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sixelacat
Wheee! My first thread!

This thread is for any/all BUSTies with food allergies and/or intolerances. Personally, I'm lactose intolerant, which of course means I LOVE cheese, in a very Wallace and Grommit way! (There are currently 4 different types of cheeeeeeese sitting in the fridge, and that's pretty low for me). Instead of going on prescription medication, I prefer to think of my digestive system as differently abled. I'm lucky enough that my intolerance is not a full blown allergy, so I can survive with loads of Lactaid and diet modifications. I know that there are many BUSTies who also have differently abled GIs, so please, share your stories, tips, meds, and of course, feel free to vent about last night's culinary transgression!
bunnyb
I randomly come out in hives and don't know if it's food realted or not.

I also think I'm intolerant to MSG (chinese restaurant syndrome) and have done for years. The boy hopes I'm not as he misses chinese food and I've been fine the last couple of times I've eaten any (I cut it out for a long, long, time) but last week a friend made chinese fajitas (yeah I know it's an oxymoron!) and I reacted. Also, does anyone know whether soy sauce could be linked to MSG intolerance? For a long time I thought that I may have IBS or similar condition but now I'm thinking it's the food.

Has anyone had allergy testing done? I have other allergies and have asked my doc to put me on waiting list to get the patch test done by a dermatologist, it's very specific, I think, so will tell me what foodsa -if any- I'm allergic too although think it's a long waiting list.

Sixelacat, thanks for starting the thread! As a cheese fiend I really feel for you on the cheese.
pollystyrene
So far (((knock on wood))) I don't have any food allergies, but there's a little commercial that plays on The Food Network for this woman's website with gluten-free ideas. Hope it helps someone!!
turbojenn
I've got intolerances for: dairy, wheat, eggs, sugar and beef.

Here's my resume, in brief:
I had horrendous allergies as a kid, the kind they just sedated you for, 'cause you just can't cope.
I had pills, steriods, and weekly shots for 21 years...didn't do much for me.
Eventually the pills and shots were making me broke, and weren't working.
I had migraines every day. Life was miserable. I pretty much hit bottom.
I got up when I sought out the help of a naturopath who showed me the way...better living through better food.

So here I am, nearly 6 years later, many pounds lighter, brighter, and really, a different person. That's the story, in a nutshell.

Dairy is like the devilish siren, both calling me and repelling me. I avoid her 95% of the time, with small allowances for the occasional croissant.

My feelings are that if I am going to punish my body, it had better be with the good stuff. Nothing cheap, no mass produced confections, only the truly delicious and decadent.

But the other side of the coin is, that if I manage the overall stress level on my nervous system - that means food, work stress, emotional stress....my body is more forgiving of my transgressions.

On the MSG front - just always ask if the food has MSG in it, and ask them to make it without - most restaurants are totally accomodating on that.
thisxabovexall
I'm another with a lactose intolerance. It should be all the more reason to go from vegetarian to vegan... but, I really can't imagine what I would eat. I take tons of Lactaid for cheesy products, but try to avoid pretty much everything else. I use soy milk in my cereal and order my lattes soy as well.

The severity seems to vary. Sometimes if I forget to take a pill with a huge cheese enchilada, I'm fine. Sometimes when I take two pills with ice cream, I still get sick. Taking acidophilus once a day usually works, and would actually be cheaper than popping a pill with every meal and snack, but I've gotten to the point that I've been taking Lactaid for so long, it would feel strange being able to go grab stringe cheese without a pill. Habits are strange that way.
halcyon
Bunnyb--I've had the food allergy test panel. It was pretty much a bunch of little lancet pokes on the back (after which I found I wasn't allergic to anything, not even the things I thought I couldn't eat, interestingly). If you've never had allergy testing before, prepare yourself for a bit of itchiness, because the things you're allergic to will swell like little mosquito bites. It's interesting to know for sure! You said your dermatologist has you on a waiting list? What about an allergist? That's who did mine.

I think soy sauce has a little bit of naturally-occuring MSG in it, if I'm not mistaken...so it would make sense to trigger a reaction.
bunnyb
Thanks halycon! I'm not sure whether we have allergists here in the UK but I'll check with doc at next appointment. I've been suffering hives/bites of some sort and put it down to dust mites but I'm plagued with them so need to check it out.
sixelacat
Yay! So glad this thread is proving useful!

Turbojenn, making food "worth it" has been the key to managing my anti-dairy system, too! Not that I have near as many intolerances, but some things are easier to give up than others, and I've never been able to go completely dairy-free. I was a vegetarian for a few years no problem (and from other threads you know I love meat, but oddly it wasn't hard to give it up), and I'm generally fine with olive oil instead of butter and soy instead of milk. But since I "cannot" give up the cheese, I make sure it is quality, quality stuff! Makes such a huge difference!

Good restaurants are generally quite happy to make your food w/o MSG, if you let them know you have an allergy, bunnyb. Also, just general restaurant tip for all, I've found (from cooking in them and frequenting them) that if you are trying a new restaurant and have special dietary needs, they are more accommodating if you first go during a non-busy period like a weeknight. Then if they did your food well, when you go on a busier night they are more likely to remember you and make sure that your food is truly allergen-free. Esp. if you find a favorite server, who'll be more than willing to "shepard" your food in exchange for a good tip!
lunasol
I'm completely intolerant of MSG too. I think a lot of people are. It makes me sleepy and gives me these fake, but very painful, "hunger pangs." boo. interestingly, a lot of people can't taste it, but the taste is soooooo strong to me.

for a while, i thought i might be allergic to sugar and wheat, but after cutting out processed foods and adding a lot of fruits and veggies into my diet, those problems seem to be clearing up. such a relief!
wombat
After being a candy fiend for my whole life thus far, I find I feel much better without it. I now will occasionally indulge but will often start sneezing. I also notice that my gums swell up. Bad. I can avoid it most of the time.

Sugar and dairy-- oh, ice cream is the worst. Take sugar, dairy, fat, cold, the huge amounts they usually serve -- arrgh. First I get the "high" and then I just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing, and it gives me mucous like I have a cold. so, once or twice in the summer when it's really hot, that's it.

