I love experimenting with new recipes that not only nourish my body and suit my complex dietary requirements but taste amazing! Food sensitivities, intolerances and what are known as IgG food allergies are becoming increasingly common. In ME/CFS food reactions effect the majority of sufferers and are inevitable when leaky gut is suffered. Leaky gut occurs when the small intestinal walls becomes damaged and permeable due to various lifestyle and dietary factors. Large undigested food particles find their way across the gut wall and activate an immune response because the immune system see these food particles as foreign. These reactions cause inflammation throughout the body and can lead to symptoms that include gastrointestinal distress, fatigue, skin eruptions, mood changes, joint and muscle pain, sinus congestion plus many more. Any food could be potentially causing an IgG reaction from nuts, meats and eggs to fruit, vegetables and grains.
Food intolerances such as gluten and dairy intolerance are extremely common but do not necessarily involve an immune response. The most common reaction to dairy is lactose intolerance where the individual lacks the enzyme lactase to digest the lactose present in the dairy product, causing gastrointestinal symptoms. Gluten intolerance tends to occur due to an individuals inability to digest the problematic proteins found in gluten containing grains. The exact etiology of gluten intolerance is not known and the reaction may vary from person to person. The immune system may still be involved but it is not the same as celiac disease where an auto-immune reaction occurs. Both gluten intolerance/sensitivity and celiac disease can lead to severe damage to small intestinal villi, hindering absorption of nutrients. Gluten intolerance can cause not only gastrointestinal symptoms but neurological symptoms, muscle and joint pain and many other symptoms. Grains, particularly modern wheat contain other problematic components that can cause issues. But that is another post in itself.
Some people also react to certain foods due to the foods manufacturing process, that leaves their chemical composition essentially damaged and nutritional factors destroyed. An example is milk. Conventional milk comes from cows that are barn raised, fed unnatural feed (grains, soy), hormones and antibiotics. The milk is then pasteurised and homogenised which destroys live enzymes including the enzyme lactase that helps digest the disaccharide lactose and lipase that digests fat. Nutrition content is also affected. Homogenisation is used to break up the fat in the milk and evenly distribute it throughout the product. This process causes fat to oxidise. Many people find that consuming conventional milk makes them feel very ill with an array of symptoms from stomach cramps, sinus congestion to fatigue. Many have observed their symptoms cease when consuming only organic, raw milk or at the very least organic, unhomogenised milk from cows (goats or sheep) roaming freely, consuming their natural feed of pesticide free grass, access to fresh air, sunshine, and no antibiotic or hormone residues.
There are also some people who may tolerate organic, raw, fermented dairy products who would not otherwise tolerate dairy because the fermentation process creates a food that is highly digestible and the lactose present is consumed by probiotic bacteria.
That’s enough for now on food reactions. The whole subject is complex and highly individual. It is well worth looking into if you have any unexplained symptoms. A warning, testing can be expensive and is never 100% accurate. The gold standard in finding out what may be causing symptoms: cut out! and observe how you feel.. It is best done under the care of a health care professional.
Thankfully eating an allergy friendly diet is NOT boring and there exists many beautiful substitutes. I will post on these next time. But for now, for those of you who cannot tolerate dairy for whatever reason or have a sweet tooth try my pumpkin, coconut custard!
This recipe uses coconut milk without any additives and without guar gum that can be potentially irritating to the gut, organic pumpkin, gelatin from grass fed humanly raised cows, organic egg yolk, stevia and spices. The custard provides a rich source of vitamin A, D, E, K, B vitamins, EFA’s, minerals, beta-carotene, medium chain triglycerides, lauric acid and gelatin providing amino acids for the building and repairing of our own proteins. It is not only nutritious but highly delish!
Recipe: Pumpkin & Coconut Custard
1 can of Ayum coconut milk
1 cup of grated pumpkin
1 organic egg yolk
3 teaspoons of gelatin (I use Great Lakes brand.)
Stevia to taste or raw honey to sweeten
Cinnamon, nutmeg and or vanilla powder to taste
Heat up coconut milk and pumpkin in a small pot on medium heat until simmering.
Simmer with lid on for about 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and use a stick blender to puree. Add in the egg yolk and continue to blend. Place back onto a low heat and continue to wisk for 5 minutes. Take the custard off the heat.
Mix the gelatin with 2 tablespoons of water. Then add a tablespoon of hot water to properly dissolve. Add the gelatin mixture to the rest of the ingredients and continue to wisk for another minute. Add the stevia and spices.
Place in a bowl or what ever you choose to serve it in. Set in the fridge or quickly in the freezer. You can eat it warm or cold. I served mine with blueberries and a dash of coconut cream.