Thursday, June 4, 2015

Autoimmunity and food sensitivities

As I continue to research and learn to manage my EBV, I am learning so much about how the foods I eat impact my body and my health.  I mean, I already knew that eating healthy, clean foods are what the body needs for proper nutrition and fuel.  However, as I pour through books and websites on autoimmune diseases, I am learning so much about how much the food quality can also affect immune health.  One of the biggest things that I have picked up so far is that there is a link between the increase in genetically modified foods to an increase in food allergies.  Gluten intolerance (Celiac Disease), for example, has seen a large increase.  In addition, people are making the connection between excessive gluten and digestive issues (gluten sensitivity), ADD, Autism, immune health, and even dental caries (cavities).  From what I am reading, it isn't so much the gluten itself that is the problem (with the exception of Celiac disease), but the over use of gluten in the American food supply...which is a direct result of genetic modification as a means of increasing crop yield and thus providing a larger food supply.

Let me allergies are more likely to develop, the more often an individual is exposed to a certain food.   Back in the day, when families worked their own land and often farmed their own food, an individual's diet throughout the year would vary - fresh fruits and veggies in the summer because the weather is more favorable to farming, and more meat and grains in the winter, when hunting and use of harvest grain was likely to be the main source of food.   Foods were rotated in and out throughout the year.  Today, we can hit the grocery store pretty much anytime of the year and find pretty much anything you want to eat.  Although there is some variety in our diets, people still tend to eat the same things over and over again...all year round.   That increases our exposure to the typical food allergens, and therefore, gives us more opportunity to develop an allergy.  There is a TON of great info about this, and if you want to read in more detail, check out The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum M.D., M.P.H.

OK, so I'm bringing you our of the lecture hall and back into my blog again.  Over the past few years, I have noticed that I have adverse reactions to a certain foods.  I definitely have an issue with potatoes.  I know, it sounds CRAZY.  Every time I eat potatoes (regardless of form) I get stomach cramps about 2 hours after eating them.  Sweet potatoes are the exception.  However, I steer clear of baked potatoes, new potatoes, chips, french fries, and mashed potatoes.  I have had theories about other foods that I have sensitivities with (dairy, gluten and corn, specifically), so I decided to do a series of allergy elimination diets.  I am starting with the big 4 - gluten, dairy (milk), corn, and soy.  I have given up ALL four of these items for the next 3 weeks.  After the 3 weeks, I will introduce each one back in ONE at a TIME.  I will be taking careful notes to see how my body reacts. Later on I will do some testing for nut and egg sensitivities - although, I have never really had issues with either. 

Today is day 3, and so far I am doing great.  I am not at all hungry.  I am aiming to stay within my normal calorie range for the foods I am allowed to eat.  However, if I am really hungry, I will eat a little more.  You might be asking yourself, "If you can't eat gluten, dairy, corn, or soy, then what CAN you eat?".  The truth is that I really have to read labels in the grocery store.  Gluten free products are pretty easy to find nowadays.  I tend to shop at Kroger, and they have a special label on any food item in the store that is gluten free.  Dairy is also pretty easy to avoid.  I am subbing almond, coconut, and cashew milk for typical dairy products - coconut milk yogurt, cashew milk ice cream, etc.  I am skipping out on all cheese though, and I am NOT excited about that.  My challenges have actually been with soy and corn.  So many of the products on the store shelves use SOME FORM of corn (high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch...anything with the word corn in it), or soy (or soybean).  UGH!!!  Sadly, those are the 2 most over used products in the typical American diet.  Of course, I am getting lots of fruits and veggies, and my typical fare of lean red meat, chicken, turkey and fish.  I am trying to get grass fed or free range meats, whenever possible...mostly because those animals are usually fed corn....which I am trying to avoid.

My plan is to long in daily and give an update of my day and my progress.  However, since it is already day 3, and I am just now sharing my plan with you, I have a feeling I may not get to my blog every day.  In any event, I will share some pic of a few of the meals that I have enjoyed over the past 3 days.
scrambled eggs (in coconut oil) with peppers and green onions, strawberries and cherries

cream of rice cereal with a bit of honey mixed in, strawberries and cacao nibs

quinoa, turkey sausage, and sauteed peppers and onions

I made my family spaghetti and garlic bread. My simple swaps:
**I checked labels and bought sauce that met my criteria (I would have made my own, but I was short on time today).
**I swapped noodles with spaghetti squash
**I made my own garlic bread with gf/df/cf/sf bread, coconut oil and garlic salt.

Here is that AWESOME cashew ice cream I mentioned.  Completely dairy/corn/soy/gluten free!!

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