Common Food Intolerances And What To Replace Them With.

by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician on June 6, 2013
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Common Food Intolerances And What To Replace Them WithIt seems like the newest catchphrases among natural health enthusiasts are "I'm allergic to that" or "I can't digest that". But could there really be that many 'allergies' out there, affecting all of us ? Actually, allergies is a bit of a misnomer. What a lot of people are actually experiencing are known as food intolerances, though the difference between that and a food allergy are not very well-known.

From the Mayo Clinic, here is the basic distinction: Food reactions are common, but most are caused by a food intolerance rather than a food allergy. A food intolerance can cause some of the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy, so people often confuse the two.

A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. It can cause a range of symptoms. In some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and are limited to digestive problems.

If you have a food allergy, even a tiny amount of the offending food can cause an immediate, severe reaction. Food intolerance symptoms generally come on gradually and don't involve an immune system reaction. If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food without trouble. You may also be able to take steps that help prevent a reaction.

So why does it seem like everyone is reacting to everything?
types of food intolerancesOne of the biggest issues surrounding food intolerances and reactivity is that our food system is becoming increasingly simplified to contain a few staple ingredients that may or may not be genetically modified or heavily sprayed with chemical pesticides and herbicides. Going organic is one way to drastically reduce your exposure to chemicals and GMOs, but even when we do that, we don't necessarily increase the diversity of our foods, particularly those that are processed (which we want to eat in limited quantities anyway!)

Food rotation diets are popular, especially when accompanied by a supplemental digestive enzymes, but for most people, avoidance is really the only way to get inflammation and health complications from food intolerances under control.

What are the most common food intolerances?

What
Why
Replace With
Wheat
The most common culprit in wheat that makes people reactive to it is gluten (gluten intolerance). You don't have to be a celiac to have issues digesting this naturally-occuring protein in wheat. The issue is that people love their soft, fluffy breads and baked goods so wheat growers have hybridized the crop to be gluten -heavy. Gluten is extremely rich in the amino acid L-Proline which our natural enzyme production simply has difficulty breaking down on a consistent basis.
Gluten free grains and flours like quinoa, chickpea, gluten-free oats, rice, hemp etc
Corn/Soy
Corn and soy might seem inconsequental in your diet and your life, but don't forget that corn and soy products have become ubiquitous ingredients and are disguised as tofu, tempeh, milk alternatives, imitation meats, oils (in the case of soy) or sugars, oils and thickeners (in the case of corn). Our bodies have stopped recognizing these plants as food largely becaue of their mass genetic-modification. Avoid as much as possible and opt for organic where possible.
Other beans, legumes and pulses such as black beans, white beans, chick peas, lentils etc. For oils, don't use anything labeled « vegetable » oil and opt to include only extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oils, and coconut oils in your cooking cupboard.
Dairy
Dairy, like its allergenic cousin gluten, is rich in a protein called casein which is also high in the difficult-to-digest Lproline amino acid. As well, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and other chemical contaminants fed to or injected into cows concentrate in their milk. Finally, pasteurization kills any natural living enzymes that help us break down dairy in our digestive systems. Opt for alternatives instead and take a calcium-magnesium supplement.
Almond, hemp, rice or coconut milk. Rice cheeses like Daiya and hummus spreads instead of soft cheeses for wraps and sandwiches.
Eggs
Most people who have an egg intolerance have antibodies which react to the proteins in eggs. This is the second most common allergy in children after dairy products and is often characterized by seemingly unrelated symptoms but can also result in anaphylaxis or hives.
Gelled flax seed, agar powder, Oil and baking powder mix, tomato paste (binding agent), apple sauce (baked goods).
Nuts/Seeds
As complex foods, nuts and seeds can cause immune responses in some people, particularly the former. The most famous one, of course, is actually a legume : the peanut. However, other tree nuts and seeds can cause reactions in people ranging from itchy mouth to more severe life-threatening symptoms.
Avocados. Best to just omit from recipes.
Coffee/Tea
Coffee and black tea can leach minerals from the bones and contribute to high levels of acidity in the body making someone more prone to inflammation. In addition, they contribute to water loss and may cause odema. A true intolerance is usually a reaction to the naturally-occuring tannins in both coffee and tea or the caffeine as well which can overstimulate the nervous system.
Herbal teas, lemon and hot water, green drinks
Alcohol
A lot of people are actually intolerant of either the grains or foods used to produce the alcohol, or a preservative that is used to keep it fresh such as those found in wines. Beer, wine and liquor can also contain histamine which occurs in the production process and exacerbate allergic symptoms in people. The toxic long-term effects of alcohol on the liver, as well as its dehydrating effects make it one that is better to be avoided altogether.
Virgin drinks, juices, smoothies.
Nightshade Vegetables (Tomatoes, Potatoes, Peppers, Paprika, Eggplant)
This might seem like an odd one, but these vegetables are highly prevelant in our food system and intolerances to them are well-recognized by many key medical institutions. Within a few minutes of consuming a nightshade vegetable, someone with an allergy will produce specific antibodies to destroy the proteins and will upregulate levels of histimane, contributing to the allergic symptoms.
Avoidance is key. Try virtually all other vegetables instead.

In health,

Nakita

 

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Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.

 

Topics: Digestive Health, Inflammation, Allergies, Detoxification and Cleansing, Functional Foods

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