Adverse food reactions, also called food allergies and food intolerances, affect millions of people, and are believed to cause a variety of common health complaints and diseases. Many nutritionists and physicians believe that the only definitive way to identify and manage adverse food reactions is through an Allergy Avoidance Diet.
Some health care practitioners prescribe an Elimination Diet followed by food challenges. In an Elimination Diet, any food that is suspected of causing an allergy or intolerance is eliminated for a period of four days to three weeks, until symptoms are gone. Depending on the severity and type of symptoms, an Elimination Diet may range from moderately to severely restrictive in the amount of foods allowed.
However, Elimination Diets typically include a variety of hypoallergenic foods including lamb, pears, apples, rice, most vegetables, most beans and legumes (except peanuts) and the "non-gluten" grains (for example, millet, quinoa, and amaranth). Once the body has adjusted to the absence of suspected foods, these foods are systematically added back into the diet, and any resulting symptoms are recorded.
An alternative way to manage adverse food reactions is to follow a Rotation Diet, in which problematic foods are eaten only once every four days. An Allergy Avoidance Diet may be especially benecial for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, recurrent otitis media, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
It is now believed that adverse food reactions are responsible for many undiagnosed health complaints. As a result, a growing number of healthcare practitioners are using Allergy Avoidance Diets to identify food allergies and food intolerances in their patients.
Although the term "food allergy" is sometimes used to describe all adverse reactions to food, the term is more often used to refer specifically to food reactions that are mediated by the immune system.
To protect us from illness and disease, our immune systems are continuously trying to lessen the danger represented by substances called antigens. Antigens are parts of proteins that our bodies recognize as dangerous and take steps to neutralize. Antigens can be found most anywhere there is protein - in foods, of course, but also in microorganisms like bacteria.
When our immune cells identify a dangerous antigen, they act to neutralize it and prevent it from causing harm in the body. When antigens from bacteria or viruses interact with our cells, we can get the flu, or the common cold. We don't get the flu from food antigens, but we can get a wide range of immune-related symptoms that range from sniffles to hives to anaphylactic shock.
Immediate versus Delayed Hypersensitivity
Allergic reactions to food, also called food hypersensitivities, are further classified as either immediate or delayed. Immediate hypersensitivity reactions occur within hours or even a few minutes after a food is eaten, typically causing very obvious physical symptoms such as a rash, the hives, a running nose, or a headache.
In rare cases, immediate hypersensitivity reactions can cause anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition in which the throat swells and blocks the passage of air. Immediate hypersensitivities affect only a small percentage of the population.
Immediate Reactions to Food
The foods that are most often implicated as the cause of immediate allergic responses include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts), soy, strawberries, wheat, fish and shellfish. Many people with immediate food hypersensitivities must completely eliminate the offending food from their diet to avoid the serious symptoms.
Delayed Reactions to Food
Many of the same foods that are known to cause immediate hypersensitivities in a small number of people, have been implicated as a cause of delayed or "masked" food allergies in much larger numbers of individuals. Delayed food hypersensitivity reactions are believed to affect millions of people; some physicians have suggested that as many as 60% of all Americans suffer from masked food allergies.
These reactions may be responsible for a variety of symptoms including dark circles or puffiness under the eyes, fluid retention, dermatitis, sinus congestion, fatigue, abdominal pain or discomfort, joint inflammation, mood swings, indigestion, headaches, chronic ear infections, asthma, poor memory, anxiety and depression.
As the name suggests, delayed hypersensitivities do not appear immediately after consuming a particular food. In fact, in most cases the immune response is so delayed that it is difficult to determine which food is causing the symptoms, and many people are unaware that they are sensitive to certain foods.
Only through careful dietary manipulation, such as an Elimination Diet, is it usually possible to identify these hidden food allergies. The foods most often associated with delayed hypersensitivities include dairy products, eggs, wheat, soy products, peanuts, shellfish, and refined sugar.
As discussed above, immune-mediated food allergies represent one type of adverse food reaction. Another type of adverse food reaction is called food intolerance. Food intolerance is an umbrella term that refers to any abnormal physiological response to a food that is not caused by an antibody/antigen reaction. For example, some food intolerances are caused by enzyme deficiencies, while others are caused by poor function of the digestive tract or a sensitivity to a natural or synthetic chemical.
