Wednesday, February 19, 2014

We interrupt this programming.. learn all about food allergies!  Ugh.  But it's not all bad.  It actually gets good. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pic over there..

At the end of last month, I went to an allergist, as a sort of last resort, hoping that maybe I would find out that my year-round "seasonal" allergies were being made worse by maybe a food I'm eating (as in one food) and by cutting out that food I might feel better.

But if you look at that report, shock of shocks, I had many massive food allergies/sensitivities. No wonder my allergies just kept getting worse.  

(Thank goodness I wasn't allergic to rat and hamster-hehe Actually we have a no rodent policy in the house, so that wouldn't have mattered.  The important thing: I'm not allergic to Buster.)

The back story:  I never had allergies until after having a baby. They started out as just seasonal allergies. But over time, I went from taking an allergy pill a day, to taking nasal sprays, sometimes with steroids, and finally inhalers, and having sinus headaches every day, and frequent sinus infections.. and it just kept getting worse.  I was kind of at my wits end. These warnings were my worst nightmare: (or so I thought)

I sometimes wonder now, if the post pregnancy development of allergies had anything to do with developing a tumor on my thyroid when my son was 6 mo. old? More on that in a sec. 

Aside from the allergies (sorry if this is tmi) I was also having heartburn every. single. day. Since I had my son.  SEVEN years ago.  It wasn't so bad at first, but it had been getting progressively worse over time. At one point, they tested me for a bacterial infection in my stomach and gave me antibiotics and it got better.. but it came back again. The NP even mentioned that I might need to "be scoped" to see what's going on in there.  Ew. Not fun!

And can I say.. WOW!! I'm glad I saw the allergist!  He had me cut out all of the foods that scored a 4 on the allergy testing for ONE WEEK, which ended up being lots of things that I eat frequently.  ?? He actually told me, "I hope you like meat and potatoes." 

And honestly, corn is on the list of "4's".. it is so hard to find corn free things here in the U.S. of corn.  I kind of have a newfound interest in watching this documentary!

These allergies might sound like a big gigantic PAIN, but actually.. after cutting out all of the foods that scored a 4 on my results for an entire week, I felt so good.  I was sleeping better, I could BREATHE freely, and.. the kicker.. I lost between 5 and 10 pounds! (I'm not sure exactly how much b/c I hadn't weighed in forever b/c it was just depressing.) I was eating fewer calories, yes, but not enough to lose that much weight that fast, so I'm sure it was all from inflammation.  I have been slowly killing myself with foods that I thought were healthy!  Lettuce, rice, corn, tomatoes, citrus, bananas and eggs.  ???

Not that they are unhealthy, they just aren't healthy for me.  Since finding all of this out, I've been reading and researching and learning a lot about food allergies and sensitivities.  Esp. from this book. Its name has nothing to do with Virgin Atlantic Airlines, or actual virgins, or anything, it's the author's last name. :)

She advocates giving up 7 foods that most bodies are sensitive to in some form or another, and then explains the reactions that those foods cause in our bodies, our hormones, our THYROID, etc. It's a great read, and a great chemistry lesson on our cells and metabolism, etc etc..  Even though I didn't get it for the weight loss part (not that I didn't need to), I know that it works, b/c most of the 7 foods that she advocates giving up are the ones that I gave up, and I definitely lost weight. I weigh less now than I have in a long time!   

But that is really just a side bonus at this point.  The main thing is I feel 100% better! I had so many of the symptoms of food allergies/intolerance, I didn't even know that some of them were symptoms! Joint pain, headaches, migrains, heartburn, itchy skin, asthma, fatigue.  So many things make sense now.

*I haven't taken any nasal spray since giving up these foods.

*I haven't had a headache.. (I had even had a couple of migrains last summer!)

*I haven't had any heartburn. Which is HUGE.  Major.  

*I've hardly used an inhaler.

*I'm still supposed to take a daily allergy tab b/c I did score pretty high for mold, dust, pollen, etc.  All of the stuff that blows around in the air, but I've even forgotten to take that a couple of times.

*I'm fitting into clothes I haven't been able to wear in forever!

So, while I've been getting in my Drop and Give Me Twenty sewing for February, I've also been researching cookbooks like this..

..and trying to avoid corn. ;) (it really is everywhere!) And mourning the loss of Mexican food, my favorite comfort food since it routinely contains 5 of the 7 foods that I'm reactive to. :( But did I mention I can BREATHE?  It's a miracle! ;)

Do you have any experience with food allergies or intolerances?  I would love to hear about it, it's all new to me. I've become the person standing in the store reading all the labels obsessively.


