Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Figuring out your food sensitivies

One of the cool things about the paleo diet is that it can help people zero in on their personal food sensitivities. So, even if you don't intend to follow paleo long term, a 30-day trial (for example) can really go a long way toward improving health. The idea is this: by eliminating all processed foods, grains, legumes, sugar and dairy for a period of time and then slowly adding them back in (preferably one at a time), you'll learn how your body reacts to each "food group." Then, you can decide for yourself what you want to incorporate into or leave out of your diet.  

I think this is extremely beneficial for anyone who intends to get pregnant. Just think how much better someone would feel throughout pregnancy if she were able to stay away from things she knew her body did not like! It can be tough to figure these things out while following a Standard American Diet because the SAD contains so many toxins. How would someone know the root cause of the problem? Or that there is even a problem at all (a lot of people don't even realize that they aren't feeling great because we are all so used to feeling terrible, and as a result terrible just feels normal)?

I've long known that I'm sensitive or allergic to soy, many types of fish (including salmon and all shellfish), milk (not dairy in general -- just milk), oats, raw hazelnuts, MSG, most food additives/chemicals and artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame). Since starting paleo, I've also learned that rice is not my friend, that wheat is to blame for my headaches/sinus problems and that too much sugar leaves me feeling hungover. And I've determined that some non-paleo foods, like corn and quinoa, don't bother me at all.

I don't have any suggestions on how to conduct an elimination diet properly, but there are definitely tons of resources out there! Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution, is a good place to start.

Another thing I want to mention real quick before I get back to sitting around waiting for the baby to be born: some people are sensitive/allergic to certain paleo foods as well. Eggs, nightshades (this includes bell peppers and tomatoes) and nuts are common culprits.

What are your thoughts on this? Did paleo or an elimination diet help you figure out your food sensitives?

8 comments:

  1. According to Robb Wolf, multiple food sensitivities can develop due to the gut damage and inflammatory response of a single allergy (more often than not, an allergy to gluten). For example, if there is damage to the gut lining from consuming gluten, undigested protein molecules from other foods can then enter the bloodstream, causing the body to treat these as invaders and launch an immune response. Some people find that after removing ALL potential allergens from their diet for 30-60 days (including, as you say, nightshades, eggs and nuts), they are actually able to tolerate foods that they previously couldn't.

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  2. Hello! I just found your blog and think it is great! My husband and I eat Paleo for the most part;/ I had a baby 8 months ago and have come across some obstacles now that we are introducing solids. I was wondering if you plan on having your baby follow a Paleo lifestyle and if so what are your plans? I feel like its a silly question but for some reason it has been a bit difficult for me. For one, the traditional first food is Rice Cereal! We have not given her that but now that I want to give her more of a variety I feel like Im having a hard time:( Thank you for your time! Wish you a great Birth date! Im not sure what your Birth plan is but it is the most amazing day ever!

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  3. Very true about the ability to tolerate some things again after an elimination diet. I haven't hard that experience ... with most of my insensitivities I don't mind cuz they are gross things nobody should be eating anyway (soy!), but I really wish salmon weren't a problem for me!

    Madi -- Thank you for your comment! I am planning on feeding her paleo food for the most part. Especially when she is very small. Rice cereal will be out for sure. But when the time is right, I will probably give her quinoa. Depending on her tolerance levels, I'll be OK with her having non-paleo treats now and then, too.

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  4. Just wanted to let you know, I mentioned you over at my blog :) thecavemomsam.blogspot.com

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  5. It does! She was born Monday night. :-)

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  6. Yay, congratulations!! So happy for you :-) I trust everything went well (or at least as "well" as labour can possibly go)?

    Can't wait to hear all about your experience and see some photos of your little girl... of course, that is, when you actually find some free time in which to post ;-)

    Hope your first few weeks go smoothly, and enjoy your new family!

    Carli

    P.S. It's basically impossible to blog with one hand, so don't expect to be able to keep up with things while breastfeeding "on demand", LOL.

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