• Food tests

    Well Food Sensitivity tests (IgG) hit the news recently. May have been a slow news day, may have been someone trying to stop thousands of people from loosing their minds over what they can or can not eat.

    note * I am not a fan of IgG tests. That is just my opinion. Restricting certain foods when you are in digestive crisis can help a lot. When a person is in a health crisis there is a lot of conflicting information, Dr Google is not always your friend, neither are blogs that are not specifically talking about your case. For medical advice see your Family Doctor, for East Asian Medical Advice come see me, for other Allopathic advice you can see a Registered Nutritionist, Dietitian, Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor and other registered Medical professionals. Do not change what you are doing because of a blog post. *

    The article you can see here, makes it sound like the tests are a complete sham and Naturopaths and a few MD’s sell them for the easy money and an easy treatment plan. In USA and Canada their is $20 BILLION dollars of private money spent in getting this test done.

    Your tummy hurts, you have tried this and that and you are upset and tired of it. The ND says you may have some food sensitivity’s or worse intolerance’s and this test will tell us. A normal person would say, lets do it!

    A short to very long list comes back of foods YOU CAN NOT EAT or YOU WILL GET SICK!

    I have seen a few hundred of these lists and wow does it freak a person out, not me, the one that got the list.

    I have tried to explain it a few hundred times to people why the test is not a great idea, I have tried to explain how they can eat most of the foods on the list, I have tried. But, I get told how I do not understand, this list came from a lab! For sure many of the foods on the list are not worth eating, it’s just the foods are not really the problem.

    I still try to tell people to take a more moderate approach to the food list, but once I hear it came from the “lab” I then say, “well you follow that and if that fails, please come back and we can get to the business of fixing your digestive process.”

    What is going on. Depending on what study you read and who paid for that study. IgG tests are an interesting guess at best. But so are most, if not all, food allergy tests.

    I hesitate to say this but for a while I studied under a couple of world experts on food allergies. I have been involved in all kinds of food and substance testing going back 20+ years.

    Why do I hesitate to say that? None of it is all that accurate.

    Before I go on, there are food allergies, they are a real thing. For some people, mild exposure to a substance food or something else can kill them very quickly. And no one really knows why, aside from whatever is in the food and whatever is in them do not get along.

    Going into the why of food sensitivities/intolerances that are NOT generally life threatening  can be complicated but I will start with a simple example.

    I want you to lift 150 pounds above your head 10 times. Can you? Then you have an allergy to lifting 150 pounds.

    I want you to eat a whole bunch of food, work at your desk, don’t chew much and all the while you are upset at the boss, AND get good digestive process. Can you? No. Then you have an allergy to something, we normally blame the food.

    Your stomach has a bunch of muscles in it’s make up. They require blood to work. If you are working, reading, watching TV, on the go, taking meds, not chewing enough, all kinds of things. It will impair the stomachs ability to do it’s job and it goes downhill from there.

    If your digestive fitness was in good shape I promise you, your food list would be shorter. BUT once you have the list, it likely also means your digestive muscles are weak and they will have to get back into shape. This is where restricting trigger foods may be handy. BUT if you don’t actually get your digestive process back into shape no amount of food restriction will help.

    The next thing I see from a patient after the food list is their new vitamin list from the helpful clinic they just came from. All kinds of vitamins and minerals.

    I ask them how is their digestion working.

    They say, not very good.

    I say, they how do you expect to get any nutrition from a concentrated pill, if you can not get it from natural sources in your food?

    There is a pause.

    You see, all those fancy nutritional pills are fairly hard to digest and absorb. That’s why bone broth had a huge impact for a while, until people figured out it’s a pain to make and store bought really does not do much.

    There are several herbs that can be absorbed by a weakened digestive system and they can help. But if a person does not eat in a correct manner, not much will help in the long run.

    What is a correct manner? Eat like a fairly rich person from 1850 would have eaten in a similar latitude as you. What’s that? It’s not Game of Thrones, if that is what you mean.

    Basically you eat 3 warm, cooked meals a day. When you eat you sit down, visit or listen to gentle music, chew your food (no blended meals). When you have finished eating, have a warm beverage and sit for 10-20 minutes. Then go about your day.  {Consult you GP before embarking on any health changes}

    That sounds simple enough, and it’s cheap and saves North Americans 20 billion a year.

    I know, it’s just not practical, you are too busy.

    I know lots of things cause digestive complexities; surgeries, medicines, infections, injuries, stress, sleep patterns, loneliness, anger, etc.

    Once a person has digestive ailments it can take a few years to get it back together. I remember 20 years ago, I was consulting with a Chinese Herbalist for a patient. We talked and agreed on a formula to help. The last thing she said was, “you know they are on this for 3-4 years right?”, I quickly said yes, but inside I was shocked it may take that long. Since then I have seen some take that long and others that took 8 hours, you just never know.

    Last thing. How do you test for allergies then? Well the best way I know, get a genetic scientist with nothing to do and do some DNA sequencing. No, don’t have that opportunity. The next best is write down everything you eat for a month. Just what it is. Then tabulate it and figure out what is the six most common foods you eat. Stop eating them for one month. Then pick one of them and eat it for lunch and see what happens. Go from there.

    Questions, food lists you’d like me to look at, tummy bloating? Give me a call.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies