3 Surprising ways to Heal Food Allergies

 

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“You have food allergies,” says your doctor.

If you’ve ever left speechless from a doctor’s office after being told you have allergies, if you’ve ever spent hours on the throne (and not the good kind), if you’ve ever had a skin allergy test and had your back covered in big red itchy welts, you know how frustrating it can be to realize your favorite foods are making your sick.

Now what?

Food allergies and sensitivities are becoming an epidemic. It is estimated that 1-in-5 Americans now have some sort of food allergy! A recent study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that ER visits at Children’s Hospital Boston for allergic reactions more than doubled from 2001 to 2006! What could be causing all these reactions? Well, there are many theories – from the infiltration of genetically modified foods to our obsession with anti-bacterial everything in an effort to sterilize our environment – but everybody is in agreement on one thing; up till about 50 years ago allergies were rare, & now they are rampant.

Inside our intestines, where the digestion of our food primarily takes place, are little organisms called good bacteria that helps us digest and absorb our food. We want this good bacteria, we NEED it. Many things can cause our intestinal flora to become out-of-balance. Stress, illness, a sterile environment, prescription medication, anti-biotics and even eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) including genetically modified foods (GMOs) can reduce the number of healthy gut bacteria. It’s probably safe to say that living in 2013 means we all have a bit of an out-of-whack digestive system.

 

The WIDE variety of symptoms associated with Food Allergies or Sensitivities:

 

STOMACH ISSUES:

  • Gluten Intolerance
  • IBS, Crohn’s
  • Gas, Bloating, Cramps
  • Diarrhea, Constipation
  • Indigestion, Heartburn
 
NEUROLOGICAL ISSUES:
 
 
IMMUNOLOGICAL ISSUES:
 
  • Frequent Colds & Flus
  • Sinus & Ear Congestion
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

As crazy as it may seem that food allergies are causing all of this, we must first understand how the body reacts when a food is interpreted as a foreign harmful substance.

What is happening? Why does my stomach hate me?

Have you ever wondered how your body became allergic or sensitive to a food in the first place? To understand how this happened, you must first understand dysbiosis, or what is also referred to as “the leaky gut syndrome”. To put it simply, at some time, your body’s intestinal flora and wall became compromised. Stress, illness, a sterile environment, prescription medication, anti-biotics, & genetically modified foods all reduce the good bacteria and break down the wall in our intestinal tract. Essentially you’ve developed a “leaky gut”.

A leaky gut is no bueno. Why? Because our food was not meant to be absorbed into our bloodstream until it has been broken down into the correct nutrients. If a food particle, like for example from that sandwich you ate gets absorbed into your bloodstream at the wrong time, all hell breaks loose. Basically what happens is your body cannot recognize that food particle, it is viewed like a foreign substance and now your immune system has tagged it as “BAD”. Next time you eat that food, your body raises up the red flag and attacks.

Did you know that Nexium & Prevacid are the top 2nd & 3rd medications prescribed in 2012? Yikes. Lots o’ people got their stomachs in knots. It’s time to get off the drugs and heal that gut!

 Avoiding the Culprit is NOT the Cure:

There is a mistaken belief in modern medicine that if a person is allergic or sensitive to a food, then that person must avoid that food until they are no longer allergic. The theory is based on the process of elimination. The sad thing is, simply avoiding that food will not magically make the body heal. It may relieve your symptoms, but the restriction will be awfully hard to live with.

But no worries. Today I’m going to give you 3 surprising ways to heal that gut of yours and get rid of those food allergies/sensitivities.

 

#1 Eat Homemade Fermented Foods/Beverages

“In the normal scheme of things, we’d never have to think twice about replenishing the bacteria that allow us to digest food. But since we’re living with antibiotic drugs and chlorinated water and antibacterial soap and all these factors in our contemporary lives that I’d group together as a ‘war on bacteria,’ if we fail to replenish [good bacteria], we won’t effectively get nutrients out of the food we’re eating.” 

– Sandor Katz 

Our ancestors were smarty pants. They knew fermented foods were the key to a healthy gut and therefore a healthy body. Fermenting beverages and fermented foods have been dated as far back as 4,000 BC. The fermentation process kept food for longer times, allowing cultures to sustain themselves through the winter. Bread, cheese, pickles, yogurt – these were all fermented properly before the industrialization of food. When we stopped canning in the home and purchasing canned goods from the store, we lost the art of lacto-fermentation. Our ancestors had jars of sauerkraut & lacto-fermented cucumber pickles stored in the cellar. Today the store bought versions do not carry beneficial bacteria in the amounts like they used to. Today, (and especially in America due to lack of culture-specific foods) we just don’t have enough beneficial bacteria in our guts.

