Posted in food allergies, health & wellness, loreeebee.ca

Nightshade Vegetables: Should You Eat Them?

Nightshade vegetables are wonderful if you are not sensitive to them. Unfortunately, many times people don’t realize a sensitivity to them until they are investigating unpleasant inflammatory or gastrointestinal symptoms.

What are Nightshade Vegetables?

Tomatoes (and tomatillos), okra, eggplant, peppers, goji berries, and white potatoes are all members of the nightshade family. Also included in the group are spices such as red pepper flakes, chili pepper, cayenne and paprika.  Too bad, as all of these contain antioxidants, vitamins (C and B) and minerals. Not to mention they are tasty.

nightshade vegetables

Why are Nightshade Vegetables Getting a Bad Name?

Unfortunately, even though these vegetables are normally considered very healthy, they can cause more trouble than they are worth for many people. That’s because they also contain nutrients called alkaloids. The alkaloids in turn contain a nitrogen called solanine. While nitrogen is great for fertilizing plants, it is not so easily processed or agreeable in our digestive systems.

Research is now showing that nitrogen consumption can aggravate chronic digestive issues such as leaky gut, irritable bowel, and Celiac disease as well as arthritis and joint pain. Nightshade vegetables have also been shown to create an inflammatory response in many people, especially those afflicted with autoimmune disorders.

Allergies in any form can range from mild to deadly. Recognized currently are serious allergic reactions to nightshades ranging from hives and itchiness to swelling and difficulty breathing.

Confirm a Sensitivity to Nightshades with an Elimination Diet

It’s not a quick diagnosis. Your physician may suggest you avoid them if you are plagued with inflammatory or digestive episodes. Or, you can make the decision yourself. Either way, an elimination diet may provide some clarity.

Start by eliminating all of the vegetables and spices listed above for a minimum of one month. Then re-introduce them, one at a time, into your diet while monitoring your symptoms. You may react to one and not another from the group. Raw versus cooked versions may create different reactions too. It may be beneficial to keep a journal to record day to day changes and reactions.

Living with the Results

How severely you have to restrict nightshade vegetables from your diet will depend on your findings in your elimination diet as well as the severity of your symptoms when reintroducing them.

You make the call!

Posted in food, food allergies, gluten intolerance, health & wellness, loreeebee.ca

Gluten Intolerance: Know the Symptoms

Any of the following symptoms could be signs that you suffer from gluten intolerance. If any of these signs apply to you, get yourself checked out; you will be glad you did!  I did years ago after suffering through many of the symptoms listed below; see this previous post to read about my story.

Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.

  2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.

  3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.

  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.

  5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.

  6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

  7. Migraine headaches.

  8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.

  9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

  10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

How to Deal with Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance can affect many of the organs in your body, not just your stomach and intestines.  This is especially true over a long term exposure.  Get informed; knowledge is the best way to move forward to better health.

Gluten-free options are currently very popular in grocery stores and restaurants.  I am happy to report there has been a huge improvement in the ten years since I was diagnosed with my wheat allergy.  

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Posted in food allergies, gluten-free, health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

You are what you eat, I am living proof

I know this saying is old, but it has become increasingly clear to me recently.  Way back in 2011 I was diagnosed with an allergy to wheat.  Since then I have avoided anything that contained wheat.  It wasn’t easy, but I have grown accustomed to it.  So apparently has my body.

In December of 2018 my husband and I tried out the keto diet as one of our sons was doing it and we were on vacation with him and his family.  After a few weeks of experimenting with that, we altered the strict keto version to what I call a “modified keto.”  We consume lots of fats, but the good, omega 3 kind.  We don’t restrict vegetables or fruits, AKA the good carbs. We avoid processed foods that contain lots of sugar and preservatives, and consume lots of protein, but stick to the lean and non processed variety.

In March of this year, those good habits flew out the window with the arrival of COVID-19 isolation recommendations.  Feeling sorry for ourselves (missing our kids and grandkids) or bored, or both, we began the slippery slope to snacking and TV binging.

When Easter festivities were cancelled due to social distancing measures, I still cooked a big dinner and baked delicious goodies, but divvied (most of) it up and dropped off care packages and Easter baskets to our sons’ respective doorsteps for their families to enjoy.  Usually when I bake for family gatherings I include one or two gluten free varieties.  Not this year, unfortunately for me.  Instead I snacked on the wheat laden goodies, limiting myself to half a cookie per day to avoid the stomach problems associated with my wheat allergy.

