergens unique to you.
Often our unique allergens are foods that we eat daily. It is the daily use that has made them allergens. In fact we may have cravings for the very foods that harm us.
To ferret out allergens, you can:
— go for lab tests ($300 – $500 with a Naturopath) to determine your IgG antibody allergies.
— muscle-test for your allergies using Applied Kinesiology by a practitioner.
— try a 2-week Elimination Diet to pinpoint your allergies yourself. (Doctors in Britain use this approach rather than spend money on lab tests. They let the patient’s symptoms confirm the allergy.)
Elson Haas MD suggests the following Elimination Diets, which I am summarizing here from his book The False Fat Diet (where he presents menus and recipes). I recommend looking into his book The New Detox Diet.
The principle is, if you eliminate all reactive foods for a couple of weeks, and then reintroduce them one at a time, you will notice symptoms when you eat a reactive food. Doing your own detective work, you will find your allergies. Haas lists four types of Elimination Diets:
1. Juice Fast releases toxins the quickest, produces the best results, but the experience can be strenuous. For 7 to 10 days this detoxification juice fast has you drinking abundant fresh fruit and vegetable juices at all hours of the day. (Google green juice recipes – using 75% cucumber or celery, plus leafy greens.) Avoid citrus but lemon is okay. Avoid any plant that you tend to eat every day.
Try the Master Cleanser, popular for decades: 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and 8 ounces water — drink 8 to 12 times a day, if this is the only thing you’re drinking. Or alternate with green juice.
The first few days of your juice fast, you may have detox symptoms such as fatigue, headache, irritability, body odors, generalized soreness. The toxins are clearing out. Vitamin supplements and Bentonite clay (liquid which absorbs toxins) may help you feel better those days. Drink tons of water to keep clearing your system. The detox symptoms will pass and by day 5 or so you will feel calm, content, and vibrant.
(However if you are not enjoying this or any other process, adjust it to your own taste. You are unique and special – listen to your body.)
2. Total Elimination Diet is simple but your range of foods is limited. You will be eating only nonreactive foods: lamb, pears, apples, walnuts, salmon, lima beans, chard, kale, lettuce, almonds, sunflower seeds, rice, sesame seeds, yams, green beans, cucumbers, celery, radishes, garlic, parsley, pine nuts, pistachios. It’s okay to add a few more plants but avoid nightshades like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers. You may add poultry or fish. But you must avoid any food that you eat every day – even if it’s in the ‘nonreactive’ list here. Our daily foods tend to be reactive foods for us.
3. Sensitive Seven Elimination Diet is popular because it’s fairly easy and usually effective. Eliminate wheat, corn, milk (all dairy, cheese), sugar, soy, peanuts, and eggs. Many people also avoid oats, yeast, chocolate, and oranges – because these are often reactive foods. Be sure to eliminate any food that you eat every day. This diet greatly reduces processed foods – hooray.
4. Limited Elimination Diet is the gentlest but may not bring as much relief. You eliminate wheat, milk, and sugar, plus any food that you tend to eat daily. Avoiding milk means all dairy products. Sugar includes corn syrup and such. Remember to check labels for ingredients. The more non-processed you can be, the better. Ramp up the veggies too!
Along with the Elimination Diet of your choice, be sure to avoid preservatives, additives, colorings, vinegar. (Apple cider vinegar is generally okay.) Do your best to eat natural fresh non-processed foods.
Try one to two weeks on an Elimination Diet, then reintroduce foods one at a time.
Okay, you have been on your Elimination Diet for a couple of weeks, your body is fairly clear, you feel surprisingly good. Now you can branch out and test foods, one at a time. Am I really allergic to wheat? Do I have to stay gluten-free? Let’s see:
Eat a wheat product. I recommend pasta at first. (If you eat bread and have a reaction, you won’t be sure if it’s wheat or yeast.) Eat your wheat several times a day in the next 2 to 3 days, and see if you have any symptoms. At the end of the 3rd day, decide whether or not wheat is a good idea for you.
On the 4th day, if you’re feeling good, try another food: am I really allergic to cheese? Test dairy for a few days, as above. (Test simple milk products first, then cheese, because cheese is fermented, so that’s another factor too.) Little by little you will expand your food list to include more feel-good foods. You will pinpoint your subtle allergens.
Once you know your allergies, you can vow to stay away from them, or you can fall off the wagon sometimes and keep observing how they feel to your body. Just know if you feel off, blah, or yucky on them, hidden inflammation and toxins are arising, so you’re better off without them.
Use a rotation diet so you don’t form new allergies. Rotate your foods so that you do not repeat eating any item within 3 days of the last time you ate it. For instance, for 24 hours you may eat chicken – then stay away from it for 3 days. On the 4th day you may eat it again. Rotating food in this way prevents the start-up of new food allergies (even though the core issue of leaky gut is not yet resolved).
Fell off the wagon? If you blew it and got really sugared up, or ate an allergic food and now you’re feeling toxic, here are a few quick fixes you can try. These suggestions help bring an over-acidic body back into balance, toward a more alkaline state.
- drink a lot more water, especially celtic salt water or alkaline water
- drink lemon juice or diluted lemon juice or bitter non-sweetened cranberry juice
- take Bentonite clay, which mops up acidity and disposes of it
Will I never eat ice cream again? Say it isn’t so!
It is not so.
In this benevolent Universe, the body has an innate ability to heal. If we can give our body a rest from allergic foods, AND take steps to heal our intestinal membranes, All will be well.
It is a misconception that subtle food allergies are always forever. They are not. If we resolve their root cause, we can resolve them.
To heal intestinal permeability, we need to restore our flora with probiotics and soothe our inflamed intestine with helpful supplements, including yucca juice. (See ‘Lose Toxins’ for a whole plan toward gut restoration. See chronic symptoms of acidity; practical suggestions for autoimmune diseases.)
Over time, we may find we no longer react to our previously reactive foods. We find we have gradually turned toward great healthy foods that we have come to love. We grow out of the food cravings we used to have. Now the veggies taste good. Imagine that.
On another level, it’s important to de-stress our lives, learn to relax, loose and limp, be more accepting and mellow. Our gut is sensitive to our emotions. Truly it is. Can we allow the world around us to be just as it is, without getting upset?
Upset gets us nowhere, after all . . .