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Can Food Allergies Cause Anxiety and Depression

If you suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression I recommend you ask “Can food allergies cause anxiety and depression and other mental health issues?”

As an allergist and energy healer I see many clients who have anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. For most, the medical profession simply want to prescribe meds without addressing any of the underlying causes.

I find that two of the most overlooked factors in these conditions are allergies and intolerances to foods.

Meet “Rachel”…

She discovered that in her case, very clearly, Food Allergies cause anxiety and depression 

Rachel had been experiencing anxiety issues since around 7 years old. As she passed through puberty into her late teens the symptoms became much worse and included severe anxiety, depression, along with lethargy and fatigue, an inability to concentrate and migraines.

By the time she was 17 years old she had been on medication for a number of years. These meds helped her to function, but the side effects had a negative impact on her quality of life.

When she came to me she was seeking an alternative approach that could help her eliminate the necessity for her to take meds.

Using Natural Allergy Testing we determined that the protein casein found in cow’s milk products, wheat, tomatoes and bell peppers were big issues for her.

I have found these to be important allergens that can cause anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in many of my clients.

Frequently anxiety and depression go hand in hand with irritable bowel and other digestive complaints, however it is important to remember that it is not necessary to experience these digestive issues to have food allergies and intolerances.

Nutrition

Food allergies and intolerances also impact the digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients. This is why I recommended that Rachel ask her MD or to test her blood levels of Vit D, B12 and iron (ferritin). These nutrients are essential in supporting mood and mental health. Her Naturopathic Doctor could also provide blood testing for nutrients and food allergies.

The levels came back at the within what an MD will consider to be the ‘normal’ range, but at the very bottom and where I would consider them to be sub-optimal.

The solution

In Rachel’s case she removed the milk products, wheat and night shade vegetables including tomatoes and peppers from her diet. After an initial detox period, of less than a week, when she felt even more tired and depressed, her mood lifted significantly, her energy levels steadily increased and her migraines became less frequent and severe.

She started taking Vit D and B12 supplements along with some iron glycinate.

Within a month she had improved significantly and was able to discuss coming off her meds with her MD.

Going forward

Now, several years later, she feels great, no longer has migraines and is not taking meds. She uses meditation to release the stress everyday life causes her.

In her own words, she has ‘Never felt so balanced and well”.

Are suffering for anxiety and depression? Contact me for more information on how food allergies cause anxiety and depression along with other mental health issues.

allergies-causing-your-headaches-the-allergy-co

Are Allergies Causing Your Headaches?

Are you one of the many people who suffer from chronic or severe headaches? Perhaps you have been through the medical profession and have no answers? Perhaps you should ask “Are Allergies Causing Your Headaches?”

I have had numerous clients who experience headaches and migraines, who have been to a whole range of doctors, had multiple tests performed only to receive no answers as to the cause of their pain.

An aspect that is often overlooked by the medical profession is that it may be food intolerances and allergies causing your headaches.

I speak from personal experience; if I eat any corn products I suffer for several days with what I would describe as a ‘clamping’ headache – my head feels like it is in a vice and I cannot think straight. No corn, no pain!

Determining Whether it is Allergies Causing Your Headaches

Some doctors may suggest that you avoid certain common food triggers such as coffee, chocolate, wheat, corn, cow’s milk, eggs, citrus, sugar, alcohol, artificial additives, colourings, sweeteners (especially aspartame) and MSG. However, these are just that, ‘common’ triggers; every one of us is a unique individual, and as such we all react to different things.

If you don’t feel well, get bloated, or tired after a meal it is a good indication that the food that you are eating is not suiting your body and may be a factor in your headaches.

An elimination diet

This is where you remove the common food triggers and any others that you suspect and can help you to determine whether they are actually a factor for you. Remember that if your headaches only occur periodically then you may need to remove the foods for several weeks or even a month or more to determine their effect.

Once you have established that you are better without the foods you can reintroduce them, one at a time. It may take a few days or more for any reaction to become apparent so I recommend that you wait 2 weeks before adding another food back in.

And when you find the allergies causing your headaches and eliminate them you will probably notice a range of other improvements too, including your digestion, energy and stamina, muscle function, sleep, memory, concentration and others.

Allergy testing

You can also have allergy testing. This can take the form of blood or skin tests, however, I find these to be of limited use when looking for the cause of headaches as they provide a general list of allergens, and do not identify the specific triggers for your headaches.

I usually recommend muscle testing with an experienced practitioner. You will get the results at the time of the test and it is possible to identify specific triggers for your headaches including allergies, intolerances, nutritional deficiencies and any emotional or structural components.

