An important step in decreasing the inflammatory response in the body is to eliminate potential food allergens from the diet. The most common foods that trigger this type of response include: wheat, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts and seafood.
Often, people with a chronic condition or auto-immune disease, such as Scleroderma, also suffer from something called Leaky Gut. This is when the small intestinal lining has been compromised to allow food particles to pass through to the blood stream before they have completed the digestion process. These large food molecules must now be dealt with by the immune system to prevent them from premature absorption. The immune system has to kill the undigested food just as it would attack any foreign invader in the body. Once the immune system has attacked a particular food once, it will recognize it the next time it encounters the same molecular structure, and attack it again, even more quickly than the first time. This process causes inflammation and it can lead to intolerance and even allergies to certain foods.
When beginning an anti-inflammatory diet it is important to determine what your food allergies are, so that you can remove them from your diet and take the steps required to heal your intestinal lining. Aloe Vera Juice and the amino acid L-Glutamine have proven to be very healing to the digestive tract (when taken on an empty stomach) and can help to heal Leaky Gut.
The next step is an elimination diet. This is the process of removing all of the potential food allergens for a 2 week period. It can be very challenging, given that wheat, dairy, corn and soy are present in most foods in the North American diet. After the 2 week period, one food is reintroduced every 48 hours. The two day time period allows you to observe several types of potential reactions to the food. Reactions could include: a head ache, stomach bloating or pain, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, insomnia or a skin rash. Basically, it could be anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or causes you pain. It is a good idea to keep a journal at this time to ensure you can easily identify which food is linked to the symptom you are experiencing. The more specific you can be with your reintroductions, the more information you will obtain. For example, when reintroducing dairy, you may want to try a small amount of the healthiest dairy products first. The order for the reintroduction may look like this: kefir, yoghurt, butter, cheese, and lastly, milk. Only small amounts of each food should be eaten and the foods should only be ingested once within the 48 hour period. This process is repeated until all of the foods that were eliminated have been reintroduced. It is important to keep all foods that caused any sort of a reaction out of the diet while you are healing.
It can seem like a daunting process, but the results are well worth the effort. Without the culprit foods in your diet, you will soon be feeling much better. It is a good idea to work with a Nutritionist or Naturopathic Doctor to ensure you are properly replacing the nutrients you have removed from your diet with foods that are easier for you to tolerate.
I have included two allergen free, nutrient dense breakfast recipes. I hope you like them : )
Mixed Fruit Smoothie
2 ripe bananas
1 cup coconut yoghurt
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries)
2 cups raw baby spinach
4 cups rice, almond or coconut milk
4 teaspoons of ground flax seeds
Put all the ingredients in a high powered blender, blend on high until fully mixed and enjoy!
Note: This recipe serves 4 smoothies.
Grain Free Breakfast Muffin
2 ½ cups ground almonds
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees convection bake or 350 degrees bake. Mix eggs with honey in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add ground almonds, sea salt, baking powder and melted butter. Mix until blended. Spoon evenly into a parchment cup lined muffin tray. Makes 10 – 12 muffins. Bake for 20 minutes.