My pre-60th birthday journey to improve my previous test results from Seasons of Farragut continues! This month I decided to focus on the first tenet in our Seasons wellness regimen – nutrition!
About two years ago I took the ALCAT test and was astonished at my lengthy list of reactive foods! The ALCAT is a fascinating food sensitivity test in which white blood cells are introduced to a variety of foods, chemicals, and herbs. The severity of the reaction determines if a substance is mild, moderate, severe, or normal within my body. Since knowledge is power, I decided to receive the news that gluten and dairy were on my “severe list” as a positive indicator rather than “buyers’ remorse” for having performed the test!
Lyn-Genet Recitas has written a book, The Plan, which explains how inflammation from food intolerance can cause symptoms such as joint pain, skin disorders, fatigue, weight issues, headaches, and digestive disorders. Whereas a food allergy can have almost an immediate effect, a food sensitivity may not show up for several hours to 3 days later. For weight gain, it’s not as much about the calories as the chemistry of the body. One person may benefit from last night’s salmon and broccoli but someone else may actually gain 2 pounds. Inflammation from food intolerance causes damage to the lining of the gut. As the lining becomes “leaky” with gaps present, foods begin to slip through not completely digested. This causes the body to attack undigested foods.
As we age, inflammation can increase which causes our systems to slow down. Many of us have much less stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down food. This can ultimately alter our weight and our health. Reactive foods cause our bodies to produce more histamine which causes water retention via dilated capillaries. The brain responds by increasing the production of Cortisol. As more Cortisol is produced, fewer sex hormones are produced since both sets of hormones depend on the same building blocks. Increased Cortisol causes an increase in glucose which causes an increase in blood sugar! This domino effect alters the good bacteria in the gut and can increase yeast production. The altered gut flora leads to a weakened immune response since about 70% of our immune system is in the gut.
The thyroid gland can also be affected by food intolerances. White blood cells that attack undigested foods may migrate to the thyroid gland and begin to attack it. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland. This is determined by a blood test that measures the number of specific antibodies against the thyroid gland. As I began to avoid gluten, my own antibody level began to decrease. I was able to decrease my thyroid replacement dosage. This month, I repeated my ALCAT test and found that many of my food intolerances had improved. Not only had I attempted to avoid specific foods, but I also worked intentionally on healing my GI tract. I take a powerful probiotic daily as well as a digestive enzyme with my dinner. For one month of each season, I take a protein shake that is loaded with L-Glutamine. This amazing amino acid helps to heal the leaky gut. It is packed with anti-inflammatories and herbs to help my liver and GI tract detox.
Two years ago, I had about a dozen foods on my severe list. This year, I only have one – apples! So, I’m going to give them up for the next 6 months. My moderate reactive list contains 18 foods which I will have to have great discipline to avoid. These are healthy foods but for me, can cause hidden inflammation. Gluten now causes moderate reactions in my body. I have noticed that when I indulge in gluten, the next morning, my joints ache and my stomach hurts. I doubt if I will ever reintroduce gluten. Dairy is moderate also. Fortunately there are lots of great choices for me and I look forward to continual healing of my GI tract. Our Nutritional Consultant, Carolyn will keep me focused on this life-long journey of wellness. Be sure to check out her amazing recipes on our website!
Long term benefits with this specialized nutritional therapy will keep inflammation down and hopefully help me avoid chronic disease as well as weight gain. If you would like more information regarding the ALCAT test, call Seasons today. Let’s age intentionally with nutrition being our number one “medicine!”