Once you have identified the food triggers it is easy to then avoid them.

Diet options

Diet in general will play a huge role in relief from headaches and migraines and in general wellness. One of the biggest things you can do is try to return to a more natural, ‘real food’ diet. So, cooking from scratch, using organic produce where possible and sticking to grass fed, free range meats and poultry or wild fish. It can actually be cheaper to eat this way, and you will be surprised how good you can feel.

Of course this has to be balanced with reality, so it is equally important to accept that it is not always possible to eat this way, and not to stress about those occasions when you ‘cheat’!

And, finally, water is an essential part of that natural diet. Dehydration will ALWAYS cause headaches..  so try to get 2 litres or more a day.

Contact me for more information, or book a complementary discovery session.

Gluten-and-Dairy-Free-The-Allergy-Co-Ottawa

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes For the Holidays

Looking for gluten and dairy free recipes for the holidays?

It seems that many of our friends and family are now choosing to be gluten and / or dairy free. 

This can be tricky during the holidays so I have put together some alternative ingredients and some gluten and dairy free recipes. Most of these are Paleo, so actually grain, dairy, bean and sugar free (and still Delicious!)

Of course, should you wish to cheat with the gluten it is possible to take specific enzymes, available from most health food stores, to reduce the reactions you may have.

Gluten and Dairy Alternatives

There are now many alternatives for the standard ingredients used in recipes. It is often possible to simply switch them over. It is good to try different products to work out what you like.

Many of these products are available in grocery stores such as Loblaws and Independent where they may be found in the natural / organic section, and in health food stores.

Alternative Milk Products:

Soy is now considered by many to not be a great food – it contains phyto-estrogen which has been linked to various health concerns including adversely affecting your thyroid.

An article on Web MD

An article by Dr Axe

So what do you choose instead?

Milk: a wide variety of cartons – coconut, almond, hemp, rice, pea etc. 

Butter and oil: coconut (great for frying and baking), olive, avocado, flax, hemp, sesame etc

Cheese: Deiya cheese is tapioca based, cashew or rice based cheeses

Cream in cooking: Coconut milk or cream (organic tins are best), or cauliflower puree

Yoghurt: coconut yoghurt

Ice cream: coconut and rice ice cream

Wheat, gluten and corn

Many gluten free options contain corn instead. Most corn is now GMO, in addition to which many of us do not digest corn well. You may feel better using other alternatives.

Flours: Oat, buckwheat, arrowroot, sorghum, potato, arrowroot, rice, coconut, almond etc

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes For The Holidays

I hope you enjoy the following recipe ideas. There is a link to the original source for each one. The linked websites do provide many equally delicious recipes!

Stuffing – Savoury sage and sweet apple

Cornbread (grain free) for the stuffing

Turkey gravy

Easy gravy

Christmas Pudding – Raw quick

Christmas Pudding – Steamed

Pumpkin Pie – a nice option for Boxing Day or New year!

SAVOURY SAGE & SWEET APPLE Stuffing

3 ½ cups onion, diced

2 ½ cups celery, diced

1 cup apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup dates, chopped into small pieces (raisins or dried cranberries would also be good)

2 cups almond flour

2 teaspoons sage

2 teaspoons thyme

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, ghee or coconut oil

3 eggs, whisked

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a medium-sized baking dish (If you’re using a cast iron skillet or pan that can go from stovetop to oven, skip this step

Add 2 tablespoons butter/ghee/coconut oil to a saucepan and warm over low/med heat.

Add onion, celery, apple and herbs and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add almond flour and dates and mix. (Note: If you have a cast iron or pan that can go from stovetop to oven, you can just mix everything in the pan.)

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the bowl and mix well.

Add mixture to baking dish if using, or simply place the pan in the oven. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes for 1 hour

 

CORNBREAD – grain free

2 cups almond flour

3 tablespoons coconut flour

3 teaspoons baking powder or baking soda (make sure it’s grain-free )

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons coconut sugar (or 1 teaspoon honey)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil melted and cooled slightly

1 cup plain, whole coconut yogurt

2 medium jalapeños, minced (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional), Deiya cheese will work

1/2 yellow onion, minced

Preheat oven to 425°F and adjust rack to middle position of oven. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and coconut sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter or coconut oil, and coconut yoghurt. Pour this mixture, jalapeños if using and onions into flour mixture and gently fold all ingredients together. Pour half of the cornbread batter into the baking dish and spread out evenly.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top if using, and then pour the remaining batter on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

 

TURKEY GRAVY

1 set of turkey parts (neck, heart, liver, giblets)

1 tbsp butter or coconut oil (for browning)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

2-5 cups chicken or turkey broth – allow about 1/2 cup per person

turkey pan drippings and trimmings from carving

1/2 cup whole cream or coconut cream

salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp potato or arrowroot starch

Melt the butter / coconut oil in a pot on medium heat.

