Prevention is the greatest thing you could do. If you could stop this from happening, it would protect your health in many different ways. Since you already know what causes the problem (poor digestion of protein) all we need to do is improve your digestion to digest protein well.
Remember, the acid in the stomach is important to denature the protein so the enzymes can break it down. Protecting your stomach acid is, therefore, foundational. This is done in several ways:
- Keep your stomach empty as much as possible. We were told by the nutritionists that we needed to always have something in our stomachs to keep our energy up. This, however, is bad advice for digestion. The “reset” button for stomach acid is an empty stomach, and eating all the time creates a constant low level of acid. The pH doesn’t get close to normal, nor does it get enough acid to denature some proteins. On the other hand, having an empty stomach allows it to “reset” the pH to normal, and make more acid to aid in digesting proteins when we do eat. This also prevents GERD, pylori infection, ulcers, and other stomach problems. (The pH of plain water is 7. More acid is a lower pH so if you have a pH of 1, that is very acidic and proteins will digest easier.)
- Avoid allergenic foods. These include GMO foods, especially the ones that contain the BT toxin gene. This is a toxin found in corn and potatoes that can incorporate into your intestinal bacteria, giving you a constant supply, and causing immune stimulation. The other main problem foods are wheat and milk. Wheat contains gluten that requires a very acidic stomach in order to digest it. Milk seems to be digestible until it is pasteurized, or heated, changing the proteins and making them more acid-stable and hard to digest. Raw milk would be an improvement.
- Fast periodically. Some of my patients do a weekly fast. One woman has chosen Monday to be her fast day because she found that she could continue to eat her preferred foods if she took a day off. She eats Sunday night, just drinks water on Monday, and then eats her normal breakfast on Tuesday morning. After many years of GERD and other stomach problems, she has been a whole year feeling normal. Remember, NOT eating is the way to reset the stomach. A day off is great for your health in so many ways by allowing more efficient digestion, better enzyme production, and better acid production.
- Avoid sugar. The addition of sweet foods is destructive to the digestion because all of the bad bacteria and yeast grow on sugar. Processed foods have been implicated in food allergies for many years, even though we may not have an allergy to the sugar itself. Sugar causes inflammation.
- Eat fiber. Beans, peas, lentils, fruit, and vegetables all contain fiber that the good bacteria in your intestines make into substances that suppress inflammation.
- Avoid the things you know you react to. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do because I have had so many patients say, “I know I react to ___________, but I like it!” And, they continue to eat the thing they’re allergic to. As long as you continue to eat what causes a reaction, you will not get better – remember the vicious cycle above.
- Eat fewer meals
- Avoid allergenic foods
- Fast periodically
- Avoid sugar
- Eat fiber
- Avoid the things that cause a reaction
Food allergies are not at all common in societies where they eat natural, unprocessed foods, and don’t eat too much. We are not destined to have food allergies because of our genes. We have a wonderful digestive system that is incredibly complex and works very well when treated properly. If you do periodic maintenance on your car, changing the oil, checking the brakes, and so forth, then why not on an infinitely more complex machine – your body! Your digestive system is your primary interface with the world, bringing in all your energy and nutrients that you need to live, breathe, work, play, and do all that you do. Keep it working properly and it will allow you to remain healthy for the rest of your life. It’s not hard, and it’s worth all the care we can give it.