Overcoming Food Sensitivities with Healthy Choices
Please enjoy today’s article from Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Pure Joy Academy as the guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self Blog. ~ Chris
Food is important to our physical, mental and emotional well being. Therefore, it affects our entire way of life when food sensitivities develop.
Sensitivities cause physical reactions to food and can be as mild as hot feet and as severe as depression or anaphylactic shock. Many times attempts are made to cover symptoms with a “band aid” such as pharmaceuticals, pills, herbs, and even surgery. This may temporarily “fix” the problem, but in the end, you can never be truly healthy unless you find out why your body is doing what it is doing.
By becoming more aware of what you eat and how it affects your body, you can find many clues to why you may be experiencing less than optimal results from your dietary choices.
Before discovering my own food allergies, I was cranky, had severe eczema, painful PMS that lasted for days, lower back pain, arthritis, gas, bloating, fatigue and depression. I thought it was just something I had to live with. I had no idea that I had the power to cure myself.
According to www.DrSears.com, some food allergy symptoms include: swelling in hands and feet, puffy eyelids, dark circles under eyes, tongue soreness and cracks, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, persistent cough, congestion, mucous, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gassiness, fatigue, migraine headaches, irritability, anxiety and sore muscles and joints.
The top seven food allergies from which 90 percent of all food allergies can be attributed to are:
- dairy products
- tree nuts
- egg whites
To find out if you are reacting to certain foods you can either get a blood test which may be convenient but can be expensive running $500 or more, or do your own research by eliminating the foods from your diet for a week, then reintroducing one food at a time and noticing any reactions.
After I determined which foods I was allergic to, I had some decisions to make. I could either choose to keep eating those foods and live with the symptoms, or decide my health and well-being were more important to me than anything else. The offending foods for me were wheat, eggs, dairy and soy. Because I was a vegetarian who ate meat substitutes which were made with wheat, dairy or soy, my food choices appeared to be severely limited. I began making recipes from allergy free cookbooks, and I looked for prepared and packaged foods that were allergy free. While meticulously reading the labels, looking for the offending ingredients, I found that wheat, eggs and dairy are in countless numbers of packaged foods. Even soy sauce and licorice contain wheat!
During this time I discovered a book on intestinal cleansing. It contained testimonials that inspired me to try an intestinal cleanse for myself. After a month, I had an amazing increase in my energy and many of my previous symptoms were gone. The biggest surprise though, was not what I expected. I thought that after I cleansed my body and got rid of the allergies, I would go back to my “normal” life. That is not what happened. During the cleanse, I discovered raw, living foods made from a base of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It was the answer to my prayers. Not only did these newly discovered recipes contain none of my reactive foods, they were also so satisfying that they quickly replaced the old comfort foods. I completely transformed my diet and discovered a whole new lifestyle. It is exciting to eat comforting foods that make me feel good and are highly nutritious.
After completing several cleanses and eating primarily raw, living foods, I am now able to eat foods I was previously allergic to and feel just fine. I will never go back to my previous eating habits though because grains and starches make me tired and slow me down, and dairy makes me feel bloated and stuffed-up when eaten on a regular basis. On a diet consisting of mostly raw, living foods, I have increased energy and I look and feel better than I did several years ago.
There are many wonderful resources for making changes for the better in your diet. Some of the resources are listed here.
Websites: For more information on food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances go to www.food-allergy.org, www.livingwithout.com and www.askdrsears.com. For more information on raw, living foods, go to www.purejoylivingfoods.com and www.rawfoodchef.com.
This recipe is recommended for people with dairy sensitivities:
Nut or Seed Milk or Cream
By Elaina Love
Almonds are packed with calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and Vitamin E (source: The Food Lover’s Companion)
1 cup soaked almonds, sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds (1/2+ cup before soaking)
1 to 3 cups water (less for cream, more for milk)
2 -4 medium dates or 2-4 Tbsp. sweetener of choice (optional)
Blend all ingredients on high until well blended.
Pour through The Amazing Nut Milk, Juice and Sprout Bag (available at www.purejoyplanet.com) or a clean nylon sock.
Squeeze the bag until all the liquid is released.
Pour the milk or cream over fresh fruit or cereal.
You may want to make extra so you have enough to last four days.
This recipe is recommended for people with wheat sensitivities:
Black Forest Carob Brownies
By Elaina Love
4 cups soaked and dehydrated walnuts
3/4 cup or 9 oz. pitted dates
3/4 cup or 2.75 oz. carob powder
2 tsp. cherry extract or vanilla
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried walnuts
1/2 cup or 4 oz. coarsely chopped dried cherries
Soak the walnuts for 8-12 hours.
Rinse them well and dry them with a towel.
Dehydrate the walnuts in a food dehydrator at 105 degrees for 12 hours. This is an optional step which will give the brownies a more cake-like texture.
Puree the nuts in a food processor until it becomes a flour.
Add the dates and continue to puree until well mixed.
Add carob powder and extract and puree again.
Mix in the cherries and chopped nuts by hand.
Press with very firm pressure into a brownie pan.
Refrigerate and slice into squares.
Double the recipe for a large pan.
These brownies will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks or more.
This recipe is not recommended for people with tree nut allergies.
This recipe is recommended for people with dairy and nut sensitivities:
Creamy Cilantro Soup
By Elaina Love
Cilantro is a wonderfully fragrant herb that is high in chlorophyll and has been said to pull heavy metals from the body. Enjoy it in this rich and satisfying energy soup.
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large bunch cilantro, stems removed (about 2 cups)
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
½ apple, chopped
1 avocado, chopped (add later)
1 Tbs. tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
½ tsp cumin (optional)
1 tsp. onion powder (optional)
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Blend all ingredients until smooth except avocado. Add the avocado and blend again. (The avocado is blended last to keep it from getting gelatinous).
Eat immediately or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for 2 days maximum.
Sprinkle with dulse flakes
Diced bell pepper
Fresh raw corn cut off the cob
Chopped Romaine (stir into the soup)
This recipe is recommended for people with dairy, nut and egg sensitivities:
Easy Caesar Salad Dressing
½ cup Bariani or extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
¼-½ cup water
2 large dates or 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbs. light miso
3 medium cloves garlic
¾ tsp. mustard powder or 1½ tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
2 tsp. dulse flakes
¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt
Blend all ingredients in a blender or hand mix, crushing the garlic first and using maple syrup instead of dates.
Store the dressing in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Inspired by Blessing’s Alive and Radiant foods Caesar recipe.
Elaina Love is a professional chef and instructor. You can find her books, learn about her classes and view more of her recipes by going to www.purejoyplanet.com.
Bringing pure joy and gourmet bliss to the planet,
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.