August 30, 2012

Food, Chemical and Herbal Sensitivities (ALCAT Testing)

This is for all my health friends/family out there and anyone searching on the Internet to find some answers to healing symptoms of chronic inflammation.  I haven't done a health post in a while and I figure it would be quite timely if I did one now.  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!

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.  Anyway, they give you back a results packet with Severe Intolerance, Moderate Intolerance, Mild Intolerance and and OK columns as well as details on how their "diet" works.  I hate the word diet because it is NOT a diet really.  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. Here is more of the science part: Our white blood cells do not have a memory.  This means that after 4 months or 6 months of 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.

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. 

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 (yuck), yellow squash, black eye peas, Green pea, Mung beans (which are bean sprouts), watercress (yuck), 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 (cant find these anywhere), Nectarine, Pumpkin, Honeydew Melon, Orange, Raspberry

Meat: Beef, Chicken (thank goodness)

Dairy: egg yolk.  Yea, like I am going to just eat egg yolk!  I have a reaction to Whey as well which is in almost all dairy - so there you go, no dairy. :-(

Seafood: we can really leave this one off because I really can't stand most seafood.  Clam (yuck), Halibut (yuck), Sea Bass (yuck), Sole (yuck)

Grains: Amaranth, Buckwheat (has no gluten), Gluten Free Oats, Tapioca

Herbs/Spices: Bay Leaf, Clove, Paprika, Thyme, Cardamom, Coriander, Parsely (yuck), Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Saffron, Cinnamon, Dill, Sage

Nuts/Oils & Misc. Foods: Green Tea, Chamomile, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Brewers Yeast, Cocoa (yay!), Hops, Caraway, Cottonseed, Peanut, Cashew, Flaxseed, Pine Nut (this is the expensive group BUT has been saving me for snacking!)

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 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.

If you have read all the way to the end then obviously this is something that interests you or an area you need help with (or maybe you just want to know what I am personally going through.)  I have more health information I want to post in further "health" posts but can't here because this one is already too long. If you are on a journey to feel better then ALCAT testing might be a place to start (or end for that matter.) It is pretty costly but worth it if you are at the end of your rope and need some answers.

I personally have noticed some positive changes so far in my health since starting to avoid certain prod and I pray that there will be more to come.  On a side note.  This is not ALL I am doing for my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  The other things I will save for a future post specifically on Hashimotos's and Hypothyroidism.  There are some AMAZING things I have discovered that I can't wait to share.

~Blessings (and health) to you~


  1. Thank you for sharing this! Praying for you during these next few months.

  2. Praying for you, friend. I wish you would let us help you somehow. I understand how difficult it is to eat/feed your family on such a restricted diet, but I could either bring something just for your boys to save you a night or I could do something else to help out...maybe help you catch up with cleaning or yardwork?? Whatever you haven't had time for because you are feeling icky. I could come over in the evening some time or on a weekend when Steve is home so you wouldn't have the added chaos of extra kids. Then you could just put me to work and spend some time resting or playing with your boys. Let me know what day works for you...or I will show up unannounced ;). Just kidding, but seriously, let me help you. Jessi

  3. Just doing some catching up on your blog posts- I read through the entire post. Let me just say how cool is that God has led the right people in your life to help you navigate through your health road blocks? I pray that you will continue to be strong in the next five months, friend, as you cleanse out the bad!

  4. Thank you friends. I appreciate your support. It helps more than you know. Susie I have to say I am impressed you read the entire post. This one was long! Good to hear from you.


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For any and all health advice/suggestions and/or posts on this blog, I do not assume any liability for you. The posts and comments on this blog are not meant to be a substitute for your own practicing physician's care in your life. These posts are based on my experience and research in my own healing journey and are placed here to encourage and help those ailing with their health. We are all individuals and there is not ONE pat answer or resolution that applies to everyone across the board.