WARNING: This is a long post
As y’all may know, I’ve been fighting a mysterious illness for a while now. I think it started years ago but came to a head in January. I put my social and active life on hold because I was getting sick and was trying to figure out what the cause was. I didn’t get any answers from my family doctor. You can read all about it here in my previous post: Honest.
The test I was given is an IgG ELISA Fingerstick test. There’s a lot of mixed reviews on tests for food sensitivities. Some say there’s no real way to find out if you have a sensitivity to a food because it’s not as strong of a reaction as an allergy. Don’t quote me on any of this. I’m just a normal person trying to decipher my new diagnosis and I’m trying to learn more about it.
From what I understand, a food allergy could cause a severe reaction. Think of someone having a nut allergy and eats a peanut M&M and then goes in to anaphylactic shock. Then a food sensitivity or intolerance (as some people like to use that term) is something less severe. You might develop a skin rash (like I did) or experience headaches, nausea, tiredness, or a whole bunch of other symptoms.
With me and dairy, I’d get a reaction the next day. It wasn’t immediate so I knew it wasn’t an allergy. For example, I’d have a bowl of cereal (before going vegan), and then the next morning I’d develop this horrible REALLY itchy rash. It was so itchy that I’d have to stop everything to deal with it. Nothing to could soothe the itch unless I took an antihistamine.
In January, I was a vegan at this point, I’d get sick after eating certain foods. It would take about two hours for the symptoms to develop, so this wasn’t a sensitivity or intolerance. This was something much more than that if it took two hours to manifest. Usually, I’d have supper then we’d put the little one to bed and I’d go to the gym to run. I couldn’t do that for 2.5 months. Two hours after I ate, I’d get nauseous and feel like I was drunk. Sometimes the symptoms would manifest in less than two hours. I wouldn’t even have any alcohol! I felt almost buzzed or cloudy, and when I looked somewhere I felt like my eyes moved faster than whatever it was that I was seeing. Does that make sense? It’s like my vision wasn’t in sync with my eyes. Then I’d feel nauseous all night. I REALLY hate feeling that way because you just want to vomit and get it over with, but that relief never came.
I felt this way for months and then went to my family doctor. He didn’t come up with anything so I decided to see a naturopath. The naturopath was very understanding, he listened, and he explained everything to me so I would understand. He even drew pictures!
So, I had a test that would test me against 184 different foods. I was REALLY nervous while waiting for the results. I had taken out wheat from my diet because I had a feeling that was making me sick. I felt fine when I didn’t eat it but I wanted confirmation. I wanted to know I wasn’t crazy because it seemed like every time I went to my family doctor I’d hit a brick wall. And I was convinced he thought I was crazy. I was also pretty sure the Hubs was getting tired of hearing me say I was feeling sick all the time. I missed social events and I felt so bad. I knew people thought I was just saying I was sick to get out of going. And that was FAR from the truth.
The results I got were not what was I expecting. On the two page print out, there’s a lot of red that’s highlighted. The foods you’re sensitive to show up in red and have an asterisk next to them to indicate the severity. Out of the 184 foods I was tested against, I can’t have the following:
- Almond (I have almond milk with my gluten-free cereal)
- Green Bean
- Lima Bean
- Pinto Bean
- Cashew (I make a cashew cheese as a ricotta substitute)
- Egg yolk
- Flaxseed (I use ground flaxseed as an egg substitute)
- Lentil (lentils are something I’ll eat a lot of)
- Mushroom (there goes my beloved portobellos)
- Oregano (this herb might be hard to eliminate)
- White potato
- Brown rice
- Soybean (soybeans are a big part of the vegan diet, so this one is going to be hard)
- Black tea
- Baker’s Yeast
- Brewer’s Yeast
Some of the foods you might think are kind of odd to have flagged like almond and Haddock. I felt the same way and asked him about it. He said when they’re stacked with each other, then I’d most likely have a reaction. Like if I had Haddock with oregano, parsley, dill, and almonds. So that makes sense.
On my results, Wheat and Brewer’s Yeast had two asterisks next to them. I could deal with a lot of the foods on there like cola because I haven’t had a coke in years. Licorice I never liked. Coffee is my choice for caffeine so I don’t have much black tea. Wheat has already been eliminated from my diet for a while now. However, foods like almond, cashew, flaxseed, lentil, and soybean are a large part of my vegan/plant-based diet. Brewer’s yeast it a monster on its own.
I’m supposed to eliminate all of my highlighted foods for 4-6 weeks and then introduce them one by one three times a day to see if I continue to have a reaction.
But before I get into that, my doctor said because I had so many red flags on my results I have leaky gut syndrome. It sounds nasty and horrible, and you think that you’re rear end is leaking all the time. That’s what I thought when I was searching for what was making me sick. I had seen this on the internet a few times. He explained it to me as the lining of my intestine has become so thin and the junctions in my intestine have become compromised. Because of that, it’s letting particles get through to my body that aren’t normally supposed to. Then my body reacts to the foreign invaders.
So, I’ve been given Betaine Plus, Glutamine, and a probiotic. The Betaine is supposed to help with my stomach acid to break down stuff before it reaches my intestine. The Glutamine helps to heal and soothe my intestine. And we all know probiotics are healthy, beneficial bacteria for your intestines.
My biggest problem is going to be the Brewer’s Yeast. Brewer’s Yeast is used in the process of making beer and wine. I haven’t had beer since around Christmas (I do love my Guinness) and I can’t remember the last time I had wine other than last Saturday. I read that casein (a protein found in milk) is used in the clarification process of wine. So I hadn’t had a drop since Christmas (with the exception of last Saturday). And I do love my Reisling.
Because of its nutritional properties: chromium, selenium, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc, and copper and it’s use as a medium to grow B vitamins, Brewer’s Yeast is found in everything. As a vegan I take a vitamin supplement to make sure I get my vitamin B12. I’m going to have to scour the labels and manufacturers sites to see if their B12s are grown from yeast.
Many common foods that contain Brewer’s Yeast and Baker’s Yeast (other than baked goods) or wild strains of yeast are: blueberries, blackberries, cider, gingerale, grapes, james and jellies, MSG (which you shouldn’t be consuming anyway), mushrooms, aged meats, black tea, root bear (the cola category), strawberries, and tempeh. So, I understand why some foods were highlighted in my results like black tea and blackberries and grapes.
I also can’t have anything that went through a fermentation process: vinegar, alcohol, bean paste, soy sauce (which includes tamari), mustard, and my beloved ketchup.
Also, citric acid is something that’s fermented. When you see it in the ingredient list, you’d think that it comes from citrus juice. It used to. Now, it’s from fermented corn. Ever see “flavor enhancer” on the list? It’s usually MSG (monosodium glutamate) but it could also be from a yeast extract. We’ve all seen “lactic acid” in the ingredient list. When I see it, I immediately think of muscle and a build up of lactic acid is why your legs are sore after a workout. But this ingredient is usually made from fermented corn or potatoes.
So, therein lies my problem. I’m gonna have to eliminate A LOT of stuff from my diet. The yeast and soybean make up a lot of the stuff that’s a part of my vegan/plant-based diet. So, I have to do some research and figure out what I can have, then I’ll start my elimination and meds next week. I’ll chronicle my journey but I won’t do it daily. I’ll probably do an “Honest” post at the end of the week, and I’ll continue with my recipe reviews. However, these recipes will be slightly different. They’ll have to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and yeast-free.
If y’all have any questions, suggestions, or comments about any of this or want to share your experience or someone else’s experience, please feel free to holler at me. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter: lizzimclean.
Thank you for reading my post and thank you for reading my blog.