Friday, October 21, 2011

How do you know?

posted by Lyme is real, a SpiroChicks contributor

How do you know a pediatric neurosurgeon loves his/her patients? When the dressings are cut away to reveal gauze cut in the shape of hearts!

Rewind to August. Two weeks before her ninth birthday, our daughter started having a rougher time. She had less patience, was easily agitated and had a more difficult time making eye contact. She noticed memory issues. School started and in her words, "Things that used to be easy are taking a lot longer and sometimes I can't even remember what to do."

Things like how to add or subtract.

We noticed a decline in fine motor skills, more confusion, increased cognitive difficulty, dizziness, queasiness, increased headaches, fatigue and falls.

A CAT scan provided the first clue, hydrocephalus in the third ventricle of the brain. An MRI revealed hydrocephalus in the third and lateral ventricles, a Chiari malformation and part of a syrinx in the spinal cord. An MRI of the spine revealed two syrinxes in the spinal cord. A pediatric neurosurgeon joined the team of amazing physicians spanning four children's hospitals who have helped her to be where she is today: endocrinologist, bone geneticist, infectious disease specialist, orthopedic surgeon, pediatric opthamologists, ENT, pulmonologist, pediatricians and now a neurosurgeon. Our daughter was born with cerebral Lyme disease. She was diagnosed three years ago, solving many of her medical mysteries, but leaving challenges still to be faced.

The neurosurgeon explained that the Chiari malformation or hydrocephalus triggered the remaining problems, but which came first? A chicken/egg scenario. Fortunately, early MRIs provided the answer. They were normal, ruling out the Chiari malformation as a birth defect. The hydrocephalus came first. One cause of hydrocephalus is an infection of the central nervous system. Chief suspect: Borrelia.

This week a V/P shunt was inserted into her brain. At the time of her surgery, her cerebrospinal pressure was extremely high. In the surgeon's words, "It was the real deal."

She has been through so much in her nine years and there have been countless instances where we have been in awe of her courage and determination. Other than a few tears in the recovery room, she hasn't cried. Not during physical therapy, not when she tries to get up or roll over. Her one complaint, "I didn't realize it would hurt everywhere."

When she was tiny, she announced after getting a nightly shot of growth hormone, "I am one tough cookie in my wonderwear!"

She still is! Revealed once again when those heart shaped dressings came off today. Hearts meant to ease the hurt. A gift from a gifted surgeon.

Today, her hand has cautiously slipped behind her ear, carefully exploring where her hair has been shaved. A few tears. In three months, repeat MRIs will determine whether more surgery is necessary. We pray not, but know chronic Lyme is a marathon. There will be more challenges ahead. For now, it is enough to take comfort and gather strength from being home. It is time to rest and heal.

In closing, unforgettable words of encouragement from a nurse who shared our joy in her first steps after surgery to explore the Children's Garden. "Look at you, Little O!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hospital Tales

By Candice, Spirochicks contributor 
Originally posted on Infectiously Optimistic 


Thursday evening, a thin partitioning sheet separated my gurney from the gurney just a foot from mine. My neighboring hospital bed was empty upon my admittance to the Emergency Department, but a few hours into my stay, I watched the shadow of a new patient settle in, and listened to the worried voice of their accompanying loved one, intermittently interrupted by the intrusive sounds of inflating blood pressure cuffs and beeping machines. As the triage nurse brushed by the curtain separating us, the sheet rippled as it caught the air of the nurse’s brisk wake, and for a fleeting moment I was able to harbor a glimpse of the two beside me. The patient laying in the hospital bed was a pale elderly woman, her silver-haired husband sitting in a chair by her side. As time elapsed, she was wheeled in and out of the area for a number of tests, her husband always shuffling in tow of her traveling bed. Eventually, the couple was visited by neurologist clad in a crisp white overcoat, who informed the elderly woman that she had suffered a small stroke. She had lost the use of one of her arms, but she’d be treated and monitored, and she’d be okay. The doctor proceeded to educate the couple about the further neurological testing that would be required and the rehabilitation that would ensue in the following weeks as they tried to help her regain her strength and the use of her impaired limb. I listened to the thick silence as the news sunk in. Finally, the woman replied:

“But how will I do my hair?”

