But I LOVE Strawberries! Why Don't They Love Me Back?

Sara Gottfried MDWhen last we met, I was doing a cleanse to look and feel better before a photo shoot for my book cover.    I was cleansing for my overall health, skin, energy and vitality which is the super-duper benefit of flushing toxins from our systems.

But if you’ve ever gotten a migraine after drinking wine, felt your throat closing up after eating something containing peanuts or broken out in a rash after enjoying some yummy strawberries, you’re already familiar with another reason to try out a cleanse:  food allergies.

Our Bodies don’t Always SCREAM at us

Sometimes our bodies are kind enough to spell it out for us with obvious, physical discomforts, telling us it isn’t reacting well to something we ate.  Other times, we are subtly and gradually being effected and our condition grows worse over time.   A food doesn’t have to be on the “bad” list (trans fats, processed carbs, etc.) to be toxic to our systems.  If our body has an allergic reaction to a certain food, then it becomes a toxin for us, sometimes causing much more than a little discomfort — food allergies can be life-threatening.  Peanuts are a great form of protein for most people and strawberries are full of antioxidants and are normally found on the “good” food list.  Not for someone who’s allergic to them.  Since food allergies sometimes don’t scream at us to “put down that piece of cheese,” we’ll find ourselves increasingly bloated, sluggish, or experiencing more migraines over time as the body quietly tolerates when we continue to savor our unsuspected food of choice.

Cleanse to Pin-Point the Cause

A cleanse actually helps us eliminate some of the foods we often allow in our eating plan and gradually re-introduce them to see how we’re feeling and if maybe they’re the underlying culprit of ongoing symptoms.   Of course, there are tests for food allergies, but this is something you can do at home, without the cost of tests, and then share your suspicions with your doctor during your next visit.  In the mean time, if reducing or eliminating a food from your diet makes you feel better, there’s a good chance the body was experiencing an allergic reaction to that food (just not an extreme enough allergy to produce immediate discomfort).  If you find you’re feeling better, give that food a hug good-bye and escort it out of your life.  Often you’ll find there is a replacement food that will help you move on.

Migraines can be a Sign of a Food Allergy

Many of my patients with migraines recognize that certain foods are a trigger for them, but I found this list provided by Wikipedia to be especially thorough, so I thought I’d share it. If you suffer from migraines, it may be worthwhile to follow an elimination diet to avoid all of these toxins, and to slowly add them back in, one at a time, watching carefully for 72 hours for a migraine or other allergic response.

Food additives and gluten are toxic for many of us, even if you don’t have the classic allergic response of indigestion, diarrhea and bloating.  Check it out (and click here to go to Wikipedia to check out the citations).

Here are other common foods or food additives that can trigger a migraine:

Gluten: One food elimination that has proven to reduce or eliminate migraines in a percentage of patients is gluten. For those with (often undiagnosed) celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivity, migraines may be a symptom of gluten intolerance. One study found that migraine sufferers were ten times more likely than the general population to have celiac disease, and that a gluten-free diet eliminated or reduced migraines in these patients.  Another study of 10 patients with a long history of chronic headaches that had recently worsened or were resistant to treatment found that all 10 patients were sensitive to gluten. MRI scans determined that each had inflammation in their central nervous systems caused by gluten-sensitivity. Seven out of nine of these patients that went on a gluten-free diet stopped having headaches completely.        

MSG: MSG is frequently reported as a dietary trigger (12%).  In a placebo-controlled trial, monosodium glutamate (MSG) in large doses (2.5 grams) taken on an empty stomach was associated with adverse symptoms including headache more often than was placebo.   However another trial found no effect when 3.5g of MSG was given with food.

Tyramine: The National Headache Foundation has a specific list of triggers based on the tyramine theory, detailing allowed, with caution and avoid triggers.   However, a 2003 review article concluded that there was no scientific evidence for an effect of tyramine on migraine.

So a cleanse is another way to tune in to what our bodies are trying to tell us and eliminate the foods that may be causing undesirable symptoms.


Want To Cleanse With Me?

I’m revamping my 21-day cleanse, which has been successfully used by patients, clients and yours truly for years. Let me know if you want to be part of Gottfried Cleanse 2.0, and we’ll send you info just as soon as I get done with the final edits on my book (August)! Hit “reply” to let me know with “Cleanse Me” in the subject line. Or fill out the web form on the blog, and you’ll be first to receive the deets when we have them!

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