“F#(% A Brownie!” Sorry, but, that was the initial, primal thought I had at 2:39 last night when all I wanted was a good night’s sleep! Nausea. Upset stomach. Pain. Hot and Cold Flashes. Explosive…. NOT a good night’s sleep. Damn my weak will power! I love brownies, but I
hate can’t live with the way they make me feel. I know it’s not just the brownies, it’s the processed wheat flour in everything I ate yesterday.
So, why in the world did I eat it?? Well…. sometimes, I can get away with it, but one leads to the next, and the cumulative effect of eating those burgers on regular buns (I usually use spinach instead) and brownies probably lent to my middle of the night blues. BUT, it was my husband’s birthday, and I didn’t want him to feel deprived. He wasn’t fond of that gluten free cake we made Josh on his birthday (poor kid), so we splurged on brownies last night. Bad call. Lesson learned (again).
FOOD INTOLERANCES have been on the top of my research list for the past decade. There are problems with gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, artificial food products, over processed foods and a bunch of other inflammatory foods I’ve learned about in recent years. And, boy does it explain a lot about all the health problems I’ve had in my life… asthma, irritable bowel, eczema, fibromyalgia, the autoimmune response to food sensitivities seems endless. It’s starting to explain a lot about my Joshua too, poor kid has had gut issues since he was an infant.
I can’t eat a plate of spaghetti without getting a severe stomach ache. People say to me, “How can you not eat spaghetti?” When food makes you feel physical pain and discomfort, there’s a little extra motivation. Doubled over in pain is not my idea of fun or functional. There are also food intolerance symptoms that don’t double you over in pain, but are just as difficult for your body to manage and do damage on the inside over time.
Here are some of the most common food intolerance symptoms:
- stomach ache
- dry, itchy skin/eczema
- allergy symptoms: chronic congestion, sneezing, “allergic shiners”-those dark circles under your eyes aren’t from lack of sleep, that’s allergy congestion
- bloating/water retention/edema/swelling
- trouble focusing (ADHD)
- mood swings (anxiety, depression, hormonal changes)
- fatigue/sleep problems
- food cravings
- autoimmune disease (diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s, there are literally dozens if not hundreds)
Anything sound familiar??? I could have checked off most of this list when I was eating the foods I didn’t know I shouldn’t. I just thought it was Fibromyalgia and asthma and irritable bowel and dry skin, and I’m a hypersensitive… but, now, I know it’s food. I’ve proved it to myself over and over. No bad foods, no need for inhalers. Bad foods, need inhalers. No bad foods, muscles feel good, no bloating. Bad foods, muscle pain, joint pain, bloating. This my friends, is called an elimination diet. Trial and Error. Anything you eat is in your system for at least 3 days before you excrete it. It can take weeks to purge from some food intolerance symptoms like yeast though; if you want, you can read about my yeast battle in my post, 50 Pounds Later….
How do we know if it’s a food intolerance/sensitivity/allergy? It’s not easy. I recommend going back to that elimination diet link I have above. A lot of it is trial and error, and you are your best scientist on this one. You know how you feel. Pay attention to your body!!! Look around, do you see the health of our society? Most people aren’t paying attention to this epidemic, they just pull into the next Drive-thru because they are too busy not to. But, it’s killing us!! NOT my family, not if I can help it. We choose fresh whole food when we can, but life is busy, and that’s not always an option. Or, sometimes, you just want a treat, and what’s it hurt to have a burger with a real bun or a couple brownies? May I refer you back to my first paragraph if you have a short memory. It can hurt, sometimes immediately and obviously, sometimes long-term and not so obvious.
We’ve learned that my son’s chronic stomach issues are related to foods – duh, but NOW we know that his neurologic issues may be related to food intolerances too. BAM!! That’s why prescriptions won’t fix it!! It’s a nutrition problem! Hello!! So, we went to a holistic doctor recently and had some testing done, guess what my boy is allergic to? Gluten, Casein (cow’s milk protein), and wheat, how fun. NOT. Guess what this kid loves? Milk. Guess who he gets it from. Me. Guess what apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Him! I love milk so much, my college roommates joked about it, but wouldn’t dare touch my milk. Guess who started feeling better when they took milk out of their diet with their son? (hand up). Guess who got constipated and stomach pains when they had milk as a treat over the holidays? (hand up). Guess who is really upset that she can’t drink milk anymore? (stomping feet mad, that would be me!) It’s a fate almost worse than death. I’d wrestle anyone right now for a nice cold glass of milk, and I’d win. Hands down.
So, there are foods and other substances that I’ve tried to eliminate from our world for multiple health benefits, not just food intolerance issues.
What does my family try to avoid?
- Gluten – Gluten is the prolamins and glutelins of the seeds of wheat, rye and barley. Not buckwheat though, buckwheat is not wheat, also wheat grass doesn’t contain the gluten components – cross contamination can occur though. Learn more about gluten and other grains.
