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Is food intolerance getting you down?

March 6, 2012

Recently, I finally found a rare breed of GP. One who is also qualified in Nutritional Medicine. Now that’s unusual and quite frankly long over due. Even though I have been off gluten, dairy and sugar for over a year, many of my candida symptoms have not cleared up. In fact some of them have reared their ugly heads again. This is incredibly frustrating especially when after all the effort I have put into my diet, my health is still struggling. At least I do now know which foods I have to avoid since taking the Imu Pro 300 test. The doctor also suggested I do some other tests to find out what exactly is going on in my gut. The tests showed that even though I have been taking pro-biotics there are certain strains that are not even colonising in my gut at all. My immune system and my gut are both still highly compromised. Gianluca has the same problem. Candida is no laughing matter. Our current state of health, the candida, the leaky gut and the food intolerances are all thanks to the over-use of antibiotics. To make matters worse, most doctors do not know how to deal with candida, so your symptoms are left to steadily get worse until you take matters into your own hands and educate yourself. We are now on a new protocol that specifically targets the bacteria that is missing or not colonising in our gut and a period of taking natural anti-fungals, which the tests specifically shows “kills” candida. Let’s hope so. One of the lessons I have learned is that you need to find a suitably qualified professional who can help you discover exactly what is going on in your body based on scientific laboratory tests.

As for the food intolerances, well you just need to get on with it. Believe me, we do. However, there are many individuals who simply are not educated enough when it comes to food and food allergies and intolerance. Take my son Gianluca for example who recently went on a school trip for a week. He lived on rice, chicken and salad. I was so angry that after all my efforts to educate teachers, the school nurse and the tour operator his condition was not taken seriously enough. The teachers, the school nurse and the tour operator were all given a list of what he cannot eat and what alternatives he can eat. We did not ask for anything unusual. Just simple clean food. Meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, rice and fruit. Not difficult in the Mediterranean you would have thought. Rotation is crucial to those with food intolerance. You are not supposed to eat the same food for two days running. Food should be on a five day rotation cycle. So if you eat chicken today, you cannot have chicken again until four days have passed. This is to ensure that you do not develop any more intolerance. I was not too worried about the lack of rotation since we could get him back on track. It would have been crazy to expect either Gianluca or those in charge to worry about rotation! I also sent rice cakes, buckwheat crackers, sunflower seed spread and gluten-free muesli with him, just in case.

His breakfast consisted of his muesli and bacon each and every morning. There was nothing else suitable. He ate his muesli dry, since no one thought of perhaps getting him some soya or rice milk (even though I requested through the tour operator for the hotels to provide this). The fruit salad contained oranges so he could not eat that. Gianluca is usually quite capable of speaking up for himself. I believe he did not want to draw any attention to himself, since he is already seen as a bit odd because he has to eat “different” food. How difficult would it have been to request an orange-free fruit salad? Or simply an apple? A little common sense and a little caring could have gone a long way. Needless to say when he arrived home, his arms were inflamed and itchy. He had already started scratching and the skin was raw. The next day things got worse. Angry welts rose behind his knees and his state of agitation grew steadily. That evening I had to go out and search pharmacies for rescue drops and an anti-histamine cream to rub onto his angry skin. Can you imagine? This is just one example of how people do not understand the connection between food and health, especially the effect of eating incorrectly when you are intolerant to certain foods. I certainly hope that this blog and my voice will help spread awareness and education about the power of what we put into our bodies.

We have both adapted to this new way of eating. We are fine with it. I don’t miss anything about my previous life. Definitely not the muffin top I was sporting for a while:) Maybe bread. Sometimes. It has not been easy to find and adapt recipes that suit our dietary requirements. Just when you think you have found the perfect recipe, you get to the part of the ingredients list that reads eggs or corn or sugar or vinegar or oranges or almond flour. That usually ends in me moving on and trying to find something else. I have got quite good at substituting ingredients though. Eggs are still a problem though. Any recipes with more than 2 or 3 eggs you can just forget about. There are so many fantastic gluten-free recipes that use ground almonds or almond flour that simply are not an option for us, since Gianluca cannot tolerate almonds. Bummer! All those gluten-free bread recipes that call for eggs, well they are also a no go area. And so the list of things we cannot eat goes on.

Of course there is so much we can eat and that is what we focus on. I have learned to experiment with new ingredients. Breakfasts are tricky when you are used to cereals and toast. We have discovered that we had to turn our whole mindset around. Why not eat savoury food for breakfast? The Indians live on dosas and dhal and the Asians eat traditional savoury cooked food every morning. Thinly sliced potatoes cooked in a little stock and turmeric and then topped with baby spinach are delicious. I discovered when you eat this way you are also less hungry during the course of the morning. I’ve said it a thousand times, having intolerance and allergies is not a death sentence (well I hope not) it is an opportunity to grow and to learn and hopefully be a lot healthier.

