Your food: friend or foe?

Understanding Food Allergies & Food Intolerances

June 3, 2013|78Comments|


Hi Sweet Friends,

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, right? Well, not always. If you have food allergies or even intolerances, some foods can take a toll on your body and mind.

When my readers speak (or write), I listen. Many of you are experiencing physical and mental snafus on a daily basis. These issues can add up and seriously impact your overall well-being and enjoyment of life. Fatigue, brain fog, constipation, rashes, gas and bloating are just a few of the troubles I come across in reader comments and emails each day.

There are many potential roots behind these discomforts, but one of the easiest ones to identify is your food. That’s where I started last year when my energy began to drop and pesky health bummers crept up. As always, I put on my detective hat and consulted with my integrative MD. One simple blood test revealed that I have a few food intolerances. Lucky for me, I don’t have food allergies.

So how do you spot a food intolerance or allergy? And most importantly, how do you create an even better diet and lifestyle without those trouble foods? That’s why we’re here today, my friends. Let’s dive in …

What’s the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance?

Food Allergy: A food allergy develops when your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific protein as a threat and sends a swat team of white blood cells to attack it. When the protein enters the digestive system, an antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced and the allergic response occurs.

Reactions to food allergens range from mild to severe and may affect your skin (hives, tingling mouth, swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat), digestive tract (nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea) or the respiratory system (including a possible dangerous drop in blood pressure). Severe cases can involve a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which requires immediate treatment.

The most common food allergens are cow’s milk (the protein in milk, not the lactose), tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts/hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts), peanuts, eggs, seafood, shellfish, soy and wheat — often called the “Big Eight.”

Food Intolerance: Most food reactions are actually caused by food intolerances rather than true allergies. Unlike an allergy, food intolerances do not involve a hasty immune reaction, so you may be able to eat these foods in small amounts without much trouble. Just keep in mind that although food intolerances are generally less serious, they could still cause digestive upset, joint pain, migraines, eczema, sinusitis and many other discomforts.

The most common food intolerance is a reaction to lactose in cow’s milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, your digestive system lacks the enzyme lactase, which is necessary for breaking down the milk sugar, lactose. This can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea when you consume milk products, but since the immune system isn’t involved, it’s not a true food allergy.

Other common food intolerances include gluten (found in wheat, oats, barley and rye), eggs, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers and goji berries), alcohol and foods high in fructose such as high-fructose corn syrup, raisins, honey, agave nectar, mango, apples, pears and watermelon.

How do I test for a food allergy?

If you suspect that you have a food allergy, your doc can do a skin prick test or a blood test.

Skin prick: A tiny amount of the suspected food is placed on your arm or back and then your skin is pricked to let a small amount of the food below the surface of your skin. If you’re allergic, you’ll likely develop a raised bump on your skin.

Blood test: A sample of your blood is sent to the lab where different foods can be tested with your blood sample and the levels of IgE antibodies can be measured after each exposure. Check out Metametrix lab for a complete food allergies test.

Neither the skin test nor the blood test for allergens are 100 percent accurate, so your doc may use family history and description of your symptoms as a final determination of whether or not you have a food allergy.

How do I test for a food intolerance?

If your symptoms point to food intolerances or sensitivities, an elimination diet is often used to determine whether or not certain foods are trouble foods. Suspect foods are eliminated for 14-21 days and then added back in one at a time. Do not use this approach with true allergens, since you run the risk of experiencing a life-threatening reaction when the suspect food is added back in.

If the elimination diet doesn’t provide clear-cut food intolerance answers, a hydrogen breath test can be done to determine lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption. The same test is done to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. It’s a non-invasive test done in a clinic setting after fasting for 12 hours.

ALCAT food intolerance testing is also available and measures intolerances to 350 foods, herbs and chemicals listing items as red (serious reaction/avoid for 6 months), orange (moderate reaction), yellow (mild tolerance) or green (no reaction). The down side is that this testing is pricey and often shows many false positives for food intolerances. For these reasons, most health professionals do not recommend this testing for food intolerances.

As I mentioned earlier, I found out about my food intolerances with a blood test. You can learn more about the ELISA test at the Genova Diagnostics website.

What are some helpful alternatives to common allergens?

Tree Nuts and Peanuts: Sesame seeds are common and potential allergens, but sunflower and pumpkin seeds very rarely cause an allergic reaction. Sunflower seed butter and pumpkin seeds are nutritious alternatives.

Cow’s Milk and Soy: There’s a wealth of non-dairy and soy-free alternatives made from almond, rice, oats, flax, hemp and coconut on the market now.

Eggs: Flax seeds and chia seeds can be used in place of eggs in baking. Commercial egg replacers, such as Ener-gee brand, are also available.