Cheese is pretty bene, no? Easy to digest, satisfying. Hard to eat just a small amount, but it's a protein source, comforting, and doesn't seem to cause those reactions.

All hail Mighty Turbojen!.

And props to sixelacat for starting the thread.

chachaheels
MSG affects everyone, whether they perceive it's effects or not.

It has no real flavour, but it's added to food because it causes swelling in soft tissue such as tastebuds, and some brain tissue (that's the reason why some people experience tremendous headaches from it). It's such a huge part of refined and processed foods that substituting fresh foods often allows people who thought they were allergic to certain edibles to eat them without after-effects. You must know, too, that MSG can be disguised on food packaging as well: it's often called "natural flavour" instead of MSG.

And it does occur naturally in vegetables depending on how they are cooked--most often high temperature frying will bring about MSG in the dish even if it isn't added. It is simply a sodium, so it can be produced naturally given the right conditions. Again, it's best if you're food's freshly prepared, not cooked via frying at high temps, and not prepared with processed ingredients.
midgemcgrath
i always knew i was allergic to dairy... it is just BAD! but until about five years ago when i finally got tired of being so sick all the time, i kept eating it. then i had allergy testing, and my allergist made it clear that was the biggest thing to do to help me feel better. i haven't had any dairy in five years, and considering how much better i feel, i don't miss it at all. and i loooooved cheese. it drives me crazy to see all these people who can eat dairy and all they eat is mozza. but the cheese cravings went away after a while, and it's just not worth it to make myself ill! soy cheeses aren't great, but there are a few that are okay, and that's good enough for me! (of course, you have to watch out for the ones that have milk protein in them...seriously, why would someone be eating soy cheese if they could have milk protein?!)

i am also intolerant of yeast, so i am on a yeast free diet, and that has been the next biggest thing that has helped me. i started feeling so much better when i went on this diet, and although it's another sacrifice, it is well worth the difference it made!

other than that, i have some seasonal produce intolerances (potatoes, apples, melons, cabbage, etc. etc.) and am currently on a gluten free diet, which seems to be helping, but i'm going to start trying to go back to eating gluten in about a week... hopefully it will go well, i miss real bread!!!

oh, and i'm also allergic to shellfish. (almost forgot, there are just so many!)

but all in all, it's really not that bad, i am just happy to have figured out what i can't eat, because i've felt a lot better since working with my allergist and getting on the right track!
turbojenn
cheese is completely out for me - just bad bad bad - I like to think of dairy for what it is - its breast milk for baby cows - its not designed even for adult cows to drink, let alone humans! ...This makes me feel a bit better about my choices, but like midge, once you give it up, it hasn't been hard.

midge - what are your fave soy cheeses? I'm always up for trying something new, if its recommended - there's so many bad ones out there, I've kind of given up, but every once in awhile, I'll whip up a spelt pizza, and want some cheese on it - usually I end up going for soya-kaas, which does have casein in it, but it seems fine on the tummy.

I also think that I'm really lucky in living in a big city, where there's fresh ethnic food around every corner that is generally easier for me to eat than any american restaurant, and I've got a bevy of natural food stores that carry the other special pantry staples I need. Last weekend when we had to drive to MI for the weekend, I was jolted into a different reality, where there was no safe food to be ordered in restaurants, and just resorted to icky prepared grocery store salad. Better than nothing, I guess.
wombat
MMMMMM Vietnamese food. They got it going ON! Healthy peasant fare such as chicken or fish, rice or vermicelli noodles, spicy tofu, and really good quality vegetables like bok choy and broccoli, not a bunch of silly baby corns out of a can -- no breading, and the sauces -- well, they had a french influence for long time. So, usually nice light tasty piquant sauces with no dairy and no msg.

Heart them. I wonder if people think it's racist that I'll say things like "I don't want to live in an all white-people neighborhood" but, decent world chow from the east is a major reason why. They don't mess with that dairy stuff cause traditionally they lived in climates that would make it difficult to keep it fresh.

But what about eggs?

Strictly speaking, eggs are dairy, but have you noticed the same problems with them?

I think of eggs and cheese as safe as long as I stay away from milk -- the worst! and cream and stuff like that. Also, eat DECENT cheese ---

but eggs? Anyone?
turbojenn
Eggs are out for me too...eggs and dairy are really and truly the worst of my food allergies. I kind of forget about eggs most of the time, because they're pretty damned easy to avoid. They give me a wicked stomach ache and headache immediately. I just cannot digest the proteins in them.
faith
Ooh I am definitely going to check out that glutin link! I'm just learning about food sensitivities, it's fairly overwhelming. Vietnamese food is a favorite of mine, I will have to find a reliable local place.

I just started seeing a therapist who's a psychologist, nutritionist, homeopath, yoga teacher, etc. My main issues are anxiety/depression and compulsive eating. The eatiing issues make any kind of food regime really hard for me to adhere to. Her theory is that I am "sensitive" to wheat and other things, if not full-blown allergic. She advised a panel of tests but since they are out of my price range right now, and not covered by insurance, I am going slowly.

Anyway, she's put me on a "no white, no wheat" diet. Basically, it's nothing refined (sugar, flour, etc.) and very little dairy (maybe a little cottage cheese or mozzarella but that's it) and no wheat in anything, or gluten. Confusing. I can eat meat but not fish unless it's farm raised (apparently the mercury is linked to anxiety). So stressful! I am going to have to cook a lot more, and go out a lot less, and buy expensive groceries. But if it helps my mood and everything else, I suppose it's worth it (she said begrudgingly!)

It can be a weight-loss diet (I am overweight), but right now I am not doing the weight-loss part, I just need to get used to the food restrictions. I find calorie-laden alternatives and indulge in them, and then once I stop feeling so stressed I will start to phase out these treats.

Reading about glutin has been sort of confusing, I thought I was OK with muslei but it turns out spelt is a kind of wheat (or something). Soy sauce has wheat in it too, which shocked me.

