Open Paths Integrative Medicine

Ronald Rosen MD PC


Food Intolerance Part 2

Posted by Robyn Harmon on April 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

In part 1, I explained what a food intolerance is and all about the foods most likely to cause one. click here if you missed it.

Often, new patients seek Dr. Rosen's help because of ailments caused by undiagnosed food intolerances. When they realize their treatment plan includes a trial of food elimination, some have a lot of questions and don't know how to begin. Lynne and I are always happy to answer any questions. Having food intolerances myself, I can easily empathize with the frustrations involved in such a big change. Keep reading to learn how you can successfully avoid the foods you need to for better health. And don't worry, your meals can still be simple to prepare, enjoyable and delicious. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Go online. There are tons of blogs devoted to healthy eating and many are focused on GF/DF living. You can find supportive message boards, free recipes and helpful advice. Pinterest is my favorite source for inspiration.
  • Make substitutions. Try some non-gluten grains in your next meal, such as rice, quinoa, millet or teff. Coconut milk ice cream is just as delicious. Corn and soy are often used in unhealthy vegetable oils, so use olive, flax, coconut or avocado instead.
  • Limit processed foods. Since most grocery stores now have a gluten free section, crackers, breads, pancakes mixes and cookies are easily found. Be aware that GF does not mean low calorie or low carb, so don't exchange one unhealthy habit for another. Often, GF snacks contain even more calories and sugar. Instead, see this as an opportunity to experiment with new healthier options.
  • Find friends. Chances are you know someone else who is food intolerant, and I bet they would love to share their expertise. Enlist their help by asking about favorite cookbooks, restaurants and baking tips. Test some new recipes for them, or take them out to lunch to observe how they order. Or call me!
  • Be prepared. Plan a complete week of meals and snacks. Having healthy, easy to grab food in the house might stop you from eating those stale crackers from the back of the cabinet. Carb and sugar cravings are real, and it takes time for your body to adjust to a diet naturally lower in sugar. Preparation will make this transition easier.
  • Get cooking. Make as many of your own meals as possible, since this is the only way to know what's really in your food. For best results, strict avoidance of a food is recommended, so try to eat at home so you won't be tempted by menu items. For me, this is how I learned to really cook, and I grew to love the creativity involved.
  • Ask questions. Seriously, servers today are used to this. As long as you're polite and patient, most wait staff won't mind taking extra time to help you. Remember to make sure that there are no hidden ingredients in sauces, dressings or seasonings. If options are limited, most restaurants have a salad that can be customized.

The fact is that certain foods can cause health issues, which is why many new patients are advised to start a trial of elimination. While some are eager to proceed, others are reluctant to change their typical diet. It may be difficult at first, but soon eating will become routine. Best of all, you will have made a positive change to the benefit of your health.

I often hear the phrase, "Life is short. Eat the cake." To this I say, "Life is short. Don't eat the cake."

Why spend your days tired, bloated and constipated? For those of use with food intolerance, not eating the cake is the true reward.

For questions or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosen, call (541) 388-3804.

Symptoms of Food Intolerance- Part 1

Posted by Robyn Harmon on April 24, 2017 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Many new patients seek Dr. Rosen’s help because of ailments caused by an undiagnosed food intolerance. In part 1 of a 2 part series, I will explain what a food intolerance is and what foods are most likely to cause one. Part 2 will explain how to read food labels and include tips for successful diet changes.

For me, gluten, dairy and corn were the ingredients making me sick. I used a daily asthma medication and often needed steroid treatments for constant, painful rashes. I napped every afternoon and rarely had the energy I needed to care for two small children. After giving up those three foods, my health improved significantly. I was able to ditch the medications and had more energy than ever before. Once I realized how much better I felt, sticking with this new lifestyle was easy.

What is Food Intolerance?

While a food allergy reaction is immediate and obvious, food intolerance can be harder to identify. This is because reactions are slower to occur and are usually triggered by foods that are eaten routinely. An intolerance may persist for years before a patient seeks treatment.

Common symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea/Constipation
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Pains
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Fatigue/Brain Fog
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Asthma

Considering that on average, most adults eat the same ten foods every day, an undiagnosed food intolerance can slowly cause, and build upon, an inflammatory reaction in the body. Dr. Rosen can help you determine if your favorite foods are causing you harm.

What Foods Cause Intolerance?

By now, most people know someone who has sworn off gluten. But do you know the other ingredients most likely to cause intolerance? Remember that food allergies are more serious, and the foods that cause those reactions are different than those listed below. While you can develop a sensitivity to any ingredient, typically, there are four foods that are responsible for the majority of food intolerances. 

Gluten- As I mentioned before, most likely you know someone who avoids this ingredient. Both a common allergen and intolerance, gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt. Used in crackers, bread, baked goods and pasta, gluten can be hard to avoid. In addition to obvious sources, it may also be found in salad dressing, seasoning mixes, sauces, processed meats and candy.

Dairy- Considered any product made from the milk of an animal, this common ingredient causes trouble for many. Cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and milk are all dairy products. It may also be an ingredient in chocolate, broths, artificial sweeteners, processed meats and sauces. And no, eggs are not considered dairy.

Corn- While not a common trigger for food allergies, corn is a big source of food intolerance. Obviously, tortilla chips and popcorn contain corn, but with corn syrup and corn starch being so inexpensive, this ingredient is often added to bulk up processed foods. In addition, corn starch is used as a thickener in sauces, gravies, dressings and soup mixes.

Soy- Another ingredient used in many processed foods, soy is harder to avoid than you may think. Tofu, miso and soy sauce are straightforward sources, but be aware of vegetable oil, nut butters, canned tuna, energy bars and vegetarian meat substitutes. Other names for soy include glycine max, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), mono-diglyceride and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

What now?

Once you become aware of a food intolerance, the next challenge is to learn how to avoid it. Changing the way you eat can be overwhelming. I get it- food is an important part of our culture, traditions and social lives. But the only cure for a food intolerance is to completely avoid any ingredients that negatively affect you. The good news is that feeling better is great motivation for success!

Check back for part 2, where I will explain the importance of reading food labels and share my tips on how to be successful with your plan.

Call with any questions or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosen at (541) 388-3804.