Wheat: Rice crackers and pasta, quinoa pasta and gluten-free breads are more and more readily available today.

Seafood and Shellfish: Many plant-based whole foods provide all the necessary protein building blocks without the allergen response. Beans, lentils, seeds and several vegetables are loaded with protein.

Take an inventory. Could certain foods be linked to the health struggles in your life? It might be worth a peek under the hood with your doc and some strategizing in the kitchen. And don’t worry about what you might have to give up. Once you’ve identified your trouble foods, you can create a delicious allergen-free or intolerance-free life. Who knows! You might even discover that your new and improved diet is even more satisfying and mouth-watering than your old one.

Your turn: How have you handled food allergies or intolerances?

Peace & tasty alternatives,

Kris Carr



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78 responses to Understanding Food Allergies & Food Intolerances
  1. Oh yes, I have several food intolerance which is what got me started on my adventure of AlmostRawVegan.com several years ago. For me the sensitivities caused great havoc in my life, sadly there are many of us, luckily it can get better! As always your words are so helpful… can’t wait to share! xox Catherine

  2. Kris, I found out about five years ago that I am allergic to all meat and corn. I am still learning how to incorporate other foods into my daily schedule. I don’t mind being a vegetarian because since childhood I never rely cared for meat. However, a lot of vegetarian dishes include corn. Luckily, I am not allergic to seafood! I have eosinophilic esophagitis…so when I would eat meat, it often got stuck in the middle of my esophagus and I would need to take a trip to the ER. I was 21 when I had my first choking incident. They didn’t figure this all out until I was 37.
    Thank you for this article it was interesting to read the differences between intolerance and allergies.

    • I’ve seen the choking occur in several family members- scary. So good you know what it is and are taking steps to change your diet- go you!

  3. Thanks for talking about this Kris, so important. It took me years to figure out I had an intolerance for alliums (garlic, onlons, and related plants). Heartburn was my first clue, so I urge folks to pay attention to that.

    For anyone who has the same problem, if you are having trouble replacing the flavors, I recommend _Lord Krishna’s Cuisine_, a great vegetarian cookbook with no garlic or onions (in their case, for religious reasons). Curry allows for complex flavors and for once you won’t miss the garlic.

  4. Anne said on June 3, 2013

    Yay! so glad to see this post from you! Food intolerances have affected me since infancy. I have an auto immune disorder and I found that when I eliminated the foods that bothered me, my symptoms got less severe. My list is pretty extensive: dairy, eggs, gluten, a few grains, nightshade veggies, citrus fruits. This whole thing prompted me to study to become a holistic health practitioner in my early 20′s. I focused on nutrition, herbology, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic therapies. I learned so much about how to balance my pH and support my immune system. I think of it like this: our bodies have a maximum load (how much imbalance it can handle before it says hey! No more!) and everyone’s is different. Finding ways to lighten your load can make your body function so much more efficiently (and make you feel better as a result) For me avoiding my food intollerances and staying away from chemical exposure as much as i can is the way I lighten my load. Thanks so much for all you do to help other people realize the things they can do to live a healthier and happier (and sexier!) life. <3

    • Hi Anne, how did you identify your food sensitivities? I’ve had blood testing done, but it was awhile back, and I think I may have developed some new sensitivities. Like you, I’ve had multiple intolerances identified, and it’s hard to tell, even after an elimination diet, which foods are really critical to avoid, and which ones aren’t as problematic.

  5. Hello there,

    Very good article. Just a tiny question – you said your food intolerances were revealed by doing a simple blood test. But then in the bit about testing for food intolerances, no mention of a blood test! Details about the one you took would be most helpful, thank you!

    X

    • Hi Nikola,

      Thanks for your comment. Kris did the ELISA test. You can learn more about it here: http://www.gdx.net/product/10145

      Best,
      Corinne
      Creative Director @ KrisCarr.com

      • I clicked on the link above and called Genova diagnostics to see about having my doctor order the test kit for me. They said the test is not available to NY residents. I thought Kris lived in NY and she said she had this test done. Is there a way around the NY residency thing? Any info you can give me would be very helpful as I’d love to have this test done. I wasted a bunch of money already on the useless ALCAT test.

  6. Food allergies started me down the plant-based and gluten- free path. Starting with my son, who was about 2 years old at the time, a specialist wanted to remove his tonsils, adenoids and put tubes in his ears. I knew in my heart there was a better way.

    Sought out a naturopath, who suggested testing. He was allergic to many of the big 8 items including; dairy, soy, eggs, and a few other things. Removing his trigger foods helped him avoid an unnecessary surgery. My son’s story is detailed here – http://barefootessence.com/2012/06/20/change-your-diet-skip-surgery/

    I did the testing as well and found out many of the foods I was eating every day were actually causing inflammation. Wheat was also included in my list of allergens, among peanuts, walnuts, cashews, garlic…things I never would have known I was sensitive to unless I did the test. (I always wondered why I got a slightly scratchy throat when eating these things!)