Anyway, as someone who has and does do a lot of pharmacology stuff for mood, I thought I better look to my diet. I have never done much natural/"alternative" medicines but they've been so integral in some many non-Western cultures, I feel like I'd be stupid not to explore it.
turbojenn
welcome, faith, to better living through better eating!!!

I was alot like you - I've really got food sensitivities rather than a full blown allergy. I never bothered with the tests for this, just cleaned up my diet, and worked with a naturopath to clean my whole life up - meditation, breathing, eating, supplements, excercise...it all changed my life!

So keep at it, keep going, and notice how you start to feel better every week, how your moods change, etc! I used to be really moody, snappy, depressive - not any more!! It really does work! When you feed your body what it needs, it returns with kindness a hundred fold!

It can be overwhelming at first, to make the change, but just take it slowly, and do what you can, and it doesn't really have to be that much more expensive, once you get your routine down. And it helped me to switch things up and not think of it as the things I *can't* eat, but thinking about all the things I *can* enjoy. I turned it into an adventure to learn to cook new things and incorporate the flavors I love into new, cleaner dishes.

You can get tamari instead of regular soy sauce that does not have wheat, spelt bothers some people but not others. I can have it now, but when I was first detoxing, I couldn't handle it. As you first start detoxing your body, you'll still be pretty sensitive if you eat some wheat or dairy because the overall stress level on your body is still so high. Now, 6 years later, I've got a low stress level on my nervous system, and if I have a bagel, its not the end of the world.

And I didn't change my diet for weight loss either - just to be able to enjoy life, but I did lose 60lb the first year, and I never counted a calorie or a carb. Now, its been a few years, and I don't have to be as severely strict on my diet, and I've put about 15lb back on, but I'm fine with that...I feel great, and that's what matters!

Let us know if you have any questions, faith!
chachaheels
Most people have food sensitivities rather than allergies. An allergic reaction always involves 4 things: calor, dolor, rubor, and tumor...heat, pain, redness, and swelling, which are the signs of inflammation. If you were truly allergic to food you would go into this reaction, and undergo anaphalaxis. Allergies are often life-threatening.

Most people don't suffer this: they merely have sensitivities to foods which create symptoms like headaches, or diarrhea, or stomach cramping; or many other symptoms of real discomfort. The symptoms are not life-threatening.

Also, and I know you won't like this, but, successful treatment for food sensitivities means that the sensitivity stops. If you go in being sensitive to dairy products, then you should be able to digest dairy with no problem after treatment. You may not want to eat dairy for reasons having to do with preference, but you should be able to eat it without any problems, unless you are not well or still deficient in some form of essential nutrient (or nutrients) that would allow your body to function in full health.

I'm not saying that treatment with things that allow you to ignore you sensitities is successful: taking things like Lact-Ease, for example, so that you can chow down on milk products by taking a pill does nothing to correct your body's inability to digest milk. I am saying that if you are put on a special diet, like an elimination diet--plus a regime where you supplement your diet with the appropriate nutrients a la naturopathic nutrition, then you should be able to eat anything with no problems after your treatment is done. Nutrition therapy is not meant to be life long; it's meant to be corrective and finite, to restore full health to the body so that it can function like a healthy body does.

If you've been on a long term diet where you have to limit your foods to avoid sensitivities, you're not treating the sensitivities; you're just avoiding them, a form of suppression of the symptoms. What ends up happening is that you will become sensitive to more and more foods as you go, because you're not treating the weakness that causes your problem in the first place.

It's a big lie that sensitivities and even allergies can't be treated permanently with dietary changes and other medical alternatives (many of these problems were treated effectively in the past--eg. dairy intolerance--just by making dietary changes to address the problem). Certainly nutrition therapy works, as does classical homeopathy and many other forms of alternative medicines as long as you find someone well qualified and competent, and as long as you stick with it till your health is restored.

Wow, this sounds a bit discouraging, and I apologize if you feel that as it wasn't my intention. I really did mean to encourage you and I think Turbojenn's experience as she describes it is what so many people experience when they finally make supportive changes to their lives for the sake of their health. Good luck with the treatment, and look forward to the changes in diet as a chance to explore other foods rather than a limitation of the foods you've gotten comfortable with.
cstars124
I kinda posted this in the kvetch thread, but my sister used to have a food sensitivity to wheat and she would break out in rashes and have severe stomach issues when she ate anything with wheat in it. My aunt also had the same type of problem when she was younger, so my sister started to eat things that were wheat and gluten free. And she felt SOOO much better. After about a year or so, she was able to start eating foods with wheat in them and occassionaly, she'll get sick, but for the most part, she's ok. So, I can understand what chacha said about treating the sensitivity and getting over it.

Back about two years ago, I read a book called, "The Truth About Beauty" and it was all about eating organically. Which prompted me to start eating better. And I noticed that I when I eliminated all processed foods from my diet that I actually felt better, not only physically but emotionally as well. Lately, I started to feel very slugglish and depressed and very head-achy. And I'm thinking it could be a number of things, but I'm thinking I should look at my diet and start to eliminate some type of foods to see if that could be the cause. Did any of you guys have the same sort of symptoms to make you think you had a food sensitivity?

One of my friends who works at an allergist told me that allergy tests are covered under health insurance (at least in the US) as long as you have a referal from your Dr. If not, the tests are over $300. Faith, maybe you can get a Dr's referal so you can have the tests covered?
midgemcgrath
Regarding allergies and what counts as allergies (for example, not all allergies are severe enough to cause anaphalaxis, and diarhea is indeed a common symtom of true allergies), I thought this might be helpful. It's from the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network if you want to go there for more info.

--------------

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies to it. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system. Scientists estimate that approximately 12 million Americans suffer from true food allergies.

What are the common symptoms of a reaction?

Symptoms range from a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness to death. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.

What is the best treatment for food allergy?

Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to avoid a reaction. Reading ingredient labels for all foods is the key to maintaining control over the allergy. If a product doesn't have a label, allergic individuals should not eat that food. If a label contains unfamiliar terms, shoppers must call the manufacturer and ask for a definition or avoid eating that food.
Is there a cure for food allergies?