The Role of an Elimination Diet
Food allergies and food intolerances are a major source of undesirable symptoms that negatively impact the quality of life of many people. Many healthcare practitioners believe that the only definitive way to identify and manage adverse food reactions is through the use of an Elimination Diet followed by carefully organized food challenges.
This process is quite arduous and must be done carefully if adverse food reactions are to be identified. As a result, it is best to perform an Elimination Diet with the support of a knowledgeable health practitioner. In an Elimination Diet, any food that is suspected to cause an allergy or intolerance is eliminated. Depending on the severity and type of symptoms, the Elimination Diet may range from moderately restrictive to severely restrictive in the amount of foods allowed.
Food Excluded on an Elimination Diet
Standard elimination diets eliminate the most common allergens, such as wheat, soy, corn, dairy, eggs, gluten, nuts, citrus, fish, chocolate, and shellfish, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial food additives. More restrictive Elimination Diets remove all of the foods previously listed plus those foods that contain salicylates and amines.
The Challenge Phase of an Elimination Diet
The purpose of the Elimination Diet is to avoid all problematic foods for a minimum of four days, or until a person experiences some relief from his/her symptoms. For some people, it takes up to three weeks before improvement is seen. Once the body is cleansed, the foods that were eliminated are systematically added back into the diet, one food at a time.
This re-addition of foods is called the "challenge" phase of the diet. On the first day of food challenges, a food is eaten one to three times during the day. Over the next few days, the dieter returns to the Elimination Diet, and watches for the return of any symptoms.
If any symptoms develop, it is possible that the dieter is "allergic" to the recently reintroduced food. If no symptoms develop, it is likely that the reintroduced food is not a problem for the dieter, and he/she can move on to the next food challenge. To more accurately determine food allergies and food intolerances, it is extremely helpful during the challenge phase to keep a diary of foods eaten and any emotional, mental or physical reactions.
It can take several months to complete an Elimination and Challenge Diet. If a person does not have the time or desire to undertake such a process, a Rotation Diet may be a more appropriate option for managing the symptoms associated with food allergies.
A growing body of scientific literature points to hidden food allergies and food intolerances as a cause of many medical conditions including migraine headache, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and recurrent otitis media. Common health complaints such as fatigue and eczema are also attributed to adverse food reactions.
Clinicians and researchers believe that the number of people suffering from adverse food reactions is constantly increasing. They cite several reasons for this:
• Repeated consumption of a limited number of foods: Many people eat a relatively small number of foods several times during the day. For example, wheat, a common food allergen, is found in breakfast cereals, the bread used to make a sandwich at lunch time, and the spaghetti eaten at dinner time. Also, wheat is a thickening agent used in food processing, so it is a common "hidden" ingredient in many processed foods.
Or consider the number of times you can eat corn in one day: in your corn flakes at breakfast, in your corn tortilla at lunchtime, and your corn-on-the-cob at dinnertime. Other commonly eaten foods such as milk and eggs are also a frequent cause of allergic symptoms. The repeated exposure to these foods taxes the immune system.
• Improper digestion and poor integrity of the intestinal barrier: The digestive tract plays a vital role in preventing illness and disease by providing an impenetrable barrier. When the integrity of the intestinal barrier is compromised, a condition coined "leaky gut syndrome" develops. With leaky gut syndrome, partially digested dietary protein can cross the intestinal barrier and be absorbed into the bloodstream. These large molecules can cause an allergic response, producing symptoms directly in the intestines or throughout the body.
One of the causes of leaky gut is an absence of "friendly" bacteria in the intestines. The "friendly" bacteria help maintain the health of the intestines by producing fuel (as short-chain fatty acids) for intestinal cells and by competing with disease-causing bacteria for nutrients. Parasitic infections, treatment with antibiotics, stress, and candida overgrowth can disrupt the proper balance of "friendly" bacteria. It is also believed that early introduction of solid foods to infants contributes to leaky gut syndrome and subsequent food allergies.
• Over-worked immune systems: Constant stress, exposure to air and water pollution, and pesticides and chemicals in our food puts a strain on our immune system, making it less able to respond appropriately to the antigens in food.