I imagined that she was referring to her inability to use the arm that she naturally relied on. I listened for her husband’s response. To my surprise, I almost sensed a smile behind the tone of his voice. I watched the shadow of his raised hand as he lifted it to gently pat his wife on the top of the head.

“Oh honey, I’ll brush your hair. I’ll put your curlers in for you too.”

Now that's love.
Illness has a way of stripping life of glamor, glitz, and the nuances that blind us to what lays before us. Illness exposes weaknesses while unearthing strength, and reveals what is real and what was merely smoke and mirrors. It quakes a life until its cracks widen and what is feeble falls away, and leaves what is relentlessly real standing clearly in front of us. Living life with an illness has proven to be one of the truest ways to live and has blessed me with the opportunity to witness raw courage, true compassion, and authentic love. For that, I am grateful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tidbits From Practitioner Byron White's 9/04 Interview

By Candice, SpiroChicks Contributer

On September 4th health practitioner Byron White, the creator of the increasingly popular Byron White Formulas, gave a live Q&A session as a guest on Blog Talk Radio. The interview was nothing short of phenomenal. Byron White's infinite wisdom and insight was remarkable, as well as his compassion for those suffering from Lyme Disease and chronic illness.

Byron White has been treating those with chronic illness for over 37 years. He specializes in a number of alternative and naturopathic means of treatment, but has also been involved in pivotal medical research. The research he has taken part in focuses primarily on finding natural means of restoring health. In the 1980's, he suffered with Late Stage Lyme Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity himself, which lead him to his research that resulted in the development of 27 different herbal formulas. Some of these formulas, such as A-Bart, A-Bab, and A-L Complex,  have become the leading choice in alternative Lyme Disease treatment in the country.

What immediately struck me about Byron White was his refreshingly holistic view on chronic illness. Just as everything else in nature, he views the body as a layered system. With each detrimental layer that is peeled away, the body gains strength. He believes that eventually, the body will take over, and clear the remaining infection and toxicity itself. Every body is unique; not every Lyme patient requires a protocol focused on the eradication of the Lyme bacteria. Their surface layer may be heavy metals, fungus, parasites, or a virus. Once the first few layers are removed and the body begins to unwind and the infectious or toxic blockages are released, it may be able to take care of the rest itself. With both his knowledge and his faith in the strength of the human body, Byron White exudes hope. The following are tidbits of the wisdom that he shared.

Healing Chronic Illness 

-A healthy body is constantly dealing with pathogens. It isn't until one of these pathogens finds a weakness and overtakes the immune system, creating an imbalance, that we become ill. Treatment is therefore necessary in order to bring the body back to a strong state of balance.

-Our parasympathetic nervous system is our healing system. When an infection takes over in our body, our sympathetic nervous system responds and we are sent into "fight or flight" mode. We can't survive as human beings when we are constantly running, therefore it is necessary to balance the sympathetic, parasympathetic and autonomic nervous system so the body is capable of of balance and healing.

-When your sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive, it's as though you have your foot on the gas pedal while your parasympathetic nervous system is laying dormant. Eventually, your sympathetic nervous system begins to burn out. Therefore, overstimulating an already stimulated sympathetic nervous system with things like antibiotics, drugs, and immune boosting protocols is not advantageous. It's about balancing the body, not stimulating it.

-Many times, a patient has autoimmune or over-activity in one portion of the immune system, and suppression in the other. Therefore focusing on boosting the immune system could be detrimental, much like stimulating an already overstimulated sympathetic nervous system. When people think infection, they automatically think of "suppression". That isn't always the case.

-Conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity are just labels for symptom sets. Every symptom has a cause. Yet, the same symptom in two individuals could have a different cause in each. Therefore, not all Chronic Fatigue patients have viruses, and not all Fibromyalgia patients have Lyme. These symptom sets are often neurological in nature, therefore they could be the result of a number of different causes that result in neurotoxicity such as mold poisoning, parasites, or even pesticide exposure.

-Autoimmune Diseases, like Lupus, are also labels. Lupus is a word that represents and autoimmune response that can be triggered by a number of things. All physiological responses have causes. The cause could be anything from a virus, bacteria, fungus, toxin exposure, heavy metal, or DNA related issue.

Bioresonance Testing

-Blood tests are most often an unreliable way of determining the cause of illness. They are typically falsely negative, and do not indicate what is priority for treatment in the body.

-You may test positive for a pathogen, but you may not be ready to treat it or it may not be on the surface layer in your body. The pathogen or toxin on the surface layer is the issue that the body requires addressing first. If it is left unaddressed, it could prevent the healing of the remaining layers. This is often the reason why one can chelate heavy metals for years but still have heavy metal toxicity; a different issue was on the surface layer. This is where bioresonance testing is useful. It can be used to reveal which pathogens may be causing symptoms (that blood tests often miss), and which issues are priority in treatment.

-Byron White uses bioresonance testing that is not machine based. He uses a combination of filters and kinesiology to specifically test for issues in the body. He is able to tests specific layers in the body, as specific as the DNA in the left eyeball, to see what is resonating in that particular layer of the body. He finds that the human machine, because of its sensitivity, is the most accurate form of testing. He has used it for years and has had much success. He now trains practitioners in the process.

Lyme Disease

-Treatment doesn't have to be a long and protracted process.

-Byron White treated a Lyme patient who also had cancer 40 years ago, and was given a drug for treatment. It was after cancer treatment that she went on to develop arthritis and a number of chronic symptoms. He discovered that the primary cause of her symptoms was the drug that remained in her system for over 40 years. He created a homeopathic to treat and detox the toxicity of the drug, and 3 weeks later she bounced back. Her symptoms were eliminated, even after suffering from these symptoms for decades.

-There are no blood tests for Lyme Disease to tell you whether or not you are "cured". Some pracitioners believe that you can never fully eradicate Lyme, and the best that you can do is get the patient to the point where their immune system can keep it in remission. Byron White disagrees; he believes that the body can fully eradicate Lyme. If this isn't possible in the patient, his second best scenario would be to push the Lyme into dormancy and strengthening the body enough to hold it there. But Byron White believes that Lyme isn't always as difficult to treat as many believe. Healing is possible.

-The focus of treatment shouldn't be about pounding away at an infection with different treatment modalities, but should be listening to the body and what it needs to heal. The body is designed to defend against and eradicate pathogens, therefore if strengthened and balanced, it is capable of dealing with chronic infections.

-You can have a pathogen, including Lyme Disease, that dies but stays in the tissue for years and the resulting toxicity causes symptoms.

-Generally speaking, "Post Lyme Syndrome" doesn't exist. Typically, if it isn't Lyme that's causing symptoms anymore, it is a different pathogen causing symptoms.

Bacteria, Mycoplasma, Viruses, Fungus, Parasites

-When Byron White did his original research as he traveled and tested across the United States, he found a number of pathogens that frequently came up in patients. One of them is not often talked about, Powasson Virus, which is a virus that is transmitted through a deer tick. It is often missed because it mimics Lyme Disease.

-Other common pathogens that most often show up in patients who are chronically ill include but are not limited to mycoplasma, mold, fungus, candida, nematodes, epstein barr virus, HHV-6, Coxsackie viruses, and Cytemegaloviruses. Each has the potential to cause symptoms and imbalance just as significant as Lyme.

-The good news is that each pathogen does not need to be addressed individually. You want to view treatment as a domino process. Address the issue on the surface layer and detox the body, and your system will achieve a little more stability and balance. With each layer addressed, your body gains strength and is eventually able to pick up speed and take care of remaining layers of infection and toxicity itself, much like instigating the tip of a line of dominoes.

-In the past, when our bodies had less environmental toxicity to deal with, people would contract an infection and they wouldn't even know it. They'd come in contact with something like babesia, and they would feel sick for a few days or a week while their body took care of it. Our bodies are designed to keep us well, so the goal and focus of treatment should not be to kill all pathogens but should be to strengthen the body so it can achieve protecting us once again. Our body is ultimately our best defense.

Environmental Toxicity 

-If we didn't have as much environmental toxicity, we wouldn't have as many problems with pathogens. Environmental toxicity weakens the body, therefore it is crucial that it be addressed in treatment.

-Byron White recently developed a new formula to treat radiation toxicity due to the effects on our bodies resulting from the crisis in Japan.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

-Chemical sensitivity rarely stands alone. There is always a cause, but it doesn't have to be Lyme. They could have heavy metal toxicity, or they could have Leaky Gut Syndrome (colon issues), or an exposure to a toxic chemical. 

-Lyme Disease (as well as other pathogens) can cause a significant increase in sensitivity to substances, including ones own hormones. One can become sensitive to phenols, which are found in hormones in our body but can also be found in pathogens like Candida. Typically when the pathogen is eradicated, the sensitivity improves.


-Often times, symptoms arise when we become too toxic while killing pathogens, not from the pathogens themselves.

  -Typically the development of G.I. symptoms during treatment are neurological in nature, caused by the enteric nervous system, and are therefore caused by neurotoxicity. Detoxing neurotoxins can improve a number of neurological symptoms such as nausea, disorientation, headaches, mood swings, etc.

-Detoxification depends on the particular patient. Required detoxification methods, just like treatment methods, are not the same in all patients. There are situations where you wouldn't want to do colonics, detox baths, or saunas. Often times internal detoxification formulas are most effective, formulas or homeopathics that encourage the organs like the liver, intestines and the kidneys to dump toxins. It's great to then follow up with supportive external forms of detoxification for the lymphatic system such as dry skin brushing and detox baths if tolerated.

Mold Toxicity 

-Mold's purpose in nature is to break things down and return it to the earth, so it has a tendency to work in a similar fashion inside of us.
-When treating a patient, look at their environment first. A patient can even do this themselves. You can purchase mold plates and set them out for 45 minutes, then close them and let them percolate for about a week. The development of more than 4 colonies of mold on the dish is problematic.

-If you have mold in your house, it is extremely difficult to get better.

-Once the environment is cleared, mold is almost always up in the patient's sinuses. This must be addressed. There are companies nebulizing antifungals for this purpose.

-You want to stop feeding the mold and fungus inside of your body by cutting out sugar and gluten from the diet and limiting carbohydrates.

-You typically want to use a binder to bind the mold toxins. There are prescription binders, such as cholestypure, but he never uses them as he has found that they cause problems in the liver and the gallbladder. There are natural means to bind and detox mycotoxins.

-Desensitizing the mold is often necessary as well once the body is detoxed to prevent reactivity. This can be done with a practitioner who is trained in homeopathy.

-Prevent mold growth in your environment by monitoring humidity. It should be between 35-40%. Fish tanks are a large source of humidity. A humidifier may be necessary. Also be aware of mold in drapes and household items after cleaning up the home.

Byron White Formulas and Byron White's Website

-Byron White does not use grain alcohol in his formulas. Grain alcohols are potentially problematic in many patients, as many with chronic illness are sensitive to grains, especially glutenous ones. Corn alcohol can also pose a problem because the majority of corn in our culture is genetically modified or treated with pesticides. Byron White Formulas are comprised of organic pesticide-free grape alcohol and anywhere from 7 to 17 herbs.

-Each formula is made by hand. Both industrial machines and heat sealing are entirely avoided in the production of the formulas to avoid petrochemicals and heat compromisation. Absolutely everything is done by hand.