Currently, there are no medications that cure food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. Most people outgrow their food allergies, although peanuts, nuts, fish, and shellfish are often considered lifelong allergies. Some research is being done in this area and it looks promising. Click here for research information.

Should I stop eating the food that I think I'm allergic to?

Randomly taking food out of your diet can leave you with an unbalanced diet that can cause other health problems. Additionally, you may become frustrated because you reach a point where you believe that everything you eat is causing a reaction. Seek the help of a doctor before making significant changes in your diet.

What is the best treatment for a food allergy reaction?

Epinephrine, also called "adrenaline," is the medication of choice for controlling a severe reaction. It is available by prescription as a self-injectable device (EpiPen® or Twinject®).

What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?

Many people think the terms food allergy and food intolerance mean the same thing; however, they do not. A "food intolerance" is an adverse food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system. Lactose intolerance is one example of a food intolerance. A person with lactose intolerance lacks an enzyme that is needed to digest milk sugar. When the person eats milk products, symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain may occur.

A "food allergy" occurs when the immune system reacts to a certain food. The most common form of an immune system reaction occurs when the body creates immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to the food. When these IgE antibodies react with the food, histamine and other chemicals (called "mediators") cause hives, asthma, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction.
turbojenn
I have a good relationship with my food sensitivities now, I think....even if I do think I could be totally cured from having them (and I'm not sure I believe that), I don't think I would. I like how I can now listen to my body, and it tells me what I need, and I like knowing that if I eat crap food, my body will eventually lash out at me, and kick me back in line. Maybe that's weird, but it keeps me honest, and it keeps me eating good food. And if that's not a cure, well, I'm healthier than I have ever been, and happier, and that's good enough for me.
moonoceanflower
This is so weird, I came in here to rant about my recent inability to digest milk and here y'all are talking about this very topic. Weird, weird, weird. Anyway, I made this discovery earlier this week and so far it really sucks. I miss milk!!! Luckilly I get to go shopping over the week end and get some soy or almond milk which is actually better for me anyway. It just kinda blows at the moment, but it's better than blowing chunks, so I'll have to deal. Sorry, was that too gross???
midgemcgrath
turbo- i forgot to reply about the soy cheese... i have tried every one i can get my hands on and the only two i like are vegan rella, which has a really strong taste, but is okay melted, and my favorite, which is tofutti cheese slices. they have a milder and more cheesy taste, and they melt really well... i actually haven't bought vegan rella since i discovered the tofutti. pretty much all the other ones i've tasted are gross!
turbojenn
I love the tofutti products too!! They seem to sell really fast at whole foods here, so its always hit or miss whether they have them, but their meltability is very nice.

moon - my favorite alt milk is almond - the milk from the blue diamond almond co-op is my favorite - I dare you to try hot cocoa with their vanilla almond milk - YUM! Oh, and here's turboman's alt milk tip - don't eat your old favorite cereals with alt milk - it just won't be the same - you gotta go for trying new stuff - especially at first.

Milk was never anything I missed, I've always hated the stuff - as a kid, I'd knock over my milk glass as often as I could. Always made my stomach hurt so bad, not that I was believed.

Welcome to the ranks of the dairyfree!
chachaheels
Turbojenn, did you feel the same way about cheeses and ice cream when you were a kid too, or just milk?
Most people with milk sensitivities can eat the richer forms of milk with no problems (cheese, cream, yoghurt). I totally understand you can't stand the stuff, but I've noticed a lot of people who dislike milk also have a fondness for creams and cheeses.

Milk allergies and sensitivities were corrected, as recently as about 50 years ago, by feeding these children raw milk from cows fed specific, limited, high quality grass and grain foods. The allergic and sensitive children were fed this milk for about a year or so. After that, they could eat all milk foods with no problems (unless they were still very sickly). Of course, this was unpasteurized, full fat milk from cows that were allowed to eat grasses instead of "feeds", and were never treated with hormones and pharmaceutical drugs regardless of need. I think the whole lactose intolerance that we've seen become such a problem is largely the result of agribusiness practices, including things like homogenization, pasteurization, and medicalization. I also think the growing link between autism and milk sensitivities is a result of the same thing.

As for the soy products--I hesitate to recommend those to everyone as alternatives to milk just because soy is so problematic. Even the purest, non-genetically modified, organically raised soy is goitrogenic, unless it's eaten the way soy's been ingested in the far east for millennia (always as an adjunct to meat, and always fermented; never made into a textured vegetable protein or "substitute" for meat). There is so much stuff on the market that's just about selling soy product and not about health, and so many people actually get sicker eating it. Fresh tofu, miso, and tamari are good soy foods to have in moderation; soy burger patties, soy milk, and texture vegetable proteins are best avoided.
midgemcgrath
i'm sure everyone will cringe, but my favorite is plain flavoured enriched rice milk. i admit it's nasty to drink straight, but it's all i use on cereal and in baking/cooking. it is much less thick than soy milk and sits better with my touchy tummy!
turbojenn
Yeah, I really can't do soy either, its way hard on my body. Once in awhile I do go over to Mu Tofu here in our 'hood - there's an 80 year old man who makes organic tofu by hand, the way it should be made, and it is sooo yummy. I've no time for anything else these days.

chacha, that is so funny - I never knew that about milk! Yep, I was an ice cream and cheese lover as a kid. Now I don't really care for either, but I do still enjoy a little butter now again if I'm out somewhere, and that's mostly okay with me. There is a dairy here that sells only organic, grass fed dairy products - maybe I'll buy a small tub of their yogurt sometime and test that theory...and if it goes over badly, I'm sure turboman would be happy to finish it off.

midge, I like the rice milk too!!
midgemcgrath
that's funny, turbo, i don't think i've found anyone else who likes it!

oh, i forgot to add before... wombat was saying that eggs are dairy... well, they may be in the dairy case, but the protein is different. i have one of the worst dairy allergies my allergist has ever seen (and he's one of the top ones in the city), but i have only a mild allergy to eggs, and can have foods containing them, though i tend not to just eat eggs.

turbo--also, if the soy does get to bugging you too much, the vegan rella cheese is rice based!

oh yeah, also, faith--here's a great list of what foods are safe on a gluten-free diet, it's the most extensive one i've found clicky here. it is really important at least at the start to be really strict and make sure you're not having any or else it isn't really effective! by the way, i also really like bragg's as a soy sauce substitute...
chachaheels
I thought so, Turbojenn...

