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What is your take on food allergies?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 18, 2012 at 1:00 AM

First, some background. After a lifetime of suffering with Topic-A dermatitis and fibromyalgia, respectively, my mom and dad got tested for food allergies and discovered many culprits, which, once eliminated from their diets relieved most of their symptoms. (Consequently, both of my parents now follow a nearly paleo diet just because it's what they aren't allergic to.)

Out of curiousity, I decided to be allergy tested as well. At this point I had just started a paleo diet, but even on SAD I did not have any real serious digestive issues or other symptoms of a food allergy. My results came back that I was allergic to beef and pork (saddest day ever -no more bacon). My doctors advised me to eliminate these foods completely for three months, see if there was any change, and then reintroduce them.

So I spent a sad three months without any beef and pork products in my diet, and ending up lapsing into pseudo-vegetarianism - added back in legumes and dairy to get protein, and occasional wheat/corn/other grains. I felt like crap and I was depressed that I could no longer eat some of my favorite foods. After the three months was up I introduced beef and pork back in with no real difference in how I felt. Then I realized that, while eating paleo, even when eating these things I was supposedly allergic to, I felt better than ever. Now I am back to mostly paleo, and I eat all the beef and pork I want, with no problems.

Are allergy tests legit? Obviously my parents, who have more serious allergies, have benefitted from removing allergens from their diets. But why am I "allergic" to foods I tolerate, even thrive on eating? Are food allergies part of the myths of CW, or do they hold merit? True, the most common food allergies (wheat, peanuts, dairy) are things that fall outside the paleo framework. But how do you explain allergies to paleo-friendly foods like meat?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 21, 2012
at 02:02 AM

Man, it's so hard to tell with food allergies. Maybe ask for a scratch test so you can get the tests from two different perspectives? Different testing methods can make a difference.

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on April 20, 2012
at 11:04 PM

My mother actually has been looking into TCM, as the allergy shots and an elimination diet have greatly helped her skin but not completely. She tried acupuncture and told that she is part of something like 5% of the population whose body cannot tolerate it. She now drinks a specific mixture of chinese herbs 3x/day and her skin has cleared up drastically! I would definitely be open to Chinese medicine after seeing my mom's experiences - something to look into for sure!

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on April 20, 2012
at 11:01 PM

My family is looking into cowpooling, so perhaps I will be able to switch to mostly grass-fed meats soon!

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on April 20, 2012
at 10:59 PM

It was a blood test. And I plan to retest later this year, as my insurance covers one test per year. Perhaps a paleo diet will have healed my gut?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 18, 2012
at 10:20 PM

What the doctors use is an isolated protein, not like a chunk of meat- wouldn't that mean that the allergy couldn't be from preservatives? But @Dragonfly is totally right, people can react farm-to-farm differently if it is the CAFO antibiotics/feed that's the problem. Some people are so sensitive to grains/soy it's enough that the animal ate them for them!

3408e1d1c7d6b49fca2edb96b433ff9b

(129)

on April 18, 2012
at 10:13 PM

Test for the preservatives! Maybe the doctor's sample was not free of other contaminants!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 18, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Most people only react to the egg white- try eating egg yolks only especially if you already experience no obvious outward allergic response, most people are fine.

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6 Answers

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 18, 2012
at 03:45 PM

But how do you explain allergies to paleo-friendly foods like meat?

I have friends who have "allergic" reactions to CAFO meat, but not grass-finished/antibiotic-free meat.

3408e1d1c7d6b49fca2edb96b433ff9b

(129)

on April 18, 2012
at 10:13 PM

Test for the preservatives! Maybe the doctor's sample was not free of other contaminants!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 18, 2012
at 10:20 PM

What the doctors use is an isolated protein, not like a chunk of meat- wouldn't that mean that the allergy couldn't be from preservatives? But @Dragonfly is totally right, people can react farm-to-farm differently if it is the CAFO antibiotics/feed that's the problem. Some people are so sensitive to grains/soy it's enough that the animal ate them for them!

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on April 20, 2012
at 11:01 PM

My family is looking into cowpooling, so perhaps I will be able to switch to mostly grass-fed meats soon!

1
Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on April 18, 2012
at 03:28 PM

Have you looked into your digestion?

Maybe some type of leaky gut situation going on, causing your body to create antibodies to things that it really shouldn't be fighting, like beef?

