Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are you allergic to your favorite food?

There is a lot of info out there about diet and nutrition, and a lot of it is contradictory.

I'm writing this post to share what has worked for me. There's not ONE answer for everybody, because every person's body and disease pattern is different.
But I do have a starting point that I think will help anyone with any autoimmune disease, or anyone who just feels tired and foggy all the time.

In 1994, I read that 100% of lupus patients have food allergies. Allergies create antibodies. Lupus is marked by antibodies. So i believe if we eliminate allergens, we can calm down our immune system and the lupus.

It has worked for me.  I am on ZERO lupus meds. As long as I stick to my diet and get enough sleep, I am fine. I can do aerobics, tap dance, etc. And I was nearly dead from kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and a stroke.

I had myself tested for food allergies using a blood test that checks for *delayed* reactions (not pinprick tests that find immediate reactions). Allergic reactions can occur as much as 3-4 *days* after eating something you're allergic to.

In my book, I recounted the story I read of a British woman whose Rheumatoid Arthritis was caused entirely by her cheese addiction. And cured by her eliminating all dairy from her diet.

This is what keeps me healthy:
I avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, shellfish, and nutrasweet.
I eat fruits and/ or vegetables daily.
I exercise vigorously 3-4 times a week.
I drink water between meals.
I limit sugar.

I've been to numerous alternative health practitioners over the years and even without blood tests, almost all of them suggest eliminating gluten, dairy, or both.

I suggest making only 1-2 changes at a time, because changing your diet too radically too quickly can make it hard to stick to. I have quit diet soda 3 times. This last time, I have been off soda for 5-6 years, and when I've accidentally ingested a Life Saver or something with nutrasweet in it, I almost immediately get diarrhea. All the knowledge about how bad nutrasweet/ aspartame is was not enough of a deterrent, but explosive diarrhea- yeah, that works.

The best way to know if you are allergic to a food is if you
a) crave it a lot
b) frequently eat it for breakfast
c) can't imagine life without it

Anything that meets one of those criteria- that is a food that has to go, because you are in an allergy/ addiction cycle.

Dr. Mark Hyman suggests eliminating a food like this for 7 days, then, on the 8th day, eating a normal amount of this food and seeing whether you react to it within the next 2-3 days (headaches, digestive problems, joint pains, any physical problems). If so, you may have just connected the dots between eating and suffering from .

Them, you can *choose* to keep eating that food and feeling crappy, or you can decide you'd rather feel better. But at least now you know what causes your headaches/ stomach problems, etc.

It's hard to keep track in your mind what symptoms are getting better and worse. We tend to not remember everything. I suggest if you are making changes in your diet or lifestyle or medications, that you track your symptoms every day using an app like Symple (iphone only). If you don't have a smart phone, sign up for my free symptom tracker (a Word document that you can customize) here:

And yes I can get a gluten free pizza with no cheese (and add some "cheese" made from nuts when it arrives). I'm pretty OK now with avoiding all the problem foods.  I'm not perfect. I drink caffeine (usually just one glass of tea a day), I eat too much sugar, I enjoy some chocolate. But I'm doing enough to stay well. It's not about perfection for me; it's about doing something that works, and that I can stick with. Haven't taken lupus drugs in 7 years, and I was severely ill. So I'd say my diet is working for me.

Think about it. Give it a try. if you want some support, drop me an email. I moonlight as a health coach and can help you out.

The Singing Patient: Author, Health Speaker, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer
EMAIL: carla AT (remove spaces and "AT" and insert @ sign)