How to Resolve Food Intolerances  

Written by Katherine Ung on Monday, January 31st, 2011

Photo credit: Photo credit: Peter Hellberg

Did you know that the foods you have eaten all your life and that you eat everyday could be the very foods you are intolerant to? Your daily diet could be wreaking daily havoc.

Foods intolerances, also known as food sensitivities, can develop at any stage in your life, even if those foods have never caused you problems in the past.

While actual food allergies are fairly rare, affecting 2-4% of the population and 6-8% of children, food intolerances affect up to 45% of the adult population.

So what is a food allergy and what are the symptoms?

A food allergy is when an immune reaction occurs within seconds or minutes after you have contact with even the tiniest amount of the culprit substance.

Symtoms can include hives, rashes, vommiting, chest pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea and in extreme cases anaphylaxis and even death!

The main food allergens can be narrowed down to 8 usual suspects:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nut
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soy / soya
  • Wheat

Non food culprits include pollen, house mite faeces, insect bits and stings and detergents.

These ‘true’ allergies are called IgE or immediate histamine-mediated reactions.  If you have one of these ‘true’ allergies, you should avoid contact / consumption of the substance for the rest of your life.

What is a food intolerance and what are the symptoms?

Food intolerances are called IgG.  These reactions can show up up to 3 days after you consume the offending food and this makes them difficult to diagnose compared with IgE allergies.

The good thing is that IgG reactions are rarely life threatening, however let’s not underestimate the extent to which they could be upsetting your daily life.

Symptoms include: I.B.S (irritable bowel syndrome), bloating, tiredness, migraines, digestive complaints, skin conditions and acne, joint pain, diarrhea, gas, cramps, heartburn, irritability, nervousness.

Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs if you repeatedly eats an IgG food which causes damage to your GI tract.  Inflammation and actual holes can be torn in your small intestine, which is over 6 metres long, making it the longest part of your digestive tract and is where the digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates occurs.

So if you have a ‘leaky gut’ some food particles, instead of being fully contained in your GI tract,  will pass into your blood stream causing an IgG immune reaction to these foreign substances.

If your leaky gut remains unhealed you will eventually have difficulty digesting any food you eat and multiple food intolerances and nutritional deficiencies will develop.

Factors which contribute towards leaky gut syndrome include:

  • regular use of aspirin
  • deficiency in essential fatty acids & zinc
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • candida overgrowth
  • alcohol

In this article I am going to talk about some of the most commonly eaten foods that may be causing IgG reactions, creating mayhem in your daily life and assaulting your digestive system and brain function.

Wheat and Gluten

Bread

Trio of bread by kidmissle

Gluten is a complex protein made up of Gliadin and Glutenin and is found in the following grains; wheat, oats, rye, barley, tricale and spelt.

Gluten enables your daily bread to swell up, expand and become soft and springy to the touch.  This property of gluten has been abused to develop modern strains of wheat that contain far more gluten than naturally occurred in ancient strains, so that larger volumes of bread can now be made more cheaply.

As wheat is the most frequently eaten gluten grain it may well be your hidden enemy. Perhaps you have branflakes or weetabix for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner and perhaps some biscuits or cakes as snacks, without registering that every mouthful you are eating contains wheat.

Wheat is found in bread, pasta, couscous, breakfast cereals e.g all-bran, weetabix, special K, cakes, biscuits, pies, pastries, bulgar wheat, semolina, foods in batter or breadcrumbs.

To make matters worse, wheat as ‘modified starch’, is added to processed foods to bulk out products. So if you do eat processed foods you are unknowingly increasing your gluten load.

Other foods that contain ‘hidden’ gluten include TVP textured vegetable protein, barley malt, maltodextrin, ice creams with gluten stabilisers & processed cheeses containing wheat flour or oat gum.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten triggers an immune reaction producing antibodies that damage the lining of the small intestine. Coeliac disease can lead to anaemia, bone disease and some cancers if dietary changes to avoid gluten are not made.

You may be suffering with wheat or gluten intolerance even though you have not been diagnosed with coeliac disease. Tests used are not sensitive enough for those that may be borderline cases.

You may be intolerant to wheat and fine with the other gluten grains.  For example oats do not contain gliadin so many people that cannot digest other gluten grains are still fine with oats. (note: it is important to soak oats in filtered water overnight otherwise they prevent the absorption of zinc)

Symptoms of wheat intolerance include:

Constipation, wind and gas, bloating, cramping, headaches, memory loss, depression, fatigue, susceptibility to catching colds, mouth ulcers, arthritis and skin condititions such as excema & psoriasis.

Recommended gluten free & wheat free grains; Amaranth, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Millet, Brown rice, Teff.

Spelt and Kamut both contain lower levels of gluten so some people that cannot digest modern wheat have no problems with them.

Yeast

Wine

Glass of red wine by dorena-wm

The most common form of yeast in our bodies is Candida and it makes a comfortable home in the moist parts of your body such as the colon, mouth and in women’s vagina.

Usually your good bacteria keeps this yeast-like fungus under control and it can live in harmony with you but when candida is out of control it will ask you to feed it with sugary, yeasty foods.

Succumbing to the cravings of your unfriendly fungus will enable it to spread throughout your body and release toxic gases such as acetaldehyde, arabinitol, gliotoxin, zymosan and alcohol. This yeast overgrowth eventually develops into a yeast intolerance.

Symptoms can include bloating, gas, headaches, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, coated tongue, bad breath, unexplained mood swings, foggy brain, strong cravings for sugary foods and bread, sinus congestion, mucus and thrush.

Overproduction of yeast is more likely to occur if you have taken antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, steroids, had exposure from mercury fillings or if you have leaky gut syndrome.

Food & drinks  that contain yeast:  bread,cakes, malt drinks, mushrooms, oxo cubes, cider, sake, wine, beer, spirits, yeast extracts eg. bovril, marmite, vegemite, MSG, canned soups, soya sauce, hard yellow cheeses.

As candida feeds off sugar, it is also important to cut out sugar, refined carbohydrates and fermented foods:

Honey, maple syrup, molasses, sugar substitutes, sweets, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, alcohol, milk, fruit,alcohol and vinegar (except organic raw unpasteurised apple cider vinegar)

Lactose and Milk

Milk

Milk bottles by Mark Hillary

You may be intolerant to milk sugars, lactose, or you may be intolerant to milk proteins.  Perhaps you don’t consider milk as part of your diet but you drink coffee latte’s and cappucino’s everyday and  you think to yourself ‘but I don’t drink milk?. Well that’s a whole lotta milk in your coffee!

Signs of lactose intolerance include diarrhoea, wind, gas, excess mucus production, I.B.S, ulcerative colitis.

The lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose is non existent in some ethnic groups such as africans, asians, orientals, indians & hispanic americans.  If you are of northern european descent you are least likely to suffer with lactose intolerance.

Even if you were born with the lactase enzyme its production may have died down from the age of 2-3 when you moved on to solid foods. If you were born prematurely you are likely to be lactose intolerant as the lactase enzyme only increases in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Did you know that you may be able to eat some dairy products even if you are lactose intolerant? Butter is almost 100% fat and cheese has had most of the milk sugars removed, leaving behind protein and fat and live bio yoghurt has had the lactose broken down into glucose and galactose that are easily digestible.

Full fat milk is far better tolerated if you are sensitive to lactose as skimmed milk actually contains higher amounts of lactose.

If you are sensitive to milk proteins then you are lacking the enzyme rennin, that breaks down milk protein.  Eating  milk proteins will increase inflammation, bloating, wind and gas.

Casein is the milk protein most likely to be causing you these uncomfortable and embarassing problems and will be listed on packaged foods as casein, caseinate, lactose, sodium caseinate or whey.

Milk products are included in biscuits, cakes, sausages, processed meats, chocolate, non dairy creamers, protein powder drinks and salad creams.

Even if you appear to have no problem digesting cow’s milk, supermarket milk is produced from intensely farmed dairy cattle where the cow’s are not allowed to rest and are milked throughout pregnancy.  Not kind to the cow and not beneficial for you as this milk contains a hormone that will leach calcium from your bones.

Supermarket milk, whether organic or not, is not good for your bones!

12 year harvard study of 78,000 women showed that those that drank milk 3 times a day actually broke more bones than those women that rarely drank milk.

In contrast to mass produced supermarket milk, if you can get hold of raw, unpasteurised, organic milk from a farm where the cow’s are grass fed, antibiotic free and well cared for you will be drinking milk that is disease free and full of nutrients and calcium.

Sugggested alternatives to cow’s milk: rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk

Goat and sheep milk have different proteins to cow’s milk and 50% of people that cannot digest cow’s milk are able to digest goat/sheep milk.

Soya

Tofu

Tofu Pressed by FootosVanRobin

Do you eat or drink soya products as an alternative to dairy/milk products or because you have heard it is healthy for you? Soya has become an increasingly popular alternative to dairy products but you may  be intolerant to it and would be better off avoiding soya aswell as cow’s milk.

You may be surprised to discover that soya is not as nutritious as you have been led to believe. Thousands of studies have now linked soya to malnutrition, digestive distress, thyroid dysfunction, kidney stones, impaired fertility, severe food allergies.

This might be surprising to hear, especially as the Japanese live the longest and have far lower rates of cancer but did you know that is is mainly fermented soya products that they eat?

Non fermented soya products contain phytic acid which prevent the uptake of vital minerals such as zinc and calcium.

Unfermented soya products; soya milk, tofu, soya cheese, soya burgers, soya ice cream, edamame, TVP texturised vegetable protein or soy protein isolate, soy bean oil.

Soya foods are only really beneficial is they are fermented, organic and most importantly, not genetically modified.

Fermented Soya foods include: natto, tempeh, soy sauce (wheat free soy sauce is called tamari)

Eggs

Eggs

Eggs by Pietro Izzo

For most people it is the protein in the egg white, the albumin, that is causing the problem.  Overconsumption of eggs may occur if you are on a high protein diet where eggs make a popular breakfast choice.  However eggs are binding and overconsumption can lead to constipation.  Overeating eggs will also increase the accumulation of gallstones in your liver and gallbladder.

What came first the chicken or the egg? Well a happy healthy chicken definitely came before a happy healthy egg. Unless your eggs say Free Range, they are not. So even if you have no problem digesting eggs, always choose free range eggs from hens fed an organic diet and eat them in moderation.  The only way battery farmed eggs will stop is if you stop buying them.

An Organic free range egg contains 3 to 6 times more vitamin D than a battery farmed supermarket egg

Egg products are used in so many foods from bakery goods to mayonnaise. To spot products that contain eggs check every label and if you find any of the ingredients contained in the Egg allergy avoidance list it means that eggs have been used.

What should you do if you suspect a food intolerance?

  • A course of colonics is recommened to resolve any digestive conditions that are not directly related to a food intolerance such as constipation or bloating due to various other factors.
  • After the colon has been cleansed you will be able to observe the impact of a nuisance food.
  • A 12 week abstenence from the suspect food will allow your body to heal.
  • After which it may be possible to reintroduce some of the foods on a rotation basis. Eating that food only every 3rd or 4th day, will mean that you can still enjoy it sometimes but prevent a return of the food intolerance. Afterall variety is the spice of life!
  • If after 12 weeks it is still not clear which foods you are intolerant to, it would be advisable to do the York food intolerance test which requires just a simple skin prick blood test and results are back in 10 days.
  • If you suspect you have leaky gut syndrome or multiple food intolerances,  you may wish to speed up the healing process by undertaking the 10 day Ultra Sustain Detox program.

