Difficulty with Food Allergies

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  1. ThompsonPen profile image65
    ThompsonPenposted 11 years ago

    After the holidays I am going to go Gluten Free and Dairy Free to find out which I'm allergic to, and perhaps move on from there. I have done the Gluten free thing, which is not terribly difficult for me. I have mostly gone dairy free, but I'm not strict on it, and am rather partial to cheese, especially when I am eating out.
    Any one have any suggestions to make this transition easier?
    Any one have any stories and experiences to share?
    I personally really enjoy experimenting with my diet. I like finding out what my body reacts well to and what it doesn't. I do have a fear thought that I could have an undiscovered intolerance for the Night Shade family (tomatoes, potatoes, egg plant, peppers, etc). But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
    I'm excited for the opportunity to be healthier, and I"m excited to find out what foods make me bloat and gain weight, which are making my skin irritated, which are effecting my moods and energy levels and so on.
    What's your take on diet and nutrition?

    1. Sally's Trove profile image76
      Sally's Troveposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      What a great topic, which I live with every day and write about often.

      I am both gluten and lactose intolerant and finally managed to get myself under control by starting with Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live plan. Added benefits of his plan were gradual weight loss and increased energy.

      Here's the hard part for me, though...my mother has been staying with me for nearly two months, and she has no intolerances! Foods are now in my refrigerator which haven't been there for a year, and the temptation is horrible. When I give in and grab some lunch meat and crackers, or fried chicken livers (which I love), I really pay for my transgressions with indigestion, bloating, and now, sadly, a bit of a weight gain.

      I have no doubt that "you are what you eat," meaning that food absolutely does affect mood and weight as well as triggering individual sensitivities.

      The biggest help in making the transition into the Eat To Live plan was having an "accountabilibuddy," my daughter, who also jumped into Fuhrman's program. We agreed to support each other by being nonjudgmental of each other, honest with each other, and accepting of being called on for slip-ups.

      Only one bit of advice...rule out one suspected culprit at a time so that you are sure which one is causing the problem and which one is not.

      Good luck in your adventure!

      1. Marisa Wright profile image86
        Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Why are chicken livers a problem, Sally?

        1. Sally's Trove profile image76
          Sally's Troveposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          They are breaded in wheat flour before they are fried.

    2. Marisa Wright profile image86
      Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It's highly unlikely that you're allergic to either of them.

      Gluten intolerance is actually a rare condition, which has become fashionable for some weird reason.  Very few people are truly gluten intolerant, but self-diagnose or are diagnosed by some quack naturopath.   I've had a couple of "gluten intolerant" friends go to a reputable naturopath recently and discover they're not gluten intolerant in any way, and now they are having their real health conditions treated.

      A lot of people get a bloated stomach after eating bread or other grain foods- but in most people, it has nothing to do with the gluten.  There are many other possible causes which are far more likely.

      The only good thing to come out of it is that food companies have been quick to jump on the bandwagon and produce gluten-free foods  which is great for the genuinely intolerant, who have struggled for years to find decent food.

      As for dairy - it's not unusual to be lactose intolerant, but all that means is that you need to drink lactose-free milk.  Cheese, yogurt etc are all perfectly OK because the process of manufacture breaks down the lactose.  It really annoys me to see manufacturers producing "lactose-free" yogurt because it's completely unnecesssary.

      If you think you have allergies and want to identify them, go on a proper elimination diet. 
      http://www.functionalmedicine.org/conte … 091503.pdf

      1. Sally's Trove profile image76
        Sally's Troveposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        For those who are lactose intolerant, cheese and "lactaid" are absolutely not always options.

        As for gluten intolerance, you may want to read up on inflammatory conditions and the role gluten can play.

        Intolerance is not the same as allergy.

        The elimination diet you link to is crystal clear about eliminating dairy and gluten. The purpose of the diet (as stated in the link) is to detoxify the body. I don't see anything in the text that walks you through how to identify foods you are allergic to.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image86
          Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Sally, I was directing my comments at the OP, not at you.  You are the kind of thorough person who would have taken care to be properly diagnosed.

