*** Updated 1/2014***
Today I have completed 6 months of one of the hardest diets I have ever done. There were many days I wanted to throw in the towel but I did not even cheat ONE day. I was determined. I hate calling it a diet because it was not to loose weight; I did it to try to get rid of my food allergies and the symptoms that came along with that.
The science behind ALCAT is that our white blood cells renew every 90 days. That means that we have new white blood cells floating around in our bodies every 90 days. When a new white blood cell is formed it does not have a memory of what it was sensitive too before. Therefore ALCAT says if you stay off of these foods for 3-9 months your body has a chance of not being sensitive to it anymore.
ALCAT tested me for 200 foods, 50 functional foods and medicinal herbs, 20 food additives and food colorings, 10 environmental chemicals, 20 molds & 20 antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents. Out of those 320 things my results came back that I had sensitivity to 178 items! That is more than half of the items tested most of which were food.
After six months of eliminating these foods I can now rotate in one of these every five days:
- Baker’s Yeast (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Banana (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Black Pepper (very hard to stay away from for 6 months)
- Butternut squash
- Cantaloupe (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Carob (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Garlic (this was also very hard to stay away from)
- Goat’s Milk
- Grape (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Kelp (I have Hasimotos Thyroiditis and until it goes into remission Iodine is not something my body should have. Kelp is full of it. It will only make my Hashi’s worse.)
- Mahi Mahi
- Pear (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Pinto Bean (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Plum (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Rice (hard to stay away from being Gluten Free) (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
- Turmeric There were a total of 99 foods that I had to eliminate for six months. Positives and NegativesNow that you have a bigger picture of the point of ALCAT testing and elimination diet let’s move on to my outcome after 6 months and the positives and negatives of this testing. ALCAT tagline is “Optimized Wellness through Customized Nutrition.” Did I get customized nutrition? Yes, but I did have to pay extra money for them to develop a meal, menu plan with recipes since I had so many sensitivities. Was the menu customized to my likings and needs? Yes, however, not customized enough. I will get into that in a moment. Do I feel that I have optimized my wellness through this dedicated 6 months? No I don’t. I will also get into that in a moment. The positive side of this testing for me was that it was a piece to my health puzzle. I also got to see how my white blood cells reacted to all of these foods and learn that my body actually recognizes abundance of foods, chemicals and such as foreign. Because my white blood cells do this, they cause inflammation. Another positive element is that they did give me several new recipes that I liked and I learned to cook with way more vegetables and fruits than I was previously used to.The negative side of this testing is it is expensive and when you are done with the 6 -9 months elimination they suggest getting another test to ensure your allergies went away. Mine would have tested worse than the first because my intestines were badly damaged after doing my recommend ALCAT regimen. Another negative is that ALCAT does not know your health history. They do advise that you do not eat anything you have been tested for and found to be allergic (not sensitive – there is a difference) to but they don’t know if you suffer from parasites, pathogenic yeasts, IBS, MS, or any autoimmune condition for that matter. In order to give you a “customized” (as they put it) nutrition plan they NEED to know your health history so that they are not exacerbating your symptoms. For instance, when my test results came back ALCAT said because I have so many food allergies that it looks like I may have “leaky gut.” I hate that term but have to use it. I didn't know this at the time but leaky gut is very serious. If let go it can lead to major malnourishment, more auto-immune conditions and at the worst death. With leaky gut the worst thing I could be eating were any grains, starches and legumes yet I was eating them EVERY SINGLE MEAL! They did give me a protocol (mostly supplements) to follow but nothing in my menu plan worked with the fact that I had leaky gut. At the time it didn’t really matter to me because I didn’t even know what leaky gut really was anyway and I just knew I would start feeling better within a week on the diet. I never did feel better. I just got worse. Boy do I wish I knew then what I know now (a year later with these updated comments I know have learned so much more about how my body functions and what it needs and doesn't need.) I will tell you more in the “Verdict” section of this post. The last negative I found is how they tell you to reintroduce food items. They suggest that on the day you are reintroducing a food item that you eat as much of it as you want. So on the day I get to introduce coconut I can have coconut flour, flakes, syrup, etc, etc, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. As much as I want all day long. I believe there is a flaw in this kind of introduction. Sometimes our bodies can be mildly sensitive to something and if we overrun it with that food item then we will most certainly have a reaction. Instead, if we simply had a handful of organic unsweetened coconut during the introduction day then we most likely would not have a reaction to that food. If we did it wouldn't be awful becuase we didn't overdo it on a food that we might not tolerate. Our bodies would not be overloaded. Basically the idea should be a SLOW introduction. ALCAT doesn’t suggest this.VerdictAm I glad I did this test? Yes because as I said earlier it is a piece to my health puzzle and helped me to learn some things that I may otherwise not have learned.If I went back 6 months and knew what I know now would I do this test over again? No. I would not because when a person has SO many sensitivities to foods, it truly does suggest that that person has a leaky gut. This is when your intestines do not absorb foods or almost any nutrients because of microscopic holes in your intestine walls essentially. The food remains undigested and the undigested foods and nutrients actually seep into the blood steam via the small intestine. It is kind of creepy! When the foods or nutrients pass through the normal barrier (our intestinal wall), don’t get digested properly and seep into the blood stream is causes a highly inflammatory reaction - skin lesions, achiness, psoriasis, headaches, flu like symptoms and more. Leaky Gut cannot be healed by just eliminated one food at a time here and there. Leaky gut also means that the person has an imbalance of bad bacteria that needs to be taken care of. It can be killed (or taken care of) by abstaining from sugars and starches as well as abstaining from antibiotics and NSAIDS. Sometimes natural antifungals and antiparasitic treaments must be used too. The person with gut dysbiosis must also be taking a therapeutic dose of probiotics to counteract the bad bacteria and make the good bacteria grow. My ALCAT menu had me eating a significant amount of sugar from fruit (which I slowly stopped because it didn’t make me feel good and I didn’t know why, now I do.) My menu also had me eating starch at EVERY meal. These foods are touted as good in our modern society today but these grains and starches are not health promoting foods. Sorghum, millet, buckwheat, white rice, brown rice and many other gluten free grains can be detrimental to our health - especially those who eat them every meal and have gut problems or autoimmune conditions. The menu also had me eating potatoes quite often with are full of starch and almost void of essential vitamins. These are the foods that feed parasites and yeasts and make them get out of hand. They thrive on them. They sustain their life on them. Basically I just spent six months of my life helping the bad pathogens in my gut grow as well as degrading my intestines more with the overdose of phytic acids and anti-nutrients in grains, nuts and legumes. If I only knew. ***At the end of this six months I stopped ALCAT entirely and started the GAPS diet which I did for 7 months.*** Click the link or go to my sidebars for GAPS labels to search as well as blog/website links. Am I feeling better now than when I first started the test? Absolutely not. Actually I feel worse than I have in my entire life. I have been at home consistently now for about a month and a half, too sick to go out because of my gut dysbiosis. My itchiness (which was the main reason I did ALCAT) is out of control, eczema is going crazy, burning skin is horrible and I feel like I am going insane. I am heavy with depression as well. It will be a long journey to recovery. I don’t solely blame ALCAT for how extreme these symptoms are because there were some other factors that contributed but ALCAT for me definitely made things way worse and played a major rols in my decline in health. **Turns out shortly after this post was written I would be diagnosed with Mono as well. Another autoimmune conditions - Yay - EBV.**