How Food Elimination “Saved” Me From Specialists! The Power of Food as Medicine! I have been practicing primary care, integrative and lifestyle medicine physician’s assistant since April of 1983! Wow! More than 36 years! Ancient! The very first integrative medicine practice I worked in was in Marina Del Rey. The physician put everyone on a vegetable puree for two weeks with some psyllium seed husks, coffee enemas and a slug of vitamins. Over those two weeks I saw just about every complaint improve… From joint pain, to headaches, to inflammatory bowel disease and much more.
What has stuck with me these 36 plus years is that the common foods you are eating can cause VIRTUALLY ANY SYMPTOM you might have…
Point 1 – Usually these food reactions are NOT true “allergic” IGE, immediate onset, reactions so your traditional allergists, ENT, GI or primary care doctor won’t pick them up on their scratch or prick testing. There-fore you should use the word “Food Intolerance” not “Food Allergy” for a symptom related to food.
Point 2 – Most of your food sensitivities can change. They are not fixed (some are, but most are not). They can change with stress, your GUT HEALTH, your age and for other reasons.
Point 3 – Whenever a symptom occurs out of nowhere ask first, “What did I just eat? What is new in my diet?” If you have a chronic problem (s) ask yourself, “What do I eat 4-7 days per week or really crave?”
Point 4 – Have you ever gone on a fast, restricted diet, traveled, or changed your diet for any reason and felt better or noticed some chronic symptoms go away? PAY ATTENTION. REMEMBER WHAT YOU JUST ATE OR, MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT YOU DIDN’T EAT!
Point 5 – It only takes “ONE” food you are sensitive to and if you eat it daily you can feel terrible even though the rest of your diet is “pristine” and low in common allergens.
Point 6 – One food can cause multiple complaints in your body at the same time (i.e. headaches, muscle cramps, urinary frequency, esophageal spasm, skin rashes, etc.)!
My Personal Story…
I have had an esophageal spasm maybe once a month for the last 20 years. It feels like you swallowed a golf ball and it gets stuck. It hurts so much at times it brings tears to your eyes. Last about 10-20 minutes. Feels like a heart attack.
Have had spontaneous muscle cramps in calves, especially at night, but could be anywhere that I contracted muscle (i.e. like my stomach, thigh, etc.). Also easy muscle or tendon “tears” with more aggressive driving off my legs (swing dancing sometimes or sprinting).
Was having difficulty being able to hold my urine more than an hour or two for a 3-4 month period in late 2018. An hour was max. I tested myself for a urinary tract infection but there wasn’t one.
A weekly headache. Start behind my right eye in the morning and grows all day with nausea.
I know the aggravating foods involved – coffee, chocolate, teas (green or black) and alcohol. The tea and coffee sensitivity has worsened over the last 2-3 years. Sometimes they would trigger a headache. Sometimes a skin rash. Sometimes an esophageal spasm. Chocolate would give me a headache the next day. Alcohol I have always been sensitive too, but I would be less sensitive (less headaches the next day) after giving myself a round of the anti-fungals like fluconazole or itraconazole. Any combination of the above might lead to these complaints but a common denominator was caffeine or caffeine like compounds, especially in coffee.
So I went off all chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol and Wa Lah! All those complaints are gone! Most remarkable was the frequent urination. Within a day I could hold my urine. The other symptoms I have always kept at bay by controlling the level of consumption of those foods.
Moral of Story - If I hadn’t known and believed food could cause any symptom I might have eventually gone to a neurologist for headaches; a gastroenterologist or cardiologist for esophageal spasms; a urologist for frequent urination; my primary care or internist for muscle cramps; and a dermatologist for weird skin rashes.
Just knowing that food can cause this array of symptoms and that your sensitivities can change is powerful medicine. In another Healthy Tip I can get into the reasons why your food sensitivities can and will change. Food elimination by diet change, fasting or partial fasting can save you thousands of dollars and tons of unneeded mental stress and physical discomfort.….FEEL OR SEE SOMETHING DIFFERENT…THINK FOOD AS A CAUSE FIRST!
Be and Stay Well,
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