I put this video together last year, so I am actually approaching my 53rd birthday now…
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.
Attention ladies…how can you focus on yourself in the midst of a hectic lifestyle? Read on to see what Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com has to say!
– By Sheila Olson
For many women, finding the time to focus on their overall well-being can be a challenge. Busy work schedules, spending time with family, and personal projects can sometimes prevent us from taking the time we need to take care of our bodies and minds, leaving us feeling exhausted and without the defenses we need to stay healthy. While having a routine can be a great thing, it can also become monotonous, leaving you with the feeling of being stuck in that “daily grind” everyone talks about.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to boost your health and overall well-being without sacrificing the time you need to spend on other things. Making small changes to your lifestyle and routine will help you boost your energy, immune system and self-esteem, all while ensuring that you stay efficient and productive.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started.
Ask for help
No matter how productive you are, there’s just no way you can do everything by yourself, so don’t even try! Ask for help now and then, especially when it comes to managing your time. Not only will this help you get everything done, it will reduce stress at the same time. Think about the small things that will have a big impact, such as delegating chores to the kids or hiring a dogwalker to take care of your pup while you focus on other things.
Get in a daily workout
It may seem easier said than done, but it’s actually not that hard to fit in a workout if you know where to look. Many people think that their exercise routine needs to be done in a gym, for at least an hour at a time, with fancy equipment and gear, but the truth is, you can break up your workout into two fifteen-minute increments and get some nice results. You can also try yoga or simply use the tools you have around you including stairs instead of heading to the gym.
Eat well-balanced meals
Eating healthy isn’t always easy when you have a packed schedule; many women find themselves settling for fast food or even finishing what’s left on their child’s plate rather than making something good for themselves. If time is an issue, consider preparing some healthy meals ahead of time such as on a Sunday night and freezing them for the week. It will also help to keep quick, easy foods like pre-mixed salad, fruit, granola and oatmeal at the ready so you can make a healthy meal even when you don’t have much time.
Fuel up at work
When you spend long hours at the office, it can be hard to focus on your needs. Schedule breaks in which you can meditate, read a good book, go for a walk around the block, or eat a healthy snack. This will not only help you stay physically healthy, but mentally as well.
Getting over the daily grind and focusing on yourself is a must in today’s busy world. No matter what kind of job you have, or what responsibilities await you at home, it’s important to remember that your health matters. Find small ways to reduce stress as much as possible, and don’t forget to ask for help! Learn to say no if it takes away from some much-needed self-care; you’ll thank yourself later.
Check out this informative article by Sheila Olson of FitSheila.com
Whether you have to travel for work or you are about to enjoy a vacation, spending time to improve your physical fitness while traveling should fit into your schedule. The more time you take off from your fitness regimen, the harder it will be to bounce back once you settle back into your normal life. That being said, traveling is a great opportunity to switch up your fitness routine and challenge your body to work in a new way. Exercise variety is key when it comes to burning fat and calories while improving other elements such as balance and flexibility.
Check out these tips on ways to incorporate workouts into your travel plans and itinerary so you can stay fit on the fly.
Try Out a Local Class
Boutique fitness studios are popping up everywhere nowadays; surely there are a few not too far from wherever you are staying. Scout out your options and walk in to see if they have any deals for first-time students. Often, these places offer the first class for free or at a discounted rate in hopes of encouraging the person to sign up for more.
When picking out a class to try, always lean toward the beginner’s level, even if you consider yourself fit. The latest fitness crazes always throw in some kind of twist to make them more difficult– like this Dallas studio that has you do basic bootcamp exercises, but on a suspended surfboard. You never know what you are going to get with a new class, so you might as well start out slowly.
Tour the Town
There is always something to explore, no matter where you are. And if there is something to explore, there is a way to do it while also breaking a sweat. If you have time to see the sights wherever you travel, get as much of them in as you can by running, skating, or biking around the area. Not only will you be fitting in a workout, but when you hit the pavement, you get a taste of what life is like for a local.
Even if you don’t have the time to burn running around the city, you can choose to be more active by walking wherever you need to go. While it doesn’t burn many calories, there are still health benefits to walking. Try to get at least 12,000 steps in each day– Plexus recommends tracking them with an app on your smartphone. Be sure to go the extra mile with the little things like taking the stairs instead of an elevator or getting off the subway one stop early if you have the time to stroll.
Diet is just as important as exercise, and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently. If you spend your travel time eating junk, it’s going to come back to haunt you once you are home. Maintaining a wholesome diet while you are on the road is really more important than fitting in exercise. If you walk a lot and eat well, you may lose some of your recent gym gains, but your bounce back will be swift.
● Avoid all processed foods and stick with snacks that are composed of a few ingredients at maximum. Some great options include fruit and nuts.
● Buy groceries and make your food rather than eating at restaurants. Food you make at home tends to have less fat, sugar, and sodium in it. Chefs tend to put those ingredients in their food to make you come back for more.
● If you are flying, bring an empty water bottle with you. Once you are through security, fill it up at the water fountain. Drink plenty of water throughout your trip to prevent dehydration.
Travel is no excuse to forgo fitness. Stay on top of your workout game by trying a new class and seeing the sights in a way that also breaks a sweat. Also, don’t neglect your diet while you travel. Eating a poor diet makes bouncing back that much more difficult when you get back on your fitness track at home.
I’m honored to be a part of this fantastic project which is now available through Amazon Prime Video! Best yet, Season 1 is available to watch for FREE to Amazon Prime members. Hosted by CSCS, IFBB Pro, martial artist and actor Ian Lauer.
Click on the link below to access all 13 episodes in Season 1!