-There are three components to each formula: a historic component, a scientific component, and a bioresonance component. When he fell ill, he used his background in herbology to explore which herbs were historically known to treat pathogens. With bioresonance testing, he found that when the herbs stood alone, none of them tested well against Lyme. This lead to his scientific research and the development of potent formulas that create much great physiological shifts with just a few drops.

-Your G.I. tract begins in your mouth, so the formulas begin working in the mouth and continue to work as they travel down your esophagus and into your intestines.

-They work in concert with your body, and work with various organs in your system. For example, one of the herbs used in some of the formulas is gao tang, which targets Lyme and co-infections but also increases serotonin uptake in the brain. This leads to manufacturing serotonin in the gut, a process that typically happens at night. This is beneficial for many Lyme patients, since many struggle with insomnia, making it difficult for the body to successfully maintain proper levels of serotonin and other crucial neurotransmitters.

-Many of the formulas also include cyst busters, which prevent the development (and aid in the eradication of) of the cyst form of the targeted pathogens.

-The formulas are extremely potent and powerful, and cannot be used without the guidance of a practitioner. Practitioners can email Byron White to inquire about training in the use of the formulas and also in bioresonance testing at

-Practitioners may also call and inquire about specific cases, and will most often receive a response that same day. Byron White also holds teleconferences with doctors in need of assistance.

-The Byron White Formulas website can be used by patients to find a practitioner near them who is trained in using Byron White Formulas:

Thank you Byron White, for your wisdom, compassion, research and dedication to the work that you do to help us achieve wellness. Thank you for treating us as individual people, rather than a disease. Your holistic view on healing is not only enlightening, but it holds a vast amount of promise and hope. I know that I can speak for many when I say that we look forward to the future of Byron White Formulas and your research, and the powerful effect that it will have on medicine and the treatment of chronic disease.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What To Eat When You "Can't Eat Anything" Part 2: Recipes, Tips and Tricks

By Candice, Spirochicks contributor 
Originally posted on Infectiously Optimistic 

For Part 1 of the article, which includes information on food allergies, leaky gut syndrome and rotation diets, click here

The following is the promised collection of 24 food allergy friendly and rotation diet compatible recipes, along with helpful tips and tricks to get you started! Please remember that this is a loose example of a rotation diet and is meant to inspire you to create your own, based on your personal sensitivities and needs. Don't be afraid to tailor recipes to suit you and your unique body.



Day One: 

Sketch Free Vegan Eating's Sweet Potato Vanilla Patty Cakes 

Day Two: Affair's of Living Coconut Carrot Mash with Bacon or Ground Beef and Collard Greens
Day Three: Teff Porridge  
Day Four: Diet Dessert n Dog's Grain Free Porridge (personally, I am allergic to walnuts so I used sunflower seeds, and did not include a fruit)

Day One: 

Affair's of Living's Shamrock Shake

Day Two: Fit Daffy's Coconut Apple Pudding
Day Three: Nourishing Meal's Pumpkin Puree and Elana's Pantry's Oven Roasted Broccoli inside of Sketch Free Vegan Eating's Brown Rice Tortillas 
Day Four: Gluten Free Cat's White Bean Dip with Gluten Free Day's Flat Bread (also works well with amaranth flour, for rotation purposes)

Day One: 

Nourishing Meal's Adzuki Bean and Yam Hash

Day Two: Affairs of Living's  Socca  with The Daily Dietribe's Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Acorn Squash
Day Three: Diet Dessert n Dog's Tuscan Bean and Chard Soup 
Day Four: Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Black Bean, Quinoa and Butternut Squash Salad (I use Millet instead of Quinoa, and grapeseed oil as dressing. Sweet peas or roasted turnips are also a great replacement for squash.)

