The ALCAT Test: An Individualized Food Blueprint
Have you been to the doctor multiple times and no matter what tests he or she orders, they can’t seem to find any major answers? Or on the other side of the fence, are your aches and ailments starting to accumulate like a cluttered closet?
There is no end-all, be-all, cure-all when it comes to optimum health, but there is one thing I know for certain- you are what you eat.
More appropriately, you are what your body does with what you eat. After 15 years of striving to guide people to wellness there is one culprit that deserves it’s fair share of blame:
Pro-inflammatory Food Sensitivities
Inflammation is the root of most evil when it comes to disease and morbidity. In just a minute you’ll see how Food Sensitivities (different than food allergies) may be the underlying cause of many of your nagging symptoms, stubborn weight gain and sapped energy.
If there were a set of “Golden Keys” to anti-aging, one of those keys would be a personal and genetic “Food Blueprint” to base your eating habits around.
What I’m about to share with you has been the ‘missing key’ for many.
What Is A Food Sensitivity?
A “Food Sensitivity” or “Food Intolerance” is a reaction to a food that doesn’t occur right away. It could take days, weeks, even years for a food sensitivity to manifest symptoms in your body. Many times it’s not even immediately recognizable as a symptom. Most people mistakenly interchange “food sensitivities” with “food allergies”. What I am talking about here is NOT eating a strawberry and breaking out in a rash.
Let me explain… if you get migraine headaches, you have, no doubt, tried your best to track down something that you eat that trigger them. For many, in spite of their diligence, nothing seems to make sense, and even though you’d like to blame them on your hormones, the pattern doesn’t say conclusively that the headaches are hormonally related.
That’s when it’s time to utilize some cool science to investigate your body’s ‘hidden’ reaction to foods.
If your body reacts to tomatoes and lettuce with a Food Sensitivity, you may not have a migraine for a few days, because it may take that long for the food to cause the production of certain chemicals – and enough destruction in the body – which eventually shows up as a migraine headache. This same pattern can hold true for pains from Arthritis, digestive disorders, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, ADD or ADHD, weight gain or obesity, or a variety of skin disorders.
Food Myths Interfere With Finding A Health Solution
Before you find out more about how to accurately identify Food Sensitivities or Food Intolerance’s, it’s important to examine common ways that most people look at foods, and see how they relate to what we are talking about.
Here’s a brief list of inaccurate information I frequently hear:
1. Only certain foods cause trouble like gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance, but this doesn’t happen too often.
2. Foods are either good or bad for you.
3. Foods are usually digested by the body but if they aren’t, they simply come out undigested on the other end.
4. Eating the same foods daily promotes good health as long as you are eating organic.
5. Food cravings and overeating are normal human behaviors that can’t be overcome.
Myth #1: Only Some Foods Can Be Troublesome But Not Very Often
We’re living in an age where food allergies and Food and Chemical Sensitivities are at an all-time high. Experts predict that the numbers of people affected by food allergies and sensitivities is expected to continue rising.
It’s estimated by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that more than half (54.6%) of all Americans test positive to one or more allergens. In 2007, about 3 million children were reported to have a food or digestive allergy. Allergic diseases affect as many as 50 million Americans.
Food allergies have increased 18% between the years 1997 to 2007 in children. And 6.5 million people are allergic to seafood, with more than 3 million people allergic to peanuts or other nuts. Peanuts cause more deaths than any other food allergy by the way.
Lactose intolerance, which is the inability to break down the lactose in the milk, affects more than 30 million Americans. It seems to be distributed among certain races, with up to 70 % of all African Americans and American Indians affected and up to 90% of Asian Americans affected.
And the statistics aren’t any better for Food Sensitivities. It’s not uncommon for ALCAT doctors or Nurse Practitioners who perform the ALCAT test regularly to reports that the majority of patients tested have significant Food Sensitivities – and once they remove the foods from their diet, the majority of all their health problems improve or resolve!
Food Allergies Versus Food Sensitivity
As we’ve alluded to, there’s a big difference though between food allergies and Food Sensitivities. Food allergies are associated with reactions that put you in the Emergency Room, such as anaphylactic reactions where the throat closes up and the person begins gasping for breath. If a food that you eat causes an immediate reaction, that food is considered an allergen.
The most common food allergies are peanuts, egg, soy, nuts, and seafood. And for those of you who are allergic to foods, you know that even the smallest amount of an allergic food can be enough to set off a bad reaction, one that may be life-threatening. A non-allergenic food could have been mixed in a bowl that previously contained the allergenic food and the non-allergenic food will cause a reaction. That’s how serious the problem is.
But what really happens between the time that someone eats a food and the anaphylactic reaction takes place minutes later?
When you consume a food that you are allergic to, the immune system and the nervous system work together to produce an immediate reaction. Just a very small amount of the food can contain enough of the antigen protein that causes the immune system to mistake it as a foreign invader. Then the entire body responds with an all-out attack against the antigen protein in the food. The attack can be as little as a flush face or fatal.
But a Food Sensitivity is different. Much different.
Food Sensitivities can cause reactions such as headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, fibromyalgia, aching joints, bloating, gas, foggy thinking, crying episodes, dark shadows under the eyes, acne skin breakouts, weight gain, swelling, inflammation, pain in the body near old injuries, or even just come-and-go pain. If you experience any of these symptoms and haven’t found a solution you are in for some enlightening news.
