Dieting with Obstacles - Food allergies

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09-12-2009, 06:34 PM
I recently discovered that I am allergic to soy, which is a big obstacle with food choices, in a way. So many things have soy in them!

For me, the allergy manifests in a way to cause symptoms that are similar to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, insulin resistance and hypothyroidism. When I came to the conclusion that I had the soy allergy, I had gone on a 24-hour fast and only drank water. I felt great that day! And at the end of the fast, I ate something predominantly soy and within the hour, felt horrible all over again. So, since then, I've been on a mission to weed the soy out of my life.

I'm slowly feeling better overall. I fast one day a week, with plenty of water, just to help my system clear out. It's really helping, and on those days, I seem to feel the best. I've lost more weight since I started down this path, but my doctor also put me on a diuretic at the same time, so it's probably nearly all water, about 15 lbs.

I've read a lot more about what food allergies can do. They manifest in one of two ways. The more obvious way involves hives and anaphylactic shock. But the other way creates the symptoms I listed earlier.

I caught on to this after being on the Medifast diet for three weeks. I hadn't lost an ounce on the plan, and while I wasn't faithful to their diet plan, I never ate more than 1300 Cal. At 5'11", I should have lost weight. After a week on the plan, I started experience constant, extreme lethargy. I had experienced it off and on over the last 10 years, and sometime it was more pronounced than other times. But while on the Medifast plan, it was bad. And finally, the third week, I started to have serious joint pain and muscle aches all over. I questioned how I could get hypothyroidism and arthritis or fibromyalgia all at once. And then I found something on a website that talked about food allergies. That's when the bells started to go off in my head, because on days when I chose not to eat (because I was too busy to make time for breakfast that day), I felt good, but on days when I started the morning with a Medifast shake, I felt really bad.

I talked it over with my doctor and quit the Medifast, and since then I've been testing out different foods as well as household and hygiene products. I'm allergic to my shampoo and conditioner, as well as lotions. I've experienced reactions to cosmetics for years. I can't even walk down the detergent aisle at the store and send my sons down to get the scent and dye free products. Basically, anything with an ingredients label is a problem for me, because so many things are made with soy. At least 60% of the American food industry uses soy. I even have to stop eating chicken and eggs because the chickens have been fed soy. It doesn't matter if it's organic soy, because even free-range chickens are fed organic corn and soy. And I've observed how I feel after I eat them. I feel just fine after I've had organic, grass-fed bison or lamb. Can't have tinned fish packed in water either, because a lot of them are actually packed with chicken broth for flavor. I can stay with the oil-packed Portuguese sardines, however.

I was eating a lot of fish there for awhile, and the symptoms for soy allergy are similar to mercury poisoning, so I'm cutting back on the bigger fish and only eating wild-caught fish. I'm reading that cilantro is a natural chelating food, so I'm having more of that these days. Linoleic acid also has chelating properties, and that's found in raw walnuts and olive oil, amongst other sources. Hopefully that'll remove any metals out of my system that don't belong there.

So, I've written all this out in case anyone else comes across any similar issues and can't seem to find any answers. Check into food allergies.

09-12-2009, 07:16 PM
interesting. did your doctor test you for allergies or did you just going by process of elimination?

did you know even some farm raised fish, like tilapia and salmon are fed soy? it's scary how much stuff it's put in.

09-12-2009, 10:24 PM
Do you live near a Trader Joes? Trader Joe's Tongol chuck light tuna in water is tuna, water and salt--no broth.

I have problems with gluten and dairy, so I can appreciate how tough it can be to deal with food problems.

09-13-2009, 02:33 AM
I have had similar issues but it is not with soy..mine is with wheat. I went carb free for 2 weeks and lost 15 lbs....started eating low carb tortillas (I only ate 3 (2 one day and 1 the next)) and I gained 2 lbs, felt grouchy and tired....I went off the wheat again for the next 5 days (on day 2 I had to urinate every 1-2 hours) .... I tried again and ate 5 ritz crackers then stopped wheat again and 2 days later I urinated every 1-2 hours. After reading the allergy websites I discovered that when you eat something that you are allergic to you retain water....when you stop eating the food you release the water (thus the urinating so ofter). I have since been reading labels and have visited whole foods for wheat free products......the amazing thing is that this last week I have eaten pasta made from brown rice flour, crackers made from rice flour, rice cakes and pizza (the crust made from rice flour), popcorn and mashed potatoes, and I have lost 3 lbs.

I don't know how long I have had this intolerance to wheat but I am glad I have found it. I understand about searching for food....I have become an avid label reader. Good luck to you :)

09-13-2009, 01:47 PM
It's been a process of elimination for me, but I'm going for a follow up visit to my doctor soon and we're going to discuss allergy testing, just to confirm.

I've also read about the soy fed to fish, so that's why I'm choosing wild-caught fish. And Trader Joe's and I are good friends now! I give my kids their tongol tuna because it's also low in mercury.

So for now, the struggle is to weed out the soy, and to resist my urges to go back to something with soy in it. I know it still exists in my diet in some form or other. I do love Asian food, so I'm going to be making my own from now on. I'm going to miss those potstickers from Trader Joe's! Eating out is greatly curtailed now, as is any prepared foods from the market. I've been using a lot of organic low-sodium chicken broth, but I think I have to quit that as well.

I have a cookbook from Cafe Gratitude, a California Bay Area restaurant that serves organic, sustainable, live foods. I would not have chosen to eat there had a group of friends not convinced me to join them. It's a very vegetarian menu and they're all delicious, so I bought the cookbook and am starting to eat like this more and more. A lot of their recipes also include soy products, but I'm just eliminating those ingredients.