For years I have been advising my patients on diet and nutrition needs/modifications. My wife has developed gluten free recipes and posted them on my website for our patients to enjoy. I’ve tried every one. They are really quite good. Look them up if you too are going gluten free. This article will be more than just a discussion of going gluten free, it’s my personal story.
It’s time for a confession. Though I’ve been in healthcare for 15 years and I’ve advised patients on nutrition all along, my diet hasn’t been perfect. I enjoy the same guilty pleasures as you. Lots of processed foods including chips and dip, cheeseburgers, lots of bread, ice cream, candy, baked goods, you know all the good stuff! Don’t get me wrong, I ate “good for you” foods too, just not enough. The drive through is convenient, no doubt. The problem is that we can’t get fresh, healthy foods from the drive through.
Well, last week I signed up for the same IgG food allergy test I’ve been recommending for my patients for over a year. I really didn’t think that I had any issues. My health has been good, no headaches, no GI symptoms no big problems. Just a few smaller issues lately, some lethargy, an increase in the aches and pains, a phlegm problem every morning that caused me to clear my throat over and over for the first hour of the morning and AM stiffness problems in my legs and feet. In retrospect, I see now that my symptoms were directly connected to the foods I was over-consuming.
Here is a list of my favorite foods: beef, eggs, cheese, bread, nuts and ice cream. Here is a list of my severe food sensitivities: beef (mostly organically raised, grass fed and hormone free, but up to 3 meals a day), eggs (I recently wrote on the benefits of eggs, but I consumed 4 a day, every day), cheese (aside from ice cream, my only real dairy intake), bread (yes, the gluten full varieties), nuts (especially almonds and peanuts) and ice cream (more dairy and lots of sugar!).
See any similarities? The reality is that we tend to develop sensitivities to the foods we consume the most frequently. Why? Well because we tend to over-expose the sensitive lining of the gut to the same foods over and over again. The results of the food allergy testing come with a custom “four day rotation diet”. This is how we should eat. We can have the foods we like, it’s just not best to have them every day. Every four days is much easier on our system. (For more on food allergies please see my article on the subject previously published in this column at neighbors.com or my website.)
So I went shopping to stock up on foods that I can eat. I took an hour and a half going through the store reading EVERY label on things I wanted to eat. I put those things back on the shelf. They all had gluten or dairy or eggs in them. It seemed EVERYTHING has gluten, dairy and eggs in them! 90 minutes later I left the store with enough food to get me through the next few days. Fish, chicken, fruits, veggies (all organic), and a sampling of “snacks” that were promised to be gluten, dairy and egg free. The reality is that the best way to eat when faced with making these choices is “at home”, eating out is very difficult.
I have to admit that I went through a depression after learning the news. (I’m still coming out of it now.) This is not going to be easy. It requires daily planning to be sure I have the foods available that I can eat. Running low on groceries is a bad thing because the temptation is great to eat the bad stuff that’s readily available. The good news is that I have a plan, the support of my wife and the knowledge that with proper nutritional and supplemental support I can overcome this challenge. You can too! Yes, healing the damage to the gut and following the customized 4 day rotation diet laid out for you will allow you (and me) to go back to some of these foods. The process takes 6 months. I know I can do it and you can too!