Don’t let food intolerances ruin your life

No more stomach pains, embarrasing cramps and wind, no more rushing to the toilet with explosive diarrhea, no more acne, headaches, unexplained mood swings, sleepiness & foggy brain.

Let’s find the cause, eliminate those feisty foods, heal your gut and start to look and feel good again.  Byebye bloating, hello health!

About Katherine Ung

Katherine Ung is a therapist that has been passionate about nutrition and colonic irrigation since 1999. Learn more about her

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  • Added by Dr Gill Hart on February 1st, 2011 at 4:27 pm  #

    A great article Katherine, indeed the YorkTest FoodScan test is able to identify the exact combination of foods to which IgG reactions have occurred. The test is easy to do – in the comfort of home. For more information visit http://www.yorktest.com.

  • Added by smilinggreenmom on February 1st, 2011 at 8:44 pm  #

    Our little boy had the hardest time with foods since he was just a few months old. He reacted to everything it seemed and had terrible and severe eczema. No one seemed to have any answers for him and we felt so confused. When he was two, we started giving him Belly Boost which is a children’s chewable probiotic, and it has been the very best thing ever for him. His skin began to clear and he was finally and thankfully able to eat so many more foods than we ever imagined. He does have actual allergies too and we avoid those. But his probiotic has helped with the rest! Love your info!!

  • Added by Katherine Ung on February 2nd, 2011 at 3:59 pm  #

    Glad you enjoyed reading it! Probiotics are the basis for a strong healthy immune and digestive system. I had severe eczema all my life. Avoiding dairy made a huge difference. So definitely stay away from milk, cheese etc.

  • Added by Sue on February 4th, 2011 at 4:11 pm  #

    Thank you SO much! I didn’t understand my intolerance to yeast breads – which cause a rapid asthmatic bronchitis in me, like dairy products do. You don’t think doctors could have explained this, right? I am intolerant of dairy, lactose intolerant, yeast breads, maltodextrin & maltitol – which cause extreme and severe flatulence & diarrhea – and hypersensitive to a majority of drugs & chemicals. Your article is a keeper.

  • Added by Katherine Ung on February 5th, 2011 at 9:14 pm  #

    Glad the article was of help to you Sue. Wishing you well on your journey to better health!

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  • Added by Jan Patenaude, RD, CLT on August 3rd, 2013 at 5:13 pm  #

    A much more accurate test than IgG is the MRT test (Mediator Release Test) – full disclosure, I’ve used this test for over 10 years now and a consultant to the lab, Oxford Biomedical Technologies.
    IgG testing misses all the Cell Mediated Responses to foods and doesn’t test chemicals. It’s not considered very accurate as a result. For more info, check out:
    http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html
    and
    http://childrenallergyclinic.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/testing-for-igg4-against-foods-is-not-recommended-as-a-diagnostic-tool-eaaci-task-force-report/
    and
    http://freedownloadb.org/pdf/position-statement-welcome-to-allsa-10590334.html

  • Added by Timothy Tang on October 13th, 2013 at 10:44 am  #

    People in Japan consume lots of non-fermented soya products like firm and silken tofu, fried tofu skins seen in inari sushi, soya milk, fresh green soya beans called Edamame.

  • Added by Timothy Tang on October 13th, 2013 at 10:49 am  #

    There is an article linking gut microbe to food allergies.

    Microbiome: Gut reaction
    Microbes are under the spotlight in efforts to unravel — and combat — allergies.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7374_supp/full/479S5a.html

  • Added by Katherine Ung on October 24th, 2013 at 10:24 am  #

    Unfortunately now there is a lot of genetically modified soya on the market and we cannot always trust is the labelling is accurate as to whether it is genetically modified or not.

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  • Added by natural and organic skincare products on August 26th, 2014 at 10:57 am  #

    I like the valuable info you supply in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check once more here regularly.

    I’m somewhat certain I will be informed many new stuff proper right here!
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