The protein comprised of peptides glutenin and gliadin found in wheat, rye, barley and ancient grains like spelt and kamut. Gluten gives the spongy consistency to bread and provides caked and baked goods with a soft texture and consistency.
When someone who is intolerant of gluten eats bread or any other food containing gluten, the gut identifies the gliadin component as a threat. Antibodies are produced and sent out to fight off the attack. Unfortunately, to the antibodies, gliadin looks similar to some body tissues, particularly the thyroid gland, and so these tissues also get attacked (this is why often times we see those who have autoimmune thyroiditis also having celiac disease) The immune system simply starts attacking the body.
Sources of Gluten:
Wheat and derivatives of wheat including Wheat Berries, duram, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, faro, graham, kamut, einkorn wheat
Rye, barley, triticale, brewer's yeast
Malt including Malted Barley flour, malted milk or milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar.
Other common gluten-containing foods: Pasta and noodles, breads, tortillas, wraps, cereals, crackers, cookies, baked goods, beer and other fermented beverages, potato chips, fires (gluten is in the batter or malt ingredients) sausages and other processed meats (gluten is in the starch used) soy sauce (use tamari, bragg's liquid aminos, or Coconut Aminos instead), Candy, energy and granola bars, sports bars, some processed foods (often from Cross Contamination)
List adapted from the Celiac Disease Foundation www.celiac.org
Dairy is another food that is ubiquitous in the Western diet and one of the foods we mostly see pop up with food sensitivities. Most countries recommend people eat 2 servings of dairy a day. The reactions stem from the lactose (the carbohydrate found in dairy) or casein (one of the proteins found in dairy)
Lactose is the sugar carbohydrate found exclusively in animal milk such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. Lactose digestion requires the enzyme lactase in order to break down lactose into smaller simple sugars for absorption. All human babies have lactase enzyme in order to digest their mother's milk, but the enzyme usually decreases around the age of 5. The lack of this enzyme and therefore the inability to properly digest lactose-containing foods triggers symptoms including diarrhea, stomach pain, and bloating.
In those individiuals who are missing hte lactase enzyme, lactose enters the gut but is too large to be absorbed, so it can give rise to symptoms. Lactose intolerance may also be influenced by the volume or amount eaten, with small amounts posing no problems for people but large or frequent consumption bringing on the symptoms. Yogurt often times seems to be well tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant due to the fermentation process diminishing the amount of lactose in the yogurt.
Lactase is produced by the epithelial lining of the gut wall. So any damage to the gut can disrupt the production of the enzyme. Damage can occur because of irritants, antibiotic use, stress, celiac disease, changes in gut flora, food poisoning, or viruses. With the removal of the irritant and time allowed for the gut lining to repair itself, dairy can slowly be introduced and well tolerated to those who it was previously off limits to.
Milk and ice cream contain the highest amounts of lactose. Other dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, and certain cheeses are made through fermentation which decreases their lactose content significantly. Many people who are unable to tolerate milk find they are able to tolerate butter.....ghee would be the best option since it is clarified further reducing the lactose and casein.
Casein and Whey
Often people assume that their reaction to dairy is from lactose. More often than not it's due to the casein which is known as one of the most common allergens. Symptoms of both casein and lactose intolerance are very similar. You may not know which one is causing the issues unless you do an elimination diet where you remove both casein and whey then simply add back one at a time and see where the reaction lies. Adding a straight whey protein powder first that is casein free is the best approach. Most people find that after a rest period they are able to tolerate whey proteins with little difficulty.
Eggs seem to be another food that seems to cause a reaction in many people. Usually it's the egg whites that are the culprit. The protein albumin shows up for many on food allergy testing. Signs of egg sensitivities might be GI related, gas and bloating, but you may also see skin rashes as well. With removal of any irritants in the diet, most people find that they are able to tolerate eggs in moderation once the gut lining has healed itself.
The types of carbohydrates that are commonly malabsorbed in the intestines (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) These are simply the technical names for the structure of sugar molecules (saccharides is another name for sugar). All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose or sugar molecules through digestion. FODMAPS are found in a wide variety of foods:
Soy is another food high on the allergen list. It's inexpensive to produce and since it's flavorless, it takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking with. Many who are avoiding meat look to soy as a protein alternative. Soy comes in the form of the soybean itself, soy oil, soy lecithin, textured vegetable protein (TVP), or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Edamame that you eat with your sushi is the soy bean in it's natural form. Delicious as it may be, it has potential to increase inflammation, has a high allergen potential, and CAN down regulate your thyroid production as it is a goitrogen.
That said, traditionally prepared fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, natto are generally considered safe to eat. The fermentation process breaks down the goitrogens and reduces the chances of having a reaction. Unfermented soy, such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame, plus any processed or packaged soy like veggie burgers, soy bacon, etc are high in FODMAPS.
Soy also acts upon your estrogen receptors. So it can be a major hormonal disruptor as well. Most soy products are notorious for having GMO's, contain phytoestrogen, chemicals that mimic female sex hormones and have been linked to reproductive and hormonal health issues in both men and women.
Other Types of Potential Allergens To Be Aware Of
If you haven't had success with your digestion with the big wigs of allergens, you may want to consider some of the hidden prospects:
- Food Chemicals/Pesticides/herbicides/
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Salicylates--found in herbs and certain fruits and vegetables
- Amines/Histamines--alcohol, cocoa, dark chocolate, yeast, etc
- Glutamate--MSG / even natural MSG
- Naturally and Artifically flavored foods
- Coffee (decaf or regular)
- Certain spices (chili, curry, pepper)