Symptoms suggesting food allergy
The secret of food allergy dieting
Three-tiered allergy diet plan
A word about drugs
An easy elimination diet (14- 21 days)
The eight-foods diet (7- 10 days)
The fast (5- 7 days)
Food challenge testing
Special dieting cases
I almost invariably recommend a patient with a high score from the inventory of symptoms start by trying to any identify food allergies and intolerances. If you haven’t yet looked at the inventory of symptoms, do so first and see how you score. click here
This is not to say that everything is a food allergy. But diet adjustments are a great place to start because there is usually some kind of beneficial result and they are relatively easy to do. If you can feel much better just avoiding, say, milk or wheat, that is far easier than battling against multiple environmental shocks and stressors. The reason is simple if you understand the overload principle: avoiding one stressor, especially if it is an important one, may free your body defences up enough so that it can cope with the rest, without your help!
Even if you feel no better after eliminating certain foods, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have allergies, but it may mean that you have simultaneous non-food or, as we term them, environmental allergies. If you don’t know what is meant by environmental allergies:
Even that may not be the whole story. You may have concomitant vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormone disorders and disturbed bowel bacteria, but more of that in later chapters.
- Bloating and flatulence
- Food binges
- Food cravings
- Overweight, underweight or wildly fluctuating weight (gain a few pounds in a day)
- Symptoms actually come on while eating
- Symptoms after food (falling asleep, chills, sudden rapid heartbeat)
- Feeling unwell without food (food addiction)
- Feeling tired, crabby or very lethargic on waking (usually due to addiction maladaptation)
The last may seem strange: most everybody wakes up feeling bad, don’t they? True, but as I revealed in my first book of food allergies, that’s because almost everyone is suffering the addiction effects of allergy (THE FOOD ALLERGY PLAN, Unwins, London, 1985 and CRCS, Reno, 1985).
The FOOD ALLERGY PLAN has been vastly updated and modernized
Think about this: by the time we wake in the morning, we may not have eaten for 10- 14 hours; that’s more than enough time to set up withdrawal symptoms. With breakfast, we get our first “fix” of wheat, sugar, caffeine, or whatever and the symptoms start to clear right away. You don’t believe me? Wait until you have followed the instruction in this section and you’ll see the truth of what I say. Even the most incorrigible morning-dummo gets a pleasant surprise.
To learn more about this addiction phenomenon, see the mechanisms of allergy section, General Adaptation Syndrome
The secret of successful identification of food allergies is to give up sufficient foods to be able to feel well, then to re-introduce these foods one at a time, so that detecting a reaction is relatively easy. We call this elimination and challenge dieting. It rarely works to give up just one food at a time because anyone who is ill is almost certain to have more than one allergy. If it was simply one major allergen, the person would have spotted it eventually, as indeed some lucky people do. Dr Doris Rapp of New York coined an instructive term: the “eight nails in the shoe trap”. She points out that if you have eight nails sticking out in your shoe, and then pull just one of these nails, you will still not be comfortable – because of the other seven. It can be the same with multiple allergies. You have to work at it just that little bit harder.
Make no mistake, elimination diets can be tough; they should be. But it is important to remember that I am talking here of a trial diet, an experimental procedure. You do not need to stay on a tough diet long-term; indeed you are specifically cautioned not to do so, otherwise you run into problems caused by inadequate nutritional sources. The purpose of the strict diet is to isolate the culprits. Once you know these, you can eat most anything else. This means you shift into a maintenance diet, solely avoiding these offending foods, something you stay on for months or years. Almost anyone who feels much better by avoiding one or two foods has the will power to continue; the rewards are high!
Please don’t mix up these two grades of diet. You’ll suffer needlessly.
