Do you have food intolerance?

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What is food intolerance?

Have you ever noticed that when you eat a certain food, such as tuna, blueberries, avocado, asparagus or broccoli, that you get extremely bloated to the point that you are extremely uncomfortable? Since the foods I mentioned are celebrated for their many nutritional benefits, it might not occur to you that you most likely have an intolerance to that food. Up to 80% of the U.S. population has some form of food intolerance.

Most people are aware of food allergies, but food intolerance is a different phenomenon which can have a tremendous effect on a person’s quality of life. Food allergies appear quite suddenly, from seconds to minutes after ingestion of the offending food, and can be life-threatening, whereas food intolerance is a more gradual process (taking hours to a couple of days for symptoms to emerge), not life-threatening, and may only occur after a large amount of the food is eaten. Food allergies and food intolerance can both cause similar symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea, but food intolerance is notorious for causing bloating, heartburn, irritability, headaches and general malaise. The most common food allergy triggers are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat, milk and eggs, while the foods most commonly associated with food intolerance are dairy products, gluten-containing grains, eggs, citrus, beans, cabbage, and broccoli.

People who are allergic to certain foods know that even a small amount of the food can trigger an allergic response, and the response occurs every single time the person is exposed. The immune system reacts to the food by causing a release of IgE antibodies, which then cause a release of histamines and cytokines designed to attack the offending agent. Sometimes the entire body is affected by this response, and symptoms such as shortness of breath, hives, rash, or a sudden drop in blood pressure can occur. Food intolerance, in contrast, is more insidious, and may only occur if a large amount of the triggering food is eaten or if it is consumed frequently. Trigger foods will cause a rise in IgA, IgG, and IgM antibodies, causing the body to mount a delayed reaction which is characterized by mostly gastrointestinal symptoms, but which can cause other symptoms as well. Regardless of how the body reacts, the discomfort caused by poor digestion of the food can be enough to make the sufferer miserable.

Why does food intolerance occur? There are several explanations. One cause is enzyme deficiency. All enzymes are specific to one type of molecule, such as lipases which break down fats. Sometimes an individual can be deficient or completely lacking in a very specific enzyme which is required for digestion of a particular food. A common example is found in lactose intolerant individuals who do not have enough lactase to break down the milk sugars into their constituent parts for absorption in the intestine. The lactose cannot be broken down so it sits in the intestine, causing bloating, spasm and diarrhea when it sits in the digestive tract. Approximately 25% of the U.S. population suffers from lactose intolerance, which amounts to a lot of bloated bellies from the consumption of dairy products.

Another common type of food intolerance is to gluten. Gluten is highly resistant to digestion as it is, and in some individuals, the gluten cannot be broken down at all. The problem with gluten is that it is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut, so avoiding gluten can be challenging to say the least. Approximately 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease, while about 15% have gluten intolerance. Regardless of whether someone has celiac disease or gluten intolerance, ALL gluten must be avoided. However, if there are occasions in which completely avoiding gluten is impossible, digestive enzymes, specifically DPP-IV, can help individuals to digest meals containing gluten.

The list of substances which people may have an intolerance to doesn’t stop there. Some individuals cannot break down phenols, including salicylates, due to insufficient amounts of xylanase, and suffer from behavioral and learning disorders, including ADHD and autism. Some individuals are unable to break down disaccharides, an intolerance which is closely linked to irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Candida overgrowth and autism. As if all that wasn’t enough to worry about, there are chemical substances in foods which can spark intolerance, such as caffeine, aflatoxins in undercooked beans, amines in cheeses, artificial colorings and flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers, nitrates, MSG, sulfites and salicylates. Salicylate intolerance can cause a susceptible individual to react to large amounts of salicylate-containing foods, particularly citrus fruits, teas, mint flavoring, berries and processed foods with flavor additives.

The digestive tract regularly takes the brunt of foods, medications, hormones, and chemical additives which can interfere with repair of the gut lining, causing increased intestinal permeability which is more commonly known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is characterized by the loosening of tight junctions between the cells which line the gut, thus allowing food molecules to pass through. These free floating food molecules are viewed by the immune system as a threat and will mount an immune response which manifests as the signs and symptoms of food intolerance. Think of all that food sitting in the gut, undigested. Pretty unnerving, huh?