What are some of your breakfast staples?

Fancy lamb stew for breakfast?

 

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2012 5:55 AM

    Very interesting post! I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be unable to get read of candida…..On a more positive note, it is true it is making you more creative in the kitchen!

    • March 7, 2012 9:55 AM

      Better believe it! However creative one can be there are days I just wish I could order take out!

  2. March 7, 2012 6:32 AM

    I feel your pain. I’ve really noticed the eggs and almonds being a problem too. I could go quite well without gluten if I could just tolerate eggs, I’m sure! All those nice high-protein breakfast staples everyone tells you are fantastic are so often full of eggs. SIgh. It does get me down so. I’m also tired of the anxiety of ordering at restaurants – not knowing if something “special” will appear on the plate, or if there will be a magical “butter sauce” drizzled over everything. I love cooking, and it has helped me be creative, but looking at a menu is like trying to decipher a magical code while everyone around me just gets to pick whatever they like! Gah! Back to the kitchen…..

    • March 7, 2012 9:58 AM

      Obviously I know what you are going through. Isn’t it just so annoying when you do go to a restaurant and ask if there are any gluten/eggs/dairy etc. free options, they look at you as if you have just landed from Mars. Of course they omit to tell you about the tiny bit of butter that was used to de-glaze a sauce…. Best to stay home and get into the kitchen:)

  3. March 7, 2012 5:12 PM

    The whole question of food intolerance is an interesting one. Many say it is a fad – that we are blaming modern food for feeling sick, but the fact is, we are not feeling any sicker than humans ever have – we just seem to need a reason to explain every hurt. Science and hypochondria is causing food phobias.
    But, after just putting my 4 year old son (with a learning delay and possibly high functioning ASD) on a GFCF diet, reducing sugar and eliminating synthetic additives, I have noticed a dramatic change in him. He is eating more, his tantrums are dramatically fewer, and his drawing has gone from wobbly happy faces to well proportioned animals (in 3 WEEKS!).
    There is a problem in modern diets – it’s not hard to figure out. The issue for us is figuring out if an avoidance of these foods will actually help. Obviously it has with both of our sons, but why is it not working with you? Is the change too little too late? My gut feeling is that there is another factor that you may be missing, and quite possibly it is not food related…. eg. It’s amazing the fungus that can be found in an air conditioning unit.
    Good luck with it – I hope you get to the bottom of this, because it’s been a rough road for you. xx

    • March 7, 2012 5:20 PM

      Sarah I firmly believe that the main cause was anti biotics. This caused candida to flourish rampantly thereby causing a leaky gut and food intolerance. I feel so much better than I ever did. The stool tests show that basic good bacteria is absent from my gut and that there is an abundance of not just one but several types of bad bacteria/fungus including candida. Today is the second day of a brand new protocol…hoping it will work. Am getting another round of tests done next to check how things stand as opposed to a year ago…Good luck with your son…

  4. March 7, 2012 5:31 PM

    A very informative post,Edwina.I feel your pain.Wanting to give my kids wholesome,nutritious,homemade food makes me go blank and can be quite cumbersome at times,and I can imagine your situation having to deal with candida and food intolerances.When you say your condition is due to over use of anti-biotics it gets me worried as the doctors here prescribe antibiotics when the kids do fall sick,which is quite often as they have started schooling.I’d like to know more about this and is there any way that we can avoid giving them antibiotics when they fall sick ? any alternatives ?

    • March 7, 2012 8:55 PM

      Hi Farwin, yes, antibiotics are a huge issue. There are times when we need them. Most of the time we don’t. You do not need an antibiotic if you have a viral infection. I wait before rushing off to the doctor to see if the condition clears on its own. I give lots of vitamin c, water and ensure they get plenty of rest. When you do end up in the doctor’s office insist they take a throat swab. My own doctor does this routinely now. The result of the swab will confirm either a viral (no antibiotic) or bacterial infection. Both my sons recently had blood tests to confirm they had bronchitis. It was only once the result was available that the doctor could prescribe. If there is one thing I would urge EVERYONE to do, it would be to buy a good quality probiotic. Yogurt is not enough. The health store inside the Organic Cafe stocks probiotics especially for children. They are kept in the fridge. Our immune system is only as good as the state of our gut. I would recommend you get your kids (and yourself) onto a probiotic sooner rather than later.

  5. March 26, 2012 11:18 AM

    Woh I love your posts , bookmarked ! My wife and i take issue along with your last point. 870221

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