Going gluten free is a big thing right now. And for good reason. There are so many diet buzzwords out there, it can sometimes be difficult to determine fact from fiction.
The fact is, a lot of wheat in the United States today can contain chemicals and is highly processed. The wheat we eat now is very different than the wheat our grandparents ate. For example, commercially available wheat can be bromated or bleached to expedite the production process, improve bread elasticity, and make it really white. Wheat can also be treated with chemicals like chlorine gas and azodicarbonamide, the infamous “yoga mat compound”. Exposure to these on a daily basis can increase our body’s toxic burden. So taking the step to remove it should be good, right? Well, in my case it wasn't so black and white.
So why was going gluten free such a bad move for me?
Just recently, after 4 years of my life being gluten free, I decided to take a Food Inflammation Test (FIT test) and was able to identify all the types of food that were inflaming my body. I would have tested myself sooner, but my blood work showed my immune system was too tired to amount an accurate response. In the meantime I tried an elimination diet. I took out the major food sensitivities: wheat, gluten, corn, dairy, egg, peanut, and soy. After a month of avoiding these foods, I found that I felt significantly better!
Great! So what was next?
I started to reintroduce these foods back into my diet to try and pinpoint which ones that were causing my issues. First I tried to introduce one new food every three days. After this approach it was still very difficult to tell what food’s I was reacting to. I decided that wheat, gluten, and dairy were probably the culprits, so I cut them out of my diet completely. Many of my symptoms went away, but I still struggled with water weight, inflammation, difficulty running, and joint pain. I was happy with my improvements, but still frustrated with my overall health.
Then came along the FIT test, a new food inflammation test on the market that can be performed on an overburdened immune system and give accurate results. Perfect! I ordered the test, which was an easy at-home finger prick test, and 10 days after I sent it in, my results came back. I found that I had major inflammatory reactions to:
I also had minor inflammatory reactions to the foods below, which means I can still eat them but I need to alternate them and avoid eating them everyday:
The results were shocking. I thought to myself...what did I start eating a ton of when I went gluten free? RICE! One of my major sensitivities. Yikes, I was eating soooo much rice. And while I did feel better going gluten free (probably because I was coincidently avoiding dairy, eggs, and baker's yeast, which are in a lot of wheat products), I was still eating a major inflammatory trigger on a daily basis. I wish I would have known years earlier because I could have changed my diet specifically to my needs and saved myself 4 years of inflaming my body. On top of that I was eating eggs everyday for breakfast and a banana before every workout. No wonder I still felt inflamed!
Why was it so hard to identify my food sensitivities? Food sensitivities are different than food allergies. Symptoms of food allergies include hives and closing up of the throat which can be life threatening. Food allergies are serious IgE mediated allergy responses that typically happen shortly after the offending food was eaten. On the other hand, food sensitivities symptoms are less obvious and can happen 1-3 days and last up to 3-6 weeks after the problematic food was ingested, and are IgG mediated. So you can see that there is a spectrum of responses to food, and you may not be specifically allergic to a type of food, but you can still react and be sensitive to it. You find yourself asking, “is this headache, joint pain, and fatigue caused by the eggs I ate today….or the latte I drank yesterday?” It becomes very hard to pinpoint what caused the delayed symptoms such as brain fog, moodiness, heartburn, acne, fatigue, gas, bloating, etc. These symptoms may not be life threatening, but they are signs that a chronic health condition is developing.
You can’t always feel exactly what is happening in your body, that’s why blood tests come in handy. They help you see what you can’t. The FIT test helped me see the foods that were causing major inflammation in my body. Going gluten free wasn't the best choice for me because I started eating a lot of rice. After I got my results, I took out rice and started eating organic, unadulterated, and heirloom products such as einkorn wheat, farro, barley, spelt, and guess what? My inflammation and joint pain subsided and I lost A LOT of water weight. It took about 2-3 months, but that’s how long it can take for your immune system to calm down because the ‘immune memory’ needs time to process out of your system.
Now I am running pain free, and while any diet change can take some getting used to, I will never go back. That is, until my FIT test says I can go back, which is the beauty of it all. It is possible to reintroduce your past food sensitivities back into your diet after your immune system has time to calm down and “forget” why it it was attacking that specific food in the first place. FIT tests can be done every 6 months or every year to re-check if anything changed. Everyone’s immune system is composed differently, and some food sensitivities clear up quickly, while other can take years, and some will never work with your body. But I believe it is better to know, because having a food sensitivity isn’t the end of the world. If you find you are sensitive to a food you love, there is another one out there ready to take it’s place. All you need is a positive attitude and be open to trying new things.
I think rice is a great carb and super healthy, but my body doesn't. Now that I know this, I can avoid it and heal. My ultimate goal is to tolerate EVERYTHING I eat. And to do this, I need to stay away from my inflammatory foods, heal my body, and allow my immune system to calm down and re-tolerate my food sensitivities. Essentially I need to erase my food immune memory, and just like a memory fades with time, a food sensitivity can fade too.
One man’s food is another man’s poison. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to food sensitivities. It’s no wonder different diets work for different people. Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan; the diet you should be on is the one that works with your body. And this test lets you know what foods are safe for you to eat, and which you need to avoid. Take the guesswork out and get your foods checked.
For more information, check out the FIT test in our ‘Products’ section on our website, or by clicking the link below. The FIT test was life changing for me, plus if you have an iphone, it comes with a handy iphone app so you can always have your list on hand. It also comes with a 7 day meal plan and the inflammatory levels caused by 132 foods. No doctor needed, highly accurate. Check it out!
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