Ask Adrienne (Almost) Anything ~ February 29, 2012

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Question Mark

The main reason that I started my blog was to be a resource to others.

My family has been through so much regarding food allergies, autism, adrenal fatigue, and more – and we've had to made adaptations to our diets numerous times in an attempt to make ourselves healthier.

And we've also been through a lot financially–mainly trying to “make it” on a single income (that is well below six figures :-)), with a special needs child, with medical expenses and well . . . things aren't getting cheaper now, are they?

So as my life went on, I found myself wanting to share with others what I knew and what I had experienced .

But it's hard to do that with just your mouth.

So Whole New Mom was born.

Recently I've been getting more questions in my inbox and on my Facebook page, so I thought I'd give a weekly Q&A-type post a try.

Let's see how it goes.

My desire is to field questions on any topic (within reason) that you might like to ask:

  • whole foods
  • special diets
  • food allergies
  • substitutions (like for eggs, sweeteners, etc.)
  • budgeting (saving money, inflation…)
  • health topics (autism, adrenal health, heavy metals,….)
  • anything else (within reason, right?)  By the way, my hubby is not a fixit man (but he's working on it) but he is kind of an expert on some things so feel free to ask away.  If it has to do with whole health in some way and I can't answer it, maybe he can chime in :-).)

I can't promise that I'll know the answer, but I'll try my best ;-).

And then all of you can just chime in the comments section and we can all help each other out.

So–ready?  Set?  Let's go!

(Oh–and you can e-mail your questions to me at wholenewmom {at} gmail {dot} com.   Just put “Ask Adrienne (Almost) Anything” or AAAA! in the Subject area so it catches my eye more quickly!)

1.  Bonnie Asks:

I read that ginger is good for me . . . is it better for me if I eat it raw . . . or same value if it's cooked ??

Answer: 

I found this article on ginger that was really interesting but also puzzling  It states that dried ginger has more antioxidants than fresh, but then it goes on to discuss gingerol and how that substance (that is thought to have antibacterial and immune-system-enhancing properties) deteriorates when grating, cooking, or drying.  There are also a lot of sites lauding the benefits of drinking ginger tea (which is obviously dried and cooked).

I think it comes down to this:  all are good.  You should either eat it fresh, dried, and cooked, or target the health benefit that you are most looking for and consume your ginger that way.

2.  Melissa Asks:

I'm interested in buying some raw almonds without PPO. I live in the Houston area.  Do you have any recommendations for my area?  I realize you stated you placed your order by 11/30/11.  When do you order again?

I looked at justalmonds.com (mentioned in your comments section), and they use the steam processing and are $4.91/lb if you buy 5 lbs or more.  They specifically state they do not use PPO.  What are your thoughts on the steam processing?

Thanks for your help on this frustrating subject!

Answer

Melissa, my post on Is There Jet Fuel on Your Almonds got a lot of attention.  And for good reason.

I think our government is just meddling in all sorts of things that it shouldn't.  It turns out (if you read the comments on that post) that the salmonella on the problematic almonds–the salmonella that caused the government to think that putting jet fuel on almonds was a good idea–came from dirty equipment.  Ugh.  Clean the equipment, people–please don't poison our almonds!

Anyway, we will order our almonds again in either August or October / November or both.  There are two different suppliers and I am trying to sort out if I will work with one or both.  I am thinking both at this point.

I have to decide what I am going to do this year to streamline it a little bit.  You are welcome to get on my mailing list, and I'll contact everyone once the time comes. 

Regarding the steam processing, I guess I would rather have no processing at all for my almonds, but Just Almonds seems to be pretty clean according to the readers' comments about them.  I am not sure at this point if all steam processed almonds would retain their nutritional characteristics inside, but I suppose it is possible.  I am going to dig into this matter a bit more.  It does say on the Just Almonds site that the almonds will not be as crunchy as non-steamed almonds.

I do know that I have been corresponding with a woman who is somewhat of a phytate expert (she has studied soaking of grains, etc.), and I believe she said that there is very little research on soaking nuts and the reduction of enzymes.  I am going to ask her thoughts on the nuts at Just Almonds, so maybe we can revisit this in another Q&A session.

3.  Nikki asks:

Adrienne–I've been checking out your blog the past few days and I was wondering if you could answer a couple questions for me. We're already gluten-free b/c two of our kids have celiac disease. Now Mikey tested positive in a skin allergy test to eggs and to almonds. You have experience with food allergies. So far he's eaten eggs.  Should I take him off eggs and then reintroduce to see if there's a reaction? And regarding almonds, if he's allergic to almonds does that mean he'd also have a problem with almond flour? I'm assuming yes, but I'm hoping the answer is no.

I'm also wondering if a “reaction” is always physical or how I would test to see if it causes a behavioral reaction.  I know he has behavioral reactions to dairy.  It took us a long time to figure that out.  Do you have any “tips” on figuring out something like that?

Thanks.
Nikki

Answer:

Nikki, food allergies (and all allergies, in fact) are a real puzzle.  I've actually suffered from environmental allergies my whole life, and as a girl I had reactions so severe in the spring that I had to stay home from school for 6 weeks every year.  (That's food for another post :-).)