When I was a kid I never could digest milk easily. We had a wonderful GP who used to do housecalls--he was our GP until he died about 6 years ago--He promptly told my mom to feed me ice cream, instead.

Of course, my mother thought feeding us kids so much ice cream was just too much sugar, and she had her own way of "handling" our milk intolerance, which was to stop giving it to us "straight". She gave me cream instead and limited the amount to what I needed to put in my coffee.

I think, when she told the doctor that, his eyes rolled back into his head from shock. I was, like, less than 2 years old. I can handle milk a little better these days, but only to the same degree--just the tablespoon or so I put in my coffee, and that's it. Other dairy foods don't bother me in the least.

Anyway, his advice seemed crazy at the time--but I've learned over the years that the inability to digest proteins is always aided by ingesting fats (good quality stuff, not rancid fat like deodorized corn oils and such, or hydrogenated stuff). It's amazing how many lactose intolerant people can eat things like good butter and double cream, or rich cheeses, without suffering any ill effects from the milk protein. This doesn't apply across the board (cause I think many people suffer from an inability to produce sufficient stomach acid as a result of mineral deficiencies, which affects more than just their ability to digest milk foods), but it does seem to be significant if there is a simple milk intolerance.

The MuTofu man sounds like a really good find, Turbo--you're so lucky you have someone close by who can get you the real stuff.
midgemcgrath
but there is a definate difference between a milk allergy and an intolerance. that's all fine and good if you have an intolerance to dairy or lactose, but if you are allergic, it doesn't make any difference what kind of dairy it is or what quality, it all has the dairy protein and is not safe to eat! nobody with a true allergy to dairy is going to go around eating a teaspoon of cream, or ice cream, or cheese, etc... unless they want to get really ill.

chachaheels
Yes, I know that, and that's why I made the distinction between allergy and sensitivity.

Allergies have to be treated a different way. I've already written about the way dairy allergies were eliminated in the past, whenever they showed up in babies and children. They were cured using specific dietary means quite routinely. Now there are lots of other ways of bringing about cure for allergies...but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of doing this successfully using conventional medical treatments.

I use homeopathy primarily with a lot of my patients, and that's quite effective (as long as I'm not dealing with extensive damage from things like vaccines, which makes things much more difficult); but there are many MDs that I know about who've learned to use nutritional methods to address these allergies in their patients (for milk allergies I'm thinking specifically of autistic kids...that's where most of the food sensitivities and allergies I see come from, same for the docs I'm talking about as well). There are actually specific therapeutic supplement lines that are formulated to be used with kids with food allergies, all with the goal of eliminating the allergies; and many doctors have seen a good deal of success in their treatments using these specifically formulated supplements.

Anyway, I wasn't intending to remark on allergies so much as I was in observing the difference certain combinations of macronutrients makes in food absorption and digestion (which might explain how certain cultures learned to work specific types of dairy foods into their culinary traditions rather than others). Unless you get effective treatment for your allergies--no matter what they are--you can't subject yourself to exposure no matter what.
midgemcgrath
i guess i was just confused, because usually when people are talking about milk protein being a problem, it is an allergy, whereas with the intolerances, it is to sugar (lactose) or enzymes.

what exactly do you mean by 'unless you get effective treatment for your allergies'? to my knowledge, most of the worst food allergies, like dairy, shellfish, nuts, etc. have no treatments, and that is why people have to avoid them for life.
chachaheels
Well, there is no treatment in conventional medicine for any food sensitivites or allergies. There are some temporarily palliative treatments (injections of various types, suppressive anti-histamines, that kind of thing--they work for a short while and then have no effect on the body) or complete elimination from the diet (again, a measure which only works for a limited amount of time).

There are many treatments that work effectively and permanently in alternative medicine; these include treatments with nutritional supplements and diet; classical or hahnemannian homeopathy (using the misnamed "homeopathic" combinations have never been effective nor put through trials or provings, so it's important not to get confused here); various forms of western botanical medicine, including herbalism; traditional chinese medicine; and ayurveda, among many others I haven't learned enough about yet to include here, or for which there haven't been sufficient studies or clinical documentation.

Allergic reactions are simply a very effective symptom of a severely weakened organism (or, if this is easier to understand, a highly compromised immune system) which is left to its last defenses. Where conventional medicine focuses on suppressing the (okay, let's use the phrase again here) immune system's natural responses (which usually creates the symptoms), alternative medical treatments usually focus on finding ways to support those "immune system" reactions so that they become far more effective and stronger, or finding ways to make the entire vital force of the body much more capable of efficiently curing itself. That's why there are results with various alternative methods and none with conventional methods--one type of approach seeks to support and empower the body's own efficiency, understanding that it has its own intelligence and ability to cure itself; the other operates on the idea that the body doesn't understand what it is doing, and has to be forced into a set of reactions to stop producing its symptoms. Each approach has an appropriate use, but in chronic disease of any kind the former always produces better results than the latter.

midgemcgrath
I'm just not convinced. I mean, that sounds really nice....but you're telling me that if someone who has a severe protein allergy goes through these alternative treatments, their allergy will go away? How could you even test such a thing? Nobody with a severe allergy is going to purposefully try eating some of the offending substance to test the theory and risk their life!
chachaheels
Well, you can believe what you like, but the scholarly thing to do is seek out more information before dismissing things outright.

Conditions like these are just commonly treated and effectively treated--maybe not everyone becomes 100% well again because there are always variables and obstacles that can arise in any case. Generally, alternatives work so well many conventional medical doctors extend themselves to learn how to practice various modalities to be more effective with their patients.

