When Food is Foe 😈

It certainly is a frustration and a struggle when you suspect that the food you’ve been eating is somehow contributing to the trouble you’re having with your gut, brain, muscles and joints, or skin.

A short list of common symptoms related to food-induced inflammation can range from heartburn and stomach pain to bloating and diarrhea. It could manifest as headaches or migraines, loss of focus, anxiety and/or depression. The symptoms could show in your achy points or in your skin as rashes or breakouts.

Your Personalized Diet

Everyone needs to eat according to their own needs, preferences, and lifestyle. A diet that works for a celebrity, your best friend, and even your cousin may not be what creates health for YOU.

Truly personalized nutrition doesn’t just take into account your height and weight, age, ancestry, activity level, or food preferences and lifestyle, it also means finding out which foods are causing an inflammatory response in your body.

Gut Permeability aka “Leaky Gut”

Having a “leaky gut” was a condition once unbelieved but is now well-documented in scientific literature. When there’s a compromise or breach of the cells lining the gut, there is a potential for all sorts of maladies, including poor nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, and many symptoms throughout the body.

Inflammation: the Good AND Bad

Just like stress, inflammation isn’t all bad. When you get a cut, the area of the trauma will start to swell and redden as the immune and circulatory system rush to the scene to stop the bleeding, prevent infection, and start laying new skin structures. The problem is when stress, or in this case, inflammation becomes chronic. This situation can ignite a host of disorders including arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental issues.

How do you heal the painful symptoms associated with stepping on a nail? Sure, you could try covering it up, wrapping the area with pillowy gauze and taking aspirin, but you haven’t removed the root cause. So the first step to true, actual healing is to have the nail removed.

How might diet-induced inflammation show up for you? We’re all different so while soybean might cause one person a headache or migraine, for another it could cause joint pain or heartburn. Same with gluten, blueberries, or even green peppers.

Just because a food or diet is labeled as anti-inflammatory doesn’t mean it’s acting that way for you. In fact, surprisingly enough, we’ve had two clients in the past year for whom tumeric, a known anti-inflammatory, was actually INFLAMING them. One of the clients had been taking it everyday (!) in attempts to quell her joint pain.

The Multiple Problems with Elimination Diets

One of the keys in reducing diet-induced inflammation in the body is first identifying the foods that are causing the ‘fire’ in the body. Why not start with an elimination diet to try to improve migraines, autoimmune conditions or gut health? Why not try eliminating the most common allergens (e.g. wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, corn, and soy) or trying FODMAPs? While a particular food may relate to certain symptoms, it’s not necessarily the best course of action to subject clients to an elimination diet because they are difficult to sustain , are often inconclusive (do you have a mirgraine or heartburn because of the gluten or because you’ve been under stress or because of barometric pressure change in the weather?) and they don’t usually give the full relief clients need and desire.

1. They could miss a genetic component important for you to know and to share with your family. A good example of this would be a person who eliminates gluten from their diet and feels better. Unless they were tested for celiac disease, they wouldn’t know how stringently they might need to follow the gluten-free diet. Their relatives might also be unaware of how their expression of ‘silent celiac’ disease could be infertility, skin rashes, mouth sores, osteoporosis, and even lymphoma. 

2. Extra stress is another problem of elimination diets. They are frustrating and mentally demanding (trying to figure out a symptom’s cause might feel like a scene from A Beautiful Mind or this It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meme), time-consuming and perhaps most importantly – they are not as successful as testing. The reason for this is that as you eliminate or add in foods, you may not do so slowly or completely enough AND since the immune system is in a heightened state of alert still responding to the foods you haven’t eliminated, you’re likely not going to feel 100% or even 80% better. Instead of spending 6 or more months removing foods from your diet – not feeling sure that you’re even getting better, or not getting a 100% resolution- you may want to consider another process. With our protocol, we guide clients through step-by-step, starting with 10 days of their ‘safe’ foods and then systematically expanding their diet in a way that allows us to determine other food reactions and intolerances.

