I wanted to share some great info and resources from my good friend Tom Malterre, MS, CN who is a Functional Medicine-trained nutritionist. Tom explains that we have a “trifecta” occurring today that is contributing to this vast rise is food sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Once we can understand this trifecta, we can begin the healing process.
The Trifecta of Disease:
- <span “font-size:10.0pt;font-family:arial;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” “times=”” roman””=””>Chemical Toxicity. We’ve increased the amount of chemicals either imported or produced in the United States alone to about 74 billion pounds per day! These chemicals end up in air, food, and water. They are killing our beneficial microbes, depleting nutrients, and exciting immune cells
- <span “font-size:10.0pt;font-family:arial;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” “times=”” roman””=””>Microbiome Imbalances. We need a thriving population of microbes in the body to keep immune our cells calm, help digest our food, and produce vitamins and amino acids in our intestinal tract. Antibiotics, chlorinated water, cleaning agents, hand sanitizers, and pesticides all destroy these beneficial microbes.
- <span “font-size:10.0pt;font-family:arial;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” “times=”” roman””=””>Nutrient Deficiencies. By eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) of pre-packaged and processed foods that are low in nutritional value, the immune cells don’t have the nutrients they need to stay calm and not overreact to things in the environment like food and pollen. Eating an organic whole foods diet is essential for preventing disease and food-related reactions.
So what can you do to heal?
Implement the 4-R Program:
- Remove any irritants. First, remove as many chemicals from your life as possible such as pesticides in food by going all organic; BPA in plastics by using glass, stainless steel or ceramic dinnerware and food storage containers; and of course remove all toxic body care products like make-ups, soaps, shampoos, and lotions (the skin is quite effective in absorbing toxic chemicals from body care products).Next look at your diet! The most common irritant by sheer volume is food. There are more immune cells in our gut than anywhere else so if they are going to be reactive chances are it will be in the gut. The first step in healing is to follow the Elimiation Diet.
- Replace the digestive capacity. Make sure you are digesting your food. Without proper digestive function large food particles can pass undigested into the gut. Look at gastric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile acid secretion. Raw greens and wild plants, which contain bitter compounds such as tannins and alkaloids, stimulate all aspects of digestion including bile secretion, pancreatic enzyme secretion, and stomach acid secretion. Also consider supplementation with digestive enzymes and betaine HCL (my recommended brands are linked)
- Reinoculate the gut. Add in beneficial microbes by eating a diet rich in plant foods. These foods not only contain beneficial bacteria but they also have the prebiotics (non-digestible plant fibers) that the microbes need to flourish and grow. Add in fermented foods like lacto-fermented vegetables, which are rich in beneficial bacteria. Also consider supplementing with a high quality probiotic supplement, including a SBO (soil-based micro-organisms).
- Repair the system. Give your body the nutrients it needs, such as bone broths, zinc, and glutamine for gut tissue repair. Also be sure to include plenty of antioxidants to calm down the intestinal fire. Good sources of antioxidants include, berries, ginger, turmeric, sweet potatoes, greens, carrots, red cabbage, beets, and of course broccoli sprouts!
Food sensitivities are often a huge trigger for people with Hashimoto’s. I personally had a major sensitivity to dairy and gluten, and getting off both of these foods helped me get rid of the acid reflux I had been battling for over three years!
Changing my diet also helped me eliminate my bloating, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, congestion and carpal tunnel!
In surveying my clients, 93% feel better gluten free, and 75% feel better dairy free, but there may be other foods that can trigger symptoms!
All these years, I thought that eating whole wheat cereal/granola with nuts, fruit and fat-free milk was a healthy breakfast, but this was essentially like giving myself poison!
The interesting thing I learned about inflammatory foods in my own body, and later in working with clients, is that each of them may appear in different parts of our bodies. For example, gluten made me bloated and tired, dairy made me have acid reflux and hand tingling, nuts made me emotional and caused me to have breakouts, and too many fruit made me anxious and tired…
This was difficult to understand at first, as I had heard that following the Gluten-free/SCD/GAPS diet helped to heal other people’s health problems. After all, all of those diets “allowed” dairy and nuts, but these foods were clearly not agreeing with me.
This is why I always encourage tailoring your diet to your needs, not trying to force yourself to adapt to a specific dietary philosophy when your body. I’ve seen many people go on very restrictive diets and continue to feel bad, because they continue eating their reactive foods. Furthermore, being on a very restrictive diet when we don’t need to be can put us at risk for adrenal fatigue and nutrient deficiencies, inhibiting the healing process.
The gold standard, or the most accurate test for uncovering reactive foods and individual food sensitivities is actually the Elimination Diet.
It works better than trying a recommended dietary approach (i.e. gluten-free, Paleo, etc.) and even better than food sensitivity testing (which may be helpful in many cases, but may not be affordable for many people). The elimination diet can work as a stand-alone or in symphony with food sensitivity testing.
In contrast to other diets that simply exclude common problematic foods, an elimination diet is done to determine what particular food intolerances the individual may have. This allows us to tailor the diet to the person, not to the dietary philosophy! Going though an elimination diet will help you figure out your own individual food triggers and your specific response to each trigger food.
<span “font-size:14.0pt;font-family:”century=”” gothic”;=”” mso-fareast-font-family:”ＭＳ=”” 明朝”;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;=”” mso-bidi-font-family:”times=”” roman”;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;=”” mso-ansi-language:en-us;mso-fareast-language:en-us;mso-bidi-language:ar-sa”=””>During the elimination diet you will eliminate the most common problematic foods, then add the foods in, one at a time looking out for reactions and writing down your reaction to each food to determine if you are sensitive or not.
Functional Medicine-trained nutritionist, Tom Malterre MS, CN, has helped thousands of people overcome their health issues with food and nutrition, and the elimination diet is often one of the very first things he recommends for skin problems, joint pain, headaches, mood issues, or digestive upset.
Interestingly, Tom has connected eggs, pork, onions and oranges as top triggers for gallbladder issues, and his new Elimination Diet book shares his specific protocols that are close to 100% effective for eliminating gallbladder issues and has great success with pain, migraines and even focus and attention.
Here are some of the statistics he has shared with me:
100% of people with gallbladder disease improve
90% of those with rheumatoid arthritis get better
85% of migraine sufferers find relief
70% with behavior problems like ADD/ADHD lessen symptoms
50% having outbreaks of atopic dermatitis begin to hea
Elimination diet resources
Book and Cookbook
The elimination diet does not cost anything, and just requires some planning and knowledge to implement. Tom has been in clinical practice for many years, and has figured out to make this seemingly daunting and intimidating diet really simple to implement.
I encourage you to purchase his new book, The Elimination Diet.
Tom, and his wife Ali who creates delicious recipes, are offering a Quick Start Guide to the Elimination Diet and an Elimination Diet Cookbook full of healing recipes that are all completely grain-free, legume-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nightshade-free, soy-free, yeast-free, citrus-free and more! (I have my copy, and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes, Tom’s wife Ali is truly a culinary genius/artist/master!!).
If you need support in going on an elimination diet, Tom’s wife Ali has put together some free amazing elimination diet cooking videos, featuring healing recipes that give you the practical tools you need to implement the. In fact these recipes are all completely grain-free, legume-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nightshade-free, soy-free, yeast-free, citrus-free and more! Click HERE to get inspired with healing recipes!
Video Interview with Tom
If you like to watch videos, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Malterre a few weeks ago about the most common reactive foods he sees in his practice, and how they correlate with different symptoms, as well as how to do an elimination diet a couple of weeks ago. You can watch the video HERE or below.