Anyway, there are a lot of professionals (and amateurs) with a lot of opinions out there.  I am an amateur, of course, but I was pre-med in college and tend to dig into anything medical.  Or at least I used to.  Now with all of the demands of my present-day life, I can't do as much as I'd like.  But then, who can?

My first question to you would be, have you seen any reactions to eggs and/or almonds?  Both blood and skin tests for allergies can be inaccurate.  The real test for whether or not someone is allergic to a food is whether there is a reaction.   You can even test not allergic to a food but be allergic.  My son, for example, tests fine to hazelnuts, but he cannot eat them.

There can also be food allergies that do not show up as life-threatening issues, but they manifest themselves in fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms–  kind of like your experience with gluten-containing foods.  I have no diagnosed food allergies, but I am currently off of sugar, gluten, fermented foods, and even grains due to non-life threatening issues.  And I feel much better.

About the almonds–if your son is, in fact, allergic to almonds, then almond flour would for sure be out of the question.  I hope that is not the case!

As for figuring out behavioral issues–it's really tough.  I have read a little about that but it is hard.  One book that has gotten a lot of respect in the “holistic parenting” movement is:

I personally found it to be one of those books that caused “head spinning syndrome”.  I started to think that everything could be causing a reaction.  Maybe you can empathize :-).  However, the author is really sharp and it gives a lot of good “food for thought” (pun intended :-).)

There are a lot of things that can cause behavioral issues and physical symptoms including food allergies, deficiencies, candida (systemic yeast), heavy metals, etc.  We have experienced all of these.  If you'd like, please submit some of what you are dealing with and we can go from there in another Q&A post.  I am sure my readers would have some ideas as well.

I personally know folks who have seen great help introducing probiotics and reducing foods that lead to candida.  Also, dealing with heavy metals has made a huge benefit for my family.

By the way, here is a link to FAAN's website where you can read more about the reliability of allergy testing.  I subscribed to their newsletter for years.  I found it to be pretty helpful but the recipes were frustrating because they did not focus on whole foods at all.

Finally, you asked about taking out eggs and re-introducing them.  I guess you could try that.  If you aren't getting reactions now, then there is probably no point.  But my current practitioner says that food allergies are really tricky.  You kind of need to work your way through then and figure it out as you go if there are no “obvious' reactions.  You can spend a lot of money on IgE and IgG tests and still not be sure of what to do.  I think perhaps the best approach is to deal with candida and heavy metals and leaky gut and then see where you are.  At least with those things you can be sure that you are doing something good for your child and you are not removing foods from an already restricted diet.

One more thought – I have only tried it for a short time, but a rotation diet can be a really good thing for working on limiting and determining allergies.  But it can be hard to follow and we all know stress isn't good for us either.  I'd be happy to talk more about that if you are interested.

Sorry for the lengthy response – you asked some things that I have done a lot of thinking (and living) about:-).

Please share your thoughts!

 

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Comments

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  1. Adrienne–

    Sorry to add in so much later, but have you read The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien? I just finished it and it was a really interesting expose/informational book primarily pertaining to kid allergies. (More, as well, but that was the focus, since her kids had recently been hit with several.) She mentions the FAAN website frequently because of her work and involvement with similar issues, and it’s pretty interesting to find out what she did on the network behind that website. A lot of the high up board members and other people who filled important roles for FAAN were connected to GMO projects, governmental food mentalities, and a whole host of other things. Her point on this topic (amongst many others) was that FAAN’s information was often confusing and/or misleading, likely due to the conflict of interests in those running it.

    Anyway, interesting book. 🙂 She has started her own website at http://www.allergykids.com/ if you’re interested.

    • Wow. I was a member there for 3 years when my son was just diagnosed. I was always appalled by the horrid assortment of processed recipes. I will take this out of the library and read it. Thank you so much and I will check out her site!!!

  2. hello,
    i hope i am not too late to join in:) i have been off gluten for about 7 weeks, as has my husband. my husband has Crohns, and i have an undiagnosed, but the doctor and naturopath both think a ‘pre or early’ case of ms. i was told that within a couple weeks we would notice big changes in energy/weight loss etc. so far nothing! my psoriasis may be improving slightly…
    we have 4 kids, homeschool and are on a very small budget, and i just can’t imagine attempting to rule out even more foods {dairy, etc.}
    in your opinion have we given it enough time to see results? i’ve heard at this point we would feel awful reintroducing gluten, so we did a little cheat. and no ill side effects. i’m not sure if i’m releived or irritated :D! thanks for all of your helpful info!

    • Hi Mandy. Not sure if I got an email off to you or not. If you’d like me to address these issues in another Q&A post just send me an email at wholenewmom at gmail dot come with Q&A in the subject line. Thanks and I’d love to help as much as I can.

  3. Hello! 🙂

    I purchase my raw (not steamed), organic almonds directly from the farmer (NutNOther(dot)com) in California. They’re great!

    ~ Kathy

  4. Love this idea Adrienne. I look forward to these upcoming posts!

  5. Love this idea Adrienne. I look forward to these upcoming posts!

  6. I think this is a great idea to post the Q &A!!! I am having some issues myself that I need to figure out but I am new at ALL of this stuff and it is very overwhelming. Help! Where does a person start? I get migraines, bloated & gassy easily (IBS????) — just don’t know where to start!