3. Elimination diets don’t necessarily ‘put out the fire.’ Because our genetics and environment can play a role and impact our abilities to deal with inflammation, you can’t just avoid foods that cause you problems. Our body’s response to stress plays a role too. The great part of knowing your food – and food chemical – sensitivities is that they give a wider, more accurate picture …when it comes to discovering that molds, yeast,  FD&C Blue #2, or benzoic acid are also causing issues, perhaps in your household environment or products. Once we remove the ‘known offenders’ in your diet (including supplements and hygiene products), the immune system starts to calm down and then we can safely start food reintroduction and see more clearly what causes your problematic symptoms. Otherwise, with elimination diets, you’re mainly just guessing about the foods, supplements, and hygiene/household products you’re using and whether or not they are ‘safe’ for you.

Supplements aren’t the Answer

“Can’t I just take extra probiotics, collagen, turmeric, or fiber to help my gut?” You could play the guessing game and potentially waste time and money in trying to find the perfect supplement (or twenty). Here’s the problem: you’ll likely not see a great benefit from them if you’re still eating foods that irritate your gut’s lining and that cause inflammation in the body. As mentioned before, you could be reactive to turmeric and therefore adding that supplement could be your personal kryptonite.  

Want a faster, better way to help your gut AND body heal?

Consider comprehensive food sensitivity testing. Why comprehensive? Because, for example, just looking at IgG levels doesn’t mean that the food is the problem necessarily; IgG can be elevated for a number of reasons. It’s more important to look at multiple markers of inflammation being released by a cell in response to a food – including cytokines, prostaglandins, histamine, leukotrienes, interleukins and more.

If you’re tired of feeling “gross”, being so bloated you look 5 months pregnant, and have stomach pains that distract you from fully participating in the life you want to live, or have other ‘unexplained’ symptoms that could be related to the foods you eat regularly, consider a comprehensive program that includes your test results and implementing the proper protocol with expert guidance and support.

Food sensitivity testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to help clients finally improve life-long symptoms and get back to engaging in life more fully. Interested to see if the testing is a good option for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call and let’s get your healthy journey started!

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Kinda Big ‘Dill’ Potato Salad

10tv national potato day

We recently celebrated National Potato Day by sharing this recipe, and the result, with Laura Borchers and Jeff Booth on WBNS 10TV. Now we’re sharing it with you and the rest of the world!

But first, some fun facts about potatoes: they were first cultivated by the Inca in South America about 7-10k years ago; the English word ‘potato’ comes from the Spanish ‘patata.’

Americans eat about 124 lbs of potatoes per year; Germans eat about twice that.

Potatoes are relatively low in calories yet they pack a nutritional punch in terms of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber!

kindofabigdillpotatosalad

Serves 4
Prep time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb potatoes (we used 4-5 red potatoes for a bit of color in the finished product)
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup plant-based mayo (the one we used included avocado oil and aquafaba as the first two ingredients)
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 tbsp dill
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp tumeric

Instructions
Boil potatoes until tender and easily pierced by fork (about 10 minutes). While the potatoes cool, mix the rest of the ingredients together well in a bowl. Once potatoes are cooled, combine with the mixture. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for at least an hour (it’s best-tasting the next day).

As mentioned in the tv segment, these are recipe guidelines – have fun and try variations with bell pepper, parsley, and even hot sauce!

Recipe: Spicy Indian Dal

dal

Cold winter nights seem to conjure up the strangest, most delicious craving for warm and spicy Indian food. We’ve been to most restaurants in the city and have decided to make our own Dal. The result? You’d gladly pay for this meal at a restaurant, but now you don’t have to. 

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, diced/chopped
8 cloves garlic (we can never have too much)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup tomato sauce
salt to taste
1 cup water, or enough to make it the consistency you desire

Instructions
Cook the lentils separately. While lentils are cooking, chop 1 onion and garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and cumin seeds in a medium stockpot. Saute onion, garlic, turmeric powder, chili powder, and sprinkle cayenne if you like spice.  Reduce to simmer, chop tomato and add to pot – cook until soft. Add tomato sauce (we used our own home-made version), cooked lentils and water; bring to a boil for a few minutes, and salt to taste.