Add the turkey parts and brown them for a few minutes. Next, add the chopped onion and simmer until the onions soften, about five more minutes. Add the broth and bay leaf, and bring it to a gentle boil; reduce the heat to low and let it simmer while the turkey cooks (at least two hours).

Once turkey is cooked and resting add any pan drippings to the broth. Use a fat separater to remove as much fat as possible. Return the broth to the pot, add chopped up turkey parts (optional). Bring the broth back to a gentle simmer as you carve the turkey.

Carve the turkey, chop up any leftover turkey trimmings and add to the broth, as well as the cream. Allow it to simmer for about five minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To thicken, mix the potato / arrowroot starch with a little water, and stir about half of it into the gravy.  Simmer stirring continuously for a few minutes. If it isn’t thick enough, add more of the starch and let it simmer again.

When done – serve immediately.

 

EASY GRAVY

2 tablespoons turkey fat from pan drippings, ghee or coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 cups chopped cauliflower

pan drippings

1-2 cups chicken or turkey stock

several sprigs fresh thyme or other herbs

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat fat over medium heat in sauce pan. Add onions and cook until onions start to brown. Stir in cauliflower and thyme sprigs.

Measure pan drippings and add enough stock to equal 2 cups of liquid. Add pan drippings/stock mixture to pan with vegetables. Simmer until cauliflower is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Remove herb stems.

Place in a blender on high until smooth and creamy.

Return gravy to pan to reheat. Add more stock to thin to desired consistency, if needed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy

 

RAW QUICK CHRISTMAS PUDDING

These are made into individual puddings. Ideal for family times. This recipe makes 8.

60g dried figs

2 tbsp orange zest

50g flaxseed meal

2 tbsp dried sour cherries

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

100g dried apricots

250g fresh dates, pitted

170ml almond meal / flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ cup orange juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

FROSTING

100g raw organic cacao butter, chopped (available from health food stores)

100ml coconut cream

40g maple syrup, good quality

1. Line 8 x 5cm (2-inch) diameter moulds, 50ml capacity small cups or any other oven proof suitable containers with plastic wrap.

2. Combine all the ingredients, except for the orange juice and the coconut oil, in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms into a crumb-like consistency. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the orange juice and coconut oil. Knead the mixture until it comes together into a large ball.

3. Divide the pudding mix into 8 portions and pack into the moulds firmly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm. Remove from the moulds, peel off the plastic wrap and place on a tray.

4. Make frosting – melt the cacao butter in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Remove from the heat, thoroughly mix in the coconut cream and maple syrup. Cool at room temperature to thicken the frosting, stirring occasionally.

5. Spoon the frosting over the puddings and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until the frosting is firm.

6. Decorate the puddings with some fresh raspberries and serve.

 

STEAMED CHRISTMAS PUDDING

150g sultanas

80g dried sour cherries or dried unsweetened cranberries, plus extra for garnish

100g currants

30g raw almonds, roughly chopped

200g kombucha or freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of 1 orange

40g almond meal / flour

20g coconut flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

55g coconut oil

40g apple, peeled & cored

2 eggs

1/4 tsp fine salt

1/4 tsp bicarb soda

Simmer dried fruit and almonds with kombucha or orange juice for 6 mins and set aside to cool.

Place orange zest, almond meal, coconut flour, spices, salt, soda, apple, eggs and coconut oil into a blender and mix. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add soaked fruit and nuts into bowl and mix.

Scoop mixture into cupcake cups or small ramekins and place into a steamer, with lid on. Cups / ramekins should be about 3/4 full.

Steam for 25 mins.

Allow puddings to cool, covered, and store in fridge until needed.

Drizzle with Coconut Vanilla Custard, with a dried cranberry or sour cherry on top for decoration.

 

PUMPKIN PIE

Paleo pie crust:

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 Tbsp coconut flour sifted

2/3 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup palm oil shortening cold, or grassfed butter, or a combination of both

1 Tbsp Maple Sugar or coconut sugar*

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

1 egg

Filling:

15 oz can pumpkin puree

2/3 cup full fat coconut milk blended

6 Tbsp pure maple syrup or more if you’d like it sweeter

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch salt

2 large eggs room temp

1 egg yolk room temp

(pumpkin pie spice: 1/4 cup ground cinnamon 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg 4 teaspoons ground ginger 1 tablespoon ground allspice)

Make the Crust:

Preheat oven to 375F. 