Because food sensitivities occur days later (and because most people to continue to eat that same food), you need a very sensitive test that can actually track these reactions. Otherwise, standard medical tests (like skin tests or IgG) will miss them.
Myth #2: Foods Are Either Good Or Bad For You.
Although it’s true that some foods clearly are bad for the body while others are good, there’s a whole new level of medical understanding that you must be aware of.
In a nutshell, here’s the new paradigm: A good food for Mary isn’t always a good food for Sarah. The foremost authority in the world right now on nutrition research, Gary Taubes, has perused the literature up and down and concludes that genetics definitely come into play when discussing weight gain and obesity.
The idea to grasp here is that there is an individual “Food Blueprint” for each one of us.
This blueprint may change, depending on what we are eating from time to time, but nevertheless, the underlying framework is there.
The salmon that’s good for Mary may be ‘toxic’ for Sarah because she has a Food Sensitivity to it and her body goes into a reactive, inflammatory state – it reacts adversely to the food. Inuit Eskimo’s may live on a diet of 90% fat, but that would kill someone who is a 5th generation sheepherder from Spain.
The apples that Randy eats may only be problematic when the birch tree pollen levels are high, because the antigens (a foreign molecule that triggers the immune system to attack) in apples may resemble those in birch. Interesting, huh?
A Food Sensitivity reaction will still have an immunological system component (most other allergy tests are based upon just that) but underlying and perpetual sensitivity reactions will go on to affect other organs and systems, in time, as well. And because of the individualized “Food Blueprint”, Sarah’s salmon sensitivity can cause headaches while Ted’s salmon sensitivity causes weight gain and fatigue. Many food sensitivities can cause mood swings because of the neurological aftermath of the body’s over-reaction to the food.
Myth #3: Foods Not Digested By The Body Come Out As Undigested Food Particles In The Stool.
Foods that aren’t digested properly may come out of the body as undigested food particles in the stool but that not where the damage is done.
It’s the proteins in foods that can start to act as an antigen that your body recognizes as foreign. And although the antigen response may not be strong enough to be considered a food allergy, a Food Sensitivity antigen response can be even more destructive.
The proteins can leak out into the bloodstream where they are carried to any and all of the major organs. Often the antigens head for already damaged areas, such as a previous knee injury or rotator cuff injury, and they accumulate there, contributing to the development of even more inflammation. (Many common musculoskeletal complaints can disappear when sensitive foods are identified and removed). Are you starting to see why this is important stuff?
That’s why your symptoms of Food Sensitivity can be different than your sister’s, and why your symptoms of Food Sensitivity can change as well. Maybe today the most damaged part of your body is that old knee injury but tomorrow it’s your back that’s aching.
Picture a fire..it’s never static and still, it’s ever-changing. The same goes for inflammation in your body. The ALCAT reliability helps identify inflammatory foods.
Myth #4: Eating The Same Foods Daily Is Perfectly Fine For Good Health As Long As You Are Eating Organic.
The field of nutrition is constantly growing with new knowledge. Seventy years ago, the best thing you could do for your health was to eat “three square meals” a day. In the 1970s, the trend was to incorporate more fiber and grains into your diet. By the 1980s, everything was ‘no-fat’. We now know for a fact that humans cannot thrive without the proper amounts of good fat. many patients ask, “Are grains inflammatory”? Grains have now been shown to be inflammatory (yet they still make up the foundation of our country’s Food Pyramid). Go figure…
So what’s one to do?
None of these ‘facts’ take into consideration that there exists in each of us what I call an individualized “Food Blueprint”. To me it makes the most sense.
We all look different from each other on the outside, even if we are members of the same family. We all have different likes and dislikes. We have different medical and biochemical backgrounds. We all eat different meals daily. So how can we think that everyone should eat the very same thing – or that one thing will work for everyone?
The individualized “Food Blueprint” you that you have in your DNA may have sensitivities – or allergies – to foods that your identical twin does not have. That’s how unique you are and how distinct your Food Blueprint can be!
Myth #5: Food Craving and Overeating Are All Behaviors That Can’t Be Overcome.
Have you noticed there are certain foods you crave? Even at different times? Or that whenever you eat a certain type of food, it makes you want to keep eating more of it?
These cravings and binges are not normal. And let’s face it, if you could stop them your life and health would probably be a whole lot better. Those who have been tested for Food Sensitivities report the same thing over and over– that when they eliminated the culprit foods from their diet, they just plain do not have the cravings and binges.
We are now offering the Gold Standard in Food and Chemical Sensitivities and Intolerance testing- It’s called ALCAT. This test is the only test that looks at the immunological reactions from foods that are occurring in the body over time. The test includes sensitivities to hundreds of foods, molds, environmental allergens, prescription drugs and even herbs.
It’s a simple blood draw here in the office and the samples are immediately sent and meticulously tested at the state-of-the-art ALCAT labs. From there, we will hand deliver and walk you through your custom and individualized ‘Food Blueprint’ report. You will also receive a 30 minute one-on-one phone consult with an ALCAT nutritionist to further go over exactly what to do to maximize your results.
With your Food Blueprint we can work to make 2012 your best year ever! Schedule now as it take about 10 days to get your results and action plan in hand.
The ALCAT test cost is variable based on the complexity oand depth of the test, so call our office now, 303-980-5699, to see if you have insurance coverage for this test and the ALCAT test reviews and diet recommendations. We do offer self pay tests as well.