I'm deathly allergic to bananas and kiwi fruit (they put me into anaphylactic shock) and let me tell you, it's amazing the things they sneak bananas into without telling you!

My general feeling of well being does much better when I cut out the high glycaemic index foods.

I would struggle without eggs and salad leaves and tomatoes. The rest I would probably find easy enough to leave out.

charlotte said...

Wow! What great information! Good luck with your new diet.

Sewing Mom said...

Wow...that's really shocking! I'll have to look into that book...I'm recently dealing with lactose issues...and it's sort of a pain. I'm not sure how I would fare having to give up more they have recommendations for people on very tight budgets? We try to eat "healthy", but it also has to be with some further insight.

Nedra said...

I'm so happy for you to have found the relief you have been looking for. I know our current day foods have been so modified; no wonder our bodies are complaining. I have a daughter who is eliminating things one by one to find better health.
Also, I saw your two latest quilts at Pat's house the other day, and I love them!

Wow, I am astonished that you had so much issues with allergies, its amazing how changing your diet effected it so dramatically. Its sad having to give up so much of your favorite foods, it would be really hard for me if I had to, but I guess if it comes down to having an easier life I guess I could. Good luck, and hope for a continuous recovery :D

Hilachas said...

Gosh, what an informative post! Thanks for sharing all that info. More importantly, I'm so glad you're finding some relief from those nasty allergies.

Wow! Your story is incredible – and what a happy ending!!!

FYI your allergies can change over the years, too. My allergist warned me about that way back, when I was 19, and tested high on beef, pork, fish, flour, sugar, garlic and mushrooms. He suggested that I wait 72 hours between eating one of these before eating it again. I also discovered that how one of those is cooked makes a difference. I can eat most beef, but, roast, which I love and grew up on, makes me really sleepy and affects me more than any other way of cooking beef. You can still have fajitas (chicken or beef) just watch what goes with them. The important thing is to not go overboard eating the things you are not allergic to, so that you don't develop an allergy to them, too. Oh yea, I'm allergic to animal dander, but, I'm NOT giving up my dogs! I'd rather suffer. Good luck on your new journey.

Claire said...

What a fantastic thing to share - I have oftem wondered if I might have some food sensititives but had no idea where to start. Good on you for sharing! I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better and that things are improving for you, you are an inspiration. Good luck and keep us posted.

Awesome Kelli! So glad you're getting relief from those horrible symptoms. I have allergies to msg, milk and orange colouring but apparently have no common ones like dust etc. Good job too ;-)

We bought the Virgin book a year ago and did great until the holidays--we let corn and sugar creep back in. Told the hubs yet last week it's time to get back on track! I've been gluten free for 4 years, but removing the remaining 6 items proved very eye-opening!

Since I cut out all dairy in november 2011, I have lost 35 pounds in less than a year. I have never felt better! All my bowl problems went away! My hayfever has also drastically reduced. Even so far that I slept with open windows for the first time in 22 years! I never expected my hayfever to dissapear when quiting with dairy, but it has! Win win win, right?
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Wow, Kelli, your results are awesome! It does hurt to cut out foods we love. Hubs has diabetes so most carbs are out, my allergy tests show that I am allergic to everything that grows...all plants and animals. Food allergies are fruits and vegetables...sometimes I can eat them in limited amounts, but other times (it must be the combo at the time) they make my throat swell shut, especially tomatoes and citrus fruits, so I really avoid those. I am also wheat intolerant and I am having the worst time giving it up. Your encouraging results will make me work harder at removing the things I know will irritate my body from my diet. The animals...well, I get hives from some dogs saliva and dander, and cats make my eyes swell up and my nose run, but I won't give up my babies!! Just lots of hand washing and vacuuming. We can do this, right?

Mara said...

oohhh..Kelli that is so fantastic, on the road to health, I am so happy for you that you have found what has been ailing you and wish you luck in your journey. My son has allergies and I wish we could find out what they are, but the doctors in Greece don't know about allergy testing, it sucks.

Jeneta said...

Oh that is wonderful! Isn't it great that something so simple (though I'm sure initially it has been a bit tricky re-adjusting what you eat) can have such a life changing effect. It makes me want to sing. Except I'm not a great singer, so I'll just smile instead!

I am allergic to some kinds of fish (anchovies and their ilk) It's surprising where fish turns up. My most recent reaction was to some lipgloss. Apparently some kinds of lipstick use fish scales. Fish oil is also in a lot of supplements and in Beano (a digestive aid.) Saddest for me is no more Pad Thai (because it nearly always contains fish sauce.)

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