“Testing for food allergies is notoriously unreliable: if they had enough resources to test twice a day for two weeks, they would find that they are “allergic” to everything they eat. As long as the gut wall is damaged and stays damaged, you can be juggling your diet forever, removing different foods and never getting anywhere. From my clinical experience, it is best to concentrate on healing the gut wall with the Introduction Diet. Once the gut wall is healed, the foods will be digested properly before being absorbed, which will remove any food intolerances and allergies.” Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition)
Juggling Discovered Food Intolerances
That’s it. I’ve had it. I spent a month in June following GAPS (as I have been for a year), subtracting foods that autoimmune Paleo prohibits (nuts, seeds, nightshades, eggs) and removing coconut, chicken, and fruit as my own noted personal food intolerances. I felt great. Absolutely great. Mere coincidence. I think not. Then, vacation came and it all come to a halt. Fine. I can’t keep that up anyway. Yesterday I ate blueberry egg casserole, and in the afternoon, you could have fried an egg on my temper tantrums. Eggs make me moody. Yeah. Go laugh.
Whether the intolerances have always been there or not, I cannot say for sure. Before March or so of last year, I had no clue that food did anything to my body other than pack on a few pounds. Food intolerances were not on my radar. Ever. Ever. Ever.
Well, here I am. One year on GAPS, started for my chronic constipation, and I can control nearly all nuisance symptoms I used to get (while wondering what caused them), yet ignored: headaches, brain fog, dry eyes, stuffy nose, blowing chunks of gunk out my nose, sore throats, exhaustion, days of irritability and withdrawal, bloating…face acne…butt acne…you name it. Actually, my constipation has become quite manageable with magnesium “Natural Calm”, although it’s still something I have to take daily. However, to control all of these other things, I have to eat “clean for me.” And I’m not strong enough. Lordie, who is?
So, dang it. I’m doing GAPS intro again. Starting this morning. I’ve committed to another year of GAPS, so why not give intro another whirl for “deeper healing.” Oooooohhhh. Aaaaaaaaaah!
My Food Intolerances
Over the last year, I have put foods in and out. In and out. In and out. In and out, trying to manually pinpoint food intolerances. It’s not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of foods, and there are lots of combinations of them together! After I pinpointed them, I went to my allergist and got IgE skin tested. Nothing showed up. He reassured me I still had intolerances, they just weren’t IgE related. I wanted them to be IgE related so I had validity to my own, mostly subjective, observations. I want a test to prove me. Is that so wrong?
Over the year, I have determined symptoms caused by foods in my own body:
Dairy: Well-prepared, cow-fresh yogurt gives me a 3 day headache and terrible brain fog. So did goat’s milk yogurt. It causes irritable bowel type diarrhea. (Yippee! Gotta’ go NOW. Oops. Had to go THEN.) Exacerbates female mid-cycle pain. Ghee and butter do the same things, only milder symptoms.
Eggs: Eggs give me headaches and irritable bowel type diarrhea, like dairy. Also, very dry eyes and acne. Mean and moody. Husband: “What’d you eat today? Eggs?” Wife: “Yes. How’d you know?” Symptoms last about 3-5 days. In fact, dry eyes don’t start until 2-3-days after eating them.
Nuts: I get a stuffy nose with nuts and blowing gunk out in mornings. Moderately dry eyes, depending on amount eaten. The dry eyes doesn’t start until about 3 days after I’ve eaten nuts. All nuts and seeds are culprits. Also acne and mild tension headaches come.
Coconut: Makes me want to go take a nap about an hour after I eat it, lasting about 4 hours. Coconut oil causes headache and diarrhea. This may not be an intolerance as much as it could be related to it’s anti-microbial properties.
Chicken: With chicken, I get a headache and get moderately irritable and moody. Seems to be intensified when I eat pieces besides the breast or with the long-boiled broth. Seems to come a few days later, about when I’ve forgotten I ate chicken.
Fruits and veggies: No problems except with bloating. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels, etc), melons, and apples are the worst, but all fruits flare up bloating. Bloating is MUCH better than one year ago, when it was at its worst and actually kind of hurt! Now it’s more cosmetic. I don’t usually self-limit TOO much based on bloating, unless I have to put on a swimsuit!
As I’ve gotten the GI tract to a tolerable level, comme ci comme ca, I am left with the symptoms I really didn’t know food could cause: tension headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and moodiness. That almost one month of GAPS/autoimmune Paleo/minus coconut and chicken left a goal in my brain. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to eat nuts and eggs and not get acne, dry eyes, tension headaches, and mood changes? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to eat an apple and not swell up like the old gray mare?
For me, yes. So, to make my experimental journey complete, I am repeating GAPS intro. I don’t intend to make it a long drawn out process; that just doesn’t seem right. But boiled meats, veggies, and broth as gut rest and strong nutrients sound reasonable. Being more diligent with my omega-3 and probiotic. Staying away from sugar sources for a little bit.
I’ve got broth in the fridge. A big pot of boiling carrots. Some long-boiled greens. Some boiled beets. Some crock-pot pork. Some ground beef. Jars of sauerkraut. The next three days will be 101 ways to mix these ingredients. (Remember factorials?)
Add in some fermented cod liver oil, fish oil, digestive enzymes with HCL, vitamin B12, and a probiotic. I’ll skip the magnesium a couple of days and see what happens.
Enough is enough. June showed me how I want to feel and function WITH eggs, nuts, coconut, fruits, and cruciferous vegetables in my diet (grains and dairy are another story). So GAPS intro here I am again. I’m hoping in one year, give or take a few months, I can type a complete success story on constipation, bloating, and headaches related to food and crawl quietly back into a world that doesn’t have quite so many food conversations. But I may not be able to write that success story, and that’s okay for me! I am still way better off with overall health than I was a year and few months ago!
I am not a GAPS provider. I have not taken any GAPS classes. I’m just telling my story. Don’t make any medical decisions based on what I say or do. I don’t think GAPS is God’s gift to the world. Even to the diet world. When my self-experimentation is all said and done, I’ll eat a whole foods diet of things that allow me to feel good: potato, rice, or otherwise. But I’ve got to know, without too much disruption or obsession, can I fix myself?