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Old 05-02-2008, 02:18 PM   #1
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Default Binging/Overeating and food allergies

Does anyone here have any information or experience with food allergies and the links to overeating/weight gain? Any incremental success with weight loss after eliminating certain allergan foods?

I read a short article recently (that I can't find now of course!) that suggested that many "trigger foods" or strong cravings for compulsive eaters are actually foods they are allergic to and the withdrawl of those foods causes similar (albeit less dramatic) withdrawl symptoms as you would see with smokers/nicotine or junkies/heroin - in addition to causing water and fat retention.

I have environmental allergies and wondering if I shouldn't check this out more seriously...

Any info or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

*note to mods - I also posted this in the Food forum.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:52 PM   #2
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*bump*

Bueller.....Bueller......

Really? Nothing? Am I talking crazy talk?

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Old 05-12-2008, 10:19 PM   #3
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I don't really have any additional medical information for you, just my own experience, but like you, I had a vague recollection of reading something once that you often crave what you're allergic to. Being a self confessed wheataholic (bread, pasta cereal, you name it....), I decided to give up wheat for 2 weeks, the thoughts of never eating it again, of course being completely unbearable! Well, for about 10 days I was like an antichrist, the boyfriend, flatmates, work colleagues, and even a customer or two fell victim to the negativity and unchecked anger I experienced. At first, even though I'm usually a positive, upbeat person, I didn't associate the dramatic mood change with a change in diet (imagine your worst PMS episode and multiply it by 10). Then an amazing thing happened, I woke up with a clear mind (I'm usually fuzzy in the mornings, it used to take about 2 hours before I really felt awake) and full of energy. My cravings for wheat had disappeared as well! It's hard to describe, but before, it would have been impossible for me to imagine what to eat if not wheat based products and now all of a sudden I walk into my local bakery and the smell actually makes me feel a little nauseous. I feel as though, I've probably spent the first 28 years poisoning myself with something I was intolerant to. It's worth noting, I'm not a coeliac, and never had any digestionally negative effects from eating wheat, but emotionally, mentally, the difference is amazing. Also, the weight is flying off, I gave up wheat about 5 weeks ago and have lost 35 pounds, with little other changes, ie exercise, calorie restriction. There is a clinic in my town that does allergy testing and I'm going to make an appointment to see what they say to see if perhaps there is anything else that I might be craving for the same reasons...like oranges, I'm obsessed, but using the same logic, I'm starting to question that as well. I'll keep you posted, hope it helps a bit.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:50 PM   #4
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Holy crap...thank you!!! That was exactly the type of experience I was looking for. I'm also a wheataholic and well, I've never minded cutting down on breads, pasta and cookies...but cut out altogether???? *shudders*

How did you do it? Any replacement foods that have worked well?
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Old 05-13-2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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I really initially just said to myself that it was only going to be for the two weeks, I figured that with the amount of times I'd been through an unhealthy starve and binge cycle, I could certainly manage to to just give up wheat for two weeks. As I thought of it as a bit of a temporary experiment, it helped to keep me focused. I allowed myself not to think of fattier foods as evil (I think anyone who has struggled with weight as long as I have has this list in their heads of no go foods, ie, cheese, oil, butter, nuts). So, anything I perceived a s healthy for a person of normal weight became healthy for me too, temporarily, with the exception of wheat. My ingrained low fat, high carb mentally was difficult to deal with....I would be sitting there having a handful of nuts and cheese and feeling really guilty, not really understanding how this could be better for me than a slice of wholegrain toast and a piece of fruit...but again, I just thought of it as an experiment. Although lowcarb diets had always intrigued me, I had this vision of my dad (also obese) sitting down to this breakfast of bacon and eggs while he was on the Aitkins, and I just knew that it couldn't be healthy, so I didn't want to get into the habit of indulging in high transfat foods. I also steered clear of "replacement foods", mostly out of fear, I live in Ireland and the lowcarb craze isn't really rampant over here, but there is of course products available for coeliacs, but I figured, if it looks like a cracker, tastes like a cracker, then chances are I'll eat it like it's a cracker (meaning the whole box!). Basically I tried to think of only eating things as they grew, trying to eliminate anything that was processed or packaged (an amazing amount of things you'd never think of have wheat in them). It takes a lot more thought, it's too easy to grab a bowl of cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, even though all the while I thought I was eating very healthy. About two years ago I lost a lot of weight, but I was seriously restricting, and funnily enough I realized I had restricted near everything but carbs, basically I was living on popcorn and plain white rice, and naturally enough I was starving all the time and if I was presented with a situation where I had to eat (out to dinner, at work, with friends or the bf) I usually binged, and if I had messed up for the day, I usually messed up for the weekend as well. I'm lucky enough to enjoy veg and salads, and I'm trying to eat more meat ( I love chicken and most fish, but only eat red meat the odd time). Once the first two weeks were over, most of my uncontrollable cravings were over too, I say most, because, the odd time I'm still strongly drawn to a sandwich or something in a batter, but now the scale is spurring me on. I take time making my dinner, and I make sure it looks good on the plate (I like to pretend I'm a TV chef, don't tell anyone!) and I make sure there is lots of it! I'm lucky in a sense that I'm not cooking for a family (who can be critical of food changes), and my boyfriend eats such crap (a lot of take aways, fast food) that eating with him isn't really an option (of course he's very thin, God is seriously twisted like that).