    This is one of the main reasons I started blogging and sharing gluten-free, vegan recipes. I use simple, everyday ingredients and keep food simple and tasty.

  7. Great post, thank you Kris. Do you know anything about salycylates allergy?
    Xxelaine

  8. Hi Kris,

    Could you talk more about using flax seeds to replace eggs in baking?

    Thanks!

    • Ground flax seeds can be used successfully in backing. Ratio is 1 tablespoon ground flax seed to 2-3 tablespoons water, (I use 3 Tbs. water) This amount equals 1 egg, and can be increased according to need of recipe.
      Simmer mixture in saucepan about 5 mins. until you get an egg like consistency. Cool (about 10 min.) then use as need. A 1/4 cup of this mixture or 4 tbs. equals 1 egg. This works wonderfully in all breads, muffins, pancakes, cakes and pastries, except hard cookies, like sugar cookies. If you make larger batches, like I do , 1 cup ground flax seeds to 3 cups water, it will keep in fridge approximately 10 – 14 days.
      Hope this helped…enjoy baking/cooking.

      • Forgot to state the 1 cup flax to 3 cups water ratio equals 16 eggs…. I do lots of breads!

        • Kim said on July 12, 2013

          Thanks for this valuable info on flax meal egg replacement! Very useful! Also, the same may be done with Chia Seeds. if they are not ground from the package, you can grind them yourself and follow your flax recipe!

      • I understand that one of the reasons that eggs can cause problems for many people is the binding nature of eggs (causes digestive problems). This is why they are used in baking. So, do flax seeds have this same nature and can potentially cause they same problems?

        • Kim said on July 12, 2013

          Claudia,
          I have an egg intolerance and have been able to sub flax/chia seed gel with ease! Although, I am not sure which part of the egg I am intolerant to, maybe not the binding property, but the protein?

      • Lecithin is the binding agent in eggs….there is none in Flax seeds which are a pseudo grain/seed.

      • I am definitely going to try the flax seed alternative.

        Thanks for the explanation.

      • I do the seed/water egg-replacer quite successfully without needing to cook it at all … just a little patience and let it sit (minutes, not hours, lol) until it becomes a gelatinous consistency and you’re good-to-go! :) With flax seeds, you just have to make sure that you grind them before and use a tablespoon of *ground* (NOT whole) flax seeds.
        You can also use chia seeds in the same ratios just as successfully and you do NOT need to grind them. You DO use chia seeds whole.
        Enjoy!

  9. I would love to hear more about fructose malabsorbtion and sugar sensitivity! Thanks Kris and commenters for sharing so widely!

  10. I love your blog and recipes. I love your sense of humor with the articles. I have been reading it for over a year. A dear friend if mine started me on it who also has bad food sensitivities. This article hits right at home as I am finally eliminating gluten from my diet for all the above reasons. I am feeling better but feel I have to now watch dairy products.
    I feel better but know I can take it even further. As a child I was allergic to dairy, wheat, and tomatoes, watermelon, egg plant, avocados, bananas.. I took allergy shots for years and years and was able to add back in. I am fifty years old now and guess my body is resisting it again and has been for years. So here I go!
    Thanks for being a great inspiration!
    Cheers to you today!

  11. I was just tested for food/chemical sensitivities through ALCAT two weeks ago. While some of the sensitivity results were not surprising (cow’s milk, wheat/gluten, yeast, soy, sugar), others were quite shocking (avocado, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, potatoes, coconut, cocoa, and 50 more). Prior to the test, I was living a nightmare: insomnia, no libido, brain fog, lethargy, joint/muscle pain, hives/rashes, severe acne. I experienced these symptoms for more than 6 years, all the while being tested (and “medicated”) for a multitude of ailments from a variety of doctors. No of them even considered food allergies/sensitivities. A few friends suggested I get tested for food intolerances and that was the magic ticket. I have been on a pretty strict rotation diet for the past 3 weeks (eating the foods that I can eat), and I have seen a remarkable change in my overall well being. My ALCAT nutritional advisor has been so helpful, giving me support and recipes that I will utilize for the next 6 months wile I “detox” and allow the inflammation in my body to subside. The test was not cheap but the results have been definitely worth the brief financial setback!

    • Good for you! It’s amazing to me how doctors would rather medicate and essentially mask an issue instead of turning to food. It seems like a no-Brainer to me that what you put into your body could be causing the problem! We all accept (with very few exceptions, like medication side effects and thyroid problems) that what you eat can make you fat, but it’s not equally accepted that what you eat can make you sick!

