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What CAN you eat? This is the most common question I get after folks hear about the 15+ foods that I am avoiding. Adult onset food allergies is not familiar territory for most people, and there are lots of myths and misguided beliefs out there. For me, its not really about the specific products or ingredients that are tolerated, but more about having a food allergy philosophy.
Why would you care what I can eat with my food allergies and sensitivities? Your food intolerances are probably different than mine. Well, because its not so much the actual foods, as it is the philosophy behind LIVING with food sensitivities and the motives for your food choices. Bear with me for a minute and I’ll explain.
What do you eat with your food allergy?
Anything I CAN!!!! 😉
Okay, way to simple, right? Well, yes and no.
How about a complicated answer with a long, detailed list but an underlying, super simple, food allergy philosophy?
What I do NOT eat:
- Food allergy/intolerances-Soy (all derivatives including conventional meat/eggs), gluten, coconut, tomatoes, peppers, chamomile,
- Low FODMAP Diet restrictions-beans, garlic, onion, cauliflower, dairy (I was eating cheese and lactose free products, but eliminated due to naturopath suggestion). In reality, I am avoiding all high FODMAP foods but these are the big one’s for me.
- Candida Diet restrictions-peanuts or any “moldy” nuts, fruit (except berries), added sugar, dairy
- Inflammatory Foods-I am considering adopting the AIP (Auto Immune Protocol Paleo) and have started removing any remaining foods that I was still consuming. In addition to previous eliminations, I have removed eggs, most nuts/seeds and seed based spices so far.
- Tummy Issues-Any raw vegetables like salad, raw carrots, etc. Basically, I’m not digesting well and I’ve found that I feel better with cooked vegetables than raw currently.
- No added chemicals, artificial flavors, highly processed, or pre-prepared foods (soy is typically hiding in these types of foods and ingredients).
Out of everything above, I MUST avoid soy, coconut, gluten, and chamomile. These foods trigger oral allergy symptoms, wheezing, asthma, brain fog, exhaustion, extreme fatigue, and crazy emotional mood swings.
Soy is wicked crazy, hiding and lurking in the most insidious spots like new car seats, seasoning blends, and on your vegetables! For more info, check out this post talking about the Other Names for Soy and Common Hiding Places.
What DO I eat?
- Organic Vegetables and Herbs-carrots, parsnips, celery, kale, green onion (tops only), potatoes, broccoli
- Grass Fed beef, pork, and chicken that is sourced from a local farmer that specifically avoids soy
- Organic Berries and Citrus Fruits – small amounts of pineapple have been okay too
- Quality fats, good salt, nutrient dense foods
One of my top priorities is organically grown produce and avoiding chemicals. Many people don’t know this, but in the U.S. most of our produce is coated in chemicals or wax to help preserve the food until it can make it to your table. However, these chemicals and preservatives often contain soy. By switching to organically grown produce and using Homemade Produce Wash religiously, my soy reactions greatly diminished.
Second priority, but just as important for me, is sourcing high quality, soy free meat. Unfortunately, some folks are so sensitive to soy that they can react to meat where the animal was originally fed soy. I am one of those lucky folks. I am so, so, so, fortunate to have found a local farm (like 10 minutes from my house!) that grows their animals humanely, grass fed, and only supplements with soy free feed when necessary. 🙂 Yes, it is expensive and No, we really can’t afford it. The thing is, I really don’t have a choice. Conventional produce and meat triggers reactions for me every time, so there is no choice, I had to make this switch. But, as a bonus, our meat tastes AWESOME! You know, like what meat used to taste like!!! 😉
I have been focusing on nutrient dense foods. Trying to get my body the nourishment that it needs even though I am certainly lacking in variety and diversity right now. We have been adding in different foods, mostly vegetables, but also a little fish and offal to increase nutrient density. In fact, kale is one of those new foods I have added to our diet that is a nutritional powerhouse, I seem to be tolerating well and the boys like it… or at least aren’t complaining about my putting kale in everything!!! LOL!
There are a few crackers, sweet potato chips, and Epic bars that are my “convenience” foods. Otherwise, everything is prepared at home from scratch.
Treatment (diet) related eliminations
The diet related restrictions (Low FODMAP, Candida and AIP) are to help to heal/calm my immune system, reduce inflammation, and to help avoid some of the related symptoms from SIBO (bloating and constipation). The idea being that if we can heal the Leaky Gut and correct the gut microbiome, then my immune system should calm down and quit reacting to so many foods.
So, could I eat these foods? Sure I probably could, however I would feel lousier than I already do on the daily.
