STRATEGIES FOR HEALING FOOD ALLERGIES : I was first diagnosed with food sensitivities in 2008, using a blood test. A couple years earlier, I had been diagnosed with “Leaky Gut”, which I was told was caused by eating processed foods. So I stopped eating the foods on the list, began eliminating processed foods and eating only organic foods. However, after a couple years I didn’t notice any difference, so without really realizing it, I gradually added the foods back into my diet.
Then in 2012, I began having a problem with food and supplement capsules getting caught in my throat, to the point That I couldn’t even get my saliva to go down. After a trip to my local GI doc and two procedures where they put a scope down my esophagus, I learned I have a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), which basically means when I eat foods I am sensitive to, they cause white cells (Eosinophils) to migrate to my esophagus, causing it to swell (Esophagitis), making the opening smaller.
The GI doc said they didn’t really know the cause, and didn’t have a cure, except to have me take inhaled prednisone for the rest of my life. Well, for me that wasn’t an option, because I know that long term use of corticosteroids can destroy the immune system, and wreck havoc with all of my major organs.
I had worked too hard to build up my immune system after being diagnosed with a non-existent immune system in 2008. I had read online, that EoE was probably caused by food sensitivities, so I became obsessed with eliminating foods on my sensitivity list. As time went by, foods and supplement capsules got stuck less and less. So for the past several years I have focused on eating only organic, GMO Free, unprocessed foods and avoiding (as much as possible) foods on my sensitivity list.
For the majority of people with food allergies, which are more likely food sensitivities, there is a cause and effect response when they eat a food they are sensitive to – i.e. GI distress. For me, I didn’t feel any different, when I ate those foods. However gradually, over time, my esophagus would swell and the opening would get too small to allow food to pass. So for me it is a lot more difficult to remember and/or stick to my restrictive diet – until I couldn’t get anything to go down my esophagus.
This morning I read the following blog post by Donna Schwenk, and it all made sense. In it she talks about her daughter being sick when she ate foods she is allergic to, and that she had taken antibiotics annually over the years, for seasonal sinus infections. A newly released study indicates that antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria in the gut, causing gastrointestinal problems.
I have lost count of the number of time I took antibiotics for sinus infections, recurrent/chronic bladder infections, Lyme Disease, before dental work, and following surgery. So, I am a prime candidate for severe food sensitivities and GI issues.
In the past couple months I have been increasing my daily intake of Kombucha and Kefir, which are known to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. And just this past week, started doing one or the other with each meal. About a month ago, I found Donna Schwenk’s website, where she talks about the “Trilogy”, being Kombucha, Kefir and Cultured Vegetables.
I had two parts of the Trilogy, with Kombucha and Kefir. I have been making my own Kombucha for a couple years now, and had started buying Kefir at the store. Just recently I purchased some Kefir Grains, which allows me to make my own Kefir, from Organic, unhomogenized and low temp pasteurized milk.
In the article Donna talks about having one of the Trilogy with each meal. After reading this article, I am now going to start making Cultured Vegetables, to complete the Trilogy. I would really love to be able to start eating some of the foods on my long sensitivity list again.
So, check out this blog post, and then look at the rest of Donna’ website. There is a wealth of valuable information there:
Healing From Food Allergies
By Donna Schwenk
“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”
Healing From Food Allergies :It was early 2002 and my sixteen year old daughter climbed out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen. “How do you feel this morning?” I asked. Her response broke me. “I never feel good anymore mom. I feel bad all the time. My stomach hurts after everything I eat.” What had happened to my daughter that caused her to become allergic to the foods she would eat? What was causing all the pain in her gut? Doctors couldn’t help me except to suggest the removal of her gallbladder, hoping this would help. I was in pain because she was in pain, and I was on a mission to help her. I had just started making cultured foods the previous year and found that these foods helped with her digestion and that morning I called someone who had sold me coconut oil and was in my opinion a health expert. What happened next changed not only the course of Maci’s gut but my whole life as well. I told this person I was making cultured foods, which she also believed in, and she said something to me that I will never forget. “You should feed your daughter a cultured food at every meal since it helps with digestion, and see if it makes a difference.”
So I did.
Maci had a cultured food with each of her meals and in a month her stomach stopped hurting. Within three months her food allergies started evaporating, and a year later she could eat anything she desired. She was no longer allergic to the mass of foods she had been allergic to. It felt like someone had casually handed me the keys to the kingdom of food allergies, and I am so glad I heeded that casual advice, because it changed everything for me. I began telling my friends about this miraculous method of healing food allergies and fixing their guts, and they began to heal too. Before I knew it, people were coming to me in droves and my life began to change dramatically. I started researching everywhere trying to find evidence of what I was witnessing and none was to be found. So I decided, since this message of eating cultured foods at every meal was given to me to help my daughter, I would tell it to anybody who needed help.
I had no research and no proof besides the lives I was helping and witnessing – until now. A new study, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has discovered not only a possible cause of food allergies but a probable cure. Food allergies rose a whopping 50% between 1997 and 2007, and I saw this in my own home. My daughter who had no previous food allergies had suddenly developed them and I wanted to know why. The team found that young children overexposed to antibiotics were at greater risk of developing food allergies. They were able to identify a naturally occurring bacteria in the human gut that keeps people from developing food allergies. The bacteria, called Clostridia, is a big class of bacteria which includes hundreds of members. This strain of bacteria diminishes with frequent antibiotic use at a young age — making children more susceptible to food allergies later in life. Maci was given antibiotics every year when she would get her yearly sinus infection, and now I can see how this affected her.
The research team administered antibiotics to young mice and found they were more likely to develop peanut allergies than the control group. Then they were given this special and diverse group of bacteria called Clostridia. This is a good bacteria that naturally occurs in mammalian guts — and like magic, the mice’s sensitivity went away. They were no longer allergic.
I got chills when I first read this study and felt myself well up inside and I shouted out loud, “I KNEW IT!” even though nobody was around to hear me. I believe that cultured foods are so effective at healing the gut because they contain many different strains of good bacteria and good yeasts and they are predigested foods that help us digest the foods we eat with them. The special group of super cultured foods called the Trilogy (kefir, kombucha and cultured veggies) were the ones I used to heal my daughter and help many others. They have many different strains of bacteria and will colonize the gut and repair it.
Here is the deal, if we give the body what it needs, our bodies can do the job it was designed to do, heal us! It’s how it works and when you are confused and feel afraid and in pain there is always help for you. You are not alone. If I myself, who was struggling to find answers to heal my daughters gut pain, can heal and find the answers, so can you. The answer came to me when I needed it. It wasn’t a billboard, it was in a conversation that felt really important, and I just had to act on it, trusting that the power that made the body can heal the body if we give it what it needs. So if you are reading this, I urge you to heed the call and start eating a small amount of cultured foods at each meal, be it a spoonful of cultured veggies, 4 to 8 ounces of kombucha, or 1/2 to 1 cup of kefir, so you can heal too. I removed all processed foods and gave her real, whole foods as well. That is what I did. It was the road less traveled but it made all the difference.
As things continue to evolve, there will be more evidence of what I am telling you. Restoring the gut with good bacteria that has been stripped through antibiotics is one of the keys to restoring our health and our lives. When you are healthy you can’t help but show others the way too. The exciting part? This is just food, not drugs, which makes this easy for everyone to do.
When I launched my book last year, Cultured Food For Life, I gave away, and still offer, a free online video class when people buy my book. (If you have already bought my book and didn’t receive the video shoot, please contact me) This video class outlines what I did exactly to heal my daughter’s food allergies and gut.
“How to heal your digestion and allergies”
It is as simple as eating a cultured food at every meal be it kefir, kombucha, or cultured veggies and it works like a charm. You don’t have to do exactly what I did, just start eating these foods at every meal and eliminating the processed foods and you can heal too. It’s the bacteria that does the work, but you have to give the body what it needs and then let it do its job. Don’t you just love that? A hundred trillion friends you didn’t even know you had! They are tiny, but they’re mighty.