Guest Blogger: Barefoot Essence – Change your diet, skip surgey

12 Jul

Our newest contributor is Jacqueline Fisch, the author of Barefoot Essence, who experienced her husband’s health change 180 from being ill and having high blood pressure (after a plant based diet)  to the total  reverse.  Here she is in her own words, “I am deeply passionate about living an unfussy, barefoot kind of life, enjoying healthy food, experiencing a calm mind and being present. My goal is for you to love a simple life through simple food. I want you to thrive on real food, feel the pure joy in living in the moment and experiencing what living a barefoot life can do you for your soul. The best meals are enjoyed in bare feet.” Please visit Barefoot Essence on Facebook, Twitter and her blog; welcome Jacqueline!

Part of my journey into allergen-free cooking was when Jacob was about a year old. He constantly had a stuffy nose and was always breathing through his mouth. I thought a lot of kids were just mouth breathers, so I didn’t think much of it. Then one winter, he had pneumonia twice, and a series of coughs and that would last for a month. His tonsils were constantly red and swollen; I was amazed that he was able to swallow his food. Although, this probably had something to do with the fact that he eats like a 13-year old boy. Jacob’s pediatrician at the time referred him to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist who recommended removing his tonsils and adenoids, and planting tubes in his ears.

He was only two years old! I couldn’t fathom signing him up for an elective surgery. The specialist couldn’t tell me why his tonsils and were enlarged and wasn’t at all interested in investigating why. His hearing was checked to make sure it hadn’t been damaged from sinus drainage. His hearing was fine – I knew he could hear me when I was telling him ‘no’ for the fifteenth time. The ENT said I had two choices, put Jacob through surgery, or take a wait-and-see approach. He said some kids grow out of it and some kids just have enlarged tonsils. I couldn’t accept this explanation.

There had to be a reason why he was constantly stuffed up without being sick. I consulted a naturopath who suggested that a food allergy could be causing his enlarged tonsils so she recommended food allergy testing. She explained the tricky part about identifying food sensitivities is that they don’t have an immediate reaction. I thought, no way he has any food allergies, he’s never had a strange reaction to any foods, and I thought he was pretty regular – 5 times a day regular.

The allergy test the naturopath recommended is called an IgG test. I had no idea this was. When I thought about allergy testing, I thought about the scratch tests where they scratch you with potential allergens and look for a visible reaction.

I learned that food allergies are a reaction to food proteins and are categorized in mainly two ways; as an immunoglobulin E (IgE)–mediated (immediate) reaction or a non–IgE-mediated (delayed) reaction. I associated food allergies with IgE reactions, which would immediately result in itchy skin, trouble breathing, vomiting, throat swelling, or anaphylaxis. With an IgG reaction, the reaction may take several hours to several days to present itself. Some common IgG reactions are (but not limited to) headaches, hypertension, asthma, recurrent respiratory infections, joint pain, sinus infections or weird skin rashes. Both Ryan and Talia experienced skin rashes in response to trigger foods which I’ll discuss in a later post.

Since IgG allergic reactions take hours or days after ingestion to appear this makes it very difficult to pinpoint the culprit foods.

An IgG allergy test is done by taking a blood spot from a finger prick (Jacob barely flinched). The sample was sent to a lab where it was testing against 96 of the most common eaten foods and we received the results about three weeks later. The test cost about $230, and thankfully was covered by my insurance. Even if I had to pay out of pocket though, I wholeheartedly believe it would have been a valuable investment in his health. When healthy foods aren’t healthy for you, you need to know.

I received the results in a well-organized report, which detailed what foods caused an immune reaction and how severe that reaction was. Based on this report, the naturopath recommended removing any trigger foods for a minimum of three months, then reintroduce foods one at a time, a new one every week and watch for any of the reactions mentioned earlier within seven days. With Jacob, his reactions were typically a stuffy nose or increased bowel movements.

Upon review of the report with our naturopath, Jacob tested to be highly sensitive to cow’s milk, cheese and eggs, and somewhat sensitive to soy, asparagus, oranges and cod. I immediately cut these foods out of his diet as best I could. I noticed a change in just a few weeks – he could breathe through his nose and went from five bowel movements a day to two or three. He has also avoided antibiotics for over two years. After several months with these foods off of his plate, his tonsils were visibly smaller. He never went back to the ENT. He still has selective hearing, but I’m pretty sure that all kids do.

I never reintroduced dairy to Jacob’s diet. Whenever he inadvertently eats dairy, he complains of a stomach ache within a few hours and spends a good portion of his day on the toilet. There are also many, many other reasons why we don’t eat dairy, which I will explain in another post.

I am so fortunate to have found a knowledgeable naturopath that helped Jacob reach his optimum health. It frightens me to think of how many parents have, and will put their kids at risk for a surgery that can easily be avoided by changing what’s on our forks.

I am not a medical professional, and this story only depicts my personal experience. Please see a medical professional – in my opinion, preferably a naturopath to help you find your way to living your best life.

Our family’s naturopath is Dr. Michelle Peris, ND – love, love, love her! Read about her and what she has to say about being a health savvy mom herehttp://drmomnd.wordpress.com/

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One Response to “Guest Blogger: Barefoot Essence – Change your diet, skip surgey”

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  1. shout out to an organizer of a community of bloggers | Barefoot Essence - July 13, 2012

    […] of my favorite stories, which recounts how changing our son’s diet at the age of two helped him avoid surgery. I am very grateful to be able to share this message with all of you. You can read the original […]

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