The rest of this section is given over to discussing three-tiered dieting, from which you can choose the most appropriate approach for you or your family. In following the instructions it is vital that in all cases you also avoid manufactured foods. This is not because food additives are a common problem (they are surprisingly uncommon, in fact) but because manufactured foods contain numerous foodstuffs that are hidden and disguised, such as corn starch, wheat, sugar, egg and other notable allergens. Don’t trust to labelling, it may throw the whole test. Just eat only fresh whole versions of the foods allowed, in other words nothing from tins, packets, bottles and jars. Don’t even trust to foods cooked and packages by supermarkets and stores.
It may cost you the results you are looking for.
Special note: people often ask me about using organic foods in an elimination diet. The answer is YES, it is always better to eat organic, if you can. But that may not be easy and it is not really necessary. Almost everyone will feel better by eating ordinary commercial food supplies, providing they are fresh. Only if you are very sensitive or very poorly, is it recommended that you go the whole nine yards and eat fully organic foods.
A word about drugs
Drug allergies are not rare and it may be wise to discontinue medications which are unnecessary. However, certain drugs are essential and should not be stopped, such as anti-epileptics, some cardiac drugs (such as digoxin), insulin and thyroxin. Some medications, such as cortisone derivatives, need to be phased out gradually.
To be certain, it is better to discuss the implications with your doctor and ask his or her advice on stopping your treatment. Don’t be put off by the high-handedness which some doctors, sadly, are prone to when their prescriptions are questioned. You are entitled to know the effect of any drug you are taking and also precisely why you are taking it, and it may be that your doctor will not even understand the workings and side-effects of drugs being used.
The key question that you want answered is, ‘Will I come to harm if I stop this drug?’ Nine times out of ten the answer is, ‘No’.
Don’t forget, tobacco is a drug. You must stop smoking if you are serious about getting well.
Now, let’s start with the easiest level diet as an entry.
It is logical to start by eliminating only the common likely food allergies. This leaves plenty of foods to eat and you should not find this diet too onerous. It is especially suitable for a child and consists basically of fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, with juice and water to drink. We call it the ‘Stone-Age’ or ‘Caveman’ diet. (my first nickname with the UK press was “The Stone Age Doctor”; I used to joke this was an unfair exaggeration, I had only a few grey hairs at the time!).
FOODS YOU ARE ALLOWED TO EAT:
- Any meat (not processed or smoked)
- Any vegetables (fresh or frozen, not tinned)
- Any fruit, except the citrus family (lemon etc.)
- Any fish (not processed or smoked)
- Quinoa (grain substitute)
- All fresh unsweetened fruit juices, except citrus
- Herb teas (careful: some contain citrus peel)
- Spring water, preferably bottled in glass
- Fresh whole herbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
FOODS YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT:
- No stimulant drinks – no tea, coffee, alcohol
- No sugar, honey, additives or sweeteners
- No grains: absolutely no wheat, corn, rye, rice, barley, oats or millet. That means no bread, cakes, muffins, biscuits, granola, pastry, flour or farina
- No milk or dairy produce: no skimmed milk, cream, butter, margarines or spreads, not even goat’s milk
- NO MANUFACTURED FOOD: nothing from tins, packets, bottles or jars. If somebody labelled it, they likely added to it.
Here are some important points to keep in mind:
It is vital to understand that you must not cheat on this or any other exclusion diet. This is not a slimming diet, where you can sneak a piece of chocolate cake and still lose weight. Remember that it takes several days for food to clear your bowel and eating it as little as twice a week will prevent you clearing it from your system. If you do slip up, you will need to extend the avoidance period for several more days. Later on, when the detective work is complete, the occasional indiscretion won’t matter In the meantime, follow the instructions exactly.
Don’t forget about addictions. It is quite likely that you will get withdrawal symptoms during the first few days. This is good news because it means you have given up something important. Usually the effects are mild and amount to nothing more than feeling irritable, tired, or perhaps having a headache, but be warned -it could put you in bed for a couple of days. I have seen wheat “cold turkey” that was just as grim as narcotics.
