Wednesday, April 20, 2011

About Food Allergies

About 3 months ago, I felt like I was falling apart: serious digestive issues (bloating, leaky gut symptoms, a feeling of having butterflies in my stomach...) as well as nervous issues (constantly tense muscles, impossible to relax, tachycardia episodes lasting longer than usual...). Not to mention cracking joints & joint pains. At some point my elbows were swollen and sore with black & blues for a couple days...I was a total wreck, I knew I had to do something!

So the first thing I did was to remove all grains, all nuts and high oxalate foods because I suspected that the little calcium I had was flushed away by the oxalates (I had a few servings of spinach before it all started) and I knew I was probably low in magnesium as well (I hadn't been taking magnesium supplements for years even though I have spasmophilia, I just assumed that all the nuts I was eating - especially almonds - would cover my magnesium needs). Since I knew my gut was damaged, I started taking more fermented foods, some clay (to flush the toxins out of my body) and bone broths (which did some magic for my stomach where peppermint tea failed).

So at this point I was grain, nut, sugar, corn, soy, egg & nightshades free. I'd been having raw dairy daily (since a good 2-3 years) too which seemed to be fine for me (or so I thought) since I didn't experience the stomach aches I had as a child with pasteurized milk, not to mention that the extra beneficial bacteria was more than welcome. I was doing better but it was not perfect. I started reacting to simple foods I had no problem with until now (carrots, beets...). So I figured that there was still something bothering me & my intestines.

I thought it was time for me to get tested for food allergies once and for all and stop the guessing game. So I ordered an allergy test kit that required just a few drops of blood (something I could do at home), send via the mail and wait for the results. Meanwhile I had heard that allergy tests were not 100% accurate and an acquaintance of mine suggested the Coca Pulse Test, in which your pulse can give you an indication if a type of food isn't to your body's liking. It can be a bit time consuming (especially if you have several foods to test) but it is fairly accurate...I mean how can your own pulse/body trick you?

A couple days ago (about 2 weeks after I sent my allergy testing card), I got my results in the mail. Here's what they found out:

-I'm allergic to cane sugar (class VI, the highest), asparagus (class IV), almonds (class V), cottage cheese (class IV), cow's milk (class IV), whey (class IV) & yogurt (class IV)

These are foods I need to take out of my diet. I'm a bit surprised by the dairy since I only used raw cow's milk and thought I was doing fine but dairy was the only food I hadn't removed from my elimination diet and might be the culprit as to why my intestines are not healing as well as I was hoping. Almonds doesn't surprise me, as I have eaten a lot of them (like many grain free folks out there) and one often craves the food he/she is allergic too though last time I reintroduced a bit of almond butter I noticed that it didn't taste nearly as good as it used too. Asparagus is something I suspected. Now the cane sugar is something that blew me away: I've had hypoglycemia since my childhood and naturally I've eaten tons of sugary things for my low blood sugar...Which means I have poisoned myself for more than 20 years! (And I now know how toxic sugar is...Even more for me!). I removed sugar from my diet a few years ago after reading that sugar feeds the whole hypoglycemia cycle and it helped.

-I'm moderately sensitive to chicken eggs (yolks & whites, class III), baker's yeast (class III), casein (class III), cheddar (class III), mozzarella (class III)

These are foods I can have on a rotation diet (about once or twice a week). I removed the eggs years ago as I suspected a sensitivity (digestive disorders, slight red patches on the skin coming & going). Recently I did the pulse test with chicken eggs and my pulse didn't react. I will try eating one and add 1-2 to baked goods but I'd like to get duck eggs instead since I've read that they are a good option for people allergic to chicken eggs (and more nutritious too).