Day One: Blueberry Avocado Smoothie (I personally use raspberries. Mmm!)
Day Two: 

Elana's Pantry  Kale Chips and Carrot Fries with Sauerkraut 
Day Three: Affair's of Living's "Seaweed Crack"
Day Four: Affair's of Living's Flaxseed Crackers 

Day One: 

Day Two: Affair's of Living Cumin Kissed Kale with added Ground Turkey Thigh Meat
Day Four: Broiled Pork Chops with Broiled Zucchini and Asparagus 

Dessert or Late Night Snack:
Day One: 

Jicama dipped in Heather Eats Almond Butter's Pumpkin Seed Butter

Day Two: Granny Smith Apple and Almond Butter 
Day Three: Wild Rice Cake and Sunbutter
Day Four: Celery and Cucumber dipped in Tahini


1. Make sure you rotate your oils and fats. I personally feel that it is safe to repeat oils throughout the day, typically up to three times. I then do not consume that oil for 4 days. Example for fat rotation (for 4 day rotation, 6 meals per day): 
Day One: Pumpkin seeds or with 2 meals, Ghee with 3 meals, Almond butter with 1 meal
Day Two: Coconut Oil with 3 meals, Olive Oil with 3 meals
Day Three: Sesame Seed Butter or oil with 2 meals, Butter with 2 meals, Flax or Flaxseeds with 2 meals
Day Four: Sunflower Seed Butter or Oil with 2 meals, Grapeseed Oil with 2 meals, Avocado with 1 meal

2. Don't over-consume brown rice. It's easy to get stuck in the brown rice rut! There are plenty of other gluten free grains and starches. Example:
Day One: Brown Rice and Quinoa
Day Two: Amaranth and Teff 
Day Three: Millet and Wild Rice
Day Four: Buckwheat and Sweet Potato

3. Beans are your friend! Example: 
Day One: Lentils and Adzuki Beans
Day Two: Black Beans and Pinto Beans
Day Three: Kidney Beans and Garbanzo Beans
Day Four: Great Northern White Beans and Navy Beans

4. Don't be afraid to venture away from chicken. Examples: 
Day One: Lamb 
Day Two: Pork
Day Three: Beef
Day Four: Turkey

5. Don't forget to rotate your spices and flavorings; they count too!

6. In order to keep your blood sugar stable, don't eat carbohydrates and natural sugars without an adequate amount of fat. To stave off hypoglycemic episodes,  be sure to consume fat and a small ammount of protein with every meal. Fruit and starches on their own temporarily spike glucose levels and cause a blood sugar crash 2 to 3 hours later, whereas protein and fats aid in maintaining blood sugar levels throughout the day. So, be sure to add a little seed butter to your sour fruits, or a little oil or butter to your gluten free grains. 

6. Simple Rules of Food Combining (for more info, click here): 
-Never combine fruits and fructose with other foods, unless they classified as a "sour" fruit. Sweet fruits are high in sugar and are naturally metabolized quickly, but when eaten with other food groups that digest much slower, the sugar is allowed to sit in the digestive tract and putrefy, therefore contributing to unhealthy levels of yeast and harmful bacteria. Sour fruits, such as granny smith apples, raspberries, cranberries or lemons, are safer to combine with other foods due to their lower sugar content and composition. Granny Smith Apples or Raspberries with nut/seed butters or avocado are great combinations. Sweet fruits are best eaten in moderation due to their effects on blood sugar and yeast levels, but when consumed they may be combined with a small amount of coconut oil or other non-protein oils and fats in order to maintain stable glucose levels. They combine very poorly with starches and protein.

-Never combine a protein and a starch (this means no meat and potatoes, chicken and brown rice, or ground beef and gluten free pasta). Protein and starches require different enzymes in order to digest properly in the stomach and the digestive tract. For optimal digestion, eat them at separate meals. Each go perfectly with vegetables and fat. Instead of a beef patty on a gluten free bun, try wrapping your burger in lettuce. Instead of meat in your chili beans, opt to cook them vegetarian style and eat them over gluten free grains.