  12. Mia said on June 3, 2013

    It’s funny… I am allergic to gluten, one daughter is allergic to dairy (which we recently found out includes everything from a cow) and does better without gluten, and my son is allergic to shellfish. Ironically, I get a lot of sympathy from friends and family, but omg, what a blessing! Six years ago I was afraid of the kitchen, and now making food is what I am happiest doing. In a sense, I feel less restricted than before all the allergies and sensitivities!

    Kris, I too am curious about what tests you got from the lab you reference. I don’t feel like I have been able to find any medical support for my daughters stomach issues. Thanks for a great post!

  13. I had long known I am lactose intolerant. I found out I am also unable to tolerate soy when I nursing my infant daughter who was born allergic to dairy, egg, and soy. For the first time in my life I had eliminated these foods and subsequently also had NO stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea or GERD! My father and brother discovered that they too cannot tolerate dairy or soy…until then we all thought those symptoms were NORMAL! LOL…when you are surrounded by people who have lived with and learned to deal with those issues, you don’t know any different:). My husband is also at least lactose intolerant, and I suspect has additional food issues, but he won’t eliminate them; his whole family (except for one sister whose son has Celiac) thinks their IBS symptoms, migraines and skin rashes are “normal”…sigh. On another note, I strongly believe that unless we choose to produce “wheat alternative”/gluten free grains organically and minimally processed, we will become intolerant and allergic to these foods. They will go the way of soy and corn unless we remove toxins from the planting and growing and shipping processes. The US has the knowledge and the power to provide local, fresh, safe, minimally processed, organic, humanely raised foods. We can decrease the need for huge volumes of fossil fuels and decrease our reliance on unsafe, unkind, mass food production practices. We could take back our power from the giant food conglomerates and fossil fuel corporations. If we decrease our reliance on these big guys, we impact their wallets and their ability to own OUR politicians and we can impact public policy in OUR favor. Goodbye Red Dye!…etc

    • Jess said on June 3, 2013

      My understanding has always been that blood testing for food intolerances has no basis in science. I believe these tests measure IgG, which was theorized to have a role in food intolerances, but was poorly correlated in research studies.

  14. Thanks Kris for the great post! I greatly enjoy reading your newsletters and zest for life and wellness!
    I dove into the world of food intolerances (no allergies here) a couple years ago after my digestive system went out of whack. Through lots of doctor appointments & their tests and searching in peer-reviewed scientific literature, I have a good grasp how and what changed in my digestion. Clinically, I was labeled with PI-IBS and SIBO. I believe my gut flora became way wonky after traveling abroad/stomach illness/antibiotic round(s) that I developed these issues a few months later and continue today (these instances are becoming well-documented in the scientific literature). Pub-Med has free access, I think, to the scientific literature for those interested- just search for IBS or PI-IBS, etc. for example.

    For those with similar IBS issues & food intolerances, I have found understanding FODMAPs to be extremely helpful in identifying aggravating foods (those aha! moments!). Research from Australia has shed a lot of light and understanding on these certain food groups that may be more troublesome for those with gut rumblings. Check in out here: http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet. Or one of their papers: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/716634

    I also like this site to check out nutrient content of foods and, in particular, fructose amount- http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/nutrientables/nuttab/Pages/default.aspx

    (sorry for the long post but it’s a subject near and dear to my heart now!)

    Sarah :)

  15. Jess said on June 3, 2013

    This is a good article on the problems with IgG testing: http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html

  16. First, I was diagnosed with Celiac. As if that weren’t enough, I was then told that I had 15+ food intolerances. At first, it was just depressing and frustrating. But as it lead my down a path of food-awareness and better health, I started to master it. It took a while, as I had no help from anyone along the way (especially my doctor), but now I feel so much better and am able to help others with similar ailments!

    I just received my BA in Health Science and am now a Food Coach for people who want help “Befriending their Food”. :) It’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever set out to do, and I’m so grateful I have the opportunity to do it!

    • Hi Jamianne, Did you find out about your 15+ intolerances with the Elisa test?

      Thanks,
      Heather

  17. This is great! Thanks, Kris.

    I really, really struggle with food intolerances, I think. I have acid reflux and IBS, and it seems like the smallest thing will set me off. Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’m intolerant to seafood. I can eat some here and there, but if I eat too much at once or even in the span of a week, I’ll have issues. I’d love to get tested or do an elimination diet, but I would really like to be led/supported by someone who could coach and guide me through it easily! Doesn’t seem like something I could or would want to take on by myself. Anyone have success with testing themselves, either by yourself or with professional help, for intolerance?

