Why do eggs bother my stomach sometimes but not all the time?

eggs

In addition to wheat, asparagus and cream (high fat), eggs bother my stomach, suggesting I am intolerant of them.  But only sometimes.  I have tried to figure out if it is the way they are cooked (over easy, omelets, scrambled etc), or what they are cooked in (butter, olive oil etc) but have not come up with a definitive answer.  Because I am intolerant of wheat, I have even wondered if I am reacting to eggs from grain fed chickens.

I have done some research to see if I could find the answer; here are a few suggestions I came across:

  • don’t eat eggs on an empty stomach
  • eat other things with the eggs like toast, home fries etc
  • cook them well (over easy used to be my favourite)
  • drink something carbonated with them
  • don’t cook them in butter

I have not tried the carbonated trick yet, but carbonation is not my friend either so I probably won’t.  My last attempt at consuming eggs was in an omelette, with just a bit of olive oil to coat the pan, but a few hours later the omelette went right through me with accompanying stomach cramps and diarrhea.

I ate it by itself though, with no toast on the side, and on an empty stomach, so I may have my answer.

Anyone else have this problem?

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Another food intolerance

I have discovered another food intolerance, the hard way.  I have known for a while that many artificial flavors and ingredients in food items trigger bad reactions in my gastrointestinal system.  This past weekend I narrowed a particularly bad bout of stomach cramps and diarrhea down to the ingestion of red food color.

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I know it had to be the food coloring because I was very careful what I ate that day.  I hosted a baby shower for my daughter-in-law and prepared most of the food myself.  As I and a few other guests are wheat or gluten intolerant I made sure there were plenty of gluten free choices on the table.  I made my favourite gluten free biscotti, but to fancy them up for the occasion, I dipped them in white chocolate that I had tinted pink.  A few drops of red food color in the melted white chocolate resulted in a pretty pink color, perfect for the baby shower menu.  Unfortunately for me, those few drops of red food color did me in.  Because I had several of the biscotti (did I mention they are my favourite?) throughout the day, my allergic symptoms lasted much longer than they usually do.

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I don’t know which of the ingredients in the red food color (apparently red dye #40 is a common culprit)  I reacted to, but I will be avoiding any food tinted red (or pink) from now on!

 

Autoimmune disease

What is autoimmune disease, what causes it and how can it be treated?  This is my stab at explaining what I have learned since I suspected I have one or more.  A recent conversation with two cousins revealed many of my relatives have similar chronic issues.

There are many known autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, arthritis, thyroid disease, fibrocystic breasts, cystic fibrosis and psoriasis, to name just a few. They are all caused by inflammation which causes your immune system to work overtime.  When your immune system is on all the time, it produces too much fibrin, a mesh-like protein.  Normally our bodies produce proteolytic enzymes to remove the fibrin, but if too much fibrin is produced, the enzymes cannot keep up.  It does not help that our natural production of these enzymes starts to decrease in our late twenties.

Your immune system is designed to attack anything foreign entering your body, whether it is a virus, bacteria, toxin or food allergen.  When it detects something foreign antibodies are produced.  The problem arises when your organs get attacked by these autoantibodies and surrounded by the cobwebs of fibrin.

Although research has shown that autoimmune disease is genetic, the genes are not activated until “turned on” by toxins, food allergies, yeast or mold infections and viruses.

A few indications that you may have an autoimmune disease include:

  • unexplained weight loss or gain

  • insomnia,

  • heat intolerance and sun sensitivity

  • muscle or joint pain, weakness or tremors, numbness or tingling in hands or feet

  • rapid heartbeat

  • unexplained hives or rashes

  • brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor short term memory

  • constant fatigue

  • multiple miscarriages

  • abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhea

If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, unfortunately, you will probably have to stop and reverse your symptoms yourself.  Why?  Because most doctors only treat the symptoms, hardly a long-term solution.  Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars producing products to treat the symptoms, so why find the cause?  To add insult to injury, many of these medications increase the risk of cancer and severe infection. That issue is a whole other can of worms that I have talked about in a recent post.

These are my recommendations, again based on my (limited) knowledge on the subject.  I am not a doctor nor an expert, merely one who was frustrated and confused with my declining health at an early age.  This is not a get better quick process either, it will take months even years to straighten out.

Start with removing irritants from your gut because most of our immune system is in the GI tract or gut.  Problems in your gut are so much more than gas, bloating, and diarrhea.  Many chronic health conditions, like the ones listed above, start in your gut too.  Removing known inflammatory foods is the first step.  While it might be difficult to remove all of these from your diet, try to eliminate as many as possible.  They include:

  • gluten (a wheat protein): bread, bagels, pasta etc

  • sugar: brown, white, anything that ends in “ose” (sucralose, fructose etc)

  • nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, white (not sweet) potatoes, peppers, eggplant

  • processed foods that include trans fats and omega 6s

  • dairy and soy products

  • corn and other grains like rye, spelt, barley and rice

  • pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat

  • eggs

  • alcohol

  • legumes (peas and beans)

If removing these items from your diet for a period of six months does not do the trick, find a doctor that will test your stool for hidden infections and bacteria as well as your blood for antibodies, infections, and toxins like mold and mercury.