(True skeptics learn through their doubt. Every MD I've ever met who practices homeopathy, for example, started out being vocally critical and skeptical, even threatening their patients if they chose to use homeopathy as an adjunct treatment...but when enough patients don't need their meds anymore and the supposed-to-be incurable is suddenly, quickly "cured" in enough patients...you gotta go out and see what makes it work so well...and they do...then most of them practice it exclusively).

So many people suffer and even die needlessly because they don't know about alternatives to conventional medical therapy. Too bad: I really wish the conventional medical community weren't so threatened by the idea of learning more effective methods of treatment for their patients. Health care in general would be so much more effective.

midgemcgrath
That is my point, I feel I'm pretty well educated on food allergies... and I'm not dismissing the idea altogether, just asking how it could be possible? The 'scholarly thing to do' is to question statements, not just accept them.

However, doubting myself, I just scoured through my university's academic journal database, and did some web searches on alternative medicine, homeopathy, and food allergies, and all that I found was information that backed up what I already thought.

Basically, all of the information said that for food intolerances, and mild food allergies, that there were indeed alternative treatments using herbs, etc. that basically made your body release less histamine, the same way any pharmaceutical antihistamines would.

But for severe food allergies/protein allergies, across the board, the only 'treatment' was to avoid the food.

If you have any information stating otherwise, I would be interested in looking at it, but as far as I can tell, severe food allergies are in a class of their own, and are really untreatable by conventional medicine as well as alternative medicine.
chachaheels
Yes, the scholarly thing to do is check things out for yourself. You studied a course based on conventional medicine. It will tell you, as I've said, that other forms either don't work, or they will misrepresent the reality of the those forms of medicine, how they are practiced, the paradigm on which those forms of medicine operate, and the fact that those forms of medicine do not operate on the same paradigm as conventional medicine at all. That little statement about how herbs are used to suppress histamines, for example, "just like anti-histamines do" betrays a massive amount of ignorance about the subject, as anyone who's actually studied the use of herbs can tell you.

That is not doing research, nor is it "questioning". It's just going to the wrong place to find conclusive answers, but going to the right place to find denunciations which support your own beliefs.

Go and find a qualified practitioner in any alternative medical modality. Find one by contacting a regulatory body which has standards regarding education and practice for its members.

Speak to that practitioner, as one professional to another. Ask for suggestions on specific texts that give a good basic understanding of the principles and paradigm of practice in their modality. Ask the practitioner if they know of anyone who has had experience treating cases of food allergy, allergy of any kind, food sensitivity, cancer, diseases thought to be incurable that just aren't incurable at all...whatever you want to focus on. Ask them to talk about specific cases (make sure you respect their need to work within the confines of confidentiality). If you can do some of the basic reading introduction they suggest, and you're curious to find out how practitioners work with their patients, ask if you can "sit in" as a preceptor, with their patient's permission. Then just watch how the case is taken, what treatment is given, and, most importantly, how that case is managed over time (so, yes, show up to observe whenever there is a follow up for that patient or any other that may "fit the bill" for the pathology you're interested in learning about).

That is how to be a skeptic: get up close and look, learn as much as you can about what's really done, so you aren't operating on ignorance; see first hand what takes place for a number of people and practitioners. It's easy to be dismissive if you're only given a portion of the truth with which to denunciate anything that doesn't "prove" your own beliefs to be right. It's a lot harder to do that, though, when you actually know what's being done--the where's, why's, how's, what's, and who's--when you're faced with the facts you really have something to evaluate properly.

I know it takes time, I know you may not be that interested, but I also know if you really want to see for yourself what can be done in terms of restoring full health, you can go and see for yourself. If you don't want to work with alternative medical practitioners, there are plenty of MDs who are qualified and have fully met the education and practice requirements of alternative therapies as well. There is one in the Toronto area who specializes in treating allergies of all kinds--environmental as well as food. He's extremely successful and he may be fine with you making arrangements like the ones I described above (though it's far more easy to do with alt med practitioners, who are used to preceptorship agreements). If you want to contact me privately I can give you his name and contact information and then you will have to do the rest yourself.

I'm not interested in debating things with you--you have a lot of experience in your field and you are generous with it and I can see you really want to help people be and do well. But your experience is not the only experience there is--others also have put in long hours of study just as you have, and years of clinic time, as well as years of work with patients; and they should not be dismissed just because they don't think as you do. This is an opportunity to open yourself to ways to enrich what you know so you can become even better at what you wish to accomplish--not an opportunity to close down before you even start.
midgemcgrath
Actually, I don't have much experience in this field, it is not the area of healthcare that I studied, most of the information I have is from personal experience, and from personal research I've done. When I said I'd done research in journals and on the web on this, it was out of personal interest and not for a course that I took. And nobody has tried to convince me that alternative medicine doesn't work. Nor do I believe that. I just wasn't able to find anything documenting this kind of treatment. The sources I looked at were both conventional medicine and also journals and websites supporting alternative medicine.

Just because I am questioning these things doesn't mean I am against them or trying to disprove them. I am very interested in this and would love to discover that there is some kind of potential in this area, because I would be happy to try it out! Unfortunately, Toronto is very far away from here, and it is hard to sort through the legitimate naturopathic docs and the quacks, and I haven't had time to embark on that yet.

I'm not trying to debate this, I was just asking questions because you often talk about how you work in this area and I thought you might have some kind of references that would be of interest. I didn't mean for this to threaten you in any way, I was just curious.

Anyway, I will just see what else I can figure out on my own, and if anyone else comes across anything on this, please do share!
chachaheels
I could post references, but really, the best method is exactly what I suggested below: go in, and see for yourself exactly what is done and how it is done.

I suggested this because I know that "references" are often misinterpreted, wholly unreliable, highly questionable, and often politically loaded (I'm sure I don't have to tell you, with your experience, how loaded politically and economically conventional medicine is). But actually doing the work of finding out exactly what takes place gives you concrete, first hand evidence of your very own--about the philosophy, practice, and dynamic of whatever alternative method you choose to examine. Unless you're going to commit yourself to 5 years of study and a couple of years of clinic work, you won't get any opportunity to see cause and effect reality between practitioner and patient any other way than the one I described, because practitioners don't publish information about their cases unless it's in journals written and published for other practitioners to use as learning tools (these articles are written for colleagues and not for the public).