  18. I’m definitely ready to get tested for food intolerance or allergies. I’m going to try this testing with a chiropractor (believe it or not!) who does muscle testing. Can’t wait to see what I learn!

    • Larn said on June 4, 2013

      I found great insights with kinesiology for food sensitivities (NAET technique was what we used) for my son. It was in fact life changing – helped us out of his awful digestive problems and moods. Best of luck Caroline!

  19. Jess said on June 3, 2013

    Another article on the problems with IgG testing: http://www.allassoc.com/problems-with-igg-food-allergy-testing/

    Sorry for the repeat posts, but IgG testing for food intolerances is a major pet peeve of mine, especially since I have yet to see a blood sample that doesn’t light that panel up like a Christmas tree. I think it makes people’s diets prohibitively hard and with no factual basis. My family has several IgE mediated allergies and I have biopsy-proven celiac disease; we obviously MUST avoid those foods. But in terms of food sensitivities/intolerances, I think an elimination diet is by far the way to go.

    • Lee said on June 3, 2013

      Jess – Do you know of any good resources for undertaking an elimination diet? I tried one once, and it was so restrictive (started off with ~12 foods, adding 1 back at a time every few days) that after a couple of months, I eventually fell off the wagon. (Without learning much about my sensitivities from the experience, unfortunately!)

  20. I am probably allergic to peanuts because my lips and throat swell when I eat peanut butter. In spite of this, I eat peanut butter every day because it is fast and easy and I love it. Could the peanut butter be contributing to my joint aches and pains?

    Thanks for your recommendation to substitute sunflower or pumpkin seed butter.

    Julie Eliason

    Organizer of the Royal Oak Artists a Meetup group in Royal Oak, Michigan.
    http://www.artbyjulie.me

  21. Amy said on June 3, 2013

    I am currently on a detox diet to figure out what triggers my stomach upset. Will the tests still work if I’ve already eliminated some of the problem foods from my diet?

    • I had a similar concern when being tested. My naturopath said its best to have had any common foods that might be trigger foods within at least a month of the test.

  22. Great read, as usual! What I’d love suggestions on is how to convince others to give up a food.

    I’m convinced my teenaged sister has a gluten intolerance. She used to get stomach aches after eating just fried food or beef. Then dairy was added then it became EVERYTHING. It got to the point where she would stop eating before feeling even satisfied in order to avert a stomachache. I was afraid she’d inadvertently develop an eating disorder. Most recently, she was brought to the emergency room for what was roughly determined to be either ovarian cysts that burst or muscle spasm. I’ve heard that cysts can develop from a gluten intolerance. Regardless, she refuses to completely give up gluten even for just a test run and my parents won’t force her to do it. I’m thinking that they know it will be costly and difficult and since its just stomachaches, it’s not really an emergency. I, however, am greatly concerned over the possible permanent damage this is causing to her body.

    • Rosh said on June 3, 2013

      Hey Briana,

      I have gluten intolerance- before I found out, I used to have sandwiches everyday and had horrific acne, and it only cleared up after giving up wheat, oats and other food with gluten in it! Needless to say my doctor was no help at all and I had to figure all this out by myself. Regarding your sister, perhaps suggest to her that she removes gluten from her diet for just one week and see how she feels, and then reintroduce it the next week… if she starts getting the stomach problems again, she’ll know what the culprit is! Also, maybe google some articles on the dangers of gluten intolerance and show them to your parents and sister, maybe then they’ll realise that this is no minor matter.

      Good luck and hope it goes well! X

  23. Gwen said on June 3, 2013

    I have had had so many symptoms for years and finally had some blood work done. Nothing showed up and we just assumed it was IBS, But then recently I tested positive for Candida! Which can cause a lot of trouble. I was basically eating meat and vegetables because everything else bothered me! I am only half way through the treatment, so I do not know if it is responsible for all my gut issues and food sensitivities, but it is worth looking into! Candida is really common!

    • I used to get Candida as well, after eliminating bread and any yeast based spreads etc( we like vegemite here in Australia that has yeast in it), I kicked the Candida and have not had it for years. Take out all the processed foods and keep to raw… my advice anyway.

  24. Kim said on June 3, 2013

    I’ve never heard of the hydrogen breath test. Can you share how I would find a clinic who offers this test?

    • The International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (GUT) has an Article on the “Use and Abuse of Hydrogen Breath Tests”……very interesting reading.
      If you still want to consider testing…..Metabolic Solutions Inc has a test for $150.00., check the web for Address.
      Good luck.

