Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finding your food sensitivities.

 2014 and 2015 for me is all about 1 project. A feature film documentary on food allergies, sensitivities and intolerance. Now that I'm way out of the closet about my own food reactions, I wanted to find answers to why this is becoming more prevalent. Is it because wheat, corn, soy, dairy and eggs are in EVERYTHING? Is it because of all the genetic modification in food production? What are we doing about this epidemic? IS it an epidemic? And what about the food label debate? What do we put on labels so that we know what's in our food? I think the real question is WHY do we need labels at all on food. Why are there ingredients that we don't know what the chemical properties are, what's in them, or how to pronounce them? And how does most of the country still not know the difference between healthy food and not healthy food? Oh, so many questions. I'm interviewing doctors, lecturers, authors, editors, farmers, politicians and advocates to get to the bottom of this. And what I'm finding is: more questions.

Because of this journey, I've recently been getting a lot of questions from people about how to start an elimination diet to look for food reactions. It seems overwhelming and depressing to avoid gluten or corn all together. I agree. And after my original testing, I had a LONG list of foods to avoid. There was absolutely nothing left in my kitchen that I could eat. And I didn't even know where to begin. Especially because at the time, I didn't know how to cook. That's since been remedied. I HAD to learn to be a great cook. Because I couldn't buy packaged food anymore. This was maybe 14 years ago. Nothing said, "gluten free" on it at that time. Nothing had food labels. So I had to stick to real produce, and real proteins. And so should you.

"WHY should I look for your own food sensitivities?"

  • You may have reactions you don't realize are coming from the food you eat. Do you have headaches, bad skin, congestion, IBS, brain fog, lethargy, Fibromyalgia, joint pain, nightmares, anxiety, depression, acid reflux, etc? You name it. It can be related to food. I interviewed Dr. Stephen Wangen. He said that if you take your pet to the veterinarian, the first question they ask is, "What did your pet eat?" So why don't our doctors automatically ask us that too? 
"I don't eat a lot of corn, breads or pasta. So I don't eat much corn or wheat. I don't eat tofu. Etc."
  • I hate to tell you, but there are thousands of items in the grocery store and pharmacy that contain wheat, corn, soy, dairy and eggs that you're probably eating every day. You take vitamins? You take aspirin? You eat ANYTHING that comes out of a box? Do you eat conventionally produced proteins? They're all eating genetically modified corn and wheat as their main feed source. Even if you aren't eating something that looks like a loaf of bread, you're still probably eating at least a trace amount of wheat at every meal. If you're eating fast food, or food that you didn't make from scratch, you most certainly are. All soups, all salad dressings, all breading, etc etc. 
"How can I avoid it all? And where do I start?"
  • Educate yourself. Shop at your local farmer's market and start asking questions about how food is raised. Start cooking food from scratch. Stop eating anything out of a box. Look at the list of foods that contain gluten, corn, or whatever you're trying to avoid. You need to completely avoid the food for weeks at least. And THEN you can try one tiny amount, and wait at least 4 days to see if you have a reaction. Every person is different. You may be able to handle a bite of something once a week, but not every day. You might be able to eat spelt, but not semolina. It's trial and error. But start avoiding 1 major group and stick with it religiously. And perhaps you'll notice your energy changes. Your skin clears. Your headaches go away. There are a ton of resources and support groups. Use them. Or ask me. I'm here for you too.