So, I would say to yourself, it's only two weeks (I would try for at least two weeks, because I didn't find that my cravings had subsided after only one), and prepare yourself for a rocky two weeks (I had fits of rage and uncontrollable tears, I can only imagine that this was a side effect of a detox of sorts...), don't make any life changing decisions while under the influence of a wheat detox! (they don't put that on any nutritional labels, but they should!) :-) I seriously considered breaking up with my boyfriend, quitting my job, and moving all in the first two weeks....

My tips:
Foodwise: Eat alot, don't let yourself be hungry at all, because even when you're full, you're still going to want the slice of toast, baked potato or delicious dessert (I would recommend not eating rice, potatoes or sugar for the two weeks as well, only because the temptation to overeat them to compensate for the wheat will be strong, I figured this out on day three when I went reaching for potato number 4 at dinner).

Go grocery shopping when you feel strong, I like to browse the progress pics on this forum before I go shopping, I find it so inspiring and it makes me believe my goals are achievable.

I buy loads of vegetables and prepare them as soon as I get home (it amazing how having to wash and cut up a vegetable becomes an excuse not to eat it). I also buy a salad dressing that I like (but not my favourite, otherwise I'm nearly tempted to drink it), and a strong flavoured hummous for dipping, even with my love of veg, it feels like rabbit food with nothing to dip it in.

Summer is your best friend, so are bbq's! Delicious grilled meat and veg, what could be healthier (step away from the potato salad, even if it is so and so's grandmothers secret recipe, and this is the first time it's been made in 30 years!) and salads are often choice dinners in the heat (I'll talk to you about the delicious stew and soup recipes I've found for winter another time) .

Buy strong flavored cheese, blue if you like it, a nice salty feta or a really mature cheddar, you're likely to need less for maximum flavour. I steer clear of the low fat hard cheeses because I just don't feel satisfied. The one exception is laughing cow triangles, I fill celery with these and love it (I used to have cheese wizz in celery as a child and I must have good associations with it, because I think it's finer than caviar).

I love nuts, but I figured out the bag of mixed nuts I had been buying had over 300 grams of fat in the bag, and I could easily eat half of it in one sitting (I know what I said about not restricting but 150 grams of fat on a snack?) So now I get the flaked almonds for baking, I find that they're satisfying, delicious sprinkled on salads and don't cause a binge. Another benefit of nuts is they helped relieve the constipation I experienced in the beginning...no one seems to mention that....but a good handful at night and I'm good to go in the morning.

Spices, spices, spices and garlic....find the ones you like and use liberally. Chopped cilantro in a salad makes it taste special. Lemon juice brightens up a lot of things too.

Small amounts of cream and butter go a long way, if you're desparate for a naughty flavour.

Mentally/emotionally
: Try to remember that the feelings of negativity will pass and are a direct result of your body detoxing from the wheat. Don't let them prompt a binge, after all it is just a two week experiment, you can do it.

I like to look around hip clothes stores imaging what I'd buy if I were a size 10 (don't mind those evil perky shop assistants looking at you with the eyes that say "we've nothing for you here", that might be true now, but certainly not forever), I'm planning on buying a one different article of clothing in every size right down to my goal size, so that I have something to keep trying on until it fits and then move to the next one. I also have online shopping carts full of things in my goal size (where I'm planning to get the money, who knows!).

I keep a tiny list of reasons I want to lose weight taped to the back of one of my cards in my wallet, and not the 'cheesy, obvious', like 'to be healthy'...blah, blah, blah...we all want to be healthy. But when it's between me and a donut, that doesn't wash...I'm far more inspired by some of these: -performing an erotic striptease for my boyfriend.
-dancing in a sleeveless top (I've never owned one, too embarrassed by my big fat arms and bingo wings) with my arms in the air, happy without a crippling sense of self consciousness.
-visiting family and friends that haven't seen me in years, and the surprise on their faces when I walk in (I like to imagine that they won't recognize me because the change has been so dramatic)
-being able to buy cheap and pretty clothes in any shop I go into (there are very few plus size shops in Ireland, and I always feel as though I'm not well presented or that I look sloppy)
-My friends wedding in September (combines both the clothes, and the seeing people I haven't seen in ages)
-Amazing sex with the lights on in positions that would make Pamela Anderson blush!
-and of course as always, EX BOYFRIEND REVENGE, as well as ex crush revenge, on all those that wouldn't give me a chance because of my size.