  25. Um, wow, phenomenal timing! I read your blog through my face mask of eczema, which I mysteriously acquired after a one-week vacation to France, on which I also took a vacation from my normally very plant-religious diet. I drank wine, ate cheese, chocolate, bread, sugary desserts, and used perfumey shampoo that I bought in France to avoid checking my luggage. I didn’t go nuts on any of these things (as I might have in my blissfully unaware, eczema-tortured past). Shocker of shockers, I was constipated by day 3 of my vacation, and my MS symptoms flared. I am back home and not surrounded by these tasty temptations, and hoping SO BADLY that my eczema goes away!! I was so grateful to read this blog. Once again (like soooo many times before), your blog hits the bull’s eye. Deepest sincere thanks, Kris.

  26. I am following Kris with the goal of keeping cancer from coming back. But it’s not me, it’s my 11 year old son. He’s had bone tumors (Ewing’s Sarcoma) twice and is at high risk for more. We’ve eliminated dairy, 4 legged meat, processed foods, and anything not vegan has been reduced significantly. I am so thankful to have this resource! So thankful!! My family is doing very well with our new way of eating (and juicing). It’s a challenge for kids since they are bombarded with poor food choices all the time. Even in the hospital! I have wondered about food sensitivities and how they might relate to fighting cancer. If my son has a food sensitivity and we don’t address it, can that inflammation work against him in fighting cancer? He doesn’t seem to show any discomfort related to food but he’s a kid, and he’s on chemo. I want him to have as many healthy food options as possible because he needs to keep weight on. It’s difficult to put weight on with such a healthy diet.

    Again, my question is “Is it likely that inflammation caused by a mild food sensitivity would work against us in fighting cancer?”

    Lorna

  27. I am a distributor for Lifemax which puts out a whole raw food, the chia seet. It is an open product and works well with the delivery of plant based Omega 3′s and protein. I cancer survivor myself, I have witnessed many health benefits from it.

    Thank you for clarifying the difference between allergy and intolerance. Very helpful.

  28. Another common culprit for many ailments is a yeast overgrowth, An issue resolved, you guest it, through the foods you eat. Good thing about this issue is that it’s about balance and once re-established, most foods can be returned to your diet.

  29. guessed it, not guest it …LOL

  30. Years ago my Naturopath did a kinesiology test on me to find out my food sensitivities. We followed that by a elimination diet & then a re-introduction of the culprits one day at a time. When I reintroduced dairy I almost passed out. Recently I took my 5 year old son to a new Naturopath (my old one moved away) for seasonal allergies & he did ASRYA testing (which is fascinating) & it detected food sensitivities in him.

  31. With the help of a naturopath, we ran a specific blood test (IgG) that confirmed several food intolerances. There were a couple on the list that I never would have suspected. Today, he’s on a very specific diet that has him avoiding dairy, wheat, all gluten, soy, eggs, bananas and avocados. Soy, in particular, causes extreme hyperactivity. This is interesting because we had him on soy formula and soy milk when he was a baby and toddler. I have tried adding bananas and eggs back in, but the under-eye circles come right back.

  32. Your article provides lots of great insights for people. I get a lot of those same questions on a daily basis when people find out I have 9 food allergies- all late onset. I’ve dealt with a lot of “stuff” in my life- been through it all from losing a kidney at 11, parents marriage falling apart, finding out my dad and ex husband were addicts, divorce, raising kids, moving, job changes, death of my mother.. and so on… but I have to say that handling food MULTIPLE food allergies on a daily basis is one of the most difficult things to overcome. It changed my entire life and in some ways for the better. I am no longer sick on a daily basis, I no longer have ongoing kidney failure with the remaining kidney but sometimes I find myself dealing with high levels of anxiety and even depression when it comes to food. The allergies have gotten worse the older I get- and I’m only in my 30′s. I went from 2 to 9 food allergies in 10 years and to make matters even more complicated, the severity of them has greatly increased. I feel like I’ve had to reprogram everything I knew about health and wellness as it related to food, hence I started my practice working with commercial kitchens- which is where my family background is, it’s everything I knew as I grew up. There are high levels of ignorance in the food service industry about food and over 101 illnesses directly tied to food (what we put in our bodies)- but rarely does anyone give it weight- there is still a mindset of, “it’s all in your head. you can overcome it.” Anyway, I really enjoyed reading everyone’s experience on this, it’s so helpful to see a group of people speak up and talk about this.

  33. I started on the gluten free lifestyle back in 1998, after severe low iron and anemia, as well I have all my life suffered from migranes.. yucky ones, that I have flashes and go to bed for days( not that any migrane sufferer has good ones). I had tests, including bowel tests & endoscopy to determine the gluten intolerance – I have learnt a lot since then, with my diet changing into more raw foods, and smoothies ( smoothies have been a real godsend to me), because I was always chubby and was developing fatty liver problems, I don’t know why, but possibly because of all the replacement gluten free products. In the last few years I truly believe my blog has saved my life, because its made me more aware of food. I write my blog to try to help others with similar issues that I had. I feel so much better now, no bloating, still need to lose weight but much happier and content… its amazing the change.. also I have had no migranes for a few years… I really think its more natural food that made the difference. Check our my blog http://www.gfblog.com.au I would love feedback.