Please also note that it is possible to be allergic even to the allowed foods – they are chosen simply because reaction to them is less common. If you are in this minority, you might even feel worse on this diet, but at least it proves you have a food allergy. In that case, try eliminating, also, the foods you are eating more of (potato is a common offender) and see if you then begin to improve If not, you should switch to the Eight Foods Diet, or a fast as described below.
While on the elimination diet, try to avoid hanging on to a few favourite foods and eating only those You must eat with variety, otherwise you will risk creating reactions to the foods you are eating repeatedly. It is senseless to go on with old habits. The whole point of exclusion dieting is to make you change what you are doing – it could be making you ill.
Don’t worry about special recipes or substitutes at this stage. By the time you have fried, baked, steamed and grilled everything once, the two weeks will almost have passed! If in the long term it transpires that you need to keep off a food, then you can begin searching for an alternative.
Patients usually ask: What about my vitamin and mineral supplements while on an elimination diet, do I need to take those? The answer is NO. Most vitamin and mineral tablets contain hidden food ingredients, such as corn starch. Even those that say “allergy-free” formulas are misleading. They may not be made up with common allergens, such as wheat, corn or soya derivatives; but nevertheless, vegetable ingredients are present, such as rice polishings and potato starch. To call these allergy “safe”, or even hypoallergenic, is in my view dishonest.
Don’t take the risk, you won’t come to any harm without supplements for a short period. This leads on to another major Scott-Mumby Rule:
The biggest and commonest health hazard by far today is not what you are lacking that you should be having, but what you are already taking that you shouldn’t! In other words, giving up allergens, toxic or overload items has far more dramatic results in terms of health recovery than supplementing stuff you are deficient in.
How did you get on?
If you felt a whole lot better, skip to the section on food challenge testing:
DO NOT, simply because you do not improve or feel any different, make the erroneous assumption that you could not then be allergic to milk, wheat or other banned foods. Remember the eight nails in the shoe? This would be a serious mistake which could bar your road to recovery. You might like to try an alternative exclusion diet. Several are suggested here.
You can, in any case, carry out useful challenge tests, taking a careful note of what happens when you re-introduce a food. Careful! You do not want to hammer a pointed nail back in that shoe!
Not as severe as a fast but tougher than the previous regime, is what can be called the Few Foods Diet; I prefer to use an 8-food plan. Obviously it is more likely to succeed than the previous plan, since you are giving up more foods. Any determined adult could cope with it, but on no account should you subject a child to this diet without his, or her, full and voluntary cooperation. It could produce a severe emotional trauma otherwise (factually, there is rarely a problem — most children don’t want to be ill and will assist you, providing they understand what you are trying to do.)
The basic idea is to produce one or two relatively safe foods for each different category we eat. Everyday foods are avoided since these include the common allergens. Thus we would choose fruits such as mango and papaya, not apple and banana; flesh such as duck and rabbit, not beef and pork; quail and ostrich, not chicken. The diet below contains my suggestions. You can vary it somewhat according to what is available to you locally.
Although a fast is the ultimate approach in tracking down hidden food allergies, I don’t recommend it lightly. It is quick (fast!), inexpensive and an absolute yes-no statement on whether your illness really is caused by food allergy. Although it can be tough at first, by the morning of the fifth day, you can expect to feel wonderful! That’s why fasting is popular as a religious exercise and why sometimes people with a severe attack of gastro-enteritis, who expel almost all the food content of the bowel by diarrhoea and vomiting, are suddenly “cured” of some other health condition.
The real problem is that sometimes it can then be difficult to get back on to any safe foods. Everything is unmasked at once and the patient seems to react to everything he or she tries to eat. This can cause great distress.
Undertake a fast only if you are very determined or you still suspect food allergy and the other two approaches have failed.
