So, apparently, no more eggplants, pineapples, cheese, rice, tomatoes, and peanuts...said anyone who has ever taken a food allergy test!
It’s such an appealing idea isn’t it? Just take a test and read in black and white how you are supposed to relate to food in order to feel better. We are terminally confused by dozens of different cure-all diets, demonized foods (even plants!), and we just want to know what menu items to hate! The prospect of a simple map is so appealing, that I spent years administering these tests in my practice, took them myself, and it wasn’t until I began to evolve my approach that I threw out all the kits and started to really see outcomes that I’ve been able to publish in the peer-reviewed literature.
The science isn’t there yet
I began to question the science behind food allergy testing based on my in depth research into immunology and vaccination. From my perspective, we don’t have a sound and validated clinical framework to interpret IgM and IgG antibodies. We don’t know what thresholds exist, and based on the concept of adaptive autoimmunity, we don’t even know that antibodies are always bad!
Perhaps the only thing these tests are demonstrating is that there is some intestinal permeability, an assumption I already make for every patient presenting with mood, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms that are causing distress. Does anyone not need to heal their gut, the seat of our physical health, digestion of emotions, and center of our power? We all do, and it begins with creating safe conditions for our guts to self-repair.
Testing has the potential to keep us arrested in an effort to fix things with our minds rather than to acknowledge the meaning behind our symptoms… meaning that can range from unconscious eating to unconscious marriage to unconscious vocation to repressed trauma, anger, and sadness. Unfortunately, if we fixate on nutrient deficiencies, Kreb’s cycles, and bacteria levels, we are still potentially viewing the body as broken, deficient, and misbehaving rather than understanding that it will spontaneously heal when radical acceptance, self-empowerment, and faith in a personal destiny are operationalized. Functional medicine testing can keep us in a greener pasture, but a fenced in space all the same.
Eat real food
Eating for healing shouldn’t require studying a long list of redline foods. It should simply require a shift in perspective. Food is not a source of fuel. It is not calories. And it is not proteins, carbs, and fats. Food is your bridge to the natural world. It is how you communicate to your soul that you are still a part of the greater web of life. It is how you message your genome that you’re connected to what you need to thrive.
From this mindset, we should simply eat real food, no? At least we should agree to start there. So, we commit to respecting our organism enough not to put processed wheat, dairy, sugar, food coloring, and unpronounceable lab molecules in our mouths. We liberate ourselves to be a part of the cycles of life, eating animal foods, sourced with reverence if that feels right. And we start with the basics: vegetables, fruit, oils, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds. We see how that feels.
How does it feel? That is the key question because the good news is that you are the only one who knows what you should eat. And the bad news is that you are the only one that knows what you should eat.
So after this basic whole foods template, you can watch and learn how your body tells you yes and how your body tells you no. Is your inner ecology ready for beans? Oatmeal? Rice?
In my experience, the answer is invariably yes.
There is not a patient in my practice on an autoimmune diet, on a FODMAPS diet, on a ketogenic diet, or any other restrictive intellectualized model, and many of my patients and course participants would characterize themselves as being very sick on presentation. I believe the reason that they heal on a less rigid protocol is that they are moving out of fear as a foundational part of the approach.
We are healing their autonomic nervous system by minimizing body burden of toxicants and through meditation DAILY. And we are looking at our reflexive assumptions about illness, symptoms, and what it takes to shed meds and defy diseases.
Have no fear
Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez taught me about fearless healing as a renegade pioneer of holistic cancer treatment. His patients were sick when they met him. Sick with autoimmune conditions, neurodegenerative illnesses and terminal cancers. And they simply ate whole foods (even raw dairy and sprouted wheat!) and they healed. He helped them release their fears, gave them hope, and created a powerful ritual of self care to ignite the healing response.
This is why, when I meet a patient who can eat two foods and can’t take a single supplement – who has been crippled by the horror show of psychiatric medication injury – I start with two weeks of daily enemas and an 11 minute meditation before we do a single thing differently. And I talk to them about how to make a truce with their body, to release their vigilance, and to surrender to the journey toward the other side of their former identity as a mental patient.
There is no shortcut to learning your body’s language, so stick to the basics, send your system a signal of safety, and save a couple hundred bucks on a test that will likely turn your dinner plate into a minefield of anxiety.