  34. I developped food allergies along with Chronic Fatigue Syndromein my late teens- One day I decided to get into my kitchen and come up with healthy, tasty recipes within the confines of my multiple allergies. It took me awhile and boy did I throw out a lot of failed recipes, but I am happy to say 6 years later I had put together a book of recipes. Fast forward to today and my cookbook, Finally… Food I Can Eat is now available for those millions of people just like me who are searching for light at the end of the dietary tunnel. It also turned into a career for me as I consult and help those with food allergies come up with healthy menu plans within the confines of their specific dietary restrictions. Guess my allergies really were a blessing in disguise. Come on over and visit me on my facebook page- Finally Food I Can Eat, for tips and recipes. I would love to share some of my recipes with your audience Kris. I am happy to send you a cookbook as well. Let me know

  35. Gina said on June 5, 2013

    I had an ALCAT test done and I felt like it told me I was intolerant to everything that I would normally eat! Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, pumpkin, string beans, paprika, tilapia and tuna. It was funny – I tested fine with all the common allergens, especially cow’s milk which I had given up a long time ago. I kind of gave up on the results because I felt helpless about my choices. I’m not so sure I would recomment this test to anyone, especially after I read about all the false positives.

  36. I feel much better since i took away gluten from my diet. Less gas and better digestion!
    I bought a dehydrator and began making my own crackers with flax and sesame seeds. More good nutrition and less of the things I don’t want or need.

  37. I didn’t know that a “hydrogen breath test” existed. My doctor always told me she thought I had IBS but had no way of testing me. I think a lot of people have food intolerances that they never realize – when I cut meat out of my diet I felt like a new woman! Thanks for sharing!

  38. Dara said on June 6, 2013

    I used to be concerned about what was happening to me! I started getting all kinds of symptoms about 5 or 6 years ago like hives, constipation, bloating, skin breakouts and sleeping problems, which began sporadically and then became more frequent. I eventually had to go up a pant size to fit my constant bloated belly!! As I was gearing up to go get a blood test we decided to move out of the US. After the relocation my symptoms vanished almost instantly. To this day I am convinced these symptoms were reactions to the chemical party going on in the foods back home. I did my best to eat organic, but we also ate out a lot and traveled a bunch so it wasn’t enough I suppose. Now I live in Europe where chemicals are easy to avoid and no problems. Still eat all the same types of foods and everything.

  39. Hi Kris, what does it mean when you get tingly feeling, feels like, when your body false asleep in a giving area, I eat mainly raw, about 80-90 % raw, I did just add some mythl B-12, Matt Monarchs pathches and some D-3 plant souce, whats your thought, could it be food not agreeing with me or a vit or mineral diff, thanks Jeremy Tobias, toby123ca@yahoo.com

  40. Amy said on June 7, 2013

    Kris, What do you suggest eating on an anti-inflammatory/vegan diet when you have an upset stomach? Thanks!

  41. yea, but it gets really difficult when you’re not able to eat any/all beans, nuts (except almonds & cashews), tomatoes, any/all fruit, any/all squash, zucchini, eggplant, corn, rice, peppers, lentils, coffee, most black teas, ginger, quinoa, chocolate and more… I’m vegan so I already avoid all animal products and everything on that list of mine I avoid. Thankfully, I can still eat broccoli or it would probably be like the world ending.

  42. This is a great article. I have struggled with allergies for over 45 years. I have 25 food allergies and at least 10 cause anaphylaxis shock and I have been in the ER several times. Sometimes it is very difficult to get servers at restaurants to understand the seriousness of a citrus and mushroom allergy. I generally tell them that you will have to call 911 if I eat foods containing lemons, limes, oranges and mushrooms. Of course, then there is the fish and shellfish problem too. I recently had my blood checked and despite my eating a 75% raw food diet and juicing greens, my IgE level is still 1050. Way above what it should be; not quite sure how to lower it. I generally have to alter all recipes due to my allergies, but have found I can replace a lot with pumpkin or sunflower seeds, tahini & ginger.

  43. Excellent Article! I wondered into the Nutrition Field because of my MS. The stumbled into the food allergy portion while on the Gerson Therapy and writing recipes for a family members diet book (all Vegan of course). The Synagogue we attended had many kiddos with allergies. I went from baking little allergy free cookies and cakes for the Shabbats to writing a book of allergy free recipes. Ittie Bittie Vegan books have been my dedication since. We have a starter books for those wanting to become Vegan with Allergies to separate issues of holidays, yummies and juices/smoothies/soups. I am going to add your link to my page for others to see. Thank you Kris! You are an amazing woman!

