Saturday, 30 June 2007

Life with Food Sensitivities: Nuttier Than A Nut

I found out about most of my food sensitivities completely by mistake.

I thought I was a happy, healthy 35 year old with no food allergy (sensitivity) issues whatsoever.

However, I had a son who had been ill for three years (recurrent virals and failure to thrive). No professional medical person in all the different 'specialties' that we went to see, seemed to know what to do with him. Thankfully our pediatrician kept saying the words "Celiac Disease". (Even though the pediatric gastroenterologist ruled it out without a single test - I now know that it is not possible to just 'look' at a person and be able to tell if they have celiac disease.)

And so finally, to get her off my back about food, I concocted a total elimination diet for my family.
(I didn't want her to just shift to another food if wheat/gluten turned up no reaction.)

The reason we did it as a family is because my partner and I felt that:

1) children are led primarily by example;
2) it was easier for me to cook the same thing for everyone and
3) since food issues seem to be, generally speaking, inherited, it just made sense to have everyone go through the process and be done with it.

I must say, we did not expect to find anything at all. We had been eating only homemade, wholewheat bread, did not consume food colour or flavours everyday. Allowed pop and chips only on weekends, etc. On my side of our extended family, we were considered health nuts.

Well, long story short, to our complete surprise, we found tonnes of reactions! We trialled each one at least three times... some, completely by mistake, only realizing the mistake after someone had a reaction. (It became habit to root through the garbage for the package of our 'newest' food to look at the ingredient list.)

So, my son, who was one of the most health-challenged children in our pediatrician's office, became one of the healthiest... and I.... Well, my life has taken such an unexpected turn for the better that my family now thinks I am even nuttier than the health nut that I was! (Even some ground pepper has wheat that is used as a declumper, which I react to... so I don't use pre-ground pepper unless I can look at the ingredient list of the container that it came in.)

Here are the symptoms that I lost, that I had previously thought were just 'my life' and to be accepted:

Asthma (adult onset in my case)

Chronic daily headaches


(Canker) sores

Joint pain

Chronic fatigue

Sleep issues

Mood issues
(depression related)

Sore throats

Chronic infections
(some of which would require surgery in order to 'get rid of' the infected tissue)

(generally located on my bum cheeks - tmi I know, but they're so common yet unnecessary that it is worth mentioning)


Menstruation (
long and heavy: 7 to 10 days full heavy; now: approx. 4 days and medium to light)

(improvement may be contributed to less brain fog - really not sure but trials really showed enormous improvement- many less "Pardon me?"s)

Weight loss
(Not that I needed to lose enough to drive me toward a calorie restrictive diet. Nursing and 18 month old, I eat an enormous amount of calories per day and am of the mind that what I lost was water retention due to eating foods that were toxic to my system. I went from 5'4", 135 lbs to 110 lbs - no calorie counting because I'm just not a calorie counter by nature... After the fact, I actually did count up what I eat in a day and find that I eat far more calories than most people.)

Energy improvements (enormous:
possibly due to loss of brain fog, extra 'water weight', better absorption of nutrients, ???)

So, let them think I'm nuttier than a nut! My quality of life, five years later at over 40, is SO much better (healthier/feeling good/getting things done) that I really could care less what anyone else thinks of my eating practices!

Thank goodness for our, very stubborn pediatrician!