I hope I haven't come across as too crazy, and that some of this info might be helpful, please let me know how you're doing, I love having this forum, I never post but I have been reading it for months. Your question was like reading my own mind over the last year so I felt compelled to share my continuing experience and for that, I thank you. X Saoirse.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:36 PM   #6
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Wow...not crazy at all...in fact, very inspiring! I am definitely going to take the 2 week challenge!!! I will have to start June 1st since May26-30 I'm at a work conference and need to be professional, not satan hehehe.

You've done so well and have such great tips beyond wheat-free so thank you SO much for sharing. Are you eating rice and potatoes now that you have wheat out of your system or are you strictly no carb? I'll have to try both ways - will be good to see if it's a wheat or gluten sensitivity.

I will definitely keep you posted.

xo
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:26 PM   #7
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Boomcha,

This thread has inspired me I'm starting my own wheat, potato, rice and sugar free challenge tomorrow!
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomcha View Post
I will have to start June 1st since May26-30 I'm at a work conference and need to be professional, not satan hehehe.

K
Yeah, I'd highly recommend waiting until after the conference, unless you love the sound of the word unemployed. I barely said two words to anyone at work, when I started....

At the moment, I'm still off all of it, but it's fine now, I really don't miss it. That urge has really gone off me, and I just feel overall more stable and happy. I really feel in control, I imagine the way I feel now is how 'normal' people feel about food, like they eat because they're hungry...wow what a concept. For me, I'm realizing that I'd say only about 10% of the time that I used to eat was because I had a genuine hunger. Mostly it was about the act of eating, not about nutrition. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I'm not obsessing about food, not about a binge OR a diet, I'm not weighing or counting calories, I'm eating nice food when I'm hungry and it keeps me going until the next time I'm hungry. It seems like such a simple concept, that I can't understand how it eluded me all these years... Although, I did read an article that put it in terms I understand, it may have no basis medically (I never know what to believe from what you read online) but it certainly seems to relate to me, (cut and pasted from another message)
Basically it compared a wheat/starch addiction to smoking,

""It explained how the first time you have a ciggy, you feel dizzy, sick, poisoned essentially, but you troupe through and bam, you're addicted to nicotine, your brain masks the symptoms of poisoning in favour of getting it's "fix". The first time we have wheat and carbs they could have made us ill, we're hardly going to remember, and then we're faced with a life long carb addiction. The 'withdrawl' symptoms I experienced, in retrospect are very similar to any I've had trying to give up cigarettes, miserable, angry, anxious, all of them.""

Another thing I thought was interesting, I had to throw out cheese that went moldy in my fridge today...cheese has never had a chance to go moldly in my fridge ever before, and one of my thoughts at the beginning was "well you might be giving up everything you love, but at least you can still have sweet sweet cheese". I've been eating cheese, a bit in an omelette, bit on a salad, but if it's not on crackers or on toast, it's still nice, but I'm not there eating a whole block in two days (or one...it's happened). So maybe my love of cheese was mostly associated with bread as well, in any case, I certainly didn't have the urge to binge on it at all. I was gobsmacked standing at the fidge holding moldy cheese, it was one of those moments (and I'm having a lot of them) where I just couldn't believe how well this is working in changing the way I see all food. I'm actually getting a bit worried for the half tubs of cream cheese and ricotta that I have in there at the moment....I'll have to think of something to do with them tomorrow or I fear they may face the same fate as my beloved cheddar.... The cheese thing is a bit of a tangent, but I thought it was interesting.

Just a dreamy is starting as well, so I'm really happy to have expanded our experiment, here's hoping it works as well for both of you, and that the first weeks see few casulties (oh our poor friends and family!), luckily I don't seem to have done any permanent damage to mine, and most have said that lately I'm in better humour than they've seen me in in months.

You know where I am if you need any help, support, or someone to abuse in lieu of your nearest and dearest (I did suggest it after all, I'm more to blame than they are )

-Saoirse
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:12 PM   #9
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Girls, haven't heard anything from ye in a few days.... everything ok? Just checking in.,...
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:09 PM   #10
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saoirse79,

I sent you a PM.
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:15 AM   #11
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No worries - when I'm closer to June 1 to start the challenge, I'll definitely be counting on your wheat-free advice and keep you posted!
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:30 AM   #12
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hope that you don't mind me jumping in here. I just found out that I am gluten sensitive/celiac's disease. When I stopped eating things that had gluten in them (wheat, barley, rye) my binging or uncontrollable eating came to an end. I used to crave baked goods constantly and after 3 days of not eating gluten I stopped thinking about that stuff completely. It has been 6 months now and I don't really miss the stuff. My weight hasn't gone down at all but at least it isn't going up either.
But, if you have a gluten problem an allergist won't help you figure that out. You have to go to a gastroenterologist and get a DNA test done.
If you suspect you have this problem go to places like celiacs.com (or is it org?-anyway just google it and you will find it) to read what to do.


Anyway, hope that this helps a little!!

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!
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