Based on the tone and content of my first post on food intolerance prior to this one, it would seem my dietary situation was in order, and, overall, it has been.
But, as can be expected in a major transition, lessons and insights have been numerous these past 5 years. Yes, that’s right. I wrote these 2 food intolerance posts 5 years but decided that a long-term view would be best for experimental and educational reasons.
Things started off ok back then, with my following a high-protein, low inflammation eating plan set out by a holistic lifestyle coach. Our chance meeting and discussion of dietary intolerances led to my getting tested for food intolerance at Red Paw Data Sciences in Toronto.
Following her plan, I consumed 4 helpings of fish or meat (chicken or turkey) daily with an equal-sized portion of carbohydrates (vegetables, rice-quinoa, or fruit).
It was stressed that the fish must be fresh-caught, which means not “farmed” in a tank or enclosure. Subsequent research indicated that farmed fish is dangerous to eat. Find out more in 9 Things Everyone Should Know about Farmed Fish.
Luckily, Costco sells fresh caught frozen sole, cod, halibut, and salmon for sufficient variety. How do I know? ‘Fresh caught’ appears on the packages. As for fish sold at other markets, some of it is labeled and some is not so I just stick with the Costco stuff.
Life Experience Enhanced
Within 2 weeks of following the food intolerance diet, I was able to walk up stairs without knee joint pain due to no longer consuming inflammation-causing nightshade foods and tons of sugar. The nightshade family includes peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, etc. Here’s a complete list of nightshade foods.
The Big 4: Chocolate-Sugar, Alcohol, Coffee and …
Overall, I need to eat regularly to keep my blood sugar levels constant, which reduces my craving for sweets. Sugar is not only loaded with calories, it’s also a major cause of inflammation, which leads to serious health problems.
Alcohol is another forbidden item with white wine scoring the least offensive score (73) on my Red Paw Data Services chart. 66 is the cut-off. Initially, it was difficult to avoid it due to habit and its presence at social events. These days, I’ll have maybe one or two drinks and leave it at that; overall, I consume it sparingly and don’t really miss it.
What about Coffee?
Until very recently and I’m talking April 2018, my addiction to caffeine had not diminished by a single cup, as compared to pre-2013 levels. 1 or 2 fixes in the morning followed by another after lunch had been a consistent 30+ year habit. Oh, and I can’t forget the occasional Starbucks. Consequence: A reddening or flushing of the skin around my forehead and nose. Officially, the condition is called rosacea and it is common to people of British Isles descent.
Luckily, I was recently introduced to peppermint in its essential oil form. A few drops on or under the tongue acts to “inject oxygen into the body to energize you.” It did exactly that, allowing me to finish a long road trip without falling asleep. What is the sensation of peppermint oil? You just feel fresh and awake. You can pick it up or order online from Healthy Planet, for example.
As for the rosacea, it appears according to intake. I drink less coffee so it is less apparent or noticeable. My eventual goal is its complete deletion from my diet. But until then, pass me that French roast – in the morning, I mean.
And finally, there is Frank………Frank?
Yes, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce whose cayenne peppers give it a wonderful zing; it’s great on eggs, chicken, hamburgers, and so on. As peppers are a nightshade food, I gave Franks up 5 years ago. These last 2 years, however, I found myself buying little $2 bottles occasionally. Finally, at Costco, for reasons of ‘justified’ economics, I bought a 2 big bottle-pack representing ‘Franks for life.’ Then realized, not too long after, that my shoulder was achy – so I gave both bottles away.
Dining Out Danger
In the years following my 2007 gluten intolerance discovery, meals outside my place were like crossing a minefield. Restaurants rarely listed the ingredients in their dishes and chefs and cooks rarely shared them with the staff. Inquiries were met with surprise and a lot of “I don’t know’s.” So I stayed home and developed my cooking skills.
It’s much better at this date as awareness has grown and more restaurants are specifying gluten and peanut-free choices in their menus.
Re-introduction Reactions Severe
In the years to follow, I’d say from 2007 to 2014, even the minutest re-introduction of gluten or nightshade vegetable produced severe food intolerance reactions. Unlike a food allergy whose effects are immediate, a food intolerance reaction strikes in the days following consumption.
For gluten, ‘the day after’ featured all-day nausea and ….intestinal unrest. For the other items on my Red Paw food intolerance chart such as slivers of red peppers in a salad, pain climbing stairs returned 2 days later. To prevent mishaps in the future, I distributed my food intolerance chart to family members.
I also conducted ongoing research to determine which foods, condiments, and whatever else contained wheat: almost everything did. Luckily, a friend made up a list of what worked for her Celiac disease-suffering sister. That helped a lot. To keep myself on track, I do an occasional self-check, via mindfulness, to see if any of my joints ache for no physical reason.
I seldom suffer these horrendous effects unless I overdo my consumption of wheat. Wait! Did I just say wheat? Yes, my system has re-developed a measure of gluten tolerance so I can enjoy the odd wheat flour-based product without suffering ‘the ordeal.” But, like with alcohol, I must take it easy. Too much and the Grim Reaper of food intolerance reactions claims me anew.
Shopping for Gluten Free Goods
It’s endlessly amusing to find aisles in supermarkets titled “Natural & Gluten-free.” The other aisles, therefore, must be stocked with unnatural foodstuffs. That aside, while the assorted processed foods (biscuits, crackers, cakes, snack bars, etc.) are free of gluten/wheat, they’re usually loaded with sugar – and really expensive. No thanks.
Gluten-free Bakery Goodies: A key question to ask
Before any gluten-free goodies are chosen at a coffee or pastry shop claiming to make them on-premises, ask how they prevent cross-contamination. This is the transference of wheat-gluten molecules to pans, pots and cooking utensils when the same are used for baking gluten-free. Blank looks tell you what you need to know. If they do understand, they will likely show you where the GF pans are kept. If the items are in sealed plastic with a label, they were made elsewhere and should be fine.
Closing Thoughts: The Origin of Gluten
At this date, gluten intolerance affects 6% (22 million) or 1 in 133 people in North America. What changed in the food supply to create this phenomenon? Truthstream Media asks this and other questions in its informative
Gluten Free? 1960 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Film Admits Scientists “Fixed the Glutens in Flour.”
My view: during the 1950s, North America’s high output factories required markets and American modernism was born. The postwar baby boom produced urban sprawl, deliveries to same, and American modernism gave us automated everything: kitchens, instant ‘just add water’ foods, easier-to-use appliances, traveling by auto-mobile and so on. “Fixing the glutens in flour” likely extended the shelf life of factory-baked breads so that they could be shipped “fresh” to the ‘burbs.