We think we’ve got it all figured out. We’ve decided that it’s gluten & dairy that is upsetting our digestive systems. So we’ve now ostracized them from our diets, so everything will go ‘back to normal’ (whatever that is). If only it were that simple. If it were just these two food groups to blame for the world’s digestive woes — then I might as well shut the door to my practice!
We can’t say with any certainty that these two food-groups are responsible for all our digestive health complaints. We can however, accept responsibility for the way we consume them!
In the past it was very easy for us Kiwis to over-consume these two food groups. We started the day with Weetbix & milk (dairy), and then had a yoghurt-coated muesli bar for morning tea. At lunch we ate a wholegrain sandwich that contained butter & cheese, and followed this up with some yoghurt. We had a couple of choccy-biccies for afternoon break. And, come dinner-time, we had some kind of beef and dairy-based pasta. Or we topped our beef-based meal with a sprinkling of cheese, and some bread on the side.
Note: If you are highly intolerant to dairy products you should also consider removing ‘cow’ from your diet for a short period of time (the meat of)!
The way our grains and dairy are now being produced may also prove a significant factor in our lowered tolerance to them e.g:
wheat = hybridization + pesticides
dairy = antibiotics + hormones + what the beasts are fed on
It’s not just the gluten & dairy you should be focused on (or worried about). Everyone has a range of foods that don’t suit them. I do a lot of work in the area of food intolerance & sensitivity. (I’ve done hundreds of hair tests in my practice.) Hair sample tests determine your individual allergens, or rather the substances that cause adverse reactions for you. Make no mistake, you won’t be disappointed if you get a hair test done. It’s not a matter of will you or won’t you have any allergens… Because you most definitely will! It’s more of a matter of discovering how many you have, and to what degree you have them. (Do you have severe intolerances, mild intolerances, sensitivities, or a mixture of them all?)
Note: Most people come back with an average of 16–21 allergens on their hair sample results list!
Some people I test, are adamant that they are severely intolerant to gluten or dairy, but either these don’t appear significantly on their list, or they don’t appear at all. This could be because they have avoided this food-group for a period of time, and are therefore no longer intolerant. Or, it can be because they associate their health issue with gluten or dairy, when in fact it’s something else they regularly consume, but would never have considered!
Note: You may be surprised to learn that potato and onion are severe food intolerances for many people! In a lot of cases these two veges are affecting peoples health more than gluten & dairy!
Note: People who avoid gluten & dairy can develop a rice intolerance (rice is supposed to be hypoallergenic). This is because they have dropped the 1-2 food-groups that were overwhelming their bodies, and have simply replaced them with another one! Their gluten-free products contain rice, they eat rice, and they drink rice milk!
Don’t go blaming gluten & dairy for your health issues just because they seem like the obvious choices. Realistically, when do you ever consume these in isolation? Could you actually be intolerant to something that you wouldn’t have ever considered, like avocado, tomatoes, almonds… or the coffee you wash it all down with?
I just believe you should be able to include these in your diet — in moderation.
Members of the palm family
(coconut & dates)
Members of the Cabbage Family
(I’m primarily referring to Kale & Cavelo Nero)
Unless of course you start exhibiting moderation in your consumption of these food-groups.
* A ‘health foodie’ is my new phrase for a subcategory of ‘foodie’ that focuses on health food.
Wikipedia says: A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food (and alcoholic beverages). A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.Book online