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Food Allergies: How Lauren Koenig Overcame Her Diagnosis

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Plus model Lauren Koenig explains how her inability to lose weight and digestion problems were caused by unknown blood food allergies and shares how she advocated for her health to change her life and launch her career.

Todd Hartley:
Hi, and thank you for joining us at EmpowHER where we improve health and change lives. Did you know that a food allergy occurs in the blood when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein? Did you know that?

To talk about her blood food allergies I am joined right now by Lauren Koenig, a beautiful plus size model – hi Lauren!

Lauren Koenig:
Hi, how are you?

Todd Hartley:

I am doing really well. Interesting subject – blood food allergies; well let’s rewind the clock if we could. Take me back a few years before you were a model and describe what was going wrong in your body before you knew what the problem was. What was going wrong?

Lauren Koenig:
Well, I was completely exhausted. Let’s put it that way. I was always a very athletic woman all through high school and college, always swimming, always boxing, tons of sports, always eating very, very healthy.

Well, when I got into more what we call the baby-making years my body started changing and I noticed that, you know, I started to break out more and I noticed that my hair and my nails weren’t growing the way they used to be and I noticed that I have really, really hard time losing weight, and I actually always kind of had a weight issue and it was mostly because it fluctuated, constantly up and down, five, ten pounds.

And I used to always joke with my friends because I always needed to eat two pieces of bread – one for each butt cheek because I was constantly fluctuating with the weight and, finally enough was enough and I went crazy and I was working out more than I ever had in my life and we’re talking three times a day.

Nine months passed; I don’t lose more than five pounds and I am terrified. I am exhausted and I am just sad. I felt like a failure and I went to my chiropractor and my nutritionist because I had pulled a couple of discs in ribs because I had over-trained so much. Eventually I was so inflamed me inside I didn’t really have any feeling and so I was able to over-train without understanding the damage I was doing to my body.

So after talking to Dr. Terry Smith, he looked at me and I had tears in my eyes, “Terry, I can’t lose weight. I can’t workout anymore. I am exhausted. Three times a day; it’s all I do,” and he is like, “Have you ever gotten your blood tested done for food allergies?” And I was like, “I don’t have any food allergies. I can eat whatever I want and I have never been allergic to anything.”

And he is like, “No, there are blood allergies. Have you ever been tested?” I said ‘no’. So he took one of his nutrition tests along with the blood allergy test and his nutrition test showed that my organs were not up to par of what they should be. I was not at my optimal health for my age and that being said, he could tell that I had some allergies going on so when my allergy test came back, which was performed by Immuno Laboratories out of Fort Lauderdale, it showed that I had over like 28 food allergies and I was blown away.

Now some of the issues I had before then as well that are kind of hard to talk about but, you know, it happened is that I had a really irregular… my digestive system just was never working properly and I was always really bloated and always very gassy and I actually thought I was allergic to tomatoes or something like that but really I wasn’t. A lot of my food was rotting in my stomach and therefore causing acid and gas and bloating and literally, two, three pant sizes I could gain in a week because of just the extreme, the digestion just was not happening.

And I also had some major proctitis issues and after getting a lot of tests done I realized that, you know, something needed to change. So I could have been put on medicine and some other major surgeries and things like that could have taken place, but I decided to give the food allergy thing kind of a shot, withdrew those from my diet, and let’s just say, since we are all biologically addicted to certain food, the withdraw was not pretty and it was not fun. I didn’t enjoy the time that I was, my body was repairing itself. I was exhausted. It sucked all the energy out of me and basically my body was trying to repair itself because your body can repair itself; you just need to let it repair itself. It is too busy being inflamed and it’s not going to be able to just be.

So my body started repairing itself and then after about, let’s say 60 days I suddenly got my energy back and I think my body kind of get a whole, “Wow we have all this energy. What should we do? Let’s burn some fat,” because what happens is when you eat these foods your small intestine’s inflamed and it prevents any nutrients from passing through the blood, in the blood through the digestion or the small intestines and into the blood and nourishing the rest of your organs.

So basically your body is in survival mode. It holds on to the fat for survival because it thinks it’s dying and it will not let go of that fat, and after I managed to let my body repair itself for 60 days, my body started burning the fat like I had never seen it before and I just kind of lost that whole swollen factor and since then I have been able to look in the mirror every day and see the same person every day.

Todd Hartley:
That’s so cool.

Lauren Koenig:

Todd Hartley:
You know, it’s kind of like a life changing experience. What’s the name of the test for women interested in seeing if they have food allergies also?