Fasting is emphatically not suitable for certain categories of patient:
- Pregnant women
- Anyone seriously weakened or debilitated by chronic illness
- Anyone who has been subject to severe emotional disturbance (especially those prone to violent outbursts, or those who have tried to commit suicide)
The fast itself is simple enough – just don’t eat for four or five days. You must stop smoking. Drink only bottled spring water. The whole point is to empty your bowels entirely of foodstuffs. Thus, if you have any tendency to constipation, take Epsom salts to begin with. If in doubt try an enema! Otherwise the effort may be wasted.
It may help to do what I call a grape-day step-down. This means eating grapes only for a day, as an easy-in step towards fasting.
Special note: A variation, which I call the ‘half fast’, is to eat only two foods, such as lamb and pears. This means taking a gamble that neither lamb nor pears are allergenic, and it is not as sure-fire as the fast proper. It is permissible to carry this out for seven days, but on no account go on for longer than this.
As soon as you feel well on an elimination regime, you can begin testing, although you must not do so before the four day unmasking period has elapsed. Allow longer if you have been constipated.
Of course, you may never improve on an elimination diet. The problem may be something else, not a food. In that case, when three weeks (maximum) have elapsed on the simple elimination diet, two weeks on the Eight Foods Diet, or seven days on a fast, then you must begin re-introducing foods. This is vital. It is not enough to feel well on a very restricted diet; we want to know why? What are the culprits? These are the foods you must avoid long-term, not all those which are banned at the beginning.
Even if you don’t feel well, as already pointed out, this does not prove you have no allergies amongst the foods you gave up. Test the foods as you re-introduce them, anyway – you may be in for a surprise
My recommended procedure is as follows, except for those coming off a fast:
Eat a substantial helping of the food, preferably on its own for the first exposure. Lunch is the ideal meal for this.
Choose only whole, single foods, not mixtures and recipes. Try to get supplies that have not been chemically treated in any way.
Wait several hours to see if there is an immediate reaction, and if not, eat some more of the along with a typical ordinary evening meal.
You may eat a third, or fourth, portion if you want, to be sure.
Take your resting pulse (sit still for two minutes) before, and several times during the first 90 minutes alter the first exposure to the food. A rise of ten or more beats in the RESTING pulse is a fairly reliable sign of an allergy. However no change in the pulse it does not mean the food is safe, unless symptoms are absent also.
If you do experience an unpleasant reaction, take Epsom salts. Also, alkali salts (a mixture of two parts sodium bicarbonate to one part potassium bicarbonate: one teaspoonful in a few ounces of lukewarm water) should help. Discontinue further tests until symptoms have abated once more. This is very important, as you cannot properly test when symptoms are already present; you are looking for foods which trigger symptoms.
Using the above approach, you should be able to reliably test one food a day, minimum. Go rapidly if all is well, because the longer you stay off a food, the more the allergy (if there is one) will tend to die down and you may miss it.
Occasionally, patients experience a ‘build up’ which causes confusion and sometimes failure Suspect this if you felt better on an exclusion diet, but you gradually became ill again when re-introducing foods, and can’t really say why. Perhaps there were no noticeable reactions.
In that case, eliminate all the foods you have re-introduced until your symptoms clear again, then re-introduce them more slowly. This time, eat the foods steadily, several times a day for three to four days before making up your mind. It is unlikely that one will slip the net with this approach.
Once you have accepted a food as safe, of course you must then stop eating it so frequently, otherwise it may become an allergy. Eat it once a day at most – only every four days when you have enough ‘safe’ foods to accomplish this.
Special instructions for those coming off a fast
Begin only with exotic foods which you don’t normally eat; do not be tempted to grab for that coffee or cake! The last thing you want to happen is to get a reaction when beginning to re-introduce foods – it will mean you cannot carry on adding foods until the symptoms settle down once again.
Instead, for the first few days, you want to build up a minimum range of ‘safe’ foods that you can fall back on. Papaya, rabbit, artichoke and dogfish are the kind of thing to aim for – do the best you can with what is available according to your resources.
