Great question from one of our HFA community members, Melissa! There are many people that have sensitivities to certain foods and aren’t aware that this is in fact the source of their ailment. A variety of symptoms can indicate an intolerance to food or a food sensitivity.
Symptoms that would indicate you may need to take a closer look at your diet may include:
- Abnormal bowels: Constipation, Diarrhea, Gas
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux: Nausea, Vomiting
- Difficulty breathing: COPD or Asthma flare, Shortness of breath
- Joint pain
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Skin conditions: Rash, Hives, Redness of the skin
Even one particular food or food group can set of a variety of ailments or in the very least irritate or exaggerate the symptoms you will experience with ADHD, Eczema, chronic migraines, and allergy induced esophagitis (acid reflux).
There are blood tests that you can have run to check for food allergens, but I would save your money unless it’s an emergency. The tests can cost as much as $231 in some cases if not more. There’s a standard test called IGG antibody test for food allergies can be ran and tested for commonly consumed foods in the Western diet which includes about 100 items.
That test can be ordered by your physician, even your primary care doctor. Otherwise, more often this test is standard for Allergy & Immunology doctors to order to get a baseline to see if they can figure out the culprit.
There are even kits that you can buy online if you don’t have insurance and are going to be paying cash price. The kit that I found that was the cheapest and included the most items tested is by Core Allergy Test. They have a kit that sells for $69.99 (currently on sale, normally $89.99). According to their website, 145 MILLION people in the U.S. have an allergy to something and 15 MILLION people have a food allergy AND a chronic medical condition.
Their testing includes: “240 food items including dairy, meat, wheat, eggs, fruits, vegetables and cupboard items like honey, molasses and sugar AND 160 non-food items including pollen, grasses, chemicals and animal hair.” This particular test is ran off of your hair sample, not a blood test. I’m not an affiliate for them, or anyone for that matter, but if you want to check out what they offer you can click here.
The recommendation is that if you or your doctor is concerned about a food allergen, they will test you, have you eliminate the food from your diet, and then slowly reintroduce the food back in to see if you tolerate it any better. This HAS TO be done under supervision, especially for kids.
The length of them that your body goes without the substance that could be causing allergy type symptoms, the harder it reacts when you reintroduce it to your diet. So, if you decide to do an elimination diet which we will talk about in a minute, you need to notify your physician and get proper guidance.
If your primary care doctor is not familiar with this or doesn’t have much recommendations, you may want to see if you can be referred to an Allergist, Functional or Integrative medicine doctor, Nutritionist, or Dietitian.
Types of Elimination Diets
There’s many ways that you can do this. A few of the physicians that I worked for would recommend their patients start with a FODMAP diet. This is primarily recommended to those with digestive issues. FODMAP is actually an acronym for a long word that refers to fermentable carbohydrates that irritate your gut.
You can find a FULL list of foods that you can eat on a FODMAP diet by clicking here.
My mom has always had really bad IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), she attributed it to having her gallbladder removed like 20+ years ago. A few years back she started this bout of vomiting after every meal, when we would go out to eat. Usually she would throw up in the car after leaving the restaurant and as you can tell, a person can only take so much of that before they start asking more questions.
She saw her doctor, they put her on some IBS pills called Dicyclomine which helped with the stomach spasms, but not the vomiting. She was able to pin point that the artificial sweetener that she was using, Sweet-N-Low, that she drank with her tea was causing EVERY episode. She cut the sweetener out completely and hasn’t had an episode since!
Another type of elimination diet is Lactose-free where people cut out diary products. Sugar-Free which is self explanatory. Gluten and Wheat-Free diets as well. Gluten is attributed to Celiac disease and has been popular in the media lately, but gluten is a booger and we will talk more about that in another post.
Traditional Elimination Diet
A full on elimination diet would include cutting out the following items
Legumes: beans, soy nuts, peanuts, peas, lentils
Eggs: Farm fresh or not, doesn’t matter just eggs in general
Vegetable Oils: Canola, Cotton seed, Safflower, Peanut
Gluten: found in-crackers, bread, pasta, some seasoning and spices
Nightshade Vegetables: “Ashwagandha, Bush Tomatoes, Cape Gooseberries, Capsicums, Cayenne pepper, Chili Pepper Flakes, Chili powder, Chinese Five-Spice Powder, Cocona, Curry Powder, Curry spice powder, Eggplants/aubergines, Garam Masala spice, Garden Huckleberries, Goji berries, Hot Sauce, Ketchup & BBQ sauce, Kutjera, Most spice blends, Naranjillas, Paprika spice, Pepinos, Peppers (including bell peppers, sweet peppers, chili peppers, jalapenos), Pimentos, Potatoes (different to sweet potatoes or yams), Red Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Steak Seasoning, Tamarillos, Tomatillos, Tomatoes”¹
Tree nuts: Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Hickory nuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Pine nuts, Pistachios, and Walnuts.
Shellfish: Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Scallops, Lobster, Crab, Crayfish, Sea Snails, Shrimp
Citrus Fruits: Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Pummelo, Sour Orange, Citron
Dairy: Butter, cheese, sour cream, custard, milk, yogurt, ice cream, pudding
Soy: soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, miso, soybean oil
Corn: corn oil, corn, sorbitol (found in toothpaste), high-fructose corn syrup, Maltitol (found in chewing gum),
Refined Sugar: Barley malt, Barbados sugar, Beet sugar, Brown sugar, Buttered syrup, Cane juice, Cane sugar, Caramel, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Confectioner’s sugar, Carob syrup, Castor sugar, Date sugar, Dehydrated cane juice, Demerara sugar, Dextran, Dextrose, Diastatic malt, Diatase, Ethyl maltol, Free flowing brown sugars, Fructose, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Galactose, Glucose, Glucose solids, Golden sugar, Golden syrup, Granulated sugar, Grape sugar, High fructose corn syrup, Honey, Icing sugar, Invert sugar, Lactose, Malt, Maltodextrin, Maltose, Malt syrup, Mannitol, Maple syrup, Molasses, Muscovado, Panocha, Powdered sugar, Raw sugar, Refiner’s syrup, Rice syrup, Sucrose, Treacle, Turbinado sugar, Yellow sugar”²
Pardon my french, but that sh** is in everything. It’s a good way to confuse the general public that’s for sure. But that’s a complete list of refined sugar for you.
A coworker and friend of mine is originally from overseas in Bosnia and she said when her family came to the U.S. she got really sick trying to get use to our diet here because everything was soo sweet. She ended up actually loosing weight and feeling terrible for a long time until her body eventually got use to it.
So… What Can You Eat?
I know after reading that hefty list of food items above, it might make you feel a little defeated. No need to though, there’s still plenty of foods that you can eat and just keep in mind that it’s only a short process to discover an underlying issue that is causing your body undue stress. This is just part of figuring it all out.
A full elimination diet is not meant to be a long term thing. You’re only suppose to do the diet for about four to six weeks (max). The nutrient deficiencies start kicking in by that point, so you can’t live off flaxseed and rice for forever.
To get a full list of foods that you CAN eat on the elimination diet, be sure to click the button below and I’ll send that to your e-mail.
Thanks as always for stopping by and if you aren’t already I would love to have you join our growing community here at Healthy Family Advocate which will allow me to answer some of your health related questions and give you an inside scoop into the behind the scenes. Hope you have a great rest of your day and I’ll talk to y’all Monday!