Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Toxic Food Syndrome
Back in April I had my annual checkup and my doctor and I discussed the usual (my being tired all the time, having no energy, and still experiencing headaches on a near daily basis). She ordered some blood work and my cholesterol was 217 and I was calcium deficient. Oh-Oh. Time to get serious and start exercising and taking vitamins. I decided I was sick and tired of being down and out all the time and decided that life was too short to be miserable. Time to get fit and get happy. I started walking and taking a multi vitamin and a calcium supplement. After a month I still wasn't feeling much better. In fact, I was feeling pretty crappy. I had developed a crick in my neck that wasn't going away. I had never been to a chiropractor before and swore I'd never go to one (for fear of them breaking my neck and leaving me paralyzed). Anyway, enough was enough. After all, I had just pledged my new found desire for health and happiness, right? So in May I had my initial visit with a chiropractor. As he was examining me he mentioned that my body was full of inflammation. Every place he touched/tapped me left serious red marks. He said it looked like I had been attacked by an octopus. The appt went okay and I was to see him 3 times that week. I finally gained some mobility in my neck, and with each visit he mentioned how much inflammation I had in my body. I finally asked what that meant? Why did I and what did he think was causing it. He said it was probably food allergies. I told him I did not have allergies and he smiled and said most people were allergic to 1) wheat 2) dairy and/or 3) nuts and don't even realize it. I asked if that could make me feel run down all the time and have headaches and he said absolutely. After a couple more visits (and a couple more mentions about inflammation) I asked the question. "How do I find out if I have food allergies?" He said I could take a blood test to find out. He had a blood kit that I could bring to any lab and they would draw the blood and mail it off to "Immuno Bloodprint" that specializes in food allergies. I decided to find out if something I was eating had been making me feel like crap for about the last decade. They tested 155 most common food allergy items and I was allergic (sensitive) to 21 foods. I had no idea. When people have food allergies they know it. Their tongue can swell and it can get hard to breathe, etc. But what about people who have sensitivities? Well, anywhere from a couple of hours after eating to a couple of days after eating they can get headaches, fatigue, joint pain, mental problems, (depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, confusion), sinusitis, insomnia, or excessive sleepiness. Wow! That's pretty much me in a nutshell. Now, about these 21 food items. Most I eat on a daily basis, some I eat at nearly every meal. Among the foods I'm sensitive to are wheat, brewers yeast, tomatoes, pineapple, mushrooms, yellow squash, cabbage, cauliflower, kidney beans, pinto beans, lobster, oysters, perch, scallops, tuna, snapper, pork, and a few other items I rarely (if ever) eat. There is a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner "Butternut Squash Ravioli" that I absolutely loved and ate about 3 times a week. What's in it? wheat, squash, mushrooms. Wow. Something I eat at least 3 times a week that has 3 items in it I shouldn't be eating at all. This whole process has been such a learning experience. Example: when I first saw "wheat" on my list I wasn't that upset. Heck, I don't really like wheat bread anyway. I do like wheat thins (especially with cream cheese and hot pepper jelly) but I could live without eating wheat bread. YEAH RIGHT. Did you know that basically anything fried, baked and/or bread-like are most likely made with wheat? I sure didn't. Breads, pizza, croutons, crackers, cakes, pies, cookies, muffins, pasta, pretzels, waffles, pancakes, poptarts... WHAT? I had no idea. Also, anything thickened such as soups, gravy, sauces, and gumbo. WHAT? I started looking through my pantry checking out the ingredients and noticed how at the very end of the list of ingredients are those dreadful words in all caps and in bold print "CONTAINS WHEAT INGREDIENTS". Check it out. I kid you not. Wheat is in EVERYTHING! This is about the time I started to cry. What was I supposed to eat? All I could thing about was what I couldn't eat. No more Pizza (wheat/tomato/mushroom). No more Mexican. How can I possible eat Mexican food without tomatoes, especially salsa? No more sandwiches, burgers, or delicious Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli.
It's been more than 2 months since I've been avoiding these food sensitive items. I'm still walking and taking my vitamins/calcium and vitamin D supplements, and I try to get out in the sun as much as I can. That was another thing the chiropractor suggested I get tested for. Come to find out most people who are calcium deficient are also Vitamin D deficient, as well as most people with high cholesterol have lower levels of Vitamin D. He was right, I was also Vitamin D deficient. So, lets sum up the last few months for you. Found out my cholesterol was high, my calcium and vitamin D was low, and I've got food sensitivities. I started walking, taking vitamins, getting sun when I can, and avoiding food that have been making me sick. I think I'm finally starting to get back to myself again. I'm definitely not 100% yet. Far from it. I'm still tired and worn out pretty much all the time, but I've gone a couple weeks at a time without a headache. That was unheard of before I started watching my sensitive foods and reading up on Toxic Food Syndrome. I really don't think the improvement had to do with the walking or vitamins because I was doing that for almost 2 months before I was tested for the food allergies and/or before I actually understood what that meant. Wheat bread and wheat thins. Ha! What a maroon? Yep, I'm getting my sense of humor back, too. Gotta love bugs.