What surprised me is no reaction to grain (gluten or not), pulses, nightshades, nuts or seeds. My pulse seems to react to tree nuts such as walnuts & hazelnuts (at least for now, could be a temporary sensitivity, as usual I'll retest again in a few weeks). I know I reacted to chickpea flour and then lentils (which I never had trouble with) but lately the lentils were ok with the pulse test. As for grains, I know they feed my hypoglycemia. Each time I reintroduce them, the old ghost is back within 3 days (I suspect more of a starch issue than a true gluten issue. And since starch is sugar...). My only hope is sprouted grains/flours, they don't seem to trigger and hypoglycemia and my stomach handles them fine but my intestines are still fragile and get irritated so I'll have to try again in 1-2 months. As for nightshades, I pulse tested a tomato, which was fine but even though I only chewed on a tiny tomato, I had a horrible headache afterward that lasted a while, so I'm most likely sensitive to the toxins inside the nightshades (I recommend the book "Nightshade free, Pain free"). Once I remove the cow's dairy (according to the test goat milk isn't a problem, except that finding raw goat milk is nearly impossible because it's very perishable. But raw goat milk cheeses can be found easily), I expect my gut to heal a bit faster, especially since I'm on my own customized paleo-scd-gaps diet ;).

Also I was surprised that onions & garlic didn't show (they seem to trigger post-nasal drip), neither did carrots, beets or mushrooms (which I got a pulse reaction from) so it could be a temporary sensitivity.

I don't regret doing the test, I think if I combine the results with my pulse tests and my body's reactions (such as headache, post-nasal drip and such), it will make things much more manageable for me. I am hopeful that I will be able to reintroduce more and more foods over the next few months. I just want to be healthy, happy, enjoy life and enjoy my food!

2 comments:

Bevy said...

So how are you feeling now? I saw your comment on the Rosemary rolls on TheSpunkyCoconut.com and Kelly wondered if she could use your version of her recipe and give you credit.

I'm allergic to almost everything that I used to be able to eat with abandon. I have Hep C and it makes my gut very upset and const.

I am gluten/sugar (except honey and molasses)/chocolate/dairy-casein FREE! My hubby gives me grief about it all - but recently he is ADMITTING that there may be something to the allergies b'c of my FOUL mood when I have been consuming something I'm horribly allergic to.

Oh and thank for the comment about chicken eggs and duck eggs - I never thot of them as an option.

I can't tolerate goats milk as it's too close to cows milk for me - but I can tolerate sheep cheese - which is hard to say ... LOL! And it's not very cheap - And sometimes I can tolerate parmesian - b'c it's a hard cheese. The sheep cheese is a hard cheese too.

God bless! I enjoyed reading your blog.

Alchemille said...

Bevy I am doing much better thanks.
I've done some gut healing and I have been able to reintoduce several foods in my diet (some I know were temporarly problematic and while others are allergenic).
I am lucky not to have any anaphylactic reactions but I stay away from sugar (to which I am highly allergic and I think it has affected my moods and my brain for many years unknowingly).
I retested some nightshades (to which I am not officially allergic), it seems ok in small amounts though they make me lightheaded.
I can have some dairy again (while staying reasonable). I prefer to go with the fermented dairy (cheese, yogurt and such) b/c fermentation lowers the casein content of milk. Butter and cream are very low casein and don't cause me any problem.

In you case healing the gut is as important as supporting your immune system and boosting your liver. Fermented foods are great for those three aspects of health and could help you greatly.

Do you know Sandor Katz, the author of "Wild Fermentation"? I believe I read somewhere (if I am not mistaken) that he had contracted the HIV virus but never developed the disease thanks to the immune boosting fermented foods he was consuming (he is the expert on the subject - whether experimental or traditional ferments. He even has a new book coming out soon).

I wish you luck and to recover your health. One thing that has helped me (and that I keep doing) is to bless my food (whatever your spiritual belief is). Food is more than nourishment for the body, it is medicine and it works energetically as well (you find that a lot in eastern cuisines). Food shouldn't be feared, it should be appreciated. When you bless your food, you also digest some good healing energy ;).

Hope this helps.

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