After that, you can check out references and see how much your own reality-and-experience based conclusions deviate from what's being described to you, especially from sources who clearly haven't taken the time to learn about whatever they're describing. I'd be happy, at that point, to suggest some to you.

I thought I gave you some great advice there! Wish someone had pointed me that way directly when I first started out because I certainly got nowhere until I figured out that I had to see things firsthand, for myself, before I could even "get" what I was reading.

midgemcgrath
pardon the short reply cause i'm not feeling well...

but yes, it's on my list right after seeing the allergist, GI specialist, and getting my wisdom teeth out. then next comes finding a naturopath (or some type of alt. med. doc.)... i can only deal with so much health stuff at once, but i am really working on it!
free_spirit
Hi,
I lurk a lot and have nothing at all to add in regards to this topic, but chachaheels, I am whole heartedly interested in you posting some of the references that you have. I would like to read what information and sites, books, etc. that you are basing your posts off. This is all becoming of interest to me because I think I may have an allergy/ intolerance (just learning so bare with me) towards sugar. Both of you (midgemcgrath) pose interesting views and positions.
chachaheels
Well, if you could narrow down what you'd like to know more about, I can send you to sites for information on using different modalities to restore your health. If you're interested in nutritional treatments, for example, I can post some links to specific health issues treated with diet. That's the closest means to conventional medicine that there is, most people find that easiest to relate to when starting from scratch.

Homeopathically, every person is treated the same way no matter what ailment they have. There's a method to case taking, analysis, and choosing a medicine that is applied to one and all. Any number of people may have the exact same named diagnosis, but it is very likely that each one of those people will need a different remedy in order to become well; similarly, any remedy can treat and cure any disease, if it is selected and applied according to the method. If you want references for this, you have to familiarize yourself with the paradigm and process somewhat before those references will actually mean anything to you. I do know of one case with extensive food allergies--a case of autism--that was completely cured through homeopathic treatment using only one remedy throughout the entire length of care; the case was written up and presented by the child's mother who wrote the case up specifically for laypeople to read (so there's no jargon and references to things only people with training in homeopathy would know about). I can post that if you're interested.

Otherwise, I still think the best thing to do if you're interested in learning more about alt. health care for reasons having to do with providing health care, the suggestion I made previously is the absolute best way to find out more.
faith
Midge, it sounds like you have a lot of stuff going on. I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I'm interested in hearing your explorations.

Chacha, thanks for sharing your experiences, you clearly have a lot of wisdom in this area.

Regardless of whether allergies can be cured or treated, I have been wondering why we're more aware of food sensitivities now? Is it the food? Is it better education? Is it weakening of our immune systems or bodies due to environmental factors? I don't expect an answer of course, I am just thinking aloud.

So I realized that while I am supposed to be avoiding wheat, I have just been eating so much rice products that I am eating a ton more calories. My doctor said to find low-glycemic index foods, which apparently is the opposite of what I've been doing. Since I am trying to control/influence my mood with this plan, it's frustrating.

Whole wheat is low glycemic but brown rice isn't. Any non-wheat suggestions?

I've also been feeling really bloated, which I thought giving up wheat was supposed to fix. Obviously I am not sufficiently well-informed yet. Oh well, more research to do.
chachaheels
Hi Faith!

I think we're more aware of food sensitivities now for a number of reasons--environmental ones being the least important. I used to think that excessive pollution of air, water, and soil were the reasons, but I once suggested that in a class taught by a medical historian, who wasted no time pointing out to me that 200+ years ago, things were far, far more polluted and a great deal less sanitary than they are now. Sure, we have vehicle emissions fouling everything; but hundreds of years ago people burnt coal to power everything, so the air, water, and soil were blackened beyond what we could imagine. Water was fouled with run-off from farm animals and people, and there was no real way to purify it for drinking (so people drank things like wine and beer because the alcohol content at least made it safe to imbibe, and that's how they maintained their hydration). Garbage and wastes were just thrown out--not in any specialized places, and not with any kind of restriction, either. It was just very close to wherever people lived. Poor sanitation was the major cause of infectious disease--and the numbers delineating that fact did not recede until the beginning of the 20th century, when people finally stopped storing their wastes close to where they live. So the envinronmental poisons threat has been constant--we're just getting different types of poisons around us than in the past, but that matters little. It's here, but it's always been here.

What we are seeing is a drastic change in the way foods are grown and produced (from the use of longstanding agricultural breeding and growing traditions to the advent of agribusiness, on a worldwide scale); and after that, a huge and detrimental change in the types of foods we have access to (mostly over-processed, overly refined, genetically modified foods with little nutrient value) and a marketing strategy that pushes certain foods on us as "healthy" simply to satisfy an agribusiness agenda. The result is we've ended up cutting out a lot of foods our ancestors, even our most recent ancestors, relied on as part of a whole diet, which evolved over millennia, and varied only because of culture and specific environmental realities like climate and availability. We do without a lot of the staple foods we can't get anymore because they're no longer widely available: things like whole, real dairy (that hasn't been pasteurized, treated with anti-biotics or growth hormones, hasn't been "homogenized", and hasn't been doctored with dyes, dried milk content, and fake "texture"); we can't get decent lacto-fermented foods (because dairy's been pasteurized now for so long) so we miss so many of the absolutely necessary nutrients from those foods; meat products are also doctored, genetically modified, dried, coloured, what-have-you; and soils have been so nutrient depleted via the use of expensive chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that they can hardly impart rich nutrients to any thing grown on them, almost universally. On top of this, so much of what was done traditionally with food has been dismissed as silly or incongruous, but it turns out a lot of good reasoning was behind those methods of food preparation--so we've also lost a lot of knowledge, acquired through centuries of learning and observation, about exactly how to stay healthy and strong through food.