• Genetics: Food allergies and intolerances seem to be hereditary. Research indicates that if both parents have allergies, their children have a sixty-seven percent chance of developing food allergies. When only one parent is allergic, the child has a 33% chance of developing food allergies.
An Allergy Avoidance Diet emphasizes the consumption of a wide-range of so-called hypoallergenic foods. These foods include lamb, pears, apples, rice, most vegetables, most beans and legumes (except peanuts) and the non-gluten grains (for example, millet, quinoa, and amaranth).
Typically the only sweeteners allowed are maple syrup or brown rice syrup. Acceptable beverages include rice milk, pear nectar, chamomile tea, and sparkling water (without any added sweeteners).
Any food that is known, or suspected, to cause an adverse reaction is either completely eliminated from the diet, or eaten on a rotation basis. Wheat, corn, cow's milk, eggs, dairy products, peanuts, and soy foods are among the most common food allergens. Many people also react to artificial food additives, such as monosodium glutamate, sulfites, and food colorings; foods containing these ingredients must be eliminated.
If you are simply trying to avoid wheat, dairy, or corn, you can include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your Allergy Avoidance Diet. However, if you suspect that you are sensitive to amines and/or salicylates , you must also avoid foods that contain salicylates and/are amines are tomatoes, broccoli, olives, spinach, mushrooms, avocado, all dried fruit, smoked meats, canned fish, hard cheeses, soy sauce, miso, chocolate, cocoa, beer, cola drinks, vinegars, and yeast extract.
When following an Elimination or Rotation diet, be aware that many processed foods contain at least one of the most common food allergens. Milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, and eggs are staples in the food industry, and often appear in foods as "natural flavors," which means that the food label may not list the ingredient
A Example of an Elimination Diet
The Master Cleanse can help remove the built up waste in your body. This diet is growing in popularity due to its many beneficial effects that coincide with its core principles of detoxification. Not only does this diet promote health and a healthy body, but using it will help your body cleanse itself without drugs or surgery.
The Health Benefits of the Master Cleanse
The Master Cleanse (aka Lemonade Diet) has been around for about 50 years. Time and time again it has proven to be an extremely successful way of helping to clear the body of harmful toxins and pollutants and to promote general health and well being. That being said, the Cleanse isn't easy and requires dedication. In order to be able to properly detoxify and flush the body, the Cleanse must be followed strictly for 3 to 10 days.
What this means is that the Cleanse can be used by just about anybody who seeks better health Yes, that means just about everybody. However, the lemonade diet is especially useful for:
• Those with sickness that has developed - for acute and chronic conditions
• Those with a digestive system that needs a rest and a cleansing
• Those in need of better assimilation and building of body tissue
• People who constantly feel tired and fatigued
• Dieters looking for a natural way to lose weight, and break bad eating habits
The diet can be used at any time and is generally recommended to be used a few times a year. In extreme conditions, such as when it is being used to help with certain illnesses, it can be used more frequently. Repeating the diet a few times yearly will do wonders with keeping the body running properly and in a healthy state.
Lemonade Diet Ingredients
Mix each of the following lemonade diet ingredients into a large glass:
• 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
• 2 Tablespoons Rich Maple Syrup
• 1/10 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Powder – or to taste (as much as you can stand)
• 8 ounces (250 milliliters of Pure Water
Cut the lemon and juice each half on the juicer
Add the rest of the lemonade ingredients into the glass, mix immediately, and drink.
You will drink between 6 and 12 glasses of Lemonade each day (some people drink as much as 26 glasses per day). This will depend on how big or small you currently are (caloric needs), your tolerance to physical and psychological urges to eat. It is wise to drink whenever you're hungry, or when you feel a lack of energy (commonly felt as a weakness or mild shakiness), which is quickly corrected by drinking a glass of Fresh Lemonade. 12 glasses per day should be your starting point from which you will make adjustments.
Drink Pure Water Throughout the Day
Water will cleanse your palate of the lemonade, as well as maintain the illusion that your stomach is full. You can drink as much water as you do Lemonade. All the water you consume from (including the water in the lemonade), is a key factor in why this cleanse is so successful. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. And most of us eat when we are thirsty. We don't understand the difference between the cravings for water and food.