The other important point is that you cannot afford the luxury of bringing in one new food a day: you need to go faster than this. When avoided even for as little as two weeks, a cyclical food allergy can die down and you may miss the proof of allergy you are looking for. It is possible to test two or even three foods a day when coming off a fast. Pay particular attention to the pulse rate before and alter each test meal and keep notes. It is important to grasp that some symptom, even if not very striking, usually occurs within the first 60 minutes when coming off a fast. You need to be alert to this, or you will miss items and fail to improve without understanding why.
If the worst happens and you are ill by the end of the day and can’t say why, condemn all that day’s new foods.
The build up of foods is cumulative: that is, you start with Food A. If it is OK then the next meal is Food A + Food B, then A + B + C and so on.
An example table of foods tests might be:
|days 1- 4||no food|
breakfast – poached salmon
lunch – mango (plus salmon)
dinner – steamed spinach (plus salmon and mango)
breakfast – baked pheasant, quail or partridge + day
lunch – kiwi fruit + day 5
dinner – steamed marrow or zucchini (courgette) + day 5
breakfast -lamb chop (plus any of the above) + days 5,6
lunch – baked potato (do not eat the skin) + days 5,6
dinner – banana + days 5,6 etc…
Grape not allowed on day 5 if you used a grape-day step-down
All safe foods are kept up after an allergic reaction. Therefore, if Food F causes a reaction, while you are waiting for it to clear up, you can go on eating foods A-E, until symptoms clear.
Within a few days, you should have plenty to eat, albeit monotonous. From then on, you can proceed as for those on elimination diets if you wish.
Your personal exclusion program
Whichever program you chose, once you have carried out the challenge tests you will have a list of items which you are intolerant of. You must now avoid these, if you are serious about your health. You have, in effect, designed your own personal diet plan for health. Use it as something you return to in times of trouble or stress, a safe platform.
There should be no rush to try and re-introduce any of these items, if at all. Design your living and eating plan without them, long-term. However the good news is that allergies do settle down, sometimes quite rapidly, especially if you pay attention to everything else I have explained in this book. If you develop and practice a newer safer ecological lifestyle, you may have surprisingly little further trouble. You may feel better than you have felt in years. Many patients feel and act younger, so much so that friends and relatives often comment. I noticed this over thirty years ago and that is one of the reasons I now find myself part of the anti-aging movement.
Another Scott-Mumby maxim: a low allergy diet is the finest possible cosmetic agent for a woman’s skin! She glows!
If you find your personal diet plan oppressive because you discovered quite a few reacting foods, then consider desensitization.
For Miller’s provocation- neutralization method: click here
For enzyme potentiated desensitization: click here
Do not omit to learn what complex homeopathy (homotoxicology) can do for you in this position: here
It is a good idea to keep a food diary during your experiments with food. Write down everything you eat at each meal, or between meals, and also mark in any symptoms which you experience, with the time of onset in relation to meals. It is often possible to spot a pattern which recurs time and time again but which is not evident when relying only on short-term memory.
Warning: a food diary does tend to make you very conscious of food, which is probably a good thing in the short term. However, taking the long view, try to avoid the exercise making you too introverted about feelings and symptoms, otherwise it can start becoming an obsession. Many allergy patients become so consumed by anxiety about what they are eating that they cannot eat or socialize normally. Food allergy investigations, as described here, are merely a tool not an end and should not become a way of life, otherwise family and friends will feel excluded and that in turn leads to rejection.
Many “amateur” gung-ho food allergy books actually tend to create this major social incompetence, because the authors do not have sufficient experience to be aware of the dangers (and likely because they too are obsessive). Make no mistake, food allergy restrictions can ruin relationships and break up marriages, if it is taken to extreme, as many know to their cost. I do not automatically take the patient’s side but sympathize with both points of view (because ultimately I see this as in the patient’s broader interests).