So, our diets have changed tremendously just over the last 60 to 70 years; we're eating foods the likes of which no one has seen before and we're eating diets which are shortchanging us on extremely important nutrients. The result is that our bodies are far less equipped to maintain their health naturally, or cure themselves whenever needed. Top all of that off with various other threats to health, such as overuse of anti-biotics on a world wide scale, an over-reliance on questionable medical practices like repeated vaccination, and it's no wonder allergies and sensitivities are on the rise universally. You can make the argument that we're all living longer now (which I find questionable) but it's clear we're not living well if our aging years are full of chronic disease and a growing dependency on and ever increased drug-use "therapy" that's snidely known as "disease management".

I know, you're sorry you asked.

(I'm just putting together a classroom text for a course I'm teaching this fall on holistic nutrition, so I've spent past the last couple of days obsessing choosing reference articles on exactly this issue...I apologize).

I do think, however, that avoiding environmental toxins are a good thing--and you can avoid a lot of by changing your diet! Here's a link to some excellent articles regarding specific toxins and food production:
environmental toxins and food.

Yeah, I refer people to this website alot, but I haven't found any other source of privately funded, no-strings-attached research on nutrition anywhere else.

I'm not crazy about everything he writes in his book, but Michel Montignac's "Eat Yourself Slim" has some good suggestions for low-glycemic grains. They include rices, though; not just brown rice but also basmati, red rice, and wild rice. Pasta as well--as long as you use the extruded pasta, made with hard wheats (like durham semolina) and not enriched refined white flour pastas (like the "fresh" pasta we see sitting around for weeks in stores). Buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, spelt, millet, oatmeal...these are some grain options you can still find organically raised, stone milled or rolled, with not too much processing to rancidify the vitamin E content in each; all rich in protein.

So...if you're doing this for reasons to do with "mood", it all works a lot better if you supplement with fats as well, particularly the fats found in high quality butter, pure fish oils (like salmon, anchovy, deep/cold water fish such as herring, and high quality pure cod liver oil) and evening primrose oil. The glycemic thing works better if you're also taking C and B vitamin supplements for support as well.
midgemcgrath
Thanks faith! Yes, a lot going on, but I am so happy to be done my Masters now (wheeeeeeeee!!!!), and to have finally gotten a referal to a stomach specialist after lifelong digestive problems. I know it might sound funny to be excited about going to another doctor, but I have been waiting a long time for this!

About the wheat/glycemic index stuff... I've been on a gluten free diet for nine months now, so I'm on top of that, but I don't know much about the GI, so I had to do a little quick research on the web...

Apparently (as I'm sure you know), many of the non-wheat alternatives seem to be high on the GI, like rices (brown rice was 50), millet (71!), corn (70), raw oat bran (55), buckwheat (54)... that makes it kind of difficult huh? But I did find some good things: assuming you can eat gluten, whole rye bread is 40 if you are hankering for the occasional sandwich. And I know lentils aren't a grain, but maybe you could mix them with brown rice half and half or something because brown lentils were only 30.

And the winners, again if you can have gluten, pearl barley is only a 25 and you could use it in the place of rice in many ways. Maybe a barley risotto? And quinoa, 35, which is by far one of my favorite "grains" (though it's actually a seed), and has so many uses. I discovered it about a year ago, and it has been a staple for me all through this gluten-free diet. It is much more filling than rice because it is high in protein, and you can do ANYTHING with it: use it as a side dish, put it in a cold salad (like tabouli), eat it straight with pasta sauce on it, half it with some fish and make burger patties, make it into oatmeal, use it in a casserole like lasagna...I've got a lot of self-made recipes so if you like it or want to get some ideas, just let me know and i'll give you some more detailed recipes!
ohmaude
Argghh.

After suffering from years of IBD, I finally started going to a naturopath, who decided to do a food allergy blood test.

I had a IgG or IgE response (aka allergic response) to Aspargus, Bananas, Pineapples, Whole wheat, rye, Wheat Gluten and Wheat Giladin.

Any of you have experience with these food allergies?
chachaheels
Most people have some kind of sensitivity to wheat products (they're so refined, all of them--even the ones that purport to be whole grain, that the wheat is sorely lacking in nutrients we'd need to digest them properly anyway, so it's no wonder). Other than that it doesn't sound like you've got a lot of allergies to contend with, which is good.

If your naturopath is well trained as a classical homeopath (many are, but ask to see the credentials) it's the absolute best treatment for what you have. In the meantime, it really does help to know what you need to avoid for the time being.

It's a lot easier to make suggestions for food options if you give some ideas about how you eat--has your ND asked you to keep a food journal for a number of days, just so you know your eating patterns and tendencies? It's a good way to start seeing your patterns and habits clearly. Then it's easier to make replacements or adjustments as you need them.
ohmaude
Well the wheat I already suspected, I had cut it out of my diet recently and when I tried it once or twice I got migraines and a very unhappy belly. But the test measures immune response, not an inability to digest wheat. Unless unprocessed wheat contains some sort of immunosuppressor or antihistmine.

Luckily, my naturopath is a professor at Bastyr. I'm going in next week to get homeopathic remedies to help my intestines repair themselves.
chachaheels

Well, if your ND advises cutting that stuff out of your diet until you can digest it again with no difficulties, there are people on this thread who've got a lot of experience with that and can give you lots of suggestions.

Good luck!
ohmaude
QUOTE(chachaheels @ Sep 6 2006, 10:05 AM) *

Well, if your ND advises cutting that stuff out of your diet until you can digest it again with no difficulties, there are people on this thread who've got a lot of experience with that and can give you lots of suggestions.

Good luck!



Thanks chacha.

As far as my diet guess I eat a lot of vietnamese, thai and Ethiopian when I eat out. At home it's veggies, pasta (I guess no more of that), tofu sautes, soups. I used to eat a banana almost every day for breakfast. (No more of that either)

I would like to figure out how to bake without using wheat flour. Has anyone tried rice or the other types of flours? Is it possible to make breads?

We also brew our own beer here at the house, does anyone know about how barley and wheat are related?

I'm very, very lucky to live in a large city with plenty of co-ops around and asian groceries.
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