***Important Note: I usually put related blogs at the end of the material that I write. In this case I am going to make an exception. The related blog to this one is titled “The Best Book On Food Allergies I Ever Read” (9/23/2011) and can be found at https://nutrientscure.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/the-best-book-on-food-allergies-i-ever-read-9232011/. Allen***
What follows is a document that I wrote in 2003 in regard to hidden food allergies as they relate to bipolar disorder (and depression as well).
I have spent many years and a great deal of effort studying the foods I am eating and their effect on my mood, and their effect on my gut as well. This is some of the best that I know on this topic, despite this material having been written years ago.
Thank you for providing me with a synopsis of your weekly diet. This enables me to give you some solid advice regarding dietary intervention. I learned to ask for a weekly diet log from Dr. Priscilla Slagle, the author of the book “The Way Up From Down”. When I saw her in California three or four years ago, she asked me to do the same thing. This is a very good idea when treating anyone for chemical imbalance and/or a health problem of any sort that does not readily resolve. Such a request (for a diet log) should be standard operating procedure for any psychiatrist that is treating any mental condition whatsoever.
Some comments that I have as a result of you providing me with this diet log are as follows:
Obviously this diet probably appears healthy to you, or you would not be eating it. Although many of the foods in it may be healthy for some persons, you need to strongly reconsider all of your current assumptions about food. Why? The diet is very likely to be crippling you biochemically. It is loaded with many very common food allergens, and some, if not many, of these allergens are likely to apply to you.
For example, on Monday you had Special K for breakfast. This is a grain/dairy combination, which is highly likely to be allergic for you. The banana you put on it is a very common allergic food as well, according to Dr. Mercola of http://www.mercola.com.
Your snack on Monday was trail mix. Oats are a gluten grain, and peanuts are hidden allergic food for many.
Lunch on Monday was a salad with cheese as an ingredient. Cheeses are crippling for many persons that are either bipolar or schizophrenic (we often crave cheese, and cheese often greatly hurts us). I tell any and all persons that I coach that it would be wise for them to eliminate all cheeses from their life forever (a possible exception being goat cheese, but even this is not certain to be OK, even if goat’s milk is). The dressing on this salad was a commercial preparation of mixed ingredients, which is a “no no” if one goes on an elimination diet (which I strongly suggest that you do).
Dinner on Monday was chicken, which is a meat that many can be allergic to (as well as many are highly allergic to egg, another chicken related food). Dinner also had potato. Potato is a member of the nightshade family, which is comprised of potato, tomato, bell peppers, eggplant, and tobacco. The nightshade family is a common food allergen group, as well as meat and a starchy vegetable such as potato represents poor food combining which is hard on the digestive tract. The salad of cucumber and tomato is not wise as well. Cucumbers are a food that contains a high amount of salicylates, which have been linked to ADHD. And tomato is another common food allergen.
The rest of the weekly diet log that you have given me would include many very similar comments. You are being greatly exposed to many very common allergic foods, and you are being exposed to the same on a very repetitive basis.
Don’t just stop eating as a result of the above. You have probably been eating the way your food diary describes for a long time. A few more days or a few more weeks won’t hurt you that much.
However, I cannot suggest to you strongly enough that you educate yourself on any and all issues surrounding an elimination diet. Basically an elimination diet avoids ALL foods that you are currently eating, and/or have eaten for most of your life. This would include almost everything on your diet log.
A few principles and concepts apply to hidden food allergy as follows:
We tend to crave and/or become addicted to the very foods that hurt us.
It is not uncommon for a person that is unaware of hidden food allergy to be eating a diet that is well over 50% allergic. This statement is extremely likely to apply to you…. and if I had to guess I’d say 99.9 percent likely.
Food allergies can be quantity dependent… one can eat so much of a certain food so often, and then will react when more is eaten. Sometimes only eating a food once in a while is OK, and sometimes even this is not good either (for example, gluten grains ought to be avoided forever for many).
Food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances come in all shapes and sizes. They can be very tricky to spot, or they can be rather obvious. One reason that hidden food allergies can be tricky to spot is that they often (but not always) involve delayed reaction. One can eat something on Monday and they won’t react negatively to this food until Wednesday or Thursday. For example, suddenly on Wednesday a person’s mood will change substantially for the worse, but the actual cause was what they had for breakfast on Monday. In your case, you are most probably eating so much allergic food of so many varieties that you feel like s… most of the time, and you have no idea why.
One needs to examine and re-examine each and every food that they eat from the standpoint of “is this food helping me or hurting me”. The only accurate and reliable way to do this is by an elimination diet performed at home. Either get a handful of books on this topic, read them, and apply the principles in them to yourself, or do a thorough search of the net for this information and do the same.
One must constantly remember that a person can either be allergic or become allergic to any food whatsoever. If a person has any debilitating physical or mental condition of any sort at all, it would be wise for them to evaluate and reevaluate every single one of their food choices for potential food allergens.
Food allergies are not a static entity. One can become allergic to any food if they commonly eat this food. In addition, some food allergies can die down if a particular food allergen is avoided for some time. A person can then eat the offending food every so often without this food causing them any trouble whatsoever.
Dr. Sherry Rogers, my greatest teacher, says that if you have identified one food allergy in yourself, you probably have another half dozen that you don’t know about. I strongly concur with this.
I always assume multiple food allergies (far more that just gluten grains and dairy) in any person that I coach to become well from manic depression. In my opinion, this is a fairly safe assumption, if not almost a certainty.
In an elimination diet, the following foods should always TOTALLY avoided for a period of a few weeks at least:
1. All gluten-laden grains, to include wheat, oats, barley, and rye, MUST go. Quinoa and amaranth are non-gluten grains that may be OK, but I would test them via elimination and challenge as well.
A wise bipolar person takes all of the gluten grains completely out of their diet for at least six months to a year, as these food substances are so heavily and commonly problematic in persons that suffer from ADHD, autism, depression, manic depression, schizophrenia, and much else, both physical and mental.
I’d like to give you a specific example of the substantial psychotropic power of food allergy. I am bipolar, or I was bipolar for over thirty years until I became well via natural means. For me, I have noticed that if I eat too many gluten grain foods, not only do I get depressed (I call it “wheat weak”); my thinking goes into the past and focuses heavily on very negative and traumatic events that are long over. In regard to one past event in particular that I tend to focus on when I eat grains, I actually exhibit homicidal ideation towards a certain party that I feel greatly wronged myself and my children. (Of course, I recognize any homicidal ideation as a false reality due to severe brain dysfunction, and thus do not ever act on it, just as I recognize suicidal ideation the same way.). When I stop eating grains and clear out my gut with high dose bentonite and psyllium (as well as perform other natural measures), my focus on negative past events and any ideation of harming another human being (or myself) completely disappears and remains gone… until I dig back into eating too much allergic food to see what this can teach me (such repetitive informal self trials since mid 1997 have taught me a ton about manic depression).
2. Dairy. All dairy in any form must go, especially cheese. For some reason bipolar and schizophrenic persons tend to often crave cheese. Cheese is very often crippling to us, despite the fact that we usually are totally unaware of this, as well as many of us feel that “we have to have our cheese”.
3. Corn. Anything with corn or containing corn based ingredients such as corn syrup must go. Some argue that corn allergies are more prevalent and powerful than dairy allergies, such that corn should be the 2nd most common food allergen, not dairy.
4. Eggs must go. I have seen an unrecognized egg allergy quite literally kill one woman, and cripple another. Egg is my most powerful negative allergen. I think that Margot Kidder has identified egg allergy in herself as well. Eggs really MUST go…. in all forms and shapes, to include any and all foods that include eggs in any way, such as mayonnaise.
Food allergies are often causative of migraine headaches. Egg is the food substance (one of many) that is most likely to be involved in causing migraines.
Also, egg and chicken are related foods. Chicken must go at least temporarily as well, despite what anyone else may advise you.
5. Peanuts must go. For some reason both bipolar persons and alcoholics often crave peanuts, and this food is really hurting us. This food allergy, like any other food allergy, can cause very substantial psychiatric symptoms all by itself, without any other food allergen being ingested.
6. All chocolate must go. Chocolate is an extremely common allergen for persons with any psychiatric diagnosis whatsoever.
7. All nightshade family foods must go. This includes potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant. This is a common food group that is linked to arthritic conditions as well as mental symptoms.
8. All soy must go. Soy is a common allergen. In addition, soy has been genetically engineered in the past decade or so. Most soy now contains about 10% petunia, which is a member of the nightshade family (a common allergic food family).
9. All salicylate-laden foods must go. I am working from memory here, so my list may not be that accurate. Cucumbers and green olives immediately come to mind. Tomatoes may have a high degree of salicylates as well. I am just not sure here, but this is information that is rather readily found.
10. All citrus must go. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are citrus foods. These are very common allergens.
11. Any commonly eaten food OTHER THAN THE ABOVE must go. Whatever you are eating every day to every three or four days must be temporarily eliminated when you try to determine hidden food allergies in yourself. We strongly tend to eat the foods that hurt us, and eat them repetitively. Anything that someone is eating often should be a major suspect food as far as food allergy in
12. Other foods that seem to cause problems in persons with psychiatric conditions and thus ought to be suspected as food allergens are (1) strawberries, (2) melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew, (3) nuts such as cashew, walnut, and perhaps almond, (4) banana, (5) kiwi, and (6) beef. I am sure that other common “trap foods” will also come to mind soon after I send this email, but I can’t think of any more at the moment.
13. Obviously, all refined sugar must go as well. Sugar is not considered an allergen, but it must go. It causes or greatly contributes to intestinal dysbiosis in the intestinal tract, as well as robs the body of nutrients in a number of ways.
Signs of hidden food allergy ingestion in a person can be any and/or all of the following:
1. Intestinal problems of any sort, to include either chronic or recurrent (a) bloating, (b) excessive or foul smelling gas, (c) constipation, (d) diarrhea, (e) irritable bowel syndrome, (f) diverticulosis, (g) colitis, etc.
2. Chronic or recurrent sinus problems. If you make too much mucous in your nasal passages some or all of the time, this is an indication that you are eating allergic foods. Incidentally, the GI tract is loaded with mucous producing cells as well. When your nose makes too much mucous, your GI tract probably does as well. Excess mucous production in the GI tract interferes with nutrient absorption.
3. Shadows under the eyes, baggy eyes, etc. The area under the eyes is a strong indicator of food allergy. See the pictures in Dr. Doris Rapp’s book “Is This Your Child?”
4. Immediately upon wake up in the morning, try to make a tight fist with your hands. Weakness in hand strength immediately upon wake-up is an indication that one is being exposed to too many food allergens. Edema in the fingers (swollen fingers) in the morning can also be an indicator of the same.
5. Skin problems such as rosacea are an indication of food allergy.
6. Arthritic problems are a near certain indicator of food allergy, as are migraines.
I am sure that there are many other indicators of food allergy as well. Depression, manic depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, many other psychiatric “labels”, alcoholism, and many other substance abuse problems are all likely to have food allergens as a major, if not primary, causative factor.
A cardinal rule: One should immediately suspect hidden food allergy and other common gut dysfunction issues in any and every psychiatric diagnosis whatsoever.
History tells us that the Roman Empire probably failed because they were unwittingly using lead pipes to transport water to Rome and other cities. They all became a bit mad from the lead. In my mind, we humans are currently in decline as a species in large part due to the extreme prevalence of multiple and unrecognized hidden food allergen ingestion.
I cannot suggest to you strongly enough that multiple unrecognized hidden food allergies are likely to be a major, if not primary, causative factor in your condition. And if you have multiple unrecognized food allergies, you most certainly have intestinal dysbiosis as well. (Intestinal dysbiosis essentially means the presence of too much (1) yeast, (2) other fungi, (3) various “bad bacteria”, and/or (4) parasites in the GI tract.) Hidden and unrecognized food allergies and intestinal dysbiosis go hand in hand with the other, for the most part.
Also, as a result of general biochemical deficiency caused by hidden food allergies and intestinal dysbiosis, it is likely that you may lack digestive enzymes and stomach acid to some degree as well. It is wise to test both of these issues in yourself by simple trial at home. A few facts are all that are needed to perform these trials properly by yourself at home.
To address the issue food allergy in yourself properly does not require the services of a doctor at all. As “a giant first step” in your own personal recovery, you must simply do your homework on learning all that you can about hidden food allergies, elimination diets, food challenges, etc. and then apply this learning to yourself. No doctor is necessary here… as this learning can and should be done on your own. The obvious exception to this is if you are too symptomatic in which to function. In this case, you need to find someone that is able to apply this knowledge of food allergy to you temporarily…. until you can adequately function and thus carry the ball here.
Before I close, I would like to mention that I strongly think that the “gene or genes” that actually caused me to be bipolar all my life were “food allergy genes”. Of this, I am almost certain. I am also almost certain that the genetic basis of bipolar disorder in most of those persons so afflicted is the same… simply unrecognized or under recognized food allergy.
In saying the above, I do not mean to say that intestinal dysbiosis, a lack of digestive enzymes, and a lack of HCL are not common and major contributory factors in manic depression, because they almost always are, either sooner or later in one’s life. Other factors may be involved in causing manic depression as well. However, the aforementioned four factors are very basic and common biochemically depleting factors that always need to be assessed and/or addressed when tackling bipolar disorder and the like.
I sincerely hope that the above helps.
All the very best,