Diet rules, restrictions, and rotation can be overwhelming at first. Most of those who are prescribed such diets are already low on energy and stamina as well, which makes approaching such treatment appear to be a monumental feat. Yet once a week or two goes by and your diet becomes routine, you will find that it isn't as challenging as if first appeared. You'll also find that it's undoubtedly worth it. Stick with it, and allow your body the crucial chance to strengthen and heal. And, enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What To Eat When You "Can't Eat Anything Part" 1: Restrictions, Rules and Diet Rotation

By Candice, Spirochicks contributor
Originally posted on Infectiously Optimistic 

It's possible that my personal diet has the longest name out of all documented diets known to man-kind.

I am on a gluten free, multiple allergen free (dairy, soy, corn, nightshades, fish, egg, nut, onion, garlic etc.), sugar free, organic, blood sugar friendly, rotation diet that follows the principles of food combining and contains enough calories to gain and maintain weight.

Is your head spinning yet? Mine was.

At first, all of the restrictions and the many complex rules made me want to run and hide in the corner with a bushel of celery and a bag of rice cakes. Yet, once I took a deep breath and assessed the situation, I realized that my diet was merely just another puzzle. All puzzles have solutions.

And guess what? It's working.

Where to Begin

First, you and your doctor, naturopath, nutritionist or chiropractor must figure out your personal food sensitivities. Most often, gluten, dairy, soy and sugar are the instigators in inflammatory responses in the body. Additionally though, we all have at least a few odd foods that our body specifically can't handle. Some of us with impaired immune systems end up having more additional sensitivities than we can count on all twenty fingers and toes. It's crucial to use your practitioner's help in figuring out what those are. For me, either Autonomic Response Testing (ART) or bioenergetic screening methods such as ZYTO have been most helpful.

Why Do I Have Food Allergies?

Most of us are aware that food allergies and sensitivities cause inflammation, but many don't realize that food allergies are often the result of pre-existing inflammation within the body. Typically, this pre-existing inflammation has been caused by immune dysfunction or an immune system invader, such as a toxin, bacteria, fungus or parasite. An immune response to a toxic or infectious invader often begins in the digestive tract, where 75% of your immune system resides, and irritates the lining of the intestines.

Our intestines are built to both fuel and protect the body. They have the ability to allow essential tiny substances into the blood stream, such as nutrients like amino acids, fatty acids and minerals, but they also have the ability to block larger more harmful molecules that we ingest from being absorbed into the blood stream. Yet when your intestines become inflamed, the spaces within the intestinal lining separate, and the larger unwanted molecules residing in our digestive tract are allowed to pass through. This means that when we consume foods that are difficult for our body to process or that cause inflammation (like wheat, corn, dairy, soy, nuts, etc.), the lining of intestines separate further and undigested particles of food are allowed to pass into the blood stream, along with intestinal bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins. The body sees these large molecules as harmful invaders and it triggers an antibody response, even if the particle is merely food. The antibody response evokes detrimental cytokines and oxidants, which create a myriad of unpleasant symptoms and systemic inflammation. This phenomenon is known as intestinal permeation, or Leaky Gut Syndrome.

My What is Leaking?

Intestinal permeation, or "leaky gut syndrome", sounds like the butt of a silly joke (no pun intended). Yet, Leaky Gut Syndrome and food allergies are no laughing matter. The symptoms of food allergies often go undetected or are mistaken for other conditions, therefore allowing the undetected reactions to deteriorate the lining of the intestines and further inflame the rest of the body, including the brain. Not only is the digestive system responsible for providing the nutrients and fuel that the functioning of your entire body depends on, but it also has a direct effect on our neurological health. When the epithelial cells of the digestive walls become inflamed, the epithelial cells of the blood brain barrier also become inflamed, therefore leaving our brain susceptable to the toxins, infection, and inflammation that have been released into our bloodstream. (4)

