There are over 160 foods that are known to cause food allergies. Of these, eight account for 90 percent of all food allergies reported in the United States. The “Big Eight” include milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish; and we have dietary filters for all but one [fish] on our site. We have already addressed two of these allergens in Part I of this post (dairy and eggs), and we will address two more today:
The others you don’t have to worry about, because if you’re Paleo, you’re already avoiding them!
But what if you test negative for a food allergy, but still have reactions to that food? In some cases, people will have an intolerance to a certain food, which may range in severity, as opposed to a true allergy. A food allergy usually comes on suddenly every time you eat the food, even if it is only a small amount, and it can be life-threatening. A food intolerance, on the other hand, usually comes on gradually and may only happen when you eat the food often or eat a lot of it. Today we will address two common groups of food that cause reactions in some people. These include:
If you need to avoid any of the above foods (or food groups), our dietary filters will help you find recipes that will fit your needs. Remember, when you find a recipe you like, you can save to your own, personalized Paleo meal planner, myKitchen.
Nuts are often viewed as a “gateway” food in the Paleo diet. Many who switch to Paleo will often have nuts as a quick and easy snack food, which is not always optimal for the diet. Due to the high amount of omega-6 fatty acids found in nuts, they can cause inflammation within the body and digestive distress for many. They can also cause problems for those suffering from an autoimmune disease.
Nuts are viewed mostly as a treat food or often appear as a garnish on Primal Palate recipes. When choosing nuts to eat, it is best to select raw nuts, or better yet, to soak and dehydrate the nuts before consumption.
If you’re looking for a Paleo treat, but can’t have nuts, no worries! We have plenty of nut-free recipes available on the site:
Considered one of the eight major allergens by the FDA, shellfish can cause a severe anaphylaxis reaction in those who are allergic. About 60 percent of those who are allergic to shellfish first experienced a reaction as adults.
There are two types of shellfish:
- Crustaceans: These cause most shellfish allergies, and include shrimp, crab and lobster.
- Mollusks: Do not cause many allergies, and include clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops. Mollusks such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops do not cause as many allergies.
In our dietary filters, we remove both crustaceans and mollusks from recipes categorized as, “shellfish free.” Note that this does not encompass all seafood dishes. Cod, salmon, and tuna dishes are not categorized as shell-fish free. It is possible to be allergic to fish and not shellfish, so be sure to check with your doctor with any questions/concerns you may have.
FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are incompletely absorbed in the GI tract. Individuals suffering from Chron’s, Colitis, or IBS may find relief by removing these foods from their diet. These individuals may lack the enzyme necessary to digest these carbohydrates, so they are not absorbed in the small intestine. This causes gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. A wide number of health benefits have been attributed to a Low FODMAP diet, which aims to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
The carbohydrates that make up FODMAPs (and from it is named) include:
- Oligosaccharides: the main source of this carbohydrate is wheat, legumes, and some vegetables (particularly onion)
- Disaccharides: the main source being lactose, including goat and sheep milk
- Monosaccharides: the main source is fructose, found in honey and many fruits
- Polyols: found in sugar-free foods, and some fruits and vegetables
If you are experiencing IBS symptoms, you might want to consider eliminating the above foods for thirty days. [*Please note: this is not an exhaustive list, please view this article for more information.] While this list may seem long, there are plenty of recipes you can still enjoy! We included a few of our favorites below, but you can also check out our entire collection of FODMAP-free recipes by checking the “FODMAP – Free” dietary filter, or view this post for FODMAP-free dinner ideas!
We have a lot of information about FODMAPs on the site. Check out these posts for more info:
FODMAP and Leaky Gut (how to heal Leaky Gut) – Pt 2
Nightshades are a group of foods that have been shown to cause inflammation. If you suffer from arthritis, eliminating nightshades may help with the chronic pain and inflammation associated with the disease. It is recommended that individuals suffering from an autoimmune disease also avoid these inflammatory foods.
The glycoalkaloids, a natural pesticide produced by nightshade plants, are known to contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and affect intestinal permeability. Research has shown that glycoalkaloids can break the membranes of red blood cells and mitochondria, so it is considered one of the possible causes for “leaky gut” syndromes due to their capability to poke holes in cell walls.
If you think nightshades may be negatively affecting your health, you can try avoiding all nightshades for three months. After this time period, slowly reintroduce them, taking note of any aches, pains, stiffness, loss of energy or headaches that may accompany the return of this food into your diet. Until then, explore our entire collection of Nightshade-Free recipes, or view a few of our favorites below: