I’ve written about food allergies and sensitivities before in my blog. In fact, I even wrote about my elimination diet experience in this article, “What I’m Going to Do in the Next 30 Days.” Since my first round of elimination diet in 2009, I have since learned a lot more about food sensitivities and have been really fascinated as to how they occur and what we can do to avoid them. Ultimately, I was interested in finding out which types of foods causes digestion problems, health problems, and the inability to lose weight.
I got even more curious after a client of mine, Mary (not her real name), who was diagnosed with Celiac disease had trouble losing weight even after reporting to be eating fairly healthy, low calorie meals and working out with me twice a week for almost 8 weeks. I was baffled. After some research, I found a few facts about Celiac Disease from www.celiac.org. Here they are:
Celiac Disease (CD) is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Even small amounts (1/8 of a teaspoon) of gluten in foods can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present.
Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. These proteins are found in ALL forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and related grains rye, barley and triticale and MUST be eliminated.
Here is a list of foods (other than Gluten) which may cause food allergies:
- Soy and Soy Products
- Wheat/Gluten and gluten containing products
- Ingredients in most processed foods like preservatives
So, to help Mary out, I had her write a full week’s worth of meals so I can review them for her and eliminate the usual “suspects” that cause food allergies or food that may contain gluten. I did this because when people say they are eating healthy, it really is relative when it comes to food allergies. For instance, I might think that whole wheat bread is healthy but if I’m sensitive to gluten then, I would still get sick.
In Mary’s case, I found that she had been drinking her protein drink each morning which is made out of soy ingredients. Soy is one of the usual suspects when it comes to food allergies and sensitivities. I had her stop drinking it and she came in one day with a 1 lb weight loss. That is just from taking out the soy “drink” but we still have lots of work to do. After looking into her food diary in more detail, I found that she is still eating regular bread which has gluten, dairy products, ranch dressing, ice cream, crackers, and all sorts of cheeses. While I’m not implying that she may be allergic to dairy, it could be one of the causes of her food allergies. We will never know until she fully takes them out of her diet. Even after her medical tests have shown she’s not allergic to gluten, having celiac disease means she can not tolerate this protein which means that tests can only tell us so much. The real experiment happens in the real world when you stop eating allergy causing foods and start feeling better.
In my case, my little experiments told me that I’m sensitive to dairy and peanuts for sure. I now have switched my Whey protein to a Vegan protein powder that I truly love. I used to think that I’m sensitive to wheat/gluten because I used to eat my breads with peanut butter. Now I know for sure that it was the peanuts that was making me sick and bloated. Whether I’m sensitive to wheat or not still remains to be seen but to err on the side of caution, I let myself have gluten free days.
While I was researching my content for this article, I came across a blog by Alison St. Sure who was also diagnosed with Celiac disease. At her Sure Foods Living Blog, she wrote an article about, “Why are food allergies on the rise?”. If you want to see the answer to this question, you should head over to her blog and find out. I totally agree with her reasons #3 and #4.
What Do Food Allergies Have to Do with Weight Loss?
When we are allergic to certain things, our bodies treat them as toxins which in turn prevents our digestive system from working to its full potential. We end up storing toxins in our fat cells to keep them away from our vital organs which results to water retention. In addition, our ability to absorb nutrients from the foods we eat is impaired which may cause problems in other systems in our body. But, be aware that even if you are eating non-allergenic foods and/or gluten free foods, you may still not lose weight if you’re eating more calories that you are supposed to eat.
To gain more understanding on how common and real food allergies and sensivities are, watch this short video:
Regarding the above video, I agree with her when she defines the word “diet” as a way of eating and not a specific weight loss program that you do for a short period of time. However, I disagree when she says that eating gluten free is simply a fad. It may be a fad for some celebrities but for real people who experience discomfort and disease, it will be a way of life.
For people who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, here is a great book from The View Cohost, Elisabeth Hasselbeck which you can buy from Amazon.com => The G Free Diet. You can also check out her web site at www.gfreediet.com.
The Benefits from Eating Allergen-free Foods
Personally, I have experienced many unexpected benefits from eating allergen-free foods. I say unexpected because I originally was just experimenting with taking these foods out of my diet and seeing if I will lose weight. To my surprise, I also experienced increased sex drive (too personal I know but it’s a very important breakthrough for me), less hunger, no more cravings, deeper and more relaxing sleep, less bloating and water retention, fitting into clothes better, a few pounds of weight lost, better smelling breath even with dry mouth, a real feeling of wellness, etc. I can go on and on about all the benefits I have experienced and this is also why I am writing about this topic. I want to share my experience with you hoping you will try it and experience the benefits yourself.
For more information on eating gluten free or living with celiac disease, you may visit the resources I’ve mentioned above which I also list here:
- The G Free Diet
- Gluten Free Baking Recipes: http://glutenfreemamafriends.blogspot.com