Food allergies and intestinal permeation produce a myriad of symptoms, some of which include stomach pain, rapid heart beat, hot flashes, bladder disfunction, sinus issues, migraines, brain fog, and chronic pain. While these symptoms are concerning, the real danger lays behind the affects on the body that you can't feel or see. Some people with food sensitivities claim that consuming potentially allergenic foods really don't noticibly bother them, but what they are unaware of is the silent suppression of their immune system, the destruction of the villi in their intestines, or the weakening of the central nervous system. The resulting damage and inflammation slowly and stealthily weakens the body, therefore leaving it susceptable to serious health effects such as malnutrition,  heart disease, and even cancer. In order to repair inflammation and damage and strengthen the body, complete elimination of allergens and sensitivities, as well as a rotation of "safe" foods, is key.

Rotation Diets

Eliminating and abstaining from allergens is key in healing the immune system, digestive system, and inflammation throughout the body, including the brain (2) . In an informative article about gluten sensitivity, nutritionist Donna Eden writes "Studies have shown that the smallest amount of gluten, say a cracker the size of 1/8 of your thumbnail, will have a prolonged inflammatory effect in the body for up to 6 months after ingestion if you are gluten sensitive." (3)

After one fully masters the elimination of gluten and other allergens from their diet, it is helpful to consider rotating foods. Rotation aids in the healing of the immune system and widespread inflammation, and is also critical in preventing the development of new or additional sensitivities, as well as maintaining your list of "safe" foods. (2) When a patient's intestines have permeated, undigested food particles leak into the bloodstream until the gut has a chance to heal. By rotating foods from a patient's "safe" list, negative immune responses to a particular food is less likely, therefore reducing the likelihood of the development of a repetitive and chronic immune response. The body typically takes 4 days to rid a food from its system and regenerate histamine, therefore a four day food rotation diet allows the body to build tolerance and strength while eliminating the damaging effects of a histamine related or immunological response. A 4 day rotation diet allows the body to breathe and heal, therefore providing an opportunity for a stronger immune system, digestive system, and nervous system. 

What To Eat When You Can't Eat "Anything"

So, you have your list of allergies and your list of "safe foods" in hand. You also know that your digestive system is impaired (and you may feel as though someone sucked the energy out of you with a vacuum cleaner). This begins to look like a recipe for starvation. I'm here to tell you though that it doesn't have to be. Personally, through allergy elimination, food rotation, and proper food combining, I have been able to reduce inflammation, reduce my allergen list, and gain some much needed weight. And, I never go hungry. 

Food combining is optional and can complicate an already challenging diet plan, but it can also greatly aid an impaired digestive system in processing food and quieting digestive upset. When our digestive system is overtaxed by infection, inflammation and toxicity, it stops producing adequate amounts of the the acid and enzymes required for proper digestion. When we consume carbohydrates and protein at the same time, they each require an ample amount of a different kind of digestive enzyme. These two enzymes cannot effectively be produced together, especially in an impaired digestive tract. Protein requires the production of the enzyme pepsin, and carbohydrates require the production of pytalin. When produced at the same time, they cancel each other out and further reduce stomach acid, making digestion even more difficult. For the rules of food combining, scroll to the bottom of the page or check out a detailed article here.

I've gone to my favorite allergy friendly foodies to round up some recipes that are friendly to an allergy elimination and rotation diet. Tailoring recipes to fit your specific needs is important though, so keep in mind that this is just a sample of the many possibilities of diet rotation. For example, some recipes may include garlic, which you may be sensitive to (as I am). Exercise your creativity and find what works for you. Here, I've used a 4 day rotation diet as a relaxed framework to present the rockin' recipes. You'll want to spend more time on your rotation diet though, in order to be sure that you aren't repeating or over-consuming any foods or ingredients from your "safe" list. So, don't be afraid to swap animal proteins, grains or oils in the recipes in order to fit your four day rotational needs. 

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will be posted tomorrow, Monday August 7th. Part 2 will include a complete list of 24 recipes (with a few delicious pictures), sample rotation diets, and a few tips and tricks. Check back soon!