While nutritional supplements can sometimes be helpful and beneficial, and needed in the the management of some health conditions, they are never a substitute for healthy eating and should be taken cautiously and wisely.
Experts now agree that diet plays a role in maintaining good health, disease prevention and chronic illness. And changing diets can help alleviate many unpleasant symptoms.
The problem is, for many health problems, there is no one size fits all. This means some trial and error is generally necessary in order to find the diet that will maximise pain and symptom relief for you. This is best done with the help of a dietician who is knowledgeable about food intolerance elimination challenges.
Below are the main helpful and healing diets. There are others, but most are simply variations of these.
Regardless of what diet you choose, it is important to consider the standard dietary guidelines and eat healthy portion sizes.
NOTE: Unfortunately, if you have multiple food intolerances, none of these diets will quite be the right fit, so you will need to come up with a hybrid diet, like I did, with the help of dietician. (see MCAD diet issues here, my dietary solutions here)
Low Histamine Diet
When histamine build up in the body, due to overconsumption, over activation of the mast cells, or lack of DOA enzymes, it can cause a very wide range of unpleasant symptoms.
While some people benefit greatly from being on a low histamine diet, many are also sensitive to other biogenic amines, and sometimes salicylates, and do better on a diet low in biogenic amines (including histamines); or the low Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate Diet developed by the RPAH Allergy Unit. (discussed below)
Standard Dietary Guidelines – Healthy Eating Plate
Helps with weight management and overall health and disease prevention.
Standard dietary guidelines (SDG) provide food and portion guidance based on massive research and scientific peer review. In fact, the 2013 Australian guidelines provided by the NHRMC are based on 5 years scientific peer review of over 50,000 nutritional papers. SDG are designed to provide you with nutrition that will help prevent a number of conditions and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Here are some helpful resources
For people on a budget these resources are great, the provide helpful tips, tools and lots of healthy but cheap and easy recipes
- The Choose my Plate guidelines – a project that helps people on a low income eat a healthy diet, developed with the input of Michelle Obama, contains a free menu planner and diet tracker.
- The Foodcents program
can help fatigue, brain fog, mood swings and many other unpleasant symptoms
The basis of the Gluten-Free/Casein-Free (dairy free) Diet is that, based on low functioning enzymes and/or an imbalance in gut microbes, some individuals have trouble breaking down proteins into amino acids. Instead, proteins go into the blood and up to the brain as peptides that have a similar structure to opiates and therefore create brain fog and mood swings.
This is often the first diet doctor’s trained in biomedicine, functional medicine, and nutrition and environmental medicine; try with their clients complaining of fatigue, brain fog and multi-symptoms, when exploring food intolerance.
LOW GI (Carbohydrate) diet
Helps Gut – Mood and many other unpleasant symptoms
Foods with low GI break down more slowly allowing glucose to be released more evenly into the blood stream. This allows for a more level and sustained energy supply. Foods with a moderate to high GI should be eaten less regularly.
Examples of the GI rating of various carbohydrates are:
- Low GI (less than 55): fruits, milk, pasta, grainy bread, porridge and lentils.
- Medium GI (55 to 70): sugar, orange juice, basmati rice and wholemeal bread.
- High GI (greater than 70): potatoes, white bread and long-grain rice.
A low GI diet is similar to popular low carbohydrate diets like Paleo, but is not as restrictive. Low GI, is thought to be better suited to people who are experiencing more severe adrenal fatigue and HPA axis dysregulation.
Gut – IBS
The FODMAPS diet is a good diet to consider if you are mostly bothered by Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation. The FODMAPS diet reduces the intake of foods high in FODMAP sugars found in some fruits, dairy, vegetables, legumes and grains. Some people can achieve the same benefits, by identifying individual FODMAP food intolerances such as lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance or fructose intolerance. This is best done with the help of dietician.
When gut issues are just one of your symptoms, and you have many more, it may be an indication that you have a problem with natural food chemicals like histamines or biogenic amines (histamines, tyramines and other amines).
Celiac Disease is a hereditary condition where people experience a lot of unpleasant symptoms when they eat foods containing gluten (e.g. wheat, oats, rye, barley). This condition must be diagnosed by a doctor and medically managed. Go here to find out about gluten free diets.
Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate Diet
This diet was developed by the RPAH Allergy Unit. Dr Loblay the director of the RPAH Allergy Unit, says that when people think of food chemicals they think of additives, but natural food chemicals like salicylates, amines and glutamate, can have a more insidious impact and cause more symptoms,
Dr Loblay says, that food intolerance symptoms are rarely triggered by one food, but rather is dose related and triggered by eating foods that contain similar food chemicals. This type of food intolerance impacts 1 in 10 people to varying degrees – mild to severe. Often just reducing the intake of foods high in salicylates, amines and glutamates, can make a big difference to how a person feels.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
Removing carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and cause inflammation in the gut is the rationale behind this diet developed by Dr Sydney Hass MD, popularised by biochemist Elaine Gottschall in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.
It is based on the theory that by eliminating most carbs (primarily grains, starches, dairy, and sugars) and allowing only specific carbs that require minimal digestion. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence (and some studies) that shows, that this diet can reduce inflammation and make eating more enjoyable for people with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as SIBO, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease.
If you have SIBO, or gut inflammation, it will difficult to calm mast cells, and sensitivities without addressing this.
Low Residue Diet
Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)
Gut, fatigue, physical and psychological symptoms
This diet recognises that the gut and brain and intricately linked, and the health of one impacts the other. (Gut-brain axis)
The GAPS diet is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which is a dairy free, gluten free, a low sugar and low carbohydrate diet that is effective for managing Coeliac, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. As well as, associated anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a Cambridge UK neurologist with a degree in nutrition, who treated her son off the Autism Spectrum, developed the GAPS diet.
The anti-candida diet.
The anti-candida diet is a favourite of alternative health practitioners and many doctors trained in integrative medicine who treat multi-symptom disorders like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is very similar to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and GAPS diet, but it does not allow any sugary foods and that includes fruit. It also offers many of the same benefits as a low GI carbohydrate diet, as it helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
Many people report symptom relief on this diet and the related SCD and GAPS diet. The RPAH Allergy Unit, says that this relief may not actually be because of the yeast free, wheat free and sugar