Eating can become a psychological burden on the patient and intolerable nuisance to family and friends, if you go too far. True health does not mean isolation from society, it means full social wellbeing included in the deal.
The food diary is merely a tool and should be discontinued as soon as practicable.
SPECIAL NOTE: A foetus in the womb may have food allergies! Crazy as it sounds, I learned long ago that certain babies in the womb are already hyperactive. They show it by kicking a great deal and being restless at times, but not continuously. Mother may carry out allergy and sensitivity testing indirectly. She goes on an elimination diet; if the baby settles down, this is good evidence your unborn child will be hyperactive early after birth, if you do not take steps to prevent it.
You can carry out food challenge testing, exactly as here described, keeping a food diary, and work out which foods upset your baby and cause restless kicking. You will have more restful nights before birth and many more happy days after the birth, if you take this seriously.Of course, all babies should kick vigorously. That’s there way of saying “Hello!” Only if it becomes excessive or seems to be triggered after meals should you suspect food allergy in utero.
Alternative allergy exclusion diets
If the simple exclusion diet has not worked, you might like to consider alternative eliminations.
For example, you could try following a meat-free diet. Some people do feel better as vegetarians, certainly: but probably more feel ill because of the high incidence of grain and dairy allergies, as grains and dairy products are staple foods for vegetarians.
Some people (only a few) are better avoiding food treated with chemicals. A diet avoiding this sort of commercial produce is called ‘organic’. It is easier nowadays to follow such an eating regime than formerly. Try it if you have reason to suspect you may be reacting to chemicals but don’t go overboard: many people are convinced that pesticides on food make the mill but fail to detect them when challenged double-blind.
Organic food suppliers belong to various bodies to help promote them selves and their ideas. Try to make contact with these organizations and find out about your local suppliers. The Henry Doubleday Research organization is a good place to start (see the Useful Addresses section). They have been pioneers in organic farming methods for decades. They can usually supply a list of vendors. The Soil Association even goes so far as to vet produce showing the label ‘organic’. Look for their sign of approval but be warned: this is not a legal requirement and anyone can call their wares ‘organic’ whether they have used chemicals or not.
Your local health food shop should also be able to help find locally-grown supplies.
To reduce your pesticide intake, avoid the 10 “dirtiest”
foods from the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s
Guide to Pesticides in Produce:
Eating the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about fifteen pesticides a day, on average. Eating the twelve least contaminated will expose a person to fewer than two pesticides a day.
“Federal produce tests tell us that some fruits and vegetables are so likely to be contaminated with pesticides that you should always buy them organic,” said Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president. “Others are so consistently clean that you can eat them with less concern. With the Shopper’s Guide in your pocket, it’s easy to tell which is which.”
The “Dirty Dozen” (starting with the worst)
- sweet bell peppers
- grapes (imported)
The “Cleanest 12” (starting with the best)
- sweet corn (frozen)
- sweet peas (frozen)
- kiwi fruit
A very useful exclusion diet is the nut- and pip-free diet. This is a wide group of foods and includes a number of common allergens. Some members of this group can come as a surprise: for example, coffee is a nut.
It is an ambitious diet: it is recommended that you don’t go on it until you have established a number of alternative safe foods, such as rice, rye, millet or quinoa.
Otherwise you may find yourself with very little to eat. The following foods must be strictly avoided for a short test period:
- Tomatoes, sauce, purees
- Apples, pears, plums, damsons, cherries, apricots, peaches
- Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants
- Oranges, lemons, other citrus fruits, marmalade and all fruit juices, squash, fruit-flavored drinks
- All varieties of fizzy drinks, including cola
- Jellies, instant puddings
- Chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and coffee ‘creamers’
- Grapes, sultanas, raisins, currants, prunes, figs, dates
- Nuts, coconut, marzipan, macaroons
- Peas, beans, lentils, soya, peanuts
- Melon, cucumber, marrow
- Spices, pepper, mustard, curry
- Cooking oils of all kinds and soft margarines
- All herbs (including mint)
- Bananas, pineapple
Probably the oldest established allergy to food is hypersensitivity to gluten. It is a sticky protein that is found in wheat, rye, oats and barley and gives rise to the special gluey cooking texture these foods have.
The result of a gluten allergy used to be a very serious wasting condition known as celiac disease or sprue; the patient simply starved with malnutrition, despite eating adequately. It was eventually discovered that gluten allergy was damaging the lining of the intestine so that it couldn’t perform properly. This meant that food was not being digested and absorbed properly.
Another condition known to have a definite connection width gluten sensitivity is dermatitis herpetiformis. This is a blistering, intensely itchy rash that usually affects the outer surface of the elbows, buttocks and knees but can occur on any part of the body.
Personally, I think that a lot of the people who get well on a gluten-free diet do so because they are wheat allergic. They can tolerate rye, oats or barley with impunity, so gluten cannot be the offender.
Try a gluten-free diet if you are suspicious, but you must be prepared to stick at it for a minimum of six to eight weeks to be sure of feeling any benefit.
The role of salicylate (aspirin-containing) foods in hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD) in children was first put forward by Dr Ben Feingold. He claimed dramatic results from a diet free of these foods.
Feingold diet 1: Foods Containing Salicylates
All fresh meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereals & bread are low in salicylates.
Golden delicious apples, banana, pears peeled, paw-paw
Red delicious apples, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemon, mango,
Apples (Granny Smith, Gala), cherries, lychee, mandarin,
Apricots, berry fruits, grapes, orange, plum pineapple,
Bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, brussel sprouts, cabbage
Asparagus, beans green, beetroot, carrot, cauliflower,
Alfalfa sprouts, broad beans, broccoli, cucumber, egg
Capsicum, courgette, gherkin, olive, radish, tomato,
Garlic, parsley, soy sauce, malt vinegar, cashew nuts,
Nuts, coconut, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, beer, cider,
Honey, marmite, vegemite, coffee, wine, port, fruit teas
Herbs & spices, white vinegar, Worcester sauce,
Feingold later improved the diet by eliminating food additives and colourings (the notorious yellow-orange dye tartrazine is related to salicylates). This gives better results.
FEINGOLD DIET 2: Common Dyes And Benzoates
- Yellow 2G.
- Sunset Yellow – cordials, custard.
- Ponceau 4R – red berry & cherry flavours, jellies.
- Brilliant Black – black currant flavours, sauces.
- Brown HT – chocolate flavourings, sauces.
- E210, 211, 212, 213
- Benzoates (preservatives) – fruit juices, drinks.
- E220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 228
- Sulphites (preservatives and bleaches) – wines, sausages, fruit juices, flours, pickles.
- E310, 311, 312
- Gallates (antioxidants) – oils and fats.
Try the salicylate/colourings-free experiment on your child if you feel like it. However, I think Feingold’s approach is over-rated. Some children do improve. But many ordinary foods are capable of causing brain allergy and hence hyperactivity. It is restrictive to confine the evaluation to chemical targets only. A much sounder approach is to follow the full elimination/challenge program given earlier in this section.
The US Food and Drug Administration has recognized that approximately 1 in 100 people suffer from sulfite allergies. For asthma patients, that rises to 1 in 5. A variety of foods contain sulfites as an additive, primarily an anti-oxidant, to prevent discoloration and also a sterilizing agent – these are recognized on the label as sulphur dioxide, sulfite, bisulfite and metabisulfite. Foods with added or natural sulfite include baking ingredients, manufactured soup mixes, canned and pickled foods, gravies, dried fruit, jams, potato chips, dried fruit “mixes”, beer, wine, vegetable juices, some fruit juices, tea, condiments, molasses, fresh or frozen shrimp, guacamole, maraschino cherries, and pre-prepared potatoes.
