Fueling Your Food Allergy

Have you ever made the mistake of putting the wrong fuel in your car? I would imagine that putting diesel in your brand new gasoline BMW would not be a good scene for anyone. The car wouldn't make it out of the parking lot and you would be wondering how you could have done something so mindless and idiotic. The kind of fuel we put in our cars is important, just like the kind of fuel we put in our bodies. Yet so many people make the same mindless decisions about food on a daily basis, not even considering the repercussions it may have on our own personal mechanical functioning. In many cases this is because we don't know the specifics on the kind of fuel our body likes or dislikes. Just like that BMW, humans cannot run off of impure, dirty fuel that it wasn't designed for. 

We need to be aware of the types of fuel our bodies can use properly so that it can perform to the best of it's abilities. This includes tailoring our diets to exclude foods that we may have developed allergies or sensitivities towards. In my last post I discussed what a food allergy is and provided some tips for recognizing signs and symptoms. This week I am going to explore some options in determining which foods your body may be reacting to.  You deserve the purest fuel possible; take responsibility for your own health and discover something new about your body. Here's how...

There are two major ways to determine if you have a food allergy or intolerance. They are as follows:

The Elimination Diet
The elimination diet, also known as the anti-inflammatory diet or oligoantigenic diet, consists of eliminating all of the major allergens from your diet for at least a 3 week period. These foods are known to cause allergies, sensitivities or inflammation in the body and include soy, dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, refined sugar, red meat, peanuts, alcohol and caffeine. They also include the elimination of many fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits, bananas and melons. Once you eliminate all of these foods for a 3 week period you begin reintroducing each food separately on a 3 day cycle. Every 3 days you introduce a new food and observe your bodies reaction. It is often helpful to keep a food journal during this reintroduction period keeping track of how you feel and what you are eating. If you reintroduce a food and notice a reaction such as loss of energy, headache, abdominal discomfort or diarrhea, you must re-eliminate that food for another 3 days before adding the next one. Once all foods have been re-introduced you will have a very good idea of which foods your body may have trouble processing or digesting. It is important to note that a full body reaction such as fatigue or sluggishness can appear up to three days after ingesting a reactive food. There are also many different variations of this diet which can be found all over the internet, discuss with your ND which one would be best for you. The internet is also a great resource for finding elimination diet friendly recipes. Finding foods to eat is often the biggest initial challenge for many who attempt this diet.

The Antibody Blood Test
The anti-body blood test is a test in which blood is drawn and sent to a lab for analysis. As mentioned in my previous post, when a food allergy is present your body mounts an immune response towards a certain food. This involves creation of anti-bodies by your immune system which attach to the food once it is ingested to tell your body to attack it, leading to inflammation. Once an allergy has been established in the body these specific anti-bodies always remain present in the blood and can be measured. The results from an anti-body blood test will show which food specific anti-bodies appear in your blood, thus telling you which foods your body has mounted a previous allergic reaction towards. These are the foods you should avoid in the future. If the foods that tested positive are eliminated from your diet, you would theoretically experience an improvement in allergic based symptoms.   

As with all options in life there are pros and cons to each. The elimination diet is long, tedious and requires a lot of commitment, but it is free. The anti-body blood test on the other hand is an easy one time in office blood test but can cost upwards of 250$. The blood test can also only measure anti-bodies and does not take into account certain food intolerances that may not involve an immune reaction such as malabsorption or maldigestion. If you think you have the will power and drive to complete the elimination diet I find it to be the more comprehensive option. It involves getting more in touch with how you feel on a day to day basis and if completed correctly can give you more insight into the process behind the way your body manages food. Both of these options can be addressed with your ND who can help you decide which one is best for you. I have personally completed the elimination diet and although very challenging at first, I found it to be a very rewarding experience. I feel as though it is something everyone should at least attempt at some point in their lives. If you're feeling really ambitious and money isn't an issue, try both methods!

Please leave a question or comment!



Jackie O said...

Hey Jaime! I've always been interested in the Elimination Diet... but don't think I have the will power to stick to it for 3 weeks! Is there any way you could put up some recipes or easy to follow go-to ideas that would be conducive to it?

Anonymous said...

great post jamie,
I am starting the elimination diet in January so I will be sure to come back and get your opinion on some food options :)

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