Part 1: ALCAT Testing
My health has been consuming me for months now. Not by choice but by force. Unfortunately my Hashimoto’s symptoms have been getting a lot worse (at least that is what I finally narrowed it down to.) The doctors ruled out Lupus (thankfully) and Psoriasis as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am grateful the doctor I have was willing to help me rule these things out. Boy when Hashimotos Thyroiditis gets out of hand it can be a beast to tame! It can lead to breast cancer, ovarian cancer and even more autoimmune diseases none of which I want. What it all comes down to is chronic inflammation.
I have been researching like crazy lately (again not by choice but by force as I would way rather be scrapbooking) about various foods and things to help inflammation and supplements to take to help my symptoms. I have found out some really good information that I thought I would share with you. Blog posts and websites on health can really be helpful for those people out there with chronic problems with their bodies. They have helped me big time!
One test I came across (miraculously because I had never heard about it before but God put our landscaper in my life to tell me about it) was the ALCAT testing. I know I am sensitive to certain foods and chemicals as well as certain herbal remedies so I wanted to figure out exactly what to avoid. Afterall, anything you put in your system that you are sensitive to will cause inflammation. I want to minimize this.
Steve and I decided to have an ALCAT test done on me in order to get some answers. I had 200 foods tested, various chemicals and molds found in the environment and household products and many female herbs tested for sensitivities in my body.
Much to my disappointment I had A LOT of sensitivities. 🙁 The good news is that I wont have to avoid these things for life though! Let me tell you a little of the science behind the ALCAT testing. It was so interesting so I have to share it with you!
How ALCAT Works
ALCAT takes your blood (the lab came to my house) and then tests the various items (food, chemicals, etc) against your white blood cells. If your white blood cells react in a certain way to what they have tested (they have a formula) then you are marked for a sensitivity. These sensitivities come from consuming too much of the same thing too often and your bodies ability to digest or dispose of the item properly. They can also come from a damaged gut lining which allow foreign material through the intestinal barrier. This in turn causes inflammation. When you receive your results packet everything tested will be marked with either Severe Intolerance, Moderate Intolerance, Mild Intolerance and OK. You will also get details on how the ALCAT diet works for your particular sensitivities. Our white blood cells reproduce every ninety days. This means that in our bodies every ninety days we have new white blood cells floating around. ALCAT suggests avoiding “Severe” items for 6 months, “Moderate” items for 4 months and Mild items I can have once in a while. You cannot eat the same food two days in a row either. Because our white blood cells renew every ninety days, ALCAT theorizes that after 4 or 6 months of trigger avoidance I should be able to reintroduce (one at a time) the foods (or herbs, etc.) that I was most sensitive too and not have a reaction. The “build up” will have gone away due to the renewal of my WB cells and their lack of memory.
Foods I Can Have
I was always the type that said “I could never – avoid dairy or sugar!” Well, as usual I am learning never say never. I should have said “I don’t want to …” instead. There are so many foods I have to avoid including dairy and sugar!
Let me show you the foods I can have (it is a smaller list to type than the foods I can’t.)
Veggies: Beet, eggplant (can’t really have because it is a nightshade and that can also cause inflammation), lentils, romaine lettuce, black beans, fava beans, lima beans, yellow squash, black eye peas, Green pea, Mung beans (which are bean sprouts), watercress, carrot, kidney bean, portobello mushroom
Fruits: (I have to stay away from these often because even natural sugars can cause inflammation) Apricot, Kiwi, Peach (my favorite), Strawberry, Avocado, Lime, Black Currant, Nectarine, Pumpkin, Honeydew Melon, Orange, Raspberry
Meat: Beef and Chicken
Dairy: egg yolk (technically not dairy but they put it under this section).
Seafood: Clam, Halibut, Sea Bass, Sole
Grains: Amaranth, Buckwheat (has no gluten), Gluten Free Oats, Tapioca
Herbs/Spices: Bay Leaf, Clove, Paprika, Thyme, Cardamom, Coriander, Parsely, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Saffron, Cinnamon, Dill, Sage
Nuts/Oils & Misc. Foods: Green Tea, Chamomile, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Brewers Yeast, Cocoa, Hops, Caraway, Cottonseed, Peanut, Cashew, Flaxseed, Pine Nut
So there you have it. That is what I can eat. Not much. I also have to avoid certain dyes (in all products like prescriptions, shampoo, makeup, etc.) that I am sensitive too. That has been an adventure. Just realized my thyroid medication I take everyday (Synthroid) has the dye I am sensitive to in it! Now I get my medicine compounded from a custom pharmacy.
After I got this list back I chose to pay ALCAT to create a menu for me. There was no way I could figure out what to feed my family and me based on this list. They gave me 32 different recipes and 8 days worth of a menu that I can repeat. It has been a lifesaver. There are quite a few things I actually like on there.
ALCAT services has helped me to learn how to make different recipes using a lot more vegetables that I am used to and helped me to manage not being able to eat the same thing for two days in a row and avoiding certain things for 4 days at a time.
I have been on this for 16 days now. No dairy and no sugar! Only 5.5 more months to go! I never thought I could do this.
The first week and a half was rough with symptoms of withdrawl and my body clearing itself of toxins and allergens. It is getting a bit better now and I don’t feel as tired, etc. All of my symptoms are not nearly gone but we will see what 6 months does.
I personally have noticed some positive changes so far in my health since starting to avoid certain foods. I pray that there will be more positive results to come.
~Blessings (and health) to you~