Sulfite additives must appear on the label, by law. But beware: sulfites may appear in food presented in food chains, cafes and restaurants, which can be a hidden source of danger, because this is not covered by the law.
For most people the problems of exclusion diets are few. Withdrawal symptoms, extra expense or the sloth encountered in changing the habits of a lifetime are the main difficulties. However, two situations require extra comment:
Children have more food allergy problems than adults. Yet food is vital to them; their growth will be stunted if nutrition is inadequate. Consider the size of a newborn infant in relation to that of an adult and you will see at once the wisdom in the old adage ‘You are what you eat’.
Whatever dietary experiment are under-taken with children it is vital therefore to see they get adequate substitutes. Milk is a problem food. It is by far the most common allergen in children. The important ingredient in milk, I believe, is not really calcium but vitamin D. Fish oils are a good alternative source. Iodine is also vital to prevent stunting and poor mental development. Since most of our supply comes from milk, alternative provision needs to be made for this element also. Kelp or iodized salt should suffice.
If you are faced with complex or long-term eliminations for your child it is important to weigh him or her regularly (at least once a week) and keep a record of growth. Body size can be compared with charts showing average ranges for males and female youngsters and also percentiles for those who are clearly above or below average, showing how fast they too should be gaining weight. If weight gain is affected you must get help or discontinue what you are doing. Almost no condition (the possible exception being retarded mental growth occurring because of a food allergy) is worth stunting your child’s growth. It is better to defer treatment until the child is older.
Remember that withdrawal symptoms can be experienced by children, too. Be very tolerant for the first few days. He or she may crave favourite foods: just say ‘No’ firmly and offer an alternative, Eventually, hunger will be on your side.
It’s remarkable to watch how a youngster who is a faddy eater (a reliable sign of food allergy) suddenly finds his or her appetite and begins to eat heartily.
For diabetic patients managed by drugs and diet alone there should be little problem with an elimination diet. Those on insulin, however, must be very careful about embarking on a low-carbohydrate diet and should not do so without medical supervision.
The simplest modification of the basic exclusion diet is to eat rice as a source of carbohydrate. Quinoa is a good food I this context also, if you can obtain it. Better still is to cut down your insulin gradually and reduce your starch intake similarly – under the supervision of your doctor.
The best challenge test to perform (if you have a glucometer and can use it) is to monitor which foods increase your blood glucose. If you haven’t a glucometer, just carry out the challenge tests in the normal way.
Some care needs to be taken when the patient has pronounced mental problems, that is to say severe enough to have been admitted to a psychiatric ward or hospital. Psychiatrists and psychologists have a pronounced blind spot when it comes to physical causes of mental illness. Many reject this possibility outright, yet doctors who practice my kind of medicine have seen many many people helped by a simple change of diet and lifestyle. Food reactions can be so severe as to precipitate mania and psychotic delusion; this sometimes has to be seen to be believed. The common diagnosis “depression” very often means that the patient feels miserable, due to their hidden allergy, and no-one has solved the problem. That is enough to make anyone feel depressed.
Which all means that it is not only permissible but desirable to investigate any psychiatric state in this way. But caution is required: I have already referred in this book to a young Irish patient who went on a murderous rampage when he ate certain foods. I am pleased to say that the law courts were willing to accept my evidence that this was not only possible but demonstrated it for the entire nation on prime-time TV. Obviously if this individual had been put on an elimination diet and then challenged with the danger foods, without skilled supervision, someone could have been hurt very badly or even paid with their lives.
Equally serious, is the possibility that the patient may try to injure him or her self, or even try to commit suicide, when challenged in this way.
The best recommendation is to avoid food challenge tests but to use some other approach. I made most of my startling discoveries in the field of mind states and allergy by using Miller’s Method (page 000). Never leave such a patient unattended, even if the response appears mild at first.
To learn more about the influence of food and other allergens on state of mind read about brain allergies: click here