Sign up for our NEWSLETTER and receive 150+ awesome recipes for special diets!

Posts Tagged "bone broth"

The Food and Symptom Diary

The Food and Symptom Diary

A food and symptom diary is a priceless tool.  I study them for patterns to look for the physical and behavioral symptoms I associate with particular foods.  If you or your child experience symptoms you suspect are from foods, a food diary can be a useful reference to track possible food sensitivities.

Try noting how you or your child feel or behave before, during, and after meals and beverages.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes not as simple as what you ate but how much of it or in combination with what other foods. For example, you may find that you get headaches every time you eat pizza, or that you are fine with pizza until you add mushrooms on top, although mushrooms seem to be fine on a salad.  Sometimes it is the combination of things that puts you over your threshold for tolerance of a specific compound. Keeping track of quantity and any additional details helps.

It really is best to take it beyond food if you can. Supplement changes should obviously be monitored closely. Some supplements you might expect to see temporary symptoms from as part of a detox process. But sometimes it may not be detox but an undesirable reaction.  Your doctor will definitely want to know about these reactions.

Exposures to things like perfumes, pets and even temperature changes can have similar affects to foods, and sometimes in combination with chemicals in food you have crossed your threshold for tolerance. One mom reported that her child’s behavioral issues at school were finally traced to the perfume of his classroom aide. I recently heard from a mom that her children seemed to be reacting to grandma with histamine type symptoms. They probably are not reacting to grandma herself, but perhaps a product she uses.

The more detail you record, the more information can be discerned.  Keep track of symptoms that occur 24/7 for best results.

There are actually apps for this kind of thing.  Isn’t that cool?  Here is one I found online called mySymptoms. You can generate a report from this and show it to your doctor or health care professional.

Here are some examples of symptoms that you might list:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Headache
  • Shakiness
  • Pins and needles
  • Dyspraxia
  • Spaciness
  • Brain fog
  • Tantruming
  • Toe walking
  • Sideways glancing
  • Stimming
  • Red cheeks or ears
  • Hiccups
  • Heartburn
  • Reflux
  • Nausea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Salt cravings
  • Excessive hunger
  • Food cravings
  • Lack of appetite
  • OCD or compulsive behaviors
  • Perfectionism
  • High libido
  • Water retention
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Eczema
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Nasal allergies
  • Asthma
  • Agitation
  • Energized
  • Hyperactive
  • Focused
  • Rash
  • Tummy aches
  • Joint pain
  • Other aches and pains
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Headbanging
  • Self-injurious behaviors
  • Eye pain or eye poking
  • Posturing
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Sandy stools
  • Urinary pain or urgency
  • Night terrors
  • Restless legs
  • Bed wetting
  • Eye twitching
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Ringing in ears
  • Inappropriate laughter
  • Weepy
  • Defiance
  • Rage
  • Anxiety
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Tachycardia
  • Feeling cold or hot
  • Humorous
  • Calm
  • Happy
  • Interested
  • Connected
  • Communicative

or any other symptoms you observe, good or bad.

If you are going to do this the old fashioned way as opposed to the app above, here is one format that you might use:

Keep in mind that reactions can occur up to several days later, so don’t necessarily expect to associate the symptoms you are experiencing with the most recent meal or exposure.  You do, however, want to keep track of when the reactions occur with respect to meals in order to look for patterns.

I hope this helps you to get to the bottom of any symptoms you or your children are experiencing.  These tools sound incredibly simple but when used properly they can have spectacular results!









CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER!


This article was featured at Thank Your Body and Girl Meets Nourishment.


This post is linked to Thriving on Thursdays, Mommy-Brain Mixer, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Think Tank Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, All Things Thursday, Thriving Thursday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Catch a Glimpse, Proverbs 31 Thursday, The Homeacre Hop, Let’s Hear it For the Boys, Gluten Free Fridays, TGIF, Old Fashioned Friday, Small Footprint Friday, What I am Eating, Pin Me, From the Farm, Food on Fridays, Anything Goes, Special Needs Blogger Weekend, Weekend Whatever, Unprocessed Fridays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Sunday School, Mop it Up Monday, Inspire Me Monday, More the Merrier Monday, Better Mom Mondays, Clever Chicks, Mama Moments Mondays, Sunny Simple Monday, Modest Monday, Manic Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Natural Living Mondays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, The Gathering Spot, Healthy Tuesday Hop, SaltTree Social, Terrific Tuesday, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Fat Tuesday, Heart + Home, Eco-Kids Tuesday, Tuned-in Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Tutorial Tuesday, Tuesday Greens, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, The Mommy Club, Mom’s Library, Adorned From Above, What I Learned Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Homemaking Link-Up, Riverton Housewives Round-Up, Sugar & Spice, Whole Foods Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Freedom Fridays, Shine on Fridays, Farmgirl Friday, Your Great Idea, Our Sunday Best, Motivation Monday, Living Green Tuesdays, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Natural Living, LHITS DIY, and Strut Your Stuff.

Could Histamine Be Sabotaging Your Digestive Health?

Could Histamine Be Sabotaging Your Digestive Health?

All This Talk of Histamine

There has been a lot of talk about histamine in the circles I run in lately. Could it be that Spring is in the air? In the Spring, it is not uncommon for people to have the sniffles or sneezes as the immune system responds to allergens in our environment by releasing histamine. Histamines in the diet can really become an issue this time of the year as we exceed our threshold for tolerance of histamines.

Histamine is really a rather complicated issue. Everyone has a threshold for the amount of histamine their body will tolerate, and this tolerance is determined by many factors. Our mast cells release histamines during allergic or inflammatory reactions. There are histamines released in response to our environment. There are foods that release histamines from mast cells, and then there are foods with actual histamine content. Chocolate, cheese, vinegars, wine and beer, mushrooms, tomatoes, bananas, strawberries, citrus fruits, fermented foods, and bone broths are just some examples of foods that provoke a histamine reaction. Additionally, temperature changes, sunlight, stress, some medications and other factors can affect our histamine load.

Histamines can be an issue with any diet. I often see histamine issues with people on grain-free diets such as the Paleo Diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet and GAPS. A diet higher in meats and certain vegetables and lower in grains could by default be higher in histamines. When we eliminate the lower histamine grains and rely on more nuts to replicate SAD (Standard American Diet) baked goods like breads, cakes and cookies, we do increase our histamine load. When we add some of the staples in traditional diets, such as bone broths and fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut we can really increase the histamine load. But I suspect that the connection between the grain-free diet and the histamine issue has less to do with the diet itself and more to do with underlying issues in those that are attracted to a grain-free diet in the first place, as I will explain in this article.

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance:

  • headaches
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • hiccups, heartburn and acid reflux
  • other digestive issues such as stomach cramping and diarrhea
  • skin conditions such as eczema, itching, hives
  • allergy and cold symptoms like congestion, sneezing, runny nose and coughing
  • irritation or itching of the eyes
  • joint pain
  • frequent urination
  • hypotension
  • tightening of the chest and anxiety or panic attacks
  • tachycardia
  • fatigue
  • hyperactivity
  • mood issues, such as irritability and aggression
  • compulsive behaviors
  • perfectionism
  • high libido

and more!

So What’s The Deal With Histamines?

Everyone has a different tolerance for histamines. Some have serious mast cell disorders and need to be extremely vigilant about histamines in the diet. Some people need to restrict histamines in their diet to avoid migraines and terrible insomnia. Others just need to watch their histamine load to avoid crossing their threshold and feeling a little cranky or noticing a decline in their digestion. Whatever your tolerance, you may find your tolerance change as Spring rolls around each year.

Two mechanisms are often talked about with respect to the histamine problem. The first is a lack of the enzyme DAO, or Diamine Oxidase, which can be supplemented by purchasing Histame or similar products. These enzymes are expensive and while they do seem to help many people they don’t seem to get at the root of the problem for most. Another mechanism often discussed is a lack of function by the enzyme histamine N-methyl transferase, which since it requires a methyl group, could be lacking in those of us with methylation cycle polymorphisms such as MTHFR, or a toxic load that interferes with methylation. It has been said (and although it is really an oversimplification) that “undermethylators” run higher in histamine. I suspect this is the root of the issue for many people, but it takes time and effort to correct this situation. Quercetin is a supplement often recommended for histamine reactions as it stabilizes mast cells and can therefore reduce histamine release, but perhaps the main reason quercetin is effective is the fact that it is a methyl donor. Another approach used by Dr. Amy Yasko is the supplement SAM-e, which is the universal methyl donor in the body. Both of these supplements are methyl donors and can therefore provoke detox, particularly in those that are deficient, so discuss these options with your doctor.

Chris Kresser wrote a great article on this topic rather recently in which he talked about the role of gut bacteria in histamine intolerance. A fabulous clue to histamine issues that he shared in his article is that “reacting to fermented foods is a classic sign of histamine intolerance, especially if probiotic supplements are well tolerated”. I do think gut bacteria imbalances are a huge factor in histamine issues as it is known that some bacteria produce histamine and other bacteria degrade it.

The Missing Piece?

One aspect of histamine intolerance that is not being discussed and inspired me to write this blog post is the connection between histamine and amylase. You may be familiar with amylase as an enzyme that breaks down starch. Well, it has another role. It is released by the body in response to histamine because it has a role in anti-inflammatory reactions. It is possible that running high histamine over time, we can deplete our amylase, and then don’t digest starch well. Does that explain why there is so much talk of histamine in the grain-free world lately? Could that explain some of the improvements people experience when they go grain-free? Histamines can affect the digestive system in many ways, but can it be that those that have found their way to a grain-free diet may be those very people that have depleted their amylase as a result of an underlying histamine issue? Allerase is a product that contains amylase and is designed to be taken on an empty stomach to balance out the high histamine/low amylase seasonal issues. You can discuss this option with your doctor as well.

Final Thoughts

I always caution people not to get too far out of balance when implementing a special diet for themselves or their children. Usually I recommend adhering to a traditional diet, as it is time-tested, rather than, for example, relying too much on nut flour and coconut flour to replicate baked goods on a grain-free diet. But in the case of histamines, you may find that even certain traditional foods are not your friends. For some people, and I suspect this is more common than understood, too much bone broth and too many fermented foods can actually cause digestive issues! Too often people are encouraged to push through reactions as if they are just “healing crises”, or the temporary effects of “die-off” or detox. But sometimes you just need to listen to your body. In our modern world, toxins in the environment affect the function of enzymes in our bodies and prevent them from working ideally. This does not mean that healing is hopeless, but that we have to be patient and work with our bodies as we may heal at a slower pace than desired.

I hope this article gives you something to think about and discuss with your doctor, and while you are addressing the underlying issue perhaps your doctor will feel that Allerase or Histame can help. I hope this information helps you Peel Back another Onion Layer toward vibrant health!

Resources:









CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER!

This post was featured in Real Food Forager’s Sunday Snippets, Family Table Tuesday at The Polivka Family, and Nourishing Joy’s Thank Goodness It’s Monday.

This post is linked to Fresh Bites Friday, Strut Your Stuff, Simply Natural Saturdays, Sunny Simple Sunday, Sunday School, Weekend Whatever, Better Mom Monday, The More the Merrier Monday, Clever Chicks, Natural Living Monday, Motivation Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Hearth and Soul Hop, The Gathering Spot, Fat Tuesday, Family Table Tuesday, Eco-Kids Tuesday, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, SaltTree Social, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Tuned-in Tuesdays, Tutorial Tuesday, Healthy Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays, Mom’s Library, The Mommy Club, What I Learned Wednesday, Adorned From Above, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods Link-Up, Party Wave Wednesdays, Sugar & Spice, Homemaking Link-Up, Thank Your Body Thursday, Thriving on Thursdays, All Things Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Think Tank Thursday, Creative Juice, Thursday Favorite Things, Your Green Resource, Mommy-Brain Mixer, The HomeAcre Hop, Frogs and Snails, Thought Provoking Thursday, Proverbs 31 Thursdays, Thriving Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Show Off Friday, Foodterrific Foodtastic Friday, Fight Back Friday, Farmgirl Friday, Foodie Friday, LHITS DIY, Anything Goes, Food on Fridays, Pin Me Linky Party, Small Footprint Fridays, Modest Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Manic Monday, Monday Musings, Terrific Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Titus 2sday, Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesday Greens, Heart & Home, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Women Living Well Wednesdays, Riverton Housewives Round Up, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Seasonal Celebration Wednesday, Your Green Resource, Simple Lives, Catch a Glimpse, and Special Needs Blogger Weekend.

Excitotoxicity:  When Nourishing Foods Do Harm

Excitotoxicity: When Nourishing Foods Do Harm

Bone Broths. Ferments. Mushrooms. Peas. Tomatoes. Cheese. What do all of these foods have in common? Glutamates. Yes, the very foods we value as some of the most nourishing foods available to us are full of glutamates.

What Are Glutamates?

What are glutamates? Glutamate is an amino acid that occurs naturally in foods and some supplements. And it is an excitotoxin. An excitotoxin is a substance that binds to specific receptors in the brain and the body and causes the death of neurons. Now that sounds unpleasant, doesn’t it?

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, contributes to glutamate levels in the body. Its use in food is controversial because it is known for its adverse effects. There are other excitotoxins that are abundant in the Standard American Diet, such as aspartame, otherwise known as NutraSweet. You may be familiar with its reputation and health consequences associated with it.

What They Do

What are some of the symptoms associated with elevated glutamates? Headaches, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, ADHD-like symptoms, problems regulating our appetite, leaky gut, elevated eosinophils, bedwetting, problems focusing eyes, stimming, seizures, schizophrenia, and unfortunately, the list goes on.

Glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter in our body, along with GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid, to regulate neuronal excitability. GABA is important for muscle tone, speech, and has many other important roles in the body. GABA calms the nerves while glutamate excites them. Balance between these two neurotransmitters is what we are looking to achieve to avoid neurological inflammation and damage.

Excitotoxins like glutamate cause problems because they allow high levels of calcium into the cell, essentially exciting the cell to death. This is why it is said that “glutamate is the gun, and calcium is the bullet”.

Glutamates are not completely unhealthy. Some will argue that they are just toxic, but they do serve some important functions in the body, such as in learning and memory. Having high levels of glutamate receptors in order to handle excess glutamate is believed to explain the very high levels of intelligence we see in people with autism.

Dr. Russell Blaylock is a neurosurgeon and expert on this topic. His book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills is a great resource for more information. Much research has been done since he wrote it. Recent research has found that the glutamate receptors that bind glutamate and modulate excitatory and inhibitory transmission are not just in the brain. They are in all organs and tissues. Our entire gastrointestinal tract contains glutamate receptors. They are in our heart, lungs, reproductive organs, adrenals and even bones. So the balance between glutamate and GABA has a resounding effect throughout the body. It can even affect the permeability of the blood brain barrier.

Glutamate receptor dysfunction is associated with autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer and more. There are now suggested links to chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia too.

Glutamates in the Diet

A low glutamate diet is a crucial piece of the work Dr. Amy Yasko, who specializes in autism and other forms of chronic neurological inflammation, does with her patients. I have found this to be a big piece of the puzzle for many people. Sometimes removing just one food or supplement can have a very dramatic effect over time.

Many different foods and even supplements contribute to the glutamate load in our bodies. In addition to the foods I have already mentioned there are many other foods high in glutamates, such as soy, seaweed, and yeast. Some supplements are naturally high in glutamate and others contain substances that convert to glutamate, or pair up with glutamate to cause damage. Fortunately, there are also supplements that help us to achieve better balance between GABA and glutamate.

Glutamate and GABA imbalances are less of a risk in healthy people. They were likely a non-issue for people years ago on traditional diets that consumed broths and ferments in healthy amounts. In this age, unfortunately, when our body is affected by our increasingly toxic environment, these factors become more problematic. When the body cannot properly regulate glutamate it can build in the system. For example, the GAD enzyme, which converts glutamate to GABA is inhibited by lead. So someone with a high body burden of lead may have difficulty regulating the balance between glutamate and GABA. Mercury can also cause this glutamate “trapping”. And aluminum has an adverse effect. So I do believe the root of the problem is environment, not diet, but unfortunately all of these factors accumulate and affect our tolerance for food.

So in conclusion, as always, moderation is the key with diet. Glutamates are something to keep on your radar in this age of environmental toxicity. As for me, I do notice when I over consume glutamate containing foods my sleep suffers. I do, however, consume bone broths and ferments in moderation. I just watch my intake of pizza and other high glutamate foods and I never eat processed food with MSG, aspartame, or other excitotoxic additives. If you or your child are not tolerating high glutamate foods and are seeing some of the symptoms listed above I hope this information will help you to fine-tune your diet with the help of your doctor to achieve the results you want. This is how we Peel Back the Onion Layers to achieve better health!

For more information:

Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, By Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

The Role of Excitotoxins in Autistic Type Behavior
by Dr. Amy Yasko

 



CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER!

This post was featured at Thank Your Body Thursday.

This post is linked to Mop It Up Monday, Monday Mania, Natural Living Monday, Mondays Link-Up, Gluten Free Monday, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Whole Foods Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Natural Living Link-up, Keep it Real Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, GAPS Friendly Friday, Farm Girl Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, and TALU Tuesday.

Is a Grain-Free Diet Right For You?

Is a Grain-Free Diet Right For You?

Grain-free diets are getting more and more attention these days. Many people rave about their benefits for autism, allergies, autoimmune diseases and various digestive disorders. Here is a brief explanation of three of the most popular grain-free healing diets.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was explained in Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet, published by the late Elaine Gottschall, the mother of an eight year old daughter with “incurable” ulcerative colitis. Her daughter’s condition was continuing to deteriorate after years of conventional treatment when her new doctors shared the details of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with Elaine. Elaine’s daughter was symptom free within 2 years and returned to eating normally a few years after that. The basic idea behind this diet is to starve out microbes so that the gut can heal by eliminating disaccharides and polysaccharides. This means that only very specific carbohydrates that are easy to digest are consumed along with proteins and fats. This diet forbids grains, starches and refined sugars and allows many healthy proteins and vegetables, most fruits and nuts, honey, certain beans, and certain forms of dairy. This diet is known to treat irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic diarrhea, ADHD, autism and schizophrenia.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)

The GAPS diet was designed by Natasha Campbell-McBride and explained in her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It was based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, but as a Neurologist and the parent of a child that is now recovered from autism, Dr. Campbell-McBride focuses in her book more on the physiology and the psychology and the connections between the brain and the body. This diet allows and excludes almost exactly the same foods as SCD. One very notable exception is that on GAPS cocoa powder is allowed (once digestive symptoms have subsided and as tolerated). The GAPS diet emphasizes Weston A. Price/Nourishing Traditions principals such as homemade bone broths and fermented foods. This diet is recommended for all forms of autoimmunity and inflammatory diseases and conditions. GAPS is a little more liberal with supplementation, allowing probiotics containing bifidobacteria and other strains of bacteria that are forbidden on SCD.

Paleo or Primal Diets

Paleo or Primal Diets are big in health and fitness communities these days. This diet is also known as the caveman diet, the stone age diet and the hunter-gatherer diet. The basic idea is to eat the way Paleolithic man ate. They eat fish, pasture-raised animals, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. They exclude grains, legumes, sugar, processed oils, and (usually) dairy. There are disputes over whether certain foods, such as butter and potatoes are truly “paleo” within the community. This is a good option for clients that want to remove the harder to digest grains but keep some starchy vegetables as well as some wiggle room (as this tends to be a more flexible lifestyle without the strict rules of SCD and GAPS). Keep in mind that SCD and GAPS tend to be better accepted as effective within the IBD and autism communities for starving pathogens, but Paleo might be a better fit for your family. There are variations on this diet referred to as “autoimmune paleo” that many people use and report great results.

Potential Problems with Grain-Free Diets

All diets have their potential problems and grain-free is no exception. Excessive protein could result in ammonia problems in susceptible people. Long-cooked broths and fermented foods contain glutamates which some predisposed people may react to. There is also the potential to overdo high oxalate foods, usually by trying to recreate typical SAD (Standard American Diet) baked goods with a lot of nut flour. Like any other diet, there is also the potential for salicylate or phenol reactions. A grain-free diet can be a wonderful tool but it is worth mentioning from the beginning that it is important to consume as wide a variety of foods as possible and not to overdo any one food in order to avoid these issues. As explained in my post Diets that Heal, any diet as written in a book may allow foods that are not suitable for all. Careful observation of physical and behavioral symptoms and food detective skills can go a long way toward personalizing the diet to achieve the results you want.







CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER!

This post is featured at Real Food Forager’s Sunday Snippets, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Everything Healthy Naturally.


This post is linked to Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Monday Mania, Mondays Link-Up, Make Your Own Monday, Gluten Free Monday, Natural Living Monday, The Gathering Spot, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, Merry Merry Munchies, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Keep it Real Thursday, Natural Living Link-up, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, GAPS Friendly Friday, Fight Back Friday, Freaky Friday, Mop It Up Monday, and TALU Tuesday.

Diets That Heal

Diets That Heal

I probably don’t have to convince you that diet is integral to health. If you are here you already know that. Nutritional deficiencies are extremely common in autism, ADHD, allergies and autoimmunity. And any condition that affects the gut will create even further deficiencies. Deficiencies in the very nutrients we need to heal. So we will ultimately need to flood our bodies with nutrients. But there are so many diets purported to heal. Where do we start?

There really are many diets out there and trying to find the right one can be a little overwhelming. Today I would like to address the basic concepts behind the most popular of these diets and discuss some of the underlying factors and common themes.

Keep in mind that often one has to combine these diets or incorporate aspects of other diets into their primary diet in order to achieve full healing. You have to find what works for each individual. For some, the gluten-free casein-free diet completely turns their lives around. Others have to do a little more work and eliminate other troublesome foods or ingredients.

Here are some of the most popular healing diets:

• The Gluten-free Diet (GF)
• The Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet (GFCF)
• The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)
• The Low Oxalate Diet (LOD)
• The Body Ecology Diet (BED) or other anti-candida diets
• The Weston A. Price Diet (WAPF) or Nourishing Traditions Diet
• Paleo or Primal Diets
• The Failsafe Diet or other diets low in additives, salicylates, amines and/or glutamates
• The Feingold Diet
• Diets low in fructose
• The FODMAPS Diet
• Low ammonia diets
• Elimination or Rotation Diets

What are some common themes in these diets?


“We must never forget that what the patient takes beyond his ability to digest does harm.”

~Dr. Samuel Gee.

The foods, chemicals and/or additives we are taking in that we are unable to digest or process affect us physically and/or neurologically.

And this manifests differently in different people. This may look like inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, allergies, asthma, ADHD, autism, or more. Food intolerances manifest in many different ways.

Whatever diet you choose, you want to remove the burden on the digestive system, immune system, and detoxification system. We want a strongly anti-inflammatory diet that is extremely dense in nutrients and feels like a good fit for your family.


Lack of Research

I have seen several recent attempts at funding studies to determine the effectiveness of specific healing diets for autism and autoimmune disease. The problem is that nobody wants to fund these studies because there is no money to be made (and there is the potential for a lot of money to be lost) if we know we can heal ourselves with food. So the research is scanty, but the anecdotal evidence is tremendous.

A recent study at the University of Massachusetts gave me hope for the future of research in this area. They used a diet similar to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and had very positive results: http://works.bepress.com/barbara_olendzki/46/

As an illustration of the power of diet over autism, the Autism Research Institute collected the following data in “Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions” .

Just imagine how much more powerful dietary intervention can be when the diet is personalized. For example, a child goes on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and experiences many improvements in digestion, but then incorporates some aspects of the Feingold Diet and behavior improves. Sometimes special attention must be given to specific compounds in foods that are interfering with progress, rather than just adhering dutifully to one diet. Another example, a child on the gluten-free diet could still have physical and behavioral difficulties if she has trouble with oxalates and her favorite glutenous foods are replaced with higher oxalate substitutes. A mother laboriously making ferments and broths for her child on the GAPS diet could be oblivious to the fact that glutamates in those healing foods are causing headaches and/or insomnia. Or, a reliance on a high meat diet could be producing excess ammonia and symptoms such as brain-fog or stimming.

When you read the instruction books on these healing diets they just don’t mention the potential pitfalls. With an understanding of how each diet can go wrong, you can avoid these potential problems. With a little observation, you can individualize the diet to meet your needs or the needs of your child.

Gluten & Casein

Gluten and casein free diets are commonly used in the treatment of autism. Gluten is a protein that comes from wheat and several other grains. Casein is a protein that comes from dairy products. These proteins have become ubiquitous in the Standard American Diet, found in everything from chicken nuggets to salad dressing. We often hear that removing gluten and casein from the diet is an excellent start toward healing. But why is this important? Gluten and casein are difficult to digest. They are common food sensitivities. And when they are improperly digested, peptides remain called gliadorphin (or gluteomorphin) and casomorphin, which react with opiate receptors in the brain, mimicking the effects of heroin and morphine. They can affect speech, cognitive and auditory processing, and decrease the ability to feel pain. These peptides also become addictive. This can be an issue in autism, ADHD, celiac disease, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression and more.

Beyond Gluten and Casein

What about the other diets? Do they have advantages? You bet! Many people do not heal just from removing gluten and casein. Where there is chronic diarrhea and/or constipation and gut inflammation the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS have been known to take healing to another level. Where there is pain, and especially urinary symptoms, the Low Oxalate Diet is a favorite.

I originally started my daughter on SCD/GAPS for gut healing. Some symptoms cleared up almost immediately, particularly her neediness and fussiness. Headbanging disappeared literally overnight. It was as if she was immediately more comfortable. It wasn’t until she was on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for over a year with mild success that I began to realize that certain food groups were still causing issues for her. By further refining her diet, I was able to eliminate almost all of her symptoms fairly rapidly after that. Being a food detective can really help with physical symptoms and behaviors.

There is no one diet that works for everyone. It is important to respect our individual differences. We are all very different biochemically. One man’s food is truly another man’s poison. Some of us thrive on meat, and others produce too much ammonia when they consume it. You really have to listen to your own body or use your parent’s intuition and do what feels right. Some will need the convenience and flexibility of just a GF/CF diet. Others will pursue more gut healing with SCD/GAPS. Some may go for nutrient density without removing any foods by preparing foods with special methods to enhance their digestibility according to Weston A. Price principles. There is no right way, just the best way for you.

So step by step, let’s start peeling back the onion layers with the diet that resonates with you.






CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER!

This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer, The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania, Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday, Delicious Obsession’s Traditional Tuesdays, Whole New Mom’s Allergy Free Wednesday, Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, Real Food Whole Health’s Fresh Bites Friday, Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday, Mop It Up Monday, and TALU.