How to diagnose food intolerance

Diagnosing food intolerance can be extremely difficult since the signs and symptoms often mimic those of food allergy. One method of ferreting out which foods are involved in a food intolerance is keeping a food diary in which all foods eaten are recorded, along with symptoms and their time of onset. After suspected trigger foods have been determined, an exclusion diet can be implemented, in which those foods are removed from the diet for weeks to months. If the symptoms disappear during the exclusion phase, potential trigger foods can be re-introduced after this phase is completed in order to determine which substances are problematic. If the food intolerance is mild, a small amount of the food will not trigger symptoms, and in many cases may still be consumed, especially if enzymes are taken to aid in digestion. Essentially, many people can return to foods which they were mildly or even moderately intolerant of after avoiding it for a period of time.

Blood testing is considered the most reliable and comprehensive form of testing for food intolerance, but there are only a few laboratories which specialize in this type of test. ALCAT, Pinnertest.com and HEMOCODE Food Intolerance System are laboratories which offer food intolerance testing via serum analysis, with ALCAT considered the largest food intolerance testing group in the U.S. Some insurance plans will cover part or all of the expense of the testing, so it is always worth inquiring about insurance coverage. Some testing panels also provide a detailed rotation diet which patients can follow when they are ready to reintroduce the foods of which they are intolerant.

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Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from black tea and either sugar, honey or fruit, which has beneficial probiotic and antibiotic qualities. Once the solution is mixed, it is then fermented by a combination of bacteria and yeast better known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). There are numerous positive effects on the body, which are discussed here.

GUT HEALTH:

Kombucha is loaded with good bacteria (known as probiotics), as well as enzymes and yeast which assist in breaking down foods for enhanced absorption and digestion. Since the mixture is doing some of the work in digestion, your gut is better able to do its job without being overloaded. Kombucha also restores a healthy pH balance in the gut, and its consumption is highly recommended for individuals dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, Candida overgrowth, and many other digestive disorders.

The fermentation process involved in the production of kombucha also produces butyric acid, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-cancer features, protects the gut against yeast overgrowth, and destroys parasites which might be lurking in your gastrointestinal tract.

ALL THAT GOOD STUFF:

The fermentation process involved in making kombucha produces by-products such as acetic acid, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, thus conferring a protective effect upon the body against infection. Kombucha also contains naturally occurring glucosamine, so chugging this fermented beverage can also aid in joint function and health. It is also chock-full of vitamin C and vitamin B, and truly helps to cleanse the liver and rid the body of free radicals.

I remember a roommate from 2008 who had begun drinking raw kombucha regularly, and he insisted that it was the most fantastic new health beverage. What I hadn’t realized then was that kombucha has actually been around for over 2,000 years, originating in China, then spreading to countries such as Korea, Japan, Russia, and India.

My roommate kept insisting that I try kombucha, even when I told him that the slimy sludge floating in the bottles made me want to gag. I finally did try a sip of kombucha in 2009, and found that I didn’t like the incredibly tart, vinegary flavor at all.

Despite my first unfavorable experience kombucha, I decided to try some of the newer brands, like Health-Ade, Synergy and Revive, last year. It turns out that kombucha has come a long way, with better flavor, and the SCOBY colonies are somehow less disgusting than what I remember from years ago. The fruitier versions are fizzy, refreshing, and quite tasty. Because of its acidity, kombucha should not be consumed in excess. My recommendation is to drink 4 ounces per day to obtain the probiotic benefits of this strange and popular beverage.

Organifi Review from August 2016

Please check out my YouTube review of Organifi products here:

Though I shot and edited this video a year ago, the information hasn’t changed. I love how clean Organifi products are, and encourage people to try them. My favorite products are the Daily Turmeric Boost and the ProBiotic.

I’ve actually run out of both products, and am using other brands right now, but I honestly felt fantastic while on Organifi products. My digestive tract functioned better, and I had fewer aches and pains with the Turmeric Boost on board.

Leaky Gut

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If you suffer from sudden food sensitivities, aching joints, digestive upset, fatigue or weight gain, you may be suffering from leaky gut, which is also referred to as increased intestinal permeability. Leaky gut is characterized by the opening of pores in the small intestine, resulting in undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins traveling to the bloodstream. The presence of these substances in the bloodstream triggers an immune response, whereby the body builds antibodies to the foreign substances but also attacks itself, creating food allergies and autoimmune disorders.

You are probably wondering how something like this occurs and if you are at risk. Let’s look at the main causative factors leading to leaky gut syndrome:

1. Chronic constipation – If you are usually constipated, toxins will often build up in stool, irritating the intestinal lining and causing inflammation, which then causes the pores in the small intestine to expand. In severe cases, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome,or colitis can occur.

