Deciphering Food Intolerances

16 Jul

As I mentioned in my post last week I have recently had a Food & Drink Intolerance Test done and surprise surprise I am intolerant to far more foods than I previously realized. If you missed the first part of my food intolerance saga, sorry I mean story, you can read it here.

Innocent Looking Grapes...Image credit Emlyn via Morgue File

Innocent Looking Grapes…Image credit Emlyn via Morgue File

Just to recap here’s the list of no-go foods for me now:

  • Grape
  • Brazil
  • Almond
  • Egg white
  • Egg Yolk
  • Coconut
  • Cows Milk
  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Kiwi
  • Soya
  • Turkey
  • Yeast
  • Gluten
  • Wheat

I’m seeing this long list as an opportunity. It doesn’t scare me or make me feel fed up. In fact it gives me such hope. I have long thought that diet plays a major role in ME/CFS and could be the key I’ve been desperately searching for, to unlocking my health. Who knows, I may be heading off in totally the wrong direction, heading to Timbuktu as opposed to Recovery Central, but I suspect that by cutting out all of my trigger foods I will see improvement both in terms of my gastro symptoms and and my health overall.

As part of my intolerance testing I received a consultation with a nutritionist. It was done over the phone from the comfort of my bedroom so minimal energy was exerted, always a plus where ME/CFS is concerned.

The consultation was really useful and helped me to scope out exactly what my list of trigger foods means. Here are some of the main points:

  • Grape – I haven’t eaten grapes as fresh fruit in a long time (high glycemic index). But I do occasionally drink white wine (shock horror!) and eat raisins.  Bye bye raisins.  I only occasionally drink alcohol these days, and when I do it’s usually only half a glass of sparkling wine (gives me less of a headache than flat white), but I am going to France, the land of wine soon for a fortnight’s holiday…I imagine you can feel my pain, no sipping wine under the Mediterranean sun, as well of course no cheese, croissants etc.. 😦 Grape juice is also used as a sweetener in all manner of different things from bread to jam. Label reading just became my full time hobby. The fact my intolerance reaction was v high to grape even tho I don’t eat the actual fruit, suggests that grape juice has been getting into me in other ways and now I have to be super vigilant.
  • Image credit Wildeme via Morgue File

    Image credit Wildeme via Morgue File

    Cows Milk – I haven’t actually eaten cows milk or yoghurt for a long time now. But until recently I’d been having goats cheese and yoghurt. Similar to the grape situation, as I reacted so strongly to the cow’s milk sample, despite not consuming it, I am clearly severely intolerant to the stuff. So all animal milk based products are now out.

  • Eggs – this is a real blow. Eggs provide such a quick and easy meal, not to mention their role in baking! On the baking side, I’ve been reading and found egg substitutes you can use such as ground flax with water, applesauce and commercially made egg replacement powders are available. Rest assured I will keep baking and eating cake.  Phew! The bigger problem is that eggs are an easy low energy meal for me to prepare, a lifesaver on bad ME/CFS days. You can’t really boil an apple or make scrambled eggs with egg replacement powder…and I don’t have any toast soldiers to dip anyway thanks to the yeast intolerance (see below).
  • Brazils & almonds – interestingly other nuts are fine, so I can substitute easily here. I had been having almond milk as a non-dairy alternative so that’s now out the window. But I have found both rice and hazelnut milks readily available that taste pretty good (yes I was surprised too)! And I live in hope of having enough energy one day to make my own rice and nut milks. Watch this space.
  • Wine aging in oak barrels. Photo credit missyredboots via Morgue File

    Wine aging in oak barrels. Photo credit missyredboots via Morgue File

    Yeast – no bread obviously. Or at least highly restricted bread options, gluten free flat bread anyone? But given my recent experience with eating more bread products, the bread isn’t too much of a problem. But no yeast means nothing fermented or aged (there’s the wine gone again): no soya sauce or its gluten free counterpart tamari, no vinegar except spirit which means no salad cream or dressings other than lemon juice and oil, no prunes (another blow given their, ahem, loosening effect on the bowels) and some other dried fruits whose skins go ‘yeasty’ in the drying process. Attention must be paid to labels, yeast creeps in all over the place e.g. it’s in some stock cubes and powders. Again, read labels! Noticing a theme here yet?

  • Soya – no more tofu, soya milk, soya yoghurt or soya sauce. Thankfully soya lecithin is okay, much to my relief as that is used as an emulsifier in dark chocolate!!
  • Thai Yellow Prawn Curry. Photo by Jess B.

    Thai Yellow Prawn Curry. Photo by Jess B.

    Coconut- this is more of a pain than you might realize. Coconut oil is a real buzz food at the moment in the dairy free baking world. But I think I should be able to substitute other solid fat (vegetable shortening or sunflower spread). Not sure how I’m going to recreate yummy thai dishes (such as my thai yellow prawn curry pictured here) without coconut milk but I’m definitely going to try. Maybe rice or hazelnut milk would work…

  • Turkey – what about Christmas Lunch?! Think I’ll leave that worry for a time closer to December 25th…
  • Kiwis – until the FODMAP elimination diet debacle, I was having a kiwi (with a few almonds and brazils…) each morning as my mid morning snack…that was a good plan wasn’t it…hmmm not so much.

Is this a life sentence?

This mush is baked banana baked in the skin with dark chocolate. Recipe coming soon! Photo by Jess B.

This mush is banana baked in the skin with dark chocolate. Recipe coming soon! Photo by Jess B.

By cutting out all of my trigger foods the science follows that in time my gut will heal and I will be able to eat them again so not necessarily forever.

The recommended minimum time frames to cut out my trigger foods are 12 months for the nuts, grapes and animal milk; 6 months for eggs, coconut, yeast, soya and fishes and 3 months for kiwi and turkey. This is based on the level of my reactions to these foods.

But….always a but, especially where chronic illnesses are concerned. Given my IBS symptoms are part of a wider health picture, ie. ME/CFS, my gut issues may take longer to resolve than for the average Joe.

Good job I like bananas and dark chocolate then…

If you missed the first part of my food intolerance story, you can read it here.


14 Responses to “Deciphering Food Intolerances”

  1. Jackie July 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Ener-g makes a yeast free loaf bread. 😊

  2. thehomeschoolingdoctor July 17, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    Will you remind me which tests were used to test your intolerances?

    • myjourneythrume July 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      It was an IgG antibody reaction test across 158 food and drink samples. You thinking of being tested?

    • thehomeschoolingdoctor July 22, 2013 at 3:23 am #

      Yes. Thinking about it. I’ve been IgE skin tested. Nothing positive. So I’m just curious about IgG testing, which some people don’t believe in. If IgG agreed with anything I’ve determined by elimination, I’d be impressed and made more of a believer. So more of an experiment.

      • myjourneythrume July 23, 2013 at 8:33 am #

        That was pretty much my thoughts on having the igG test too. And did match up for me. Think I’m a believer now!!

  3. currankentucky July 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I’ve fingers and toes crossed for you and hope you see an improvement soon. Bye bye to bloating and all things colic!!!

  4. Alison Gibson September 8, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    I feel for you – I’m just about to start the paleo autoimmune protocol which is very restrictive too (and cuts out eggs) 😐

    • myjourneythrume September 8, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Good luck with paleo. I’ve read lots about it. I hope it proves helpful to you.


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