Eating a clean diet that includes only fresh fruits and vegetables will mean cutting out processed foods and allergens. It can make your body feel amazing.
Allergens can be anything that causes an allergic reaction in your body. Allergens vary from person to person, but among the most common are eggs, soy, wheat (gluten), white and dairy.
Consider the personal testimony of Simone Samuels, raw food chef and blogger for The Wellness Warung on Mindbodygreen.com. Going on a raw food diet changed her taste buds. She stopped needing coffee every morning and her sugar cravings got replaced by more savory ones.
A less drastic change than a raw foods diet would be a vegetarian or vegan diet. Dr. Mark Hyman, a physician, medical director and founder of UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts and columnist for Huffington Post, said on Mindbodygreen.com that studies show a vegan diet helps with weight loss, can reverse diabetes, and helps lower cholesterol.
Paleo and vegan diets have a low glycemic load. They are low in sugar, flour and refined carbohydrates.
A diet high in vegetables and fruits is also high in phytonutrients. “Phyto” is referring to plants. Phytonutrients are chemicals that protect plants from germs, fungi and other threats. Phytonutrients can protect your body against disease.
Ideally, diets high in phytonutrients should include foods low in pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Essentially, this means little to no GMO foods.
When talking about how your body reacts to certain diets, let’s take a look at some culprit ingredients that are known to have a somewhat deleterious effect on the body.
According to Dr. Amy Shah, a Columbia University-trained physician, dairy products can cause inflammation in the body. Some can tolerate dairy better than others. But, for those who cannot, dairy products can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and may even increase the risk of osteoporosis.
“Dairy is among the most common food allergies in children. The cow’s milk protein enters the gut and cause an allergic response. In adults, there are multiple mechanisms that can cause inflammation (allergic and non-allergic), depending upon the patient’s genetic predisposition and many other factors,” Dr. Shah explained in a Mindbodygreen article.
According to Hyman, whole grains are known to raise blood sugar and trigger autoimmunity. Gluten is known to create inflammation, autoimmunity, digestive disorders and even obesity in those with gluten sensitivity.
Dr. Michael Greger, a physician and current director of Public health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Sociey of the United States issues a caution. In an article on Nutritionfacts.org, he said that a meal of meat, dairy and eggs can trigger an inflammatory reaction inside the body within hours of consumption, which results in stiffening of our arteries.
Now, since we are talking about different diets, let’s take a closer look at the inflammatory response and how allergic reactions to food affect our body.
Inflammation is defined as a localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling and pain as a result of infection, irritation or injury. It can be external or internal. An inflammatory response could come in many forms, such as stomachache, pimples, or rashes.
Greger explained that inflammation caused by meat in our bodies starts to cool off within five to six hours. However, by that time it is time to eat again. Greger argues that this cycle keeps our bodies in a chronic “low-grade inflammation danger zone” most of our lives, putting us at risk for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
According to Greger, meat-induced inflammation is an immune response. After ingesting any sort of animal product, the bloodstream is filled with endotoxins, a type of bacterial toxin. Greger explained that endotoxins come from bacteria. Our gut has an abundance of bacteria.
Let’s say you have a meat allergy. When you expose your body to an allergen, your immune system makes immunoglobulin E antibodies to fight the threat, these IgE antibodies attach itself to immune cells throughout your body.
Every time you eat meat, the allergen binds to the IgE antibodies and causes the cells to release histamines and other chemicals to protect your body from the allergen.
The histamines and chemicals will cause you to have symptoms such as cough, mucus, swelling and anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing). Basically, your body would have an inflammatory response to the allergen.
While meat products are harder to digest, everyone’s body reacts differently to certain food products. The key is to observe how your body reacts to certain products and develop your diet accordingly. If a certain product is giving you problems, try buying the organic, non-GMO (grass-fed for meat) product and see if your body reacts differently.
To each their own! You should enjoy food while building your health.
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Types of food allergy meat allergy. 28 June 2015.
Medicinenet.com. Definition of inflammation. 28 June 2015.
Mind Body Green. 7 Benefits I never expected when I went on a raw foods diet. 28 June 2015.
Mind Body Green. The #1 reason to ditch dairy. 8 July 2015.
Mind Body Green. Why everyone should consider going pegan. 28 June 2015.
Nutritionfacts.org. How does meat cause inflammation? 28 June 2015.
WebMD. Phytonutrients. 28 June 2015.
Reviewed July 9, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith