“You're sure this will work, right?
I mean, it's summer. There's blood
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and it has to make it from Iowa, all the way to Florida.”
“Feeling like Snoopy or hearts?”
She rooted around in her drawer of band-aids, as I taped another cold pack around the small white box holding the four vials she'd just drawn. “Remind me again, what is this for?”
“A food sensitivity test.”
Maybe it's because I'm more in tune, but my goodness, there are so many voices out there telling us their opinions about how we should be eating. Paleo is best, become a vegan, eat in 3's, eat only raw food, count points, eat everything (but not too much!)
What I quietly want to say is, “I'm really glad it's worked for you, but
we're all so different.”
Could it be .. certain foods will trigger an inflammatory response in the body? Could it be, there's more to the story than simply calories in vs. calories out? Could it be, even foods that fall in the “healthy” column, those with lots of nutrients, may not be healthy
for us as individuals?
Admittedly, following The Plan's elimination diet exactly to the letter proved a bit more than I could do, although I've been fascinated with, and studying the concept ever since. Certainly, there had to be a better way to gather the same information?
One of the many things I've loved about working with Dana James is her approach. Everything is personalized, from which supplements to take, tests that might be helpful, and which foods my body responds best to
Thought it might be fun this week to share some of the information I've learned along the way about food sensitivities, the blood test you can take instead of spending months on a strict elimination diet, as well as my results so far
(Remember, what's worked for me, may not work for you. Also, I want to stress how very important it is to have a health care professional analyze the results with you)
What is a food sensitivity?
It's a delayed reaction to the foods we eat that happens in our gut, not in the bloodstream (like an allergy). When we eat food our body is sensitive to, our white blood cells release mediators, and it's the mediators that cause the food sensitivity reactions (said another way, our immune system has a reaction)
Reactions vary from person to person and may be anything but obvious, although there's little doubt they can make you sick. They may cause you to gain weight, have a runny nose, headaches, pain conditions, or a host of other unpleasantries.
(Essentially, whatever your health conditions are, inflammation will be especially noticeable in those areas)
Examples of the effects of reactive foods, from some of my classmates. The group of fifty who tried The Plan together
One person, after eliminating lentils from her diet, noticed her migraines lessened, not only in frequency but intensity as well. (She is a vegetarian who ate lentils every day!)
Another suffered from pretty severe joint pain. One of her biggest food offenders? Rice. “I was eating it with my meals, and also baking with rice flour. All in my noble pursuit of avoiding gluten. Who knew?”
Another, in the throes of menopause, noticed if she had only a few of bites of oatmeal, her hot flashes were dramatically worse (for the entire day!)
Yet another reported eating a single strawberry, with a gain of 3 pounds(!) by the next morning
Me? I've discovered inflammation shows up like clockwork, in one of two ways.
The first, brain fog. Within a couple of hours, I'll have a terrible time concentrating, and feel very much out of sorts.
The second, lymphoma in my left leg. The lingering effects of a blood clot that developed and damaged a vein deep inside my leg, during recovery from a car accident 28(!) years ago. I can tell shortly after eating a reactive food; there's noticeably more swelling, along with varying degrees of a dull ache
What's causing all of these food sensitivities? What are some of the ways we can identify them? What are some of the most common food offenders? Based on the results above, am I forever banned from 30+ foods; many of which I really like?
(.. to be continued .. )
Such a fun recipe from the weekend
With the weather hot and sticky here in Iowa, and sweet neighbors who dropped off veggies and beautiful leaves of kale(!) straight from the garden. Something light seemed in order
A plant-based version of lettuce wraps, with curly cucumber noodles. The original recipe called for a zesty peanut sauce (I fed to my husband). I love and used Emeril's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette, and included it here as well
— — —
~ Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine | July/August 2015
Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas
- Kale Wraps
- 2 large cucumbers
- sea salt
- 4 large curly kale leaves washed, patted dry and tough stems removed
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 pinches each ground black pepper and chili powder, divided
- pinch ground cumin
- 1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 ⅓ cups shredded purple cabbage
- ¼ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh alfalfa sprouts
- 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Zesty Peanut Sauce
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce
- 2 tsp lime juice (fresh is best)
- 1 ½ tsp honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- pinch ground ginger
- Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Kale Wraps
- Slice ends off cucumbers.
- Working one at a time, secure cucumber in a spiral slicer and turn the crank to create noodles. Place noodles in a colander over a bowl; sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and let sit for 10 minutes to drain liquid.
- On a flat surface, lay each kale leaf flat.
- In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork and season with a pinch each salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin.
- Divide the chickpea mixture among kale leaves and spread in an even layer to within 1 inch of edges.
- Over chickpea mix, layer cucumber noodles, bell pepper, cabbage, tomatoes, sprouts, and cilantro.
- Zesty Peanut Sauce
- To a mini food processor or blender, add garlic, peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, honey, ground ginger, and remaining pinch each black pepper and chili powder.
- Add 1 tbsp water; process until smooth.
- Add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, and process until sauce reaches desired consistency.
- Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper until sugar and salt dissolve.
- Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.)
- Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Finish and Serve
- Drizzle 1 tsp dressing over ingredients on each kale leaf.
- Fold in sides of each kale leaf and roll up like a burrito; secure with a toothpick. Slice each wrap in half and serve with remaining dressing