          I do understand the difference between intolerance and allergy.  Again, it sounded as though the OP does not, because she referred to gluten "allergy", but I didn't want to write a treatise.  The main point I wanted to get across was that gluten intolerance is a relatively rare condition, whereas her post suggested she thought dairy and gluten allergies were the most likely culprits.

          I'm not familiar with the word lactaid.   Lactose-free milk is milk from which the lactose has been removed, and we can buy it here in Australia.   Clearly, if the lactose has been removed and you still cannot drink the milk, then there is some additional problem present, other than lactose intolerance (since there is zero lactose present in the milk).

          The link I gave was to a starting-point elimination diet, I'd forgotten that the additional instructions weren't at the end.  The idea is that you follow that diet for a week, then slowly reintroduce other foods one food item per day and record your reactions.  Naturally, it excludes gluten and dairy since they are possible triggers, but it excludes other common triggers as well.

          What gets me is that these days, gluten and dairy "allergies" are being presented as a common reason for digestive problems, causing people to give up healthy foods for no reason.  Like my friend, who thought he was gluten intolerant, went gluten-free for a couple of years and felt a bit better, but never 100%.   He's now been properly diagnosed, and regrets settling for the gluten-intolerant diagnosis before, because he wasted two years feeling blah. 

          The trendiness of gluten intolerance also trivializes a serious, life-affecting condition.

          1. Nursey profile image60
            Nurseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            You are so right. So very right. ♥ ♥ ♥

          2. CASE1WORKER profile image61
            CASE1WORKERposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            As a celiac sufferer for 52 years - and following a gluten free diet most of my life 100%, I cannot understand why anyone would willingly follow it unless they realy had to

            1. Marisa Wright profile image86
              Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Exactly, but I know a surprising number of people who are following it, I suspect because it's the latest fashion amongst alternative therapists.  Like I said, two of those people have recently been properly examined and found not to be gluten intolerant at all - so not only have they put themselves through the diet for no reason, they've delayed treatment of the condition they've actually got!

              1. Nursey profile image60
                Nurseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                Such wise words. ♥ ♥ ♥

          3. ThompsonPen profile image65
            ThompsonPenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            You need longer than that. It takes the body a while to adjust to dietary changes. Generally, it is suggested that one eliminates a food for six weeks then reintroduces it back in to the body to see the results. If that is not the case, then another food is tested. And so on.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image86
              Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              That's interesting information.   I did my elimination diet with a high-profile doctor, who was often on TV programs as an "expert" on food and environmental allergies.  I went to him for help with my (allergic) asthma, but after a few visits I decided his understanding of asthma was doubtful - some of his ideas and suggested treatments were potentially dangerous for a severe asthmatic like me.

              Now I understand his method of testing for food allergies was not correct, it just confirms my suspicion he was just a snake oil salesman all along!

    3. DzyMsLizzy profile image82
      DzyMsLizzyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I would suggest trying one at a time.  If you do both eliminations at once, and gain relief, you won't know which of the two was the problem.  Give it at least a month trial for each.
      If you don't get relief from the first category, then try eliminating the second.  Then you'll know for sure which was the real allergy.  There is also the possibility that neither is the case, if you still don't get relief, and you'll be off on a hunt to find the real culprit...it may be far afield from your suspicions.
      I once knew a gal who tried eliminating all sorts of  things from her diet--in the end, it turned out that she was allergic to beef.
      Best wishes and good luck!

    4. Ashley Vanni profile image61
      Ashley Vanniposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Teaming with an immunoligist or food allergy specialist and nutrionist or dietetics background can be greatly beneficial. Depending on the severity of the food allergy (allergy vs intolerance) and possibility of anaphylactic reaction, your doctor may prefer to do blood test over a scratch test. I have a severe tree nut allergy and a scratch test could kill me, so they compared my blood to the allergen when confirming my nut allergy. A desensitization diet would not work for me either (could kill me) but mild food allergies can be overcome with this technique as the protein is slowly introduced to the body and the immune system learns to accept it.