- Dairy – We do occasionally eat cheese, and butter is grass fed or ghee. We use almond and cashew milk.
- Soy – inflammatory. Try liquid aminos (without soy) or coconut aminos in place of your Soy Sauce, great substitute!
- Yeast – I’m allergic s/s-> asthma symptoms worsen, bloating, constipation, weight gain, sleep problems, feeling icky, tired, sore muscles. No thanks.
- Vegetable oils – It’s high in Omega 6 (as is mass produced chicken) – causes inflammation. Use Olive and Coconut (Omega 3!) -coconut decreases chronic inflammation. Buy Farm fresh meats.
- Peanuts – Peanuts are actually legumes, and can be inflammatory, note the rise in peanut allergies. We like almonds instead.
- MSG – Monosodium glutamates most common side effect is headache-> very common migraine trigger, it’s in everything, esp. prepackaged soups. Causes major bloating and obesity too. MSG is the substance that is given to lab rats to cause obesity so that scientists can study obesity. Let me explain, it is not part of the experiment, it is protocol. OUR FDA KNOWS MSG CAUSES OBESITY!
- All artificial sweeteners, especially ASPARTAME! I can’t preach enough about aspartame, just google it, please! It wasn’t even approved by the FDA initially, I’ll let you figure out the rest.
- All artificial food dyes, including annatto (although annatto is natural, it’s inflammatory for most people).
- High fructose corn syrup. Even if it says just “corn syrup” on the label, you can bet it’s GMO HFCS, little trick our FDA pulled.
- Carrageenan -inflammatory. Read your almond milk labels, found in lots of other healthy foods too. It’s made from seaweed, so it’s natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s not inflammatory.
- Titanium dioxide (makeup, shampoo, body wash, vitamins) – may or may not be cancerous per the FDA. They say it matters only if you breath in the particles, um, my skin is absorbant, not just my lungs… I’ll pass.
- Teflon products – We are switching to solid ceramic.
- Parabens – Check your shampoo, and especially deodorant that you put right by your precious breasts! Parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors, please feel free to refer to this NIH report.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate – check your shampoos and soaps.
If you want to know what products I do use and trust, read about My Family’s Trusty Secrets.
Do we avoid these substances 100% of the time? Of course not, I’m not that good, and we don’t live in a bubble. We live in the real world and have busy lives. And, I think we all deserve a treat every now and then. So, when we go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, of course we get Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and Chocolate Frogs and Chocolate Wands. And, for birthdays we splurge, and for Easter, there is real candy in the Easter Basket. We can’t completely deprive ourselves, but we do try to limit what we consume. We chose Arby’s Roast Beef instead of McD’s hamburger. We choose Chipotle instead of Golden Corral. We buy grass fed beef (most of the time) which is full of good Omega 3s! We try to buy candy with cane sugar or honey, not HFCS. We buy rice thins instead of wheat thins, and actually like them better. Oh, and try quinoa pasta, it’s pretty good, but nothing beats roasted spaghetti squash! 😉
Start paying attention to labels – and I’m not talking about the calories (honestly, I don’t even look at calories), I’m talking ingredients list and what is in your food.
You can’t make the change all at once, too much to learn, too much to change, and too expensive. Healthy is expensive, unfortunately.
Just change a little at a time until you find the right balance for your family. What works for mine might not work for yours. Find Your happy medium. Find the healthiest balance for you and the ones you love.
Another thought about Casein/cow’s milk protein intolerance… Josh had a milk protein intolerance as an infant. You know, the one where mom can’t drink milk because baby is gassy, colicy, spitty, liquid yellow stools. Yep, this milk loving mom was ready to give up breastfeeding instead of milk, but I didn’t, I gave up dairy, all of it for almost a year for my boy. I’m glad I did. Looking back now, that was the first time I didn’t have milk in my entire life. I felt great, my fibro symptoms weren’t bad, my asthma wasn’t bad, etc. This breastfeeding thing was great, or was it the dairy elimination thing that was so great. Along came Drew, she didn’t tolerate me drinking milk either, round 2 of no milk for Mommy for the first time in over 30 years. Felt great! Looking back, I should have known then. Denial is a powerful thing. I also wonder if that was when I should have known that eliminating milk was the right answer for Josh too. Hindsight. Certainly food for thought (pun intended). 😉
There is nothing easy about this journey, there are lots of ups, downs, highs, lows, and hopefully, secret tidbits of helpful hints along the way. If you need help figuring out what your intolerances are, try to find a holistic or functional doctor that practices nutrition. Many doctors are not trained in the necessities of nutrition for wellness.
I’d be happy to help you in any way that I can. As a Wellness coach with some medical knowledge, I have a few more bits of info I can share. Join me on my FB Wellness page for all the wellness info I share there too. If you’d like to chat 1:1, just email me.
Life is about Enjoying the Journey! I hope you and your family find a way to do just that!!