    Leigh

  44. Hello Kris!

    I have had celiac for a loooong time, but I recently got tested a bit more to try a solve some tummy problems. I was losing my mind! I kept thinking I had inadvertently eaten something with gluten. Then it came to me – maybe there is something else too! Well, darn it anyway – soy, sesame, bananas, pineapple, dairy, almonds and pecans came up on testing. No wonder my tummy was not happy! I had soy milk and bananas almost everyday in my smoothies. I also used pineapple in my smoothies. Yikes! I almost fell off my chair when I got the results and freaked out momentarily. I have been vegetarian for years and tofu, soy milk, bananas etc have been staples – what can I eat? It took about an hour for me to realize there is so much yummy food I CAN eat! Of course there is! So now I take my own hemp milk with me to the coffee shop if I want a chai (they are getting used to it now) and I take food with me as backup if I’m not sure what will be available. It takes some planning but it is all worth it. My tummy thanks me everyday :-)

    Dawn

  45. Great info. I have your first book. You are an inspiration in the health community! :-)

  46. Lynn said on July 4, 2013

    I am fortuneate not to have food allergies, but I do get migraines from eating the wrong foods. I can eat chocolate (thank goodness), but I have to avoid wine at all costs as well as aged cheese. Though it is tempting to have a little, it is not worth the pain that come about.

  47. I have a number of food sensitives and used the combination of an elimination diet with a food journal. My foods are eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, MSG, sugar, and peanuts. My allergies are eggplant and blueberries. (Found these 2 out the hard way.)

    Food sensitivities are a royal pain in the rear. However, if I have any of those foods, my Fibromyalgia goes into top gear and I’m out of commission for days.

    How do I deal? Well, sometimes I throw a temper-tantrum but, in all honesty, I have certain phrases I say to myself when contemplating eating a naughty food. For sugar, it’s a funny phrase my husband came up with for me to say in my head… ready? “I like to poop.” Yep! If I have too much sugar, I’m constipated for DAYS!

    To truly deal, I find alternatives when I’m shopping. To go out to eat, I plan ahead and look at the menus online to see what alternatives are available and choose the restaurant based on that. However, if I’m out and need food… I have a salad or a nice piece of meat. The other day, we stopped at a BBQ and I had tenderloin medallions over mixed greens with a red onion vinaigrette. There was supposed to be blue cheese on it so I just asked it without. Simple.

    Sure, I miss my comfort foods and old family Italian recipes but I just think about how much it would cost me to miss in life (because of being sick) and that helps me to choose wisely. I eat to live… not live to eat.

  48. I heard that a milk/dairy intolerance is different where you have trouble digesting the protein in it and causes constipation. About 3 months ago I started consuming dairy products from raw grass-fed cows and over time was having trouble elliminating. I avoided consuming dairy before that because I thought I was sensitive to it and was as a baby too. I thought I might do better with raw dairy from grass fed cows than from commercial dairy, but I guess I can’t handle it either. Maybe I just can’t digest the protein in it very well. So now I’ve stopped dairy for the past two weeks and slowly starting to feel better and get back to normal. Am I right that a milk intolerance to the protein causes constipation?

  49. Does milk/dairy intolerance cause constipation?
    I heard that it is when your body has trouble digesting the protein and causes constipation. I have been experiencing all this myself. I stopped consuming dairy and am slowly starting to feel better.

  50. We’re all on the same page. It’s not so much what you eat as how you eat it and how it is produced. Personally I am frightened by the additives and preservatives in American foods and very happy we don’t have that here (or as much of it). What’s interesting to me is, when I go back to the states the food seems so bland. In the process of producing it so everything is perfect, consistent in color and size, they took away the flavor.

  51. First time I’m reading your blog. Came across while searching for information about food allergies. I don’t have any food allergies or food intolerances but I do know some people that have these. It’s really important that you know and even the people around you that you have this food allergies/intolerances. I read a blog about her battle being a gluten-free in restaurants. http://www.learn2serve.com/blog/how-to-go-from-gluten-free-friendly-to-restaurant-of-death/

    My girlfriend has food allergies that just came out recently. I don’t know if it’s possible that you can have a food allergy later, than having it when you are just a kid. I asked her if she had it before she said that she didn’t. She have allergies with seafoods, I freaked out when one day she told me she can’t feel anything. Half of her body was numb. I thought she was having a stroke or something. But then luckily she was more calmer than me and remembered what we ate before that.

    Thank you for the information about the tests. I wasn’t aware that there are test to know if you have food allergies.

    Thanks,
    Jeffrey Hunt

  52. I really enjoy the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. aedkdfgdaddd

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