      Also, if you have an intolerance instead of an allergy, certain probiotics or enzymes can be taken along with the food to help with digestion. However, this technique is not reccomended for all intolerances and should be discussed with your doctor before trying.

      Hope this helps. You can also check out my food allergy, awareness, and lifestyle blog focused on the business professional and startup culture at www.livelovemanja.com ,

      Blogger Critic FoodMedia Startups

  2. peeples profile image90
    peeplesposted 11 years ago

    This may sound weird to some but no one needs dairy. Cow breastmilk is made for cows. The make up of it is again for cows. I am dairy free and I will say the easiest way to eliminate dairy is just cold turkey. Most who do see changes in the weight, skin, and energy levels within a week or two.

    1. Nursey profile image60
      Nurseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Marisa has already said all there is to say on this subject, Peeples. ♥ ♥ ♥

    2. Sally's Trove profile image76
      Sally's Troveposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You are exactly right, no one needs dairy. The "Got Milk"  influence on our lives came out of a marketing campaign to push milk as the growth ingredient for children in order to boost milk sales, with the US government's approval not for children's health, but for milk sales.

      My grandmother died believing she killed her little sister by rocking her to death, in a fit of anger, on a swing. What we know now is that the little sister could not tolerate cow's milk. Cow's milk is not made for humans. Such a huge political element here.

      1. ThompsonPen profile image65
        ThompsonPenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        That is very true. A lot of food industries fund schools, and thus we see ads on cafeteria walls to eat your dairy, your meat, your bread, whatever. I think originally it started being consumed because it provided the fat we needed to get through the winters. I could be wrong on that one though

  3. Sally's Trove profile image76
    Sally's Troveposted 11 years ago

    The OP laid out her circumstances and this is what she got...a diatribe.

    Nutrition is a complex subject, rife with semantics, opportunists, snake oil salesmen, and misinformation for free on the web.

    Nutrition is a ripe political field for agribusiness and self-professed experts.

    It's hard to cut to the quick.

    1. Nursey profile image60
      Nurseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      How can you describe Marisa Wright's valuable information as a "diatribe"?

      1. Sally's Trove profile image76
        Sally's Troveposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        My comment about "diatribe" had nothing to do with Marisa.

        1. Nursey profile image60
          Nurseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Of course not. Nobody could address Marisa in such a way. So sorry to have thought you might, Sally. ♥ ♥ ♥

    2. Marisa Wright profile image86
      Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes indeed.  My current favourite is "gluten-free milk".  Yes, it's on the supermarket shelves right now!

      And I do apologise for Nursey.  She seems to have become my shadow, which I fear will soon start to upset people.  Which may, of course, be her intention...

      1. Nursey profile image60
        Nurseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        No, of course not! So sorry, Marisa. I was only trying to help. I'll disappear into the background for the afternoon then. Let me know if you need anything. ♥ ♥ ♥

  4. ThompsonPen profile image65
    ThompsonPenposted 11 years ago

    I can tell you right now I am not self-diagnosing. I have been to a dr and a naturopath, and this was their suggestions.
    As someone who has studied nutrition, you know, through a school and all, and extensively (though I will admit my education is not complete at this point, though when is it ever?), I can say that food allergies are quite common. Generally there are a few key culprits: dairy, gluten and members of the night shade family. There are of course other things such as all grains in general, root veg, yeast, molds, sugar - I have a friend who is allergic to all of these things.
    And of course, there is the very common nut allergy that threatens all new parents too!
    Sally is right, grains, especially those containing gluten are prone to cause inflammation within the body. This of course in turn causes a great many other problems.
    For me personally, I have skin irritation, I have mood swings, problems sleeping, energy problems, a groggy brain, speech problems, bloating, difficulty losing weight - just to name a few. All of these things are linked to food allergies. It isn't 100% set in stone that that is what it is, but there's high indicators.
    The inflammation which Sally is talking about is described by Dr. Andrew Weil:
    "Whole-body inflammation refers to chronic, imperceptible, low-level inflammation. Mounting evidence suggests that over time this kind of inflammation sets the foundation for many serious, age-related diseases including heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Recent evidence indicates that whole-body inflammation may also contribute to psychological disorders, especially depression - for more on this, see my new book, Spontaneous Happiness, which will be released November 8, 2011." http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401013/R … ation.html
    Here's some more information on food intolerances and allergies:
    http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/fo … tolerances