I’ve had folks ask why I would voluntarily remove even more foods from my diet, as in follow the Low FODMAP diet or adopting the AIP Protocol. Well, the answer is, I don’t WANT to live like this forever!!! I’m trying to heal, reducing some of my symptoms, reducing inflammatory foods, and hoping that one day my diet will be more diverse, and I can go back to eating like a (semi) normal person. I want to eat apples, garlic, onion, cauliflower and CHEESE!!! (foot stomp)
Food allergy philosophy
Focus on what you can have!!!
Seriously! Let me repeat.
Focus on what you CAN have!!!
By paying attention and focusing our attention on our “safe” foods, we are re-framing our situation in a positive manner. This mindset alone helps us to LIVE with our food sensitivities. If all we do is focus on what we CAN’T have, then we will be sad, depressed, and angry all the time. Believe me, that is where I started out and every time I have had to remove another food (usually my fave’s) I do get really upset. Like, bawling my eyes out over apples. I know it sounds crazy to cry over apples, but that is reality folks! So, I choose not to think about what I CAN’T have (so long apples) and focus on what I CAN.
By focusing on what we CAN have, and trying new things to experiment and grow our palate, we are taking a positive, proactive approach to our condition. This helps us feel in control and just keeps our mind moving on a positive path.
Make a list of everything you can have and then every meal you can possibly think of with those foods. Sometimes you have to get creative and think outside the box. Last summer, I made Low FODMAP Pico de gallo with no peppers, onions or garlic! I also made a pretty darn tasty spaggheti sauce without any garlic or onions. Let me tell you, I felt pretty darn accomplished when I made that sauce! 😉
Lately, I’ve been making hamburger gravy, basmati rice, and steamed broccoli. Layer it all in a bowl and its very reminiscent to Broccoli Beef – without the soy. If you can tolerate coconut, then coconut aminos are totally the bomb for getting that flavor in your foods without the soy! But even without the coconut aminos, my Broccoli Beef Bowls are pretty tasty.
So, what do I eat with my food allergies?
Anything I CAN!!!! 😉
I’m not saying it’s easy, or that you won’t have bad days. I sure do! But, by focusing on what you CAN have, you’ll feel better, more in control, and like you have more choices.
What is your food allergy philosophy?
Great article! I have the same issues as you, but my food intolerance list is really long! I too have to focus on the foods I CAN eat and did struggle with the sadness more at first. Now when I find out I have another intolerance I just add it to the list. Sadly, I need to limit my coconut intake now which is my latest finding and a lot of this comes down to being in tune with what our body is telling us.
Thanks Stephanie! I’m sorry to hear you have so many food intolerances. It really stinks, especially when they are “healthy foods”. I agree, it does get easier as it goes. I personally think the first allergy is the worst. Coconut has been a really hard one for me too. Not so much that I love coconut, just that it is so prevalent in natural products and Paleo recipes. 🙂
You are so right about being in tune and listening to our bodies. I didn’t realize it, but I think I pretty much put in ear plugs and ignored every sign and signal my body was telling me, for YEARS. LOL!
Best wishes for health for you and your family.
Great article! I too struggle with dairy, soy, gluten and certain fodmaps and have been vegan for a while too. I have just started adding meat back into my diet as I simply cannot get enough protein and nutrients I need for my physical training. Seeing as soy and beans are the main protein source on a vegan diet I have struggled for a while to find a balance between my ethics and my health. Only recently have I decided that for now I need to add meat into my diet until I can get my symptoms under control, before I start adding beans and legumes again slowly and hope I can cut it out again! I’ll be sticking around for more tips!!
Thank you Louise! I to feel better with meat in my diet. I would love to add beans back though! I’m so happy this was helpful for you. Best wishes for health.
I ĺuckily do not have any food allergies but I do have Crohn’s disease. About 6 years ago I replaced conventional meats from pastured animals with natural non-GMO diets and drug free. I have been making changes to our diet ever since and now source in season organic produce as well.
You didn’t mention wheat or gluten in your article which are highly inflammatory and I was wondering what your position was on that. Conventional wheat is processed using tons of pesticides which triggers intolerance in me but I tolerate small amounts of organic wheat products and choose gluten free options other times.
Hi Kim. I also am gluten free for now. Sorry, it looks like I didn’t make that clear in the post.
Initially I didn’t think I was having a problem with Gluten. My Naturopath asked me to “try” removing it for a few weeks, just to see. It was like night and day difference. Gluten was a HUGE problem for me! With all the changes I had already made to remove soy from my life, gluten wasn’t as difficult for me. I do really miss good sourdough though! Its heartening to hear that you tolerate organic wheat products. Maybe I will be able enjoy organic sourdough one day! 🙂 Best wishes for health.