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Posts Tagged ‘food sensitivity testing’

 

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You might recall a post from last year in which I described how I took a food sensitivity test that told me I’m highly sensitive to eggs, green peppers and pineapple. I also discussed how this type of test gets mixed reviews, but it continues to be very popular among alternative practitioners.

Well my daughter has been suffering from a mildly stuffy and/or runny nose for months. When I first noticed it last summer, I assumed she was getting an out-of-season cold–just a fluke. We were traveling in Europe, and I figured the long flights and significant time change were making her susceptible. When the mild “cold” came home from Europe with us, I assumed she must have seasonal allergies, or that she had developed an allergy to dust mites (covering all those millions of tiny Lego pieces strewn across every surface in her room) or pollen or something along those lines.

I took her in for an allergy skin test which showed she has very sensitive skin but isn’t allergic to any of the usual suspects. On the doctor’s recommendation, I later took her in for an allergy blood test. Once again, it showed she isn’t allergic to any of the common allergens. I eventually took her to see an MD who’s also a Homeopath. After asking me a lot of questions about my daughter’s diet, her mucus and various other bodily functions, the doctor concluded she must have a food sensitivity and ordered the IgG test. The doctor suspected a dairy allergy, which I was secretly hoping for because I already substitute coconut and almond milk for dairy in most of my cooking.

Several weeks later we learned, that according to the test, my daughter is, like me, highly sensitive to eggs. Of course eggs would turn out to be the culprit! After all, I feed my kids eggs every day. My whole family loves eggs. I love to bake and nearly every favorite recipe calls for eggs. And we have three chickens. Not to mention, I consider the egg one of the most nutritionally perfect foods available. But alas and alack, no eggs for three months, said the doctor.

Since I never did give up eggs even after my igG test indicated I was highly sensitive to them (I just began eating them less frequently), I decided to not eat eggs for three months in solidarity with my daughter.

Here’s where you can envision the fingers drumming on the table and the foot tapping impatiently… We are three weeks into our 3-month sentence, and it’s tough going. Eggs are in everything–at least nearly everything we love. And I’ve practically stopped baking since it’s pretty difficult to bake anything decent without using eggs.

But I have discovered that there are some surprisingly good eggless versions of some of our breakfast standbys. For example, this pancake recipe is remarkably good, and just as easy to make as my oatmeal pancakes. I’m also experimenting with eggless waffles. When I get the recipe right, I’ll share it here. In the meantime, if you have an egg sensitivity or simply want more eggless options, try these delicious, surprisingly light and fluffy pancakes.

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Ingredients (for approximately 6 4-inch diameter pancakes)

1 cup whole-grain spelt flour

2 heaping tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cup milk (cow’s or almond work best)

1 tbsp water

3 tbsp coconut oil melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preparation

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Pour the milk into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add the water, vanilla extract and coconut oil to the milk.

Whisk the wet into the dry until just combined. Do not overstir. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Heat a large cast-iron or other griddle pan over medium heat. Add in a little butter or coconut oil and spoon in your pancake batter. Cook approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown before flipping over.

Serve with love.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Who doesn’t love carrot cake?! But let’s be honest… The average carrot cake recipe is loaded with sugar. In fact, most carrot cake recipes contain more sugar than nearly any other type of cake, including my personal favorites–red velvet and tres leches!

One day, I will manage to construct a carrot cake that tastes delicious, has great texture and isn’t loaded with sugar (and maybe uses whipped coconut cream for the frosting instead of cream cheese and sugar!). When that day comes, I will be sure to take lots of photos of the creation (i.e., notable accomplishment), and share the recipe. But until that day comes, these little bites will do a nice job of reminding you of carrot cake, and hopefully satisfy any cravings. They taste remarkably like  carrot cake and what’s more, these little bites contain only good stuff that fuels your body.

My kids love these bites, and they make a perfect afternoon snack for hungry tummies.

This recipe is slightly modified from from the wonderful One Sweet Mess. I tweaked a few measurements to my liking, and omitted the pineapple since the food sensitivity test I took last year informed me I don’t tolerate pineapple well.

 

Ingredients

2/3 cup grated carrot

1/3 cup oats

1/3 cup  coconut flakes

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Pinch sea salt

1 tsp raw honey

4 Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup fine coconut flakes

Note: I didn’t make the bites photographed here using raisins, but they work well, too, and can be substituted for the dates (1/2 cup).

 

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Preparation

In a food processor, pulse together the carrot, oats, flaxseed and spices. Add in the remaining ingredients (except for the 3/4 cup coconut flakes) and pulse until thoroughly combined.

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Using your fingers or a teaspoon, scoop out enough of the mixture to roll into an approximately 1-inch diameter ball. Roll the ball in the coconut flakes until coated. Finish the remaining mixture using the same process. Store the balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Serve cold. (I’m adding this comment post-publishing… These need to be served cold–straight from the frig. They are not nearly as good if they’re at room temperature, or worse–warm.) Keeps for 3-4 days in the frig.

 

Enjoy!