In a food processor pulse all crust ingredients EXCEPT egg to create thick crumbs, then pulse/process in the egg until a dough forms.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, chill in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior use.

To get your dough into a 9in pie dish:

Either roll out dough into a circle between two sheets of parchment. Place pie dish upside-down over the dough, then using the bottom parchment paper, flip the dough into the dish. Press into the bottom and sides of the pie dish to fit. The dough will break easily, however it also repairs incredibly easily, just patch and pres into place as needed.

Or simply press evenly into pie dish using your hands.  Be patient and refrigerate dough as needed to make it easier to work with**

Once in the pie dish, gently pierce the dough with a fork all over so it doesn’t puff up while baking.

Bake pie crust at 375F for 12-15 mins until bottom is set, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Make the Filling:

Whisk all ingredients together except eggs, then whisk in eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, don’t over mix.

Pour filling into the baked crust, spreading it all around to seal edges. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes or until centre is nearly set (still a bit jiggly) and crust is deep golden brown.

Allow to cool completely at room temperature to avoid excessive cracking of the filling.

Serve, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

Serve topped with whipped coconut cream if desired. 

Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Coconut sugar will cause the crust to darken more than maple sugar

**Unlike a traditional gluten-containing crust, you can’t “overwork” the dough, so take your time as needed pressing it into the pie dish.

 

Happy Holidays!

Allergies-and-Sleep-The-Allergy-Co

Allergies and Sleep

Allergies and sleep.

Allergies and sensitivities have an impact on many aspects of our health and are often overlooked when seeking to determine the causes for our health concerns.

Over the last 12 years I have had many clients who come in complaining that nothing they do seems to really resolve their sleep issues. Frequently they have been forced to resort to sleeping pills from their doctor in order to finally get the sleep they need.

Food Allergies and Sleep

In many of these cases I have found that food allergies and sensitivities are a large part of the problem.
They can cause
• increased anxiety and restlessness
• an inability to fall asleep
• difficulty staying asleep

When eating certain foods clients may find that they experience a faster than usual pulse rate, thirst, excessive urination, sweats and even shivering. They may experience dreams and nightmares or complain that their brain “just won’t shut off”.
Common foods linked to these problems include cow’s milk products, artificial additives and colours in foods, MSG and the night shade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.
There is some truth in the old wives’ tale that eating cheese before bed causes nightmares!

Of course, if your food allergies are causing you to experience digestive issues such as cramping, gas, reflux or indigestion then this too will affect your sleep.
They can also lead to inflammation and pain in the body making sleeping uncomfortable.
In my practice I often find cow’s milk, wheat and corn to be triggers for digestive issues, inflammation and body pain.

If you suspect that food allergies may be a cause of your sleep issues, try removing the common triggers of wheat, milk products, artificial additives and night shade vegetables for a week and see if that helps.

Environmental Allergies and Sleep

Food allergies, along with environmental allergens such as pollens, dust and dust mites, moulds, pets and feathers can trigger sneezing, runny nose, stuffiness, itchy eyes, sore throats and cough, leading to poor sleep. In this case it is hard to avoid the triggers, but you can reduce them by avoiding feather pillows, using protective covers on your mattress and pillows, and removing carpets from the bedroom.

You could also seek treatment from a Natural allergist or NAET practitioner who can effectively eliminate the allergies.

Electro-magnetic Frequencies (EMF) and Sleep

Another area to consider is the large presence of Electro-magnetic radiation in our modern world.
We are literally bombarded, sources including TVs and cell phones, wifi routers, bedside clocks, smart meters, household wiring and electrical outlets in the wall. Just as an example, at my work place I can pick up 32 different wifi networks from surrounding businesses and condos.

These electro-magnetic frequencies can have a stimulant effect on your body and mind. You may want to remove all electronic devices from your bedroom and make sure that your bed is positioned such that you are sleeping at least 5 feet away from them; whether they are in your bedroom, the other side of a wall or in the room above or below.
If this is not possible then make sure they are switched off and unplugged from their power source.
For at least 2 hours prior to bed try to avoid using electronic devices, especially phones, computers and games, and preferably TVs too. This gives your body and brain time to calm down and prepare for sleep.

So, to summarize, allergies and sensitivities can play a big part in your insomnia. I have only touched the surface here so come and see me to find out more about how these are affecting you.

Stop guessing and get the answers you need!