  5. ExpectGreatThings profile image76
    ExpectGreatThingsposted 11 years ago

    There are dozens of diets and dozens of opinions on diet v. medicine out there. So I'll just toss in my experience. Take it or leave it smile. My son had serious digestive issues the first 20 months of his life (cramping, diarrhea, and bloody stools - sorry if that is tmi). He was on every medicine imaginable, and allergy tests all came back negative. We started him on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is grain-free, sugar-free, and lactose-free. And within a few days he was a different child. He is completely healthy now and not on any medication.

    It is a hard diet to follow if there is not a very good reason, though. You also mentioned night shades. It is my understanding that those veggies are supposed to affect people with joint and nerve/muscle issues. Are you experiencing these kinds of pain?

    1. ThompsonPen profile image65
      ThompsonPenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I have issues with my knees a lot. i thought it was down to not getting enough omegas or not drinking enough water, but i've been keeping up on those, and it lessens, but they still hurt. That could very well be a possibility. I enjoy tomatoes, but don't buy them as I don't eat the fast enough, and generally I don't eat potatoes and don't like peppers or eggplant. I think there's a couple more that fall under that category, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

      I had a friend who had a son who was constantly going to the principal's office for not paying attention in school. She took him to a doctor to see what they could find out, since he really is a sweet boy, and it's unlike him. they discovered he was 30% deaf in one ear, and 50% deaf in another. They recommended eliminating dairy and gluten as it might be causing blockages in his ears. She did so and now he's a straight A student. He doesn't get bored in class because he can't hear, and he's more energetic and is more mentally focused.

      1. ExpectGreatThings profile image76
        ExpectGreatThingsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        That is a very interesting story about your friends' son. I have never heard of anything like that, but I am glad for them that they found something that worked!

        I hope you'll write a hub on your experiences with different diets.

    2. Marisa Wright profile image86
      Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Have you ever tried reintroducing some of the excluded foods?   Unless you try re-introducing foods, you can't tell whether he's sensitive to all the excluded foods or only some of them.  If you take it slowly and re-introduce foods one at a time, there's no risk in doing so - and wouldn't it be great if you discovered he could eat some of the foods he's currently denied?

      1. ExpectGreatThings profile image76
        ExpectGreatThingsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Marisa. I'm new to the forum-thing so I going to pretend you were addressing that last post to me. Sorry if you weren't! My son has been on the diet about 10 months. The books have suggested we keep him on it a full year after all of his symptoms are gone and then slowly reintroduce foods. I am excited about introducing his "currently denied" foods to him! Although, at this point he is by far the healthiest person in our family. His diet excludes anything processed (mostly because of added starches).

        1. Marisa Wright profile image86
          Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          ExpectGreatThings, this is one of the annoying things about how the forums are displayed - I always import the quote I'm replying to, but if you're viewing the Hubs in "Threaded" view rather than "Chronological", you can't see it.

          So yes, I was replying to you!   That seems like a very long time to wait before you re-introduce foods, but as you're so close to the end you may as well hold out!   

          The bit about the diet excluding anything processed - that's exactly why reintroducing foods is so important.   Sometimes a child isn't sensitive to dairy or gluten or milk at all - it was all the other garbage in processed foods that was causing the trouble.  Fingers crossed your son is in that category!


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