 

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A couple of months ago, I decided to take a food sensitivity test–one of many commonly referred to as IgG testing–that looks for the presence of antibodies as an indication of what foods a person might not tolerate well. Obviously, if I had a severe allergy to a particular food, it would be plain once I ate that food… I would get hives, shortness of breath, start sneezing, have stomach pain, etc. For example, I know I’m allergic to the sulfites in wine, and after drinking even half a glass, I tend to get a stuffy nose, slight headache and flushing (a “blush” on a good portion of my body). And I’ve known for a few years now that I don’t tolerate dairy very well. This is why you’ll often see me mention milk substitutes, such as coconut and almond in my recipes. Just like with wine, it’s not as though I go into anaphylactic shock or anything remotely close; my body’s reaction is much more subtle–a few annoyances or pains here and there, and a slightly crummy feeling, but not enough to keep me from enjoying the things I love.

The exception is quinoa… Ah, yes, my (formerly) beloved quinoa. I used to eat loads of it–with fresh fruit and almond milk as my morning cereal, as a substitute grain for wheat, and in salads and “burgers”–and then about this time last year, I started having a reaction. At first it was a little nausea and stomach cramping, which I quickly blamed on other things. However, over a three month period, the nausea and cramping became more and more severe culminating in an episode last October where I was in so much pain, and experiencing such horrific nausea, that 1) I was able to definitively pinpoint quinoa as the culprit; and 2) I had to call my doctor after hours to prescribe an anti-nausea medicine so I could get off the bathroom floor and sleep away some of the reaction. (It turns out many others have, over time, developed an allergy to quinoa, as a quick search on Google will reveal. The experts are undecided as to whether it’s a reaction to one of the proteins contained in the grain or a reaction to the natural insecticide the plant produces.)

Since I’ve suspected for years that I am intolerant of a few other things that I eat regularly, I decided to have the IgG testing done. My doctor (head of an integrative practice) ordered the test, which costs approximately $250 out of pocket, as many insurance companies do not consider it a reliable way of testing for food allergies. The lab tech withdrew a little blood, and I sat impatiently for several weeks, eagerly anticipating the news.

Well, I have to say, the results proved surprising and perhaps a little disappointing. For example, the results confirmed my belief that I have a general intolerance to cow’s milk and cow’s milk products, but indicated goat milk is perfectly fine. I am somewhat skeptical of this, as I find that even goat milk products slightly aggravate my system. The results also indicated I have a moderate allergy to pineapple and green peppers. (I’ve never had an obvious reaction.) Aggravatingly, the test doesn’t indicate if I should avoid green bell peppers or all green peppers. (This would be an important distinction since I regularly eat jalapeño peppers in my guacamole, and occasionally use serrano peppers in my sauces.) I appear to have no problem with wheat or gluten, although I still think it’s wise to reduce these in my diet based on all the research that’s being conducted in this area.

Perhaps the most surprising thing was that the results indicate I am strongly–not severely–allergic to eggs, both the yolk and white. Now considering I believe eggs to be one of the most perfect foods in the world, and since I don’t eat mammals and rely heavily on eggs for protein, I wasn’t very happy to receive this news. My doctor said my allergy may not be permanent and suggested I give up eggs for 1-2 months to test my allergy. Right. Well I can’t seem to make it even one week without unwittingly consuming eggs. While I am not intentionally eating any (with one or two exceptions), eggs are in nearly everything I don’t make myself. Since I cook 90 percent of our meals from scratch, I will go for several days without eating anything containing eggs. Then suddenly, I have a piece of gluten-free sandwich bread and lo and behold–the bread was made with eggs! If there was widespread agreement that IgG testing is a reliable means of determining food allergies or intolerances, then I would make a much more concerted effort to avoid consuming egg for the suggested 1-2 months. However, since the value of the test is questionable, and since I’ve never had a noticeable reaction to eating eggs, I’m inclined not to give them up entirely.

That said, I’m doing my best to avoid eggs for the time being. Trying to avoid eggs has made my breakfasts a bit more challenging, and reminded me that I hadn’t shared my recipe for Maple Pecan Granola. This recipe is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein, and granola has to be one of the easiest things to make. Just add a little plain yogurt or almond milk and a handful of fresh berries, and you have a delicious, hearty breakfast. The biggest benefit to making your own is that you can control how much sweetener and fat (and which kinds) are in your granola. Most granolas found in your local supermarket contain loads of sugar and fats. That’s what enables the great, big crunchy chunks many brands contain. However, many of those granolas aren’t much different from a candy bar that happens to contain a few healthy ingredients. My recipe produces approximately 11-12 cups of granola using relatively little sweetener and the fat of your choice.

 

Ingredients

4 cups thick rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds

2 cups organic pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed

8 tbsp coconut oil (you can use sunflower or safflower, too)

12 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup dried juice-sweetened cranberries, blueberries or dates, coarsely chopped

 

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Method

Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until melted. Combine oats, almonds, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, salt and shredded coconut in a large rimmed baking sheet and stir to mix. Gently whisk the oil/syrup mixture and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well to coat evenly.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the nuts are nicely toasted. Remove from the oven and stir in the chopped dried fruit while still warm. Allow to cool completely before putting in an airtight container. You can store it for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

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