You’ve probably heard of probiotics before and have chuckled at the familiar Jamie Lee Curtis commercials promoting Activia (a brand of yogurt) to ensure a regular bowel movement every day. Well Miss Jaime Lee Curtis is both right and wrong. While yogurt helps to improve your digestion, store bought versions are not optimal. Your body needs two things…PREBIOTICS & PROBIOTICS. Without these foods, your body cannot perform efficient digestion.

Probiotics help colonize your gut with essential bacteria. Prebiotics help feed that good bacterium. Together they help you have a superhero system.

GOOD SOURCES OF PROBIOTICS (Choose 2 or 3 to incorporate into your diet)
Natural Yeast/Sourdough Bread (click here for recipe)
Raw aged cheese
Milk Yogurt & Milk Kefir (click here for recipe)
Kombucha (read more about kombucha health benefits)
Water Kefir (click here for recipe)
Fermented & Cultured Vegetables (recipes here (affiliate link))
Fermented Condiments (Homemade Mommy has some great recipes here)
Probiotic Supplements (I only recommend the BioKult brand here (affiliate link)) + a homemade probiotic

GOOD SOURCES OF PREBIOTICS (Choose 2 or 3 to incorporate into your diet)
Jicama
Chicory
Endive & Dandelion greens
Artichoke
Onions
Asparagus
Garlic
Wheat, properly prepared

#2 Eat Gelatinous Foods

Along with including homemade probiotic & prebiotic foods in your diet, it’s equally important to include grass-fed gelatin as well. Gelatin heals & seals the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract, and aids in the assimilation of nutrients. Gelatin is the same collagen that is found in our bones, skin, & cartilage. Gelatin is an easily digestible protein and works as an anti-inflammatory as well. Gelatin is VITAL to heal a damaged gut.

There are a few ways you can incorporate gelatin into your diet.

 
  • You can obtain gelatin from homemade bone broth (recipe here), eating whole fat meats, & using the drippings to make gravy.
  • Grass-fed Gelatin powder. The best powdered brand, made from grass-fed animals, is this one here (affiliate link). I use the beef unflavored gelatin for use in puddings & other desserts and gels up nicely just like regular Jell-o.
  • Grass-fed Gelatin powder Hydrolysate formula. This formula doesn’t congeal in liquid for an easy way to take as a daily supplement.(click here to see the hydrolysate formula (affiliate link))
 

#3 SLEEP!

 

Did you know that our bodies can withstand years of poor nutrition, but if we go more than 11 days without sleep, our bodies WILL DIE? It’s true. People who have tried to set a world record for longer than 11 days have actually died! Sleep deprivation is so damaging to the body that it is used in war as a form of torture! Isn’t it amazing that we spend so much time analyzing our diets, yet we forget about the quality and quantity of our sleep? Are you torturing your body during the night, but expecting it to perform miracles during the day?

 
How much sleep should you be getting? Experts agree that 8-9 hours of sleep is optimal, and the early to bed, early to rise rule is especially important. I LOVE to stay up late, but I can feel a huge difference in how I feel if I go to sleep by 10pm and wake up by 7am.
 

The benefits of having Super Hero Digestive System: 

  • Leaky Gut Symptoms are resolved.
  • Body is able to digest sugars, proteins, minerals & fats with ease. Resolution of digestive issues aka bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation.
  • Strong intestinal lining to help block out pathogens, allergens & toxins.
  • Strong immune system.
  • Overpowers growth of bad bacteria and certain microorganisms like yeast (candida).

Should I avoid my food sensitivities/allergies while healing?

The answer to this question really depends on your body. Some people have small sensitivities while others have major allergies.

For skin issues, including eczema & psoriasis, you can read more about my friend Emily’s amazing protocol that healed her daughter’s extreme eczema. Click here to check out her book.

For severe allergies or neurological problems like Autism, it may do you well to look into the healing diet of the GAPS diet. Created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist who healed her son’s Autism by healing his leaky gut syndrome. You can find her book & intro guide here (affiliate link).

If you’re on the fence and trying to decide whether you should jump on the GAPS diet or simply follow the 3 rules here, check out my friend Cara’s article here for more clarification. She’s the expert!

Above all, remember that while it takes time to completely heal & seal your gut, you can notice some benefits fast by incorporating these principles. Good luck on your gutsy adventures!

DaNelle is the creator of the blog Weed ‘em & Reap, and author of the book, Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too. DaNelle, along with her husband and children, raise goats, sheep, and chickens on their urban farm. DaNelle writes about the reversal of disease, weight loss through real food, common food diet myths, and her funny farm experiences and gardening adventures.
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