0
3408e1d1c7d6b49fca2edb96b433ff9b

on April 18, 2012
at 10:12 PM

Ok I just wrote the longest answer ever and it didn't go through. Here is what I am thinking. I was not tested by a western medical doctor but instead by a Chinese medicine acupuncturist and herbologist who also practices NAET which is a way to lessen or maybe cure food allergies or sensitivities. In my own experience I was tested positive, by way of muscle testing using samples for many specific things, both food and other, by themselves and in combination. It is important to remember that we all have allergies but to differing degrees. Some are so mild, they are unnoticeable and others apparently life threatening. The NAET probably helped some, but some things I just avoid. I was told that I had a combination pork/nightshade vegetable problem which I think accounts for me feeling sick every time I would eat out and have a bacon omelette slathered in salsa! Tomatoes! You get the idea. Yours could possibly be a combination thing? Later I was tested by a nutritionalist using a mail in prick test kit. It matched what I had already been told. When eliminating these foods (and paleo does) I have improved. I. Would look into a few things. 1. You could be allergic to additives and preservatives and not the meat itself. You are only as good as the sample they test you with. 2. It could be only when combined with something else, and by combined I mean exposure within 6 hours or so! This one thing that makes this so complicated! 3. You could be allergic to such a small degree it doesnt matter and you can continue. I would consult someone like I did. I never have done well with western medicine. Just my .02

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on April 20, 2012
at 11:04 PM

My mother actually has been looking into TCM, as the allergy shots and an elimination diet have greatly helped her skin but not completely. She tried acupuncture and told that she is part of something like 5% of the population whose body cannot tolerate it. She now drinks a specific mixture of chinese herbs 3x/day and her skin has cleared up drastically! I would definitely be open to Chinese medicine after seeing my mom's experiences - something to look into for sure!

0
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on April 18, 2012
at 03:13 PM

I have tests yearly and they are always different and I literally disagree with many of them, they don't always match up. Mind you I feel the testing is also inconsistent because its always a different type, kind test, in a different country in different labs, etc. so never done in the same place or the same test.

I've also learned that some foods are just plain gut irritants and some show up and some don't (ie: nothing for potatoes, rice ...beef and pork always shows but i can eat pork, caseins but not lactose)

The best way to is trust your body, remove it and try introducing things. I also find there is a line of intolerance which is different to an allergy. There is also conditions which can cause you to react to foods but because of imflamation rather than an allergy. Unfortunately it all gets intertwined and difficult to know whats really what. Testing of actual tissue in the intestines, colon can confirm imflamation due to allergies....ok, that test I believed!!!

There are so many protein alternatives it doesn't really matter or should stop you from enjoying food! You just have to wrap your head around it and go for it with a positive attitude and it will all be good!!

0
166710229b375d1a9e11561572c6f2b6

on April 18, 2012
at 01:43 AM

I would love the answer to this too. After a blood test I found Im allergic to milk, eggs, wheat and peanuts. The milk and peanut allergy is obvious...My throat and ears start itching a swelling if I eat them. Eggs and wheat I havnt noticed an obvious reaction so I still eat it occassionally.

But considering my allergies are for the most part paleo friends (no milk, wheat or peanuts anyway) Im killing myself over the eggwhite allergy. I used to eat them every day!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 18, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Most people only react to the egg white- try eating egg yolks only especially if you already experience no obvious outward allergic response, most people are fine.

0
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 18, 2012
at 01:16 AM

Well, first off, I feel for you. Congratulations on having one of the absolute rarest allergies possible. Second, did you get the skin prick test or was it done via blood test? I have gotten a few false positives on skin prick tests, and have heard of other getting them anecdotally, so it might be worth taking positive allergic reactions with a grain of salt. If you aren't getting hives, an itchy palate, or other signs of a immune reaction, it might be worth getting it retested.

Allergies in general have nothing to do with how inherently "bad" a food or item is. I mean, there is absolutely nothing dangerous about pollen or grasses or shellfish or peanuts, but those are some of the most common allergies. I mean, it's possible to be allergic to WATER. A substance can be the friendliest thing in the world, but if our IgE decide it's a dangerous foreign substance, it can launch an immune response. If you subscribe to the hygiene hypothesis (I'd say a pretty good portion of immunologists lean this way now), the response is due to a lack of exposure to, specifically, parasitic worms. Unless you live in a tropical area, or have a contaminated water/food system, it's pretty hard to get some contact with parasitic worms. Not that I'm saying we should run out and find us some raw sewage to throw into the pipes, but I'm hoping on some really cool developments in Europe that show that safe exposure to innocuous parasitic worms will prevent allergies at young ages. Until then, managing allergies through avoidance or immunotherapy (which they will rarely do for food allergies) are the only easily available options once you've developed an allergy.

On the flip side, being allergic to pork and beef doesn't mean you have to give up paleo! There are plenty of other meats and seafoods to enjoy like lamb, rabbit, chicken, turkey, ostrich, horse, oyster, squid, octopus, scallop, shrimp, prawns, salmon, crab, lobster...the list really does go on and on.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 21, 2012
at 02:02 AM

Man, it's so hard to tell with food allergies. Maybe ask for a scratch test so you can get the tests from two different perspectives? Different testing methods can make a difference.

E4faef53346e45f644ef905ab99ccb28

(83)

on April 20, 2012
at 10:59 PM

It was a blood test. And I plan to retest later this year, as my insurance covers one test per year. Perhaps a paleo diet will have healed my gut?

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