Shortly after Easter the goodies were gone from our home, but the bumps on my scalp, one of the pre-wheat allergy diagnosis symptoms, were back.   As was the bloating, fatigue and general lethargy, not to mention a few extra pounds. All the things I had worked so hard to eliminate!

If that doesn’t prove “you are what you eat” I don’t know what does.

Photo by Trang Doan, via Pexels

 

 

 

Posted in food allergies, health and wellness, loreeebee.ca

Food Allergies: How to Live with Them

Food allergies can be a pain (literally) to live with.  Some are much more severe than others, with the most severe allergies, called anaphylactic, potentially fatal.  Allergic reactions vary from mild skin rash, slight cough, or itchy throat, to stomach cramps and diarrhea, to heart failure, complete throat/airway obstruction, or unconsciousness.

The Funtion of the Immune System

Common to all allergic reactions is the fact that our immune systems treat the allergen as a foreign substance.  Our immune systems are designed to protect us, so when such a foreign and potentially dangerous substance (called an allergen)is identified, the body goes into attack mode.

In the case of an anaphylactic reaction, the immune system produces massive amounts of histamines which cause the muscles in the lungs to contract, blood vessels to dilate and heart muscle to overwork to a point of heart failure.

A non-anaphylactic, but potentially just as painful, reaction results when the allergen results in the production of antibodies that are deposited in many organs throughout the body.   This is called a CHRONIC reaction, meaning not acute.  This buildup of anibodies takes years to accumulate, so reactions are often hard to diagnose and identify.  Symptoms can mimic asthma, arthritis, high cholesterol and more.  

My WHEAT allergy is this chronic, yet painful and unhealthy type of food allergy.

Wheat or Gluten Allergies and Gastronintestinal Disorders

There are many misconceptions of wheat and gluten allergies as well as other gastrointestinal disorders.  Here are some of the important facts:

  • People allegic to wheat and or gluten can and do have anaphylactic reactions as described above.
  • It is a protein in the wheat that is the culprit in wheat allergies.  Gluten is one of, but not the only protein found in wheat that can cause allergic reactions.  So if you are allergic to wheat you do not have to be allergic to gluten, but if you are allergic to gluten, you are allergic to wheat.
  • Gluten is present in wheat, barley and rye.  Semolina, spelt and kamut are less common types of wheat that contain gluten.
  • Oats do not contain gluten, but most products that contain oats have the possiblity of cross contamination from gluten within the grains listed above.  For this reason, people that suffer from celiac disease or a gluten allergy often avoid oats too.
  • Celiac disease results when the allergic reaction to gluten happens within the small intestine.  Most people are aware that celiac disease causes digstive problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhea, but are unaware that edema, fatigue and anemia are common symptoms as well.  Diagnosis is made from a biopsy of the small intestine.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) causes similar symptoms to celiac disease and chronic food allergies but affects the large intestine.  It is often caused by a bacterial imbalance within the digestive system, and can often be treated with a probiotic.
  • Crohn’s disease causes intermittent patches of inflammation between normal patches within the whole gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but predominantly the lower small intestine and upper large intestine (colon).  The inflammation can extend through the layers of the intestines into surrounding mesentery (tissue)  The cause of Crohn’s disease is suspected to be related to an overactive immune system.
  • Ulcerative Colitis usually starts in the rectum and extends upward into the large intestine.  It only involves the inner lining of the intestine and is more localized (not patchy) than Crohns.  Although diet and stress aggravate UC, the exact cause is still unknown, but also thought to be linked to the immune system of its victims.

Removing Wheat or Gluten from your Diet

Many people not diagnosed with a gluten or wheat allergy have chosen to eliminate those substances from their diets because they believe that fewer carbohydrates in their diet can result in a  healthier lifestyle.   As suspected by many doubters, this decision may turn out to be temporary like many other fad diets that have come and gone.

If you suffer from the symptoms common to the conditions listed above and cannot control them with your diet, seek advice from your doctor.  Why people choose to eliminate wheat and gluten from their diets does not matter if their lives are improved.

Unfortunately, for many of us, it is not an option.

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Posted in food, food allergies, gluten intolerance, health & wellness, loreeebee.ca

Gluten Intolerance: The Symptoms

Any of the following symptoms could be signs that you are gluten intolerant.  If any of these signs apply to you, get yourself checked out; you will be glad you did!  I did years ago after suffering through many of the symptoms listed below; see this previous post to read about my story.

Common Symtoms

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.

  2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.

  3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.

  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.

  5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.

  6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

  7. Migraine headaches.

  8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.

  9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

  10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

Gluten intolerance can affect many of the organs in your body, not just your stomach and intestines.  Get informed today!

photo credit