There’s been a lot of talk recently about food intolerance. So what’s the deal? Why all of a sudden would so many people start having trouble with different foods… Is it an illusion?
I just came across some research (published December 2013 in Entropy) that Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been conducting concerning the increase in Celiac Disease (including gluten intolerance) and the herbicide ingredient glyphosate. She has seen a similar increase in the prevalence of these conditions with the rise in genetically engineered crops and an increase of the herbicide Roundup, which started about 15 years ago.
“There’s an extremely strong correlation between the use of Roundup on corn and soy over time and the increase in all these different diseases, and celiac disease is one of them,” she says.
Dr. Seneff has shown that glyphosate (presents in foods grown with Roundup) actually destroys the microvilli in our intestinal tracts, which makes it harder to absorb essential nutrients. This chemical also disturbs our ability to digest the wheat proteins, gluten and gliadin. This indigestibility leads to an immune reaction and therefore inflammation. Glyphosate also has been observed as causing gut dysbiosis (a poor bacteria balance), which allows harmful pathogens to flourish. It also disrupts our body’s sulphur pathways, which ends up causing diarrhea because of excess serotonin production. This is strong evidence as the amount of people with food intolerances has skyrocketed.
I can say for one that I do have a food intolerance. I have trouble consuming wheat and cow dairy products, and for awhile corn. My problems began with stomach pains. Sharp, hunched over, consuming stomach pains. After the pains came the bloating. And I would spend the day or night in agony waiting for the food I ate to pass. How did I know it was what I ate? Educating myself, experimentation, and now treating others. I took away different foods with an elimination diet and when I added them back in, monitored to see if I had any symptoms. Simple, yet effective.
But not everyone that has a food intolerance has digestive symptoms. So how do you know if you might have one?
I first want to point out that there is a difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. A food allergy is an immediate immune response to eating a certain food. Symptoms are immediate, a small amount of the food can trigger an allergy. It happens every time you eat the food and it can be life-threatening. Allergy tests can be done by your doctor by taking blood samples or by a skin prick test. A food allergy can cause symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, skin rash, hives, itchy skin, shortness of breath, chest pain, a sudden drop in blood pressure, trouble swallowing or breathing. If these symptoms should arise, call 911.
A food intolerance is different in that it is not an immediate response and you may only notice symptoms when you eat a lot of the culprit food. An intolerance is not life-threatening. It can cause symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, cramps, bloating, heartburn, headaches, and irritability or nervousness. A food intolerance, stated simply, is when a certain food causes irritation to your digestive tract or your body cannot process the food properly. The most effective way, to date, to see if you have a food intolerance is to do an elimination diet (which I will explain shortly).
There are 5 most common food intolerances;
4. Dairy (cow)
The Food Elimination Plan
A food elimination plan or diet is exactly what it says. You eliminate foods that could cause problems for X amount of time and then add them back in to see if you have symptoms. It is good to start a food elimination plan with a cleanse for about 3 days. After the 3 days are up, vegetables, fruits, and leans meats like chicken and turkey are added back in. The 5 most common intolerances from above are avoided as are all processed sugars and food.
The purpose of the cleanse is to eliminate potentially intolerant foods. This process will also support anti-inflammatory mechanisms and blood sugar balance. The first step is to prepare the beverage you will consume for 3 days. Fill a gallon size container with the following, filtered water (preferably reverse osmosis), lemon and lime pulp and juice (at least 5 each to taste), organic grade B maple syrup (~2 tablespoons, also to taste but not too much to affect blood sugar), and brewed green tea (~5-6 bags or to taste).
During this portion of the food elimination plan, you will not consume supplements or food. You will only consume the drink prepared. If you absolutely feel the need to eat something, you may consume a food you do not normally eat, such as brussel sprouts, steamed and without any seasonings. The goal is to take a sip of the beverage every 10-15 minutes for the duration of the cleanse (except while sleeping).
During the second portion of the elimination plan (this part is determined by your health care practitioner), you will complete a 2 or 3 week program with the Clearvite supplement. The purpose of this portion is to provide nutritional support and detoxify the body. We are bombarded by hundreds upon hundreds of pollutants every day, which accumulate in our systems. Clearvite was designed to take chemical pollutants that are fat soluble and convert them to water soluble for easy elimination from the body in sweat, urine, and feces.
During this last portion of the food elimination plan, you will be instructed to add one food back into your diet from the ‘foods to avoid’ list. You will add one food back into your diet every 3 days. If you experience an acute reaction to a food, it is recommended to avoid that food and write it down. If you do not have a reaction to a food for the 3 days, you may add in another food and monitor again for 3 days. Continue this until all foods have been added back in. It is a good idea to keep a journal to document any symptoms experienced after each different food.
Foods to Avoid:
- any food you are allergic to
- dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt), eggs, margarine, shortening
- foods that contain gluten (cereal, bread, pasta, wheat, oats, rye, barley)
- tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn
- alcohol, caffeine (coffee, black tea, sodas)
- soy (tofu, soymilk)
- peanuts, peanut butter
- beef, pork, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, canned meat, sausage, shellfish, meat substitutes made from soy
Your physician can give you further instructions 🙂
So now you know you have a food intolerance. What does that mean? What will continuing to eat those foods do to you? People with Celiac Disease have been shown to have a higher likelihood of other diseases such as Gastrointestinal Cancer, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and a higher likelihood of having children with disabilities and birth defects. Scary stuff. Plus it can be downright uncomfortable. So it’s in your best interest if you have a food intolerance to understand why and get it in check. After all ‘we are what we eat.’ Cliche, but true.
If you do not remove whatever food you are intolerant to, you will not begin the healing process.
Here are the steps I recommend to help with healing!
- AVOID foods you are intolerant to! No exceptions. (If you like bread and you have a gluten problem, it is easy to find substitutes these days. No excuses.)
- A good quality probiotic. I prefer a probiotic that has an enteric coating to ensure the most bacteria get into the small intestine. Right now I am using this one. I look for a probiotic that contains Lactobacillus Plantarum as it has been shown to help with gut lining healing.
- A quality HCL supplement. Not everyone has a problem with producing hydrochloric acid. However, if you do have low acid production, you may experience symptoms such as acid reflux, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating, or nausea, after eating. I personally will have a full feeling after eating for hours unless I take a swig of this raw apple cider vinegar. Or you can use a supplement like this one.
- A high quality Omega 3 supplement. Nothing beats inflammation like omega 3’s. I will take a high quality cod liver oil like this one (it’s nice because it is lemon flavored so no fishy burps.) I take 2,000mg per day, but be mindful that this product contains vitamin A, which you can overdose on. You can also find a low vitamin A version of this product here. If you are vegetarian, flaxseed oil is a good choice here.
- Glutamine. The amino acid glutamine has been shown to close the gaps in injured gut linings or leaky gut. You can find a good quality glutamine here.
- Grass Fed Gelatin. Gelatin from grass fed cows can be useful medicine as it also helps to soothe and heal the gut lining. You can find a high quality grass fed gelatin here. (Not vegetarian.) You can also make your own bone brother by cooking grass fed chicken or grass fed cow bones. I have done it before and it is quite simple. You can read how to make bone brother here.
If you are on the mend, and you accidentally consume something you have an intolerance to…. I take activated charcoal. It helps to bind the offensive substance and pass more quickly.
Food intolerances can be reversed in as little as 6 months, if you are lucky… and possibly up to 2 years. If you want to heal from a food intolerance/gut issue, it is best to avoid the offenders at all costs to help with a speedy recovery. Always remember to look for positives in eliminating foods you may have once loved. It can be difficult psychologically. But you will be healthier in the long run!
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