Lauren Koenig:
Well I would contact Dr. Terry Smith out of Willowbrook, Illinois. He does have a license to be able to administer the tests throughout the United States and then they will send your blood sample to Immuno Laboratories out at Fort Lauderdale, and it’s very painless; they take about two vials of blood and then they ship it off and then they take the proteins of certain foods and then they mix it with your blood and then they see the reactions.

Now, it’s typically on a scale of 1 to 4 so you can be allergic to something like wheat, very little, like a +1, or almonds where you have a +4. Now, people need to understand that these allergies are reversible. If you literally take them out of your diet for 16 weeks you can reverse them, but the catch is, you literally need to take them out of your system and sometimes we don’t know that we are eating wheat. It’s in so much food; it’s in everything that we eat. Wheat is in Twizzlers, for Lord’s sake. It’s in everything and we don’t realize eating it.

Todd Hartley:
Twizzlers is not food.

Lauren Koenig:
I know right, garbage. There’s just wheat in certain chewing gums. There’s milk in certain chewing gums and we don’t understand this because we really, I mean you have to be a conscious consumer. You have to read the labels before you put anything in your mouth and you have to also remember the more you eat something, the more likely you are to be allergic to it and the more you crave something, the more likely you are to be allergic to it.

So, you need to take that food out of your system and let your body relax for a minute and then you can reintroduce it if you get retested and you are not allergic to it anymore. However, things that are +3s, +4s – you are probably never going to be able to eat again. I haven’t had a glass of milk or an egg or a piece of cheese since November 2008.

Todd Hartley:
Oh my gosh; long time.

Lauren Koenig:
Yeah, it’s been a long time and you know what, there’s a lot of other substitutions out there and I am completely fine. My grocery bills is about quadrupled and I am okay with that because, you know, I save money in clothes because I am not constantly fluctuating with my weight. But whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and organic places really do give some people variety.

Todd Hartley:
Those are the only places we shop. I got to ask you a question. How did discovering your food allergies change your body and help you really spark your career being a model?

Lauren Koenig:
Absolutely, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if I had not found out about my food allergy. There’s a way I could have modeled anyways because of the weight fluctuation. It didn’t matter if I was size 16 or size 8, as a model you have to be stable and my weight fluctuated so much. It was so exhausting.

Todd Hartley:
And now that you’ve got your food allergies in line your digestive system is running normally now?

Lauren Koenig:
You know, I have issues a little bit here and there and it’s because I think I had eaten something funny or I didn’t, if I was in a restaurant it’s extremely difficult to eat at restaurants sometimes. Maybe I wasn’t clear that I can’t have any butter on anything and I am not going to go into anaphylactic shock, but you better bet my stomach isn’t going to feel so good two days later.

Todd Hartley:
Right, so you pay the price for a couple of days until it clears out… yeah.

Lauren Koenig:

Todd Hartley:
She is Lauren Koenig. She is a plus model, a patient of Dr. Terry Smith in Willowbrook, Illinois at the Center of Natural Therapies. For more information you can go to her website, I am going to spell it, it is lakoenig.com. Lauren, thank you so much for helping us guide women through food allergies and for sharing your story. Can we check back with you once you get to New York and find out how things develop?

Lauren Koenig:
You are so welcome and of course, you can call me any time. I love talking about it because it changed my life and it just breaks my heart sometimes to see women and men go through so many issues and the answer could be just a simple blood test because everyone has a blood print, everyone’s blood is unique and every blood is different in how they react with certain foods. I mean you just need to go back to the basics and start with what we decide to put into our bodies.

Todd Hartley:
Yeah, it’s so cool. I know I am in the process always of learning about my body and what works and what doesn’t work and surprisingly the things I absolutely love, just like you said, happen to be the things I am allergic to. Lauren, thank you so much for helping us empower women.

Lauren Koenig:
You’re welcome.

Visit Lauren at her website

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Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Oops didn't mean to be "Anonymous":
I'm Boone Zavik and anyone who wants more information can reach me here:

email: boonez(at)immunolabs.com
*replace the (at) with @ (trying to avoid spam bots)

June 4, 2010 - 2:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

I work for Immuno Laboratories and I am glad that we were able to help you. Thank you Lauren for your kind words!

If anyone wants to find more information about Immuno Labs, go here: http://bit.ly/food234

We also have a patient website to give you a lot of information to begin better health! http://bit.ly/bhusa2

June 4, 2010 - 2:22pm
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