2. Chronic stress – The immune system really takes a beating when subjected to chronic stress. If the immune response is compromised, pathogenic bacteria can cause widespread inflammation in the intestines, and leaky gut is a common result.

3. Dysbiosis – This is an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria which can result from antibiotics or poor diet. Inflammation develops, causing the pores to widen.

4. Toxins – We are exposed to many thousands of toxins, but the worst offenders are found in our water supply, pesticides, and in certain medications.

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What Is The Solution If You Have A Leaky Gut?

I have several dietary recommendations for treating a leaky gut.

1. Glutamine – I am already a big fan of glutamine in general, but especially for those who suffer from leaky gut. This amino acid has specific activity in the intestine, and restores healthy soft tissue in the region. Over time, regular supplementation with glutamine has a protective effect against intestinal disease. I tend to be fairly aggressive with glutamine and recommend 6 to 8 grams per day, or more if you engage in frequent exercise.

2. Fish oil – Try to find a formula which contains primarily omega-3 fatty acids. You can also increase your consumption of salmon.

3. Digestive enzymes – Digestive enzymes will aid in the breakdown of food substances, especially in older individuals and those suffering from leaky gut. Try taking them with every meal.

4. Betaine hydrochloric acid – Some people produce insufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid, which is needed to break down food in the stomach. If that is the case, betaine hydrochloric acid optimizes the process.

5. probiotics – Most individuals will benefit from adding probiotics into their daily regimen. Make sure to take at least 25 billion units per day for optimal gut health.

Sit Up Straight!

If you have a tendency to slouch in your seat, you need to pay attention! Poor posture has detrimental effects not only on the body, but also on one’s mood and general attitude.

Poor posture causes muscles in our neck and upper back to become overstretched, while causing other neck muscles and muscles in our torso and between our ribs to become cramped and overstimulated. The muscles in our chest become dominant, and pull our shoulders and upper arms inward and forward when we habitually adopt a stooped posture. This position puts a tremendous load on the diaphragm, and respiration suffers as a result. Even digestion becomes sluggish because the body cannot properly oxygenate and blood cannot circulate as well.

Poor posture can negatively impact your emotional state and confidence, not to mention how others perceive you. If you’re slouching right now, think of how you feel emotionally, mentally. Are you down, depressed? Now sit up straight and take a couple of nice, deep breaths. You should notice an immediate shift in attitude and mood.

Proper spinal alignment also has a positive effect on hormone levels. One Harvard study revealed that an erect posture, with shoulders back and spines nice and straight correlated with a 20 percent increase in testosterone levels and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol levels, while subjects who slouched experienced a 10 percent decrease in circulating testosterone levels and a 15 increase in cortisol.

Lastly, the way you carry yourself has immense bearing on how others perceive you. If you meet someone whose shoulders are pulled forward, your impression may be that the person isn’t the most motivated or energetic you’ve met. Yet if that person had a nice upright stance, with shoulders pulled down and back, your impression would probably be very different.

With some conscious effort, you can correct a hunched posture. Try this stretch at least a couple of times each day, and you will slowly begin to notice a correction in your posture. This is great for resetting the brain and creating more awareness of how you carry your body throughout the day.


AGAINST THE WALL

Stand with your back to a wall, feet together with heels touching wall, and arms hanging at your sides. Relax your shoulders, then pull them back so that they make contact with the wall. Stand in this position for 30 to 60 seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
When you are ready to step away from the wall, keep your shoulders in the same position. Be aware of how you are breathing, and how your back feels when your shoulders are kept back
.

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Nuzest

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I was recently introduced to a company called Nuzest, which is committed to developing nutritional products which optimize people’s diets and put them on the right track to feeling their best.

The Clean Lean Protein is pea protein-based, allergen free, and a complete protein. It mixes beautifully, tastes great, and is highly digestible and absorbable, which sets it apart from the majority of proteins out there. Another outstanding feature of the Clean Lean Protein is the fact that it is one of the few alkaline proteins on the market, with a pH of 7.8. It’s paleo friendly too.

If you are looking for a top-notch plant-based protein, look no further than Clean Lean Protein!

Nuzest also has a greens product called Good Green Stuff which features over 75 ingredients for comprehensive nutritional support.

Go to nuzest.com to order these great products, and be on the lookout for my video review of Clean Lean Protein on YouTube later this month!