Saturday, April 18, 2015

Food Allergy or Food Intolerance- BOTH Can Be Debilitating!

I don't often have many guest posts on my blog but I do, on occasion, come across people that I meet that (I feel) just..get it. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Kent McKeithan a few months back and I was fascinated about his stories of how his clients have been able to feel better just through his treatment and dietary changes. You know me- I am always looking for more evidence of how to use our foods to feel better as well as gain additional knowledge for myself (Not to mention as proof for the occasional doubters).

Mr. McKeithan was kind enough to offer to write a post for me and I'm happy to share~

It doesn’t take long, when investigating allergies – food or inhalant – to discover that an allergy can be deadly as well as annoying.  What’s not so common is that intolerance of a particular food can make life miserable, as the following example illustrates.

After your child eats macaroni and cheese, a dish she loves and you delight in preparing, she complains, “Mommy, my mouth’s all gummy and sticky.”  You may notice she is gaseous, or she may experience stomach/intestinal cramping.

Is your cooking really all that bad?

No, actually, there is a more insidious cause: your child may lack the ability to digest dairy products.  More specifically, there is a form of sugar – lactose – a principle component of milk -- which is digested by the enzyme lactase.  It is produced in the small intestine or -- in the case of a large number of people --not.  She, along with a host of others, produces either too little, or none at all, of this essential enzyme. The food enters the stomach and intestine, but there is nothing there to begin the breakdown of sugar into energy, so there is protest by both as various digestive strategies are applied to no avail.  

In the end, the food is eliminated without the body gaining anything from the cheese part of the dish, and a good deal of unpleasant stress for the child (and you!).  

That’s not the end of it, though.  There is ample evidence that consuming dairy foods by those who are lactose intolerant can bring on migraine or migraine-like headaches.  That was the case for this writer, who for more than half a century experienced periodic headaches which were often excruciating and usually lasted for three days.  They were never named (diagnosed) as MIGRAINE, partly because I would not allow myself to believe I could suffer from anything so terrible and yet so ordinary, and partly because much of my adult life has been lived sans medical insurance, which precluded extensive medical work-ups that I felt were unlikely to produce useful results.  So, between denial and lack of professional attention, these events continued, with no discernible rhyme or reason. 

Then, one day a few years ago, a client for whom we’d been privileged to provide lasting relief from the pain of spinal scoliosis, asked for help with her periodic migraines.  We tried, with mixed results – temporary pain abatement at best.  She went on with her life and we lost touch for about three months, until I called to check up on her, found her well and excited, because, “I don’t have migraines anymore!” “What did you do?”  “I gave up dairy!”

Now, knowing how much this meant to her – both in what she had to trade off and what she had gained – moved me.  She ate pretty much vegetarian, but was very fond of cheese and ice cream, as well as other dairy-containing products.  The migraines, on the other hand, had had a tendency to shut down her life for several days at a time, with grim if unpredictable frequency.  Pain was, if not a close friend, a very familiar, noxious companion.  I eliminated everything with dairy ingredients – and let me tell you, that’s a lot of foods
I thought, if it works for her, maybe it’ll work for me.  So I quit – cold turkey, as the saying goes.  I eliminated all obvious dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, ice cream and yogurt and yes, most margarine, plus any food with these ingredients anywhere in the list: lactose, whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, nonfat dry milk.

That list, it turns out, largely includes, but is not limited to: bread, pies, cakes and other baked goods, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, cookies, and the mixes to make them, processed breakfast foods such as doughnuts, frozen waffles and pancakes, toaster pastries and sweet rolls,processed breakfast cereals, almost anybody’s mashed potatoes recipe, instant potatoes,almost all canned or packaged soups,breakfast drinks, most protein powders and bars, most but not all processed meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats, most all salad dressings, meal replacements, protein powders and bars, candies, “non-dairy” liquid and powdered coffee creamers and so-called nondairy whipped toppings.  

It took me awhile, but I eliminated all of those – anything with dairy in it.  I don’t worry about “traces of…”, or “processed in the same facility as…”  Sure enough, within a couple of weeks, the absence of headaches surfaced in my awareness.  Since that time, I have suffered not one, single headache! Sixty years of hitting myself over the head with a hammer came to a stop.  Was it worth quitting diary?  Is it worth it, now?  Yes, and yet again, yes. Childhood memories of splitting head pain taking me out of capture-the-flag games in Cub Scouts, of opportunities lost in my teenage years flood my mind when those questions are asked.  

If you think such might be the case for your child, or for yourself, find out!  The relief, the freedom to really live will be wonderful.

By Kent McKeithan, McKeithan Pain Treatment Center -- Guest Blogger

First publication rights granted to Nutrimom (Tracy Bush).  All other rights reserved.
© Kent McKeithan

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