Once you have removed these inflammatory foods,  you can try supplements of natural anti-inflammatories.  These include turmeric, devils claw, rutin, bromelain, papaya, boswellia, ginger and yucca root.  I do not take any supplements, but I do include ginger, turmeric, and pineapple (bromelain) in my daily smoothies.

It is a long and frustrating process but can be done.  I know because I went through it myself!  Many of my previous posts, especially the earliest ones, discuss my journey to health.  In fact, that is why I started this blog.  Feel free to comment, email or message me with concerns, corrections etc.

The main thing to remember is this.  Just as the genes for inflammation get activated by allergies, viruses, infections, and toxins they can also be deactivated.

 

Carter approved: Mum Mums

As I spend a lot of time talking about my grandson, I thought I would post a series called “Carter approved”.  My first Carter approved product is Mum Mums, a rice-based teething biscuit that comes in various flavors…

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Mum Mums are free of the most problematic allergens, (gluten, wheat, eggs, milk, soy, sesame, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts and fish)a as well as verified non-GMO. Mum Mums are baked and contain minimal amounts of salt, sugar, fats and oils.  Rice has always been considered an ideal first solid food for babies as it is easily digestible, yet contains many vitamins and minerals.

 

 

We all know how teething babies want to put everything in their mouths; these biscuits are no exception. They literally melt in the mouths of babies, although their claim to be mess free is suspect…

 

The banana flavor of Mum Mums is Carter approved!  Buy your Mum Mums

 HERE

 

Sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread

Did you know that sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread for those of you on a gluten-free diet?  Even if you are not eating gluten-free, slices of sweet potato make a much healthier and lighter alternative than bread.

Simply slice a sweet potato lengthwise as thin as you can slice it, pop the slices in the toaster. Keep the slices long enough so you do not lose them in the toaster.  Toast them until they soften and start to turn brown at the edges and voila!  You could also roast them on a BBQ rack or mat.  I brush them with olive oil and crushed garlic before BBQing them. Of course, I omit this step if using a regular toaster to prevent a fire in my toaster!

I made a hamburger last weekend:

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sweet potato burger

As the meat part of the hamburgers were cooking on the BBQ, I made my sweet potato “bun”   I cut the meat patty in half to accommodate the shape of the potato slices. The results were delicious!

I also tried some toasted sweet potato slices topped with peanut butter and jam for breakfast recently.  I was so eager to eat my concoction, I forgot to take a picture!

I am addicted now and can’t wait to make:

  • toasted tomato sandwiches
  • pizzas
  • wraps and any other kind of sandwich
  • eggs benedict
  • egg mcmuffins

 

I would love to hear any other ideas; please share your suggestions!

 

Living with Food Allergies

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Food allergies can be a pain (literally) to live with.  Some are much more severe than others, with the most severe allergies, called anaphylactic, potentially fatal.  Allergic reactions vary from mild skin rash, slight cough, or itchy throat, to stomach cramps and diarrhea, to heart failure, complete throat/airway obstruction, or unconsciousness.

Common to all allergic reactions is the fact that our immune systems treat the allergen as a foreign substance.  Our immune systems are designed to protect us, so when such a foreign and potentially dangerous substance (called an allergen)is identified, the body goes into attack mode.

In the case of an anaphylactic reaction, the immune system produces massive amounts of histamines which cause the muscles in the lungs to contract, blood vessels to dilate and heart muscle to overwork to a point of heart failure.

A non-anaphylactic, but potentially just as painful, reaction results when the allergen results in the production of antibodies that are deposited in many organs throughout the body.   This is called a CHRONIC reaction, meaning not acute.  This buildup of anibodies takes years to accumulate, so reactions are often hard to diagnose and identify.  Symptoms can mimic asthma, arthritis, high cholesterol and more.  My WHEAT allergy is this chronic, yet painful and unhealthy type of food allergy.

There are many misconceptions of wheat and gluten allergies as well as other gastrointestinal disorders.  Here are some of the important facts:

  • People allegic to wheat and or gluten can and do have anaphylactic reactions as described above.
  • It is a protein in the wheat that is the culprit in wheat allergies.  Gluten is one of, but not the only protein found in wheat that can cause allergic reactions.  So if you are allergic to wheat you do not have to be allergic to gluten, but if you are allergic to gluten, you are allergic to wheat.
  • Gluten is present in wheat, barley and rye.  Semolina, spelt and kamut are less common types of wheat that contain gluten.
  • Oats do not contain gluten, but most products that contain oats have the possiblity of cross contamination from gluten within the grains listed above.  For this reason, people that suffer from celiac disease or a gluten allergy often avoid oats too.
  • Celiac disease results when the allergic reaction to gluten happens within the small intestine.  Most people are aware that celiac disease causes digstive problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhea, but are unaware that edema, fatigue and anemia are common symptoms as well.  Diagnosis is made from a biopsy of the small intestine.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) causes similar symptoms to celiac disease and chronic food allergies but affects the large intestine.  It is often caused by a bacterial imbalance within the digestive system, and can often be treated with a probiotic.
  • Crohn’s disease causes intermittent patches of inflammation between normal patches within the whole gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but predominantly the lower small intestine and upper large intestine (colon).  The inflammation can extend through the layers of the intestines into surrounding mesentery (tissue)  The cause of Crohn’s disease is suspected to be related to an overactive immune system.
  • Ulcerative Colitis usually starts in the rectum and extends upward into the large intestine.  It only involves the inner lining of the intestine and is more localized (not patchy) than Crohns.  Although diet and stress aggravate UC, the exact cause is still unknown, but also thought to be linked to the immune system of its victims.

 

 

Many people not diagnosed with a gluten or wheat allergy have chosen to eliminate those substances from their diets because they believe that fewer carbohydrates in their diet can result in a  healthier lifestyle.   As suspected by many doubters, this decision may turn out to be temporary  like many other fad diets that have come and gone.

Probiotics are also an option for those concerned with their digestive health.  Check out the research within this guide on probiotic supplements for more information.

If you suffer from the symptoms common to the conditions listed above and cannot control them with your diet, seek advice from your doctor.  Why people choose to eliminate wheat and gluten from their diets does not matter if their lives are improved.

Unfortunately, for many of us, it is not an option.

Get real results by eliminating wheat from your diet

For several years, I suffered from various symptoms for which my doctor could find no solution.  Although my low ferritin or iron stores level explained my chronic fatigue and low energy, the supplements prescribed did not help boost the level, but it did make me constipated.  I was beginning to feel like a hypochondriac since none of my symptoms could be reasonably explained or alleviated.

This chart summarizes the blood work and various tests before and after eliminating wheat from my diet…

 

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The primary change, at least for me since I first went to the doctor because I was tired all of the time, is the ferritin or iron stores results.  The normal range is between 80 and 300.  In 2007 my ferritin level was 9, extremely low.  By adding more iron to my diet I was able to get it up to a whopping 18.  I then discovered a wheat allergy that was preventing my body from absorbing iron from my diet or supplements.  Two months after eliminating wheat from my diet, my ferritin or iron stores result was up to 42, one year later up to 63 and four years later to a normal level of 100.

A second  major change was the disappearance of my asthma symptoms.  At my last visit to my respirologist he was amazed at how my pulmonary function tests were completely normal.  I didn’t tell him about the wheat-free diet until after he expressed his surprise at my results.  He was skeptical of the fact that a naturopath figured out my problem, but agreed I should continue avoid wheat.

Another healthy change is the difference between my before and after cholesterol results that went from slightly high at 545 to a mid normal range of 315.  My weight had also been creeping up over the years hitting 140 pounds before the wheat elimination.  I dropped 5 pounds within 6 weeks of eliminating the wheat and currently weigh in at 130 pounds four years later.  At five feet and five inches in height, I am satisfied with my current weight.  The biggest bonus to the weight loss has been the loss of flab and excess fat around my middle.

I have experienced similar positive results with arthritis symptoms which were getting worse every year until I eliminated wheat.  I currently suffer from very minimal arthritis symptoms. Although I have not have repeat ultrasounds or chest x-rays to see if the ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and lung hyperventilation are no longer present, the symptoms associated with those three conditions have disappeared.

My white blood cell and platelet counts still remain low, results I have been aware of for many years.  Having worked in the field of laboratory medicine for thirty years, I had many opportunities to test my blood.  I have always suspected some form of autoimmune action within my body; someday I may investigate this suspicion.

 

Sensations kettle style potato chips from Sobeys

My new favorite potato chips come grocery stores.  They are  Sensations by Compliments brand, which is equivalent to President’s Choice at Loblaws, Independent Grocer or Superstores…

 

These extra crispy, kettle style chips are sensational (pun intended) tasting and always reasonably priced.   I am particularly fond of the black pepper & lime, and sweet chili & sour cream flavours pictured below.  There are many other varieties to choose from too, such as jalapeno, hickory barbecue, balsamic vinegar & caramelized onion, sea salt & malt vinegar, and more…

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The best part is that these Sensations kettle potato chips are gluten-free and processed in a gluten-free environment, with no artificial flavours or colours to trigger my food allergies…

 

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Sobeys’ slogan is Better Food For All; these Sensations kettle chips are definitely better for me.  Unfortunately for many of you, Sobeys locations are limited to Canada.  For you Canadian readers, give these chips a try soon, I’m sure you will love them too.  Your biggest dilemma will be deciding which variety to try first!