How do we handle food intolerance? Either food allergies or food sensitivities? Those two categories are growing exponentially. 75% of our population is lactose intolerant. 30% – 40% of people are allergic to gluten, whose level in wheat has increased forty fold in the last 50 years. The occurrence of food reactions has not just skyrocketed; it has broadened tremendously over the last few decades, involving more and more types of foods. What is happening to us? And what can we do to regain control over these allergies / sensitivities?
Let me start by explaining the problem. We are eating foods, processed and/or contaminated, that are not digested as well as prior foods. Pieces of these foods are breaking through the integrity of the lining of our intestines, making it directly into our blood stream (before the particles are fully digested). What does our body do? It identifies these particles as foreign; and it launches an immune attack against those specific food particles. Worse, on the subsequent times when we eat those same foods, our body launches another attack; and it activates that immune reaction way before those food particles even reach our blood stream.
What is the resultant challenge for our body? With food allergies and sensitivities, these foods create inflammation, which causes insulin, leptic, and cortisol dysregulation, disrupting the normal biochemistry of our body. How can we tell? For many people, they will feel gas and bloating, develop skin problems, experience chronic sinusitis, and notice some unexpected joint pain. Emotionally, they will feel increasingly anxious and/or depressed without any clear precipitant. After our meals, we need to notice how we feel (physically and emotionally). Have our immune sentries overreacted? Are we suddenly out-of-whack? Which meal makes us feel worse? Which meal makes us feel better? And which specific foods were ingested during those meals?
I’ve already discussed the upcoming release of Dr. Hyman’s “The 10 Day Detox Diet”, but let me start with a more simplified approach. Simply stated, we need to let our digestive system cool down. We need to let those immune sentries lower their weapons. We need to let our hormonal system return to its natural balance. How can we achieve these goals? By reducing our diet to a minimalistic diet for a period of 2-3 weeks. And after those 2-3 weeks? That is when we can re-introduce the questionable foods, one at a time, and watch how our body reacts. Do we have any intestinal discomfort? Do we have any skin rashes? Do we have any join pain? Do we have any emotional upheaval? Ask each of those questions after re-introducing a specific food and we will learn how to gain better control of our health.
Why is it best that we learn these distinctions and make the necessary eating style changes? Because if we take these symptoms to our physician, the doctor is likely to medicate us with a steroid to suppress the symptoms. However, a suppressed immune system will lead to the development of more infections, viral and bacterial. If a co-worker has an upper respiratory infection, guess who is going to catch it? We are! So, we have given up a series of symptoms from food allergies / sensitivities in exchange for a new illness. Worse, with a reduced immune system, we not run the risk of getting sick over and over with different new illnesses. This progression toward worse health can be prevented by seizing control and reducing our diet to a minimum, at least for 2-3 weeks. As they like to say, our health starts with our fork and spoon, not with some medical treatment.
What do most people need to stop eating for this cleansing period to reset our chemistry? Dairy (eggs, cheese, etc), gluten, sugar (especially anything with high fructose corn syrup), artificial sweeteners, corn, soy, and all processed foods. What can we eat? How about lean protein sources, healthy fats, and low carbohydrates? Like the non-starchy vegetables. How do we manage to do that? We go backward, not forward. Specifically, we go back to old-time eating habits. One hundred years ago were we eating sodas and pop tarts? Just eat what we were eating back then. Try fish and vegetables with a little bit of fruit. If you have to eat meat, make certain it is small quantities and grass fed. Limit the grains, except for quinoa and beans.
Again, if we want our system to have a break from the onslaught of food allergies and food sensitivities, we do not need a list of specific foods. We just have to ask ourselves if what we are eating could have been served – just like it is – 100 years ago. Just think back to some bygone era and imagine what they were eating. If the food on our plate does not seem likely for that previous era, then we should avoid that food, at least temporarily for 2-3 weeks. If that comparison is still too confusing, then consider “The 10 Day Detox Diet.” As I have repeatedly said, I oppose almost all diets, but we need to give our bodies and ourselves a break from the allergic components and the food sensitivity components caused by today’s foods.
As previously discussed, we also need a break from the contaminants, toxins, and genetically engineered components that are disrupting our digestive system, ruining our immune system, and creating hormonal havoc. These features often set the stage for our other food allergies and food sensitivities. It’s called cross-activation. There’s really one way to reduce this inflammation – to take a break from eating what we have currently been eating. Is that so difficult? If you are working, it’s really tough. If you are home (or working from home), it’s tough, but easier. However, here is my point. Which would be more beneficial for our health and our life? A two-week vacation to Hawaii? Or two-weeks of reducing our diet and detoxifying ourselves from all of the toxic food components that are damaging us?
Trust me. A reset body (and biochemistry) needs more than a geographic vacation; it needs a food vacation. So, here are my suggestions. Try the Virgin Diet Cookbook. Try the food recommendations in Dr. Mark Hyman’s “The 10 Day Detox Diet.” Try some of the food items in Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet. Or try researching the Internet for other cleanses, other detoxifications – and the foods that they suggest. Try these short-term breaks for just 2-3 weeks. Then each of us can re-evaluat. In addition, keep reading these Boomer Health Institute blogs for additional suggestions. At some point, there will be a second book. At another point, there will be a Boomer Health Institute Cookbook. For now, let’s just clean our system, clean our body – and get ready to start anew. Sound fair enough?