Slide 6 of 15

Here are 14 foods that hold the potential for causing food sensitivity problems. For many years we have been aware of cow's milk and dairy foods being right under gluten in terms of ability to stimulate these reactions. Recent research has shown that dietary yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the kind of yeast you add to bread, you make beer out of, alcohol, vinegar, etc., seems to actually underlie the immune reaction of Crohn's disease, a disease we haven't known the cause of for the 100 years it's been known. Corn. Specifically corn, although the other grains can cause food sensitivity as well. You have to understand, that the four gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, rye, and oats) are not totally exclusive from the other grains with respect to their phylogeny, how they are related to these other species; they are cousins, if you will, closely related. I like to remind people that eating grains is eating grass seeds. That's what grain is, a hybridized, cultivated grass that 10,000 years ago became a food. The seeds come out, you pulverize them, and you make food out of them. Citrus fruits. Especially for arthritis, chronic diarrhea, or gastroesophageal acid reflux. Beef and pork of the meats tend to be the most immune stimulating. Soy. A plant high in protein, although not tolerated by all, especially the immune sensitive person. And peanuts. Soy and peanuts are related in that they are both legumes; they are beans. Other legumes can potentially cause problems. Why do you pass gas from them? Because they are not very well digested. They cause a lot of symptoms. They cause pain, and many people react to them. Eggs. The old research showing that gluten sensitive individuals reacted frequently to cow's milk often showed similar reactions occurred to eggs. Nightshades. They include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and cayenne hot red peppers. Due to a peculiarity of their chemical substrates, they too have been linked to arthritis and other immune-activated states. Tree nuts. These are wonderful for your health and prevent heart attacks by lowering cholesterol, but they can, because of their nature, be allergenic and immunogenic. Try to find one or two for you that don't seem to cause symptoms, because nuts are great. Eating protein and fat when you are eating carbohydrates smoothes out the effect of the carbohydrates, avoids the mental anguish and crankiness and tiredness that occurs with carbohydrates.

High protein. This is a popular diet in America right now, but in my opinion an undesirable diet for anyone, and especially problematic for people with chronic immune disorders. Because the immune system reacts to foreign proteins coming into our bodies, and all dietary proteins are foreign in this way, those prone to more frequent or stronger immune reactions need to limit their intake of high protein foods. For the most part, that is what the 14 foods listed above really are: high protein foods. So, you don't want to overdo it on protein foods. One note of interest; fish is not on this list. Fish, although a high protein food, can actually prevent immune reactions in some people because of the immune-suppressive effects of fish oil. But if you eat too much fish, the stimulating effect of the protein may overcome the beneficial effect of the oil. That is why fish oil is sometimes given as a supplement/medication in capsules.

Protein bars. I was at a health club today, and this is what they had on the counter as I walked in: "25% off any box of Protein Bar. Great tasting energy bar. Cookies and Cream." How could that be a health food? Unfortunately, this is a fad food now. These are new foods, previously uninvented and unheard of. Protein bars, I promise you, will go. When they were first invented, they probably tasted horrible, and they were created purely for function, bad as it is. People thought they needed protein. Now, they have evolved to Cookies and Cream. Plus, most of it is actually cow's milk protein, what they call "whey protein". I recommend you avoid this protein and these protein bars. The same holds true for protein milkshakes and other such supplements.

Finally, it turns out that oxalate, a simple, otherwise non-toxic organic compound found in some foods, mainly vegetables and some fruit, may be one of the contributors if not the main cause of pain in a common syndrome called fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia mainly causes trigger point pain in multiple muscles, and seems to affect the same group of muscles in different people, classically those around the neck, shoulders, and head. Although commonly accompanying arthritis and other immune disorders, fibromyalgia is not itself thought to be associated with immune or autoimmune reactivity because the muscles are not inflamed on biopsies. I have suffered with arthritis in my back and associated fibromyalgia for many years. I first suspected a role of oxalate in fibromyalgia when I discovered that when I ate spinach, chard, kale, and these real deep greens that I knew contained alot of oxalate, I would get bad trigger point pain and tightness in my shoulders, trapezii, and neck, all of which would cause bad headaches. Furthermore, I would get what I jokingly call "crispy"; various joints became achy and would audibly "crack" frequently, especially in my spine and hips. Even joints that normally did not trouble me, like rib joints, would become achy when I ate these foods. All of these symptoms would resolve when I removed these foods from my diet, and would recur when I reintroduced them. All of this suggested to me a possible role of oxalate in fibromyalgia and I began to research the medical literature on oxalate. Although I did not find any reported association with fibromyalgia, I did find reports of an inherited disorder called congenital hyperoxalosis that allows too much oxalate to enter the body, consequently causing oxalate kidney stones and crystalline arthritis (from oxalate crystal formation and deposition in joints). I had also been aware of patients with Crohn's disease and other forms of chronic fat malabsorption (including celiac sprue) who absorbed too much oxalate from their intestine causing mainly kidney stones. If oxalate is involved in fibromyalgia, as it seems to be, it may be from microscopic deposition of these crystals in the muscle and/or tendon tissues. For many years, people with oxalate kidney stones and congenital hyperoxalosis have been prescribed low-oxalate diets; now people with fibromyalgia may want to consider this as well. In addition to the improvement I have received from avoiding all of the 14 foods mentioned above, limiting the amount of oxalate in my diet, and particularly avoiding the foods containing the highest amount of oxalate, has helped me. In terms of which foods contain high, intermediate, or low amounts of oxalate, there are too many to list. However, there is a Website that contains this list: It turns out that this website, which I was told about serendipitously in an email from a former patient with celiac sprue and oxalate kidney stones, is actually dedicated to providing information and support to people with fibromyalgia. So apparently someone else has made this oxalate-fibromyalgia connection.

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