food intolerances

I have known about my food intolerance and sensitivities for over a year now. I am intolerant to dairy and have a gluten-sensitivity. To top it off, I have an intense inflammatory reaction when consuming grains within 4 hours of potato. I know living in Portland, everyone has some kind of food they can’t or won’t eat. It’s become mainstream. There’s even a Portandia episode about it. It’s pretty dang funny.  Because of how cool Portland is, living here with food baggage is not so bad,  but there still is a lot of eye rolling that goes on when people hear you have a food allergy.

What is really going on here? When food can’t be broken down, it forms toxins that hang out and cause inflammation and make your liver work harder, which just makes you feel like YUCK. Symptoms can include joint paint, muscle aches, tendonitis, skin problems, digestive issues, fatigue and brain fog. No fun….Who wants to feel about 100 years old? Not me, not anymore.

So, food intolerance, food allergy or food sensitivity?? What the heck?! I was a little confused myself about all these kinds of food issues, so I decided to help clarify it for you. Here you go.

Food Intolerance Food intolerance is completely different from food allergy although the symptoms are often similar. The difference is that food intolerances do not involve an immune reaction but occur because the body cannot properly digest the foods. Food intolerances can also be genetic and are found to pass from generation to generation. Either way, the body was never designed to digest the foods either due to enzymatic issues or absorption problems in the intestine. A simple blood test, called the Carroll Food Intolerance test can determine if you are intolerant to certain foods.

Food Allergies True allergic reactions to food involve the body’s immune system. When the body identifies a food as “foreign”, it produces antibodies against that food. When we ingest that food repeatedly, the body mounts an immune response causing the release of histamine and other chemicals that trigger allergic symptoms. This can also determined by a blood test.

Food Sensitivities Food sensitivities are energetic reactions that the body can have against a specific food. Reactions can range from digestive disturbances to skin or systemic symtoms. Food sensitivities are different than allergies as they do not produce a typical antibody response. They are different than food intolerances as there is no lack of any enzyme designed to break down food. Food sensitivities are most frustrating because they occur even after many blood tests have ruled them out.  It is often determined by an elimination diet where you remove all the suspected foods and then slowly add them back in and see if a reaction occurs. (I know this one! I learned by trial and error. And a lot of denial….)

Well, then. There you have it. Super serious post. But look how much you learned, smarty mcsmartypants…..;)


A week of grain free breakfasts/holy #@!* I eat a lot of eggs…..

A question that people often ask me is, what do you eat for breakfast if you don’t eat gluten or dairy? I decided to document a weeks’ worth of breakfasts for a post and came to the realization that the answer is overwhelmingly………EGGS!!

photo-16 IMG_2436 IMG_2139 IMG_2029 IMG_2672  eggs2 eggs3

The egg is a beautiful food.  It has many health benefits, this lil’ nugget of goodness.

Here are some fun facts about eggs…

  • Eggs provide a complete range of amino acids (the building blocks for making protein)
  • All B vitamins are found in eggs, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, choline, biotin, and folic acid
  • The nutrients found in an egg are distributed fairly evenly between the yolk and the white, which is a common characteristic of whole, natural foods and why consumption of whole eggs is recommended (So, egg-white only people: you are getting ripped off!)
  • Omega-3s are low in the average U.S. diet, and whole eggs from pasture-raised chickens can provide significant amounts of these anti-inflammatory fats

Select your eggs carefully. It can be a bit confusing. The good ones will be vibrant, sunny and make fluffy scrambled eggs and non-runny mayo. They won’t contain any of the misery or bad ju-ju of a poor chicken raised in a crowded, dirty factory farm.  Check out this handy little chart I borrowed from a great website called  World’s Healthiest Foods.

Shopping for Eggs
Stick with organic Organic standards help lower risk of contaminated feed and organic eggs usually have higher nutrient quality. However, remember that organic by itself does not guarantee a natural lifestyle for the egg-laying chickens.
Ask for pasture-raised Go beyond organic by asking for pasture-raised. Don’t get sidetracked by the confusing array of labeling terms. You are likely to find phrases like “pasture-raised,” “pastured,” “free-range” and “cage-free” on egg packaging, but labeling laws allow products to display these terms even if the egg-laying chickens spend little or no time outdoors in a pasture setting. Talk to your grocer or the chicken producer and find out how the chickens were actually raised.
Consider local farms Organic, pasture-raised eggs may be available from local farms with small flocks and a natural lifestyle for their chickens. Two websites that can help you find small local farms in your area are and Both sites are searchable by zip code.

Another option is to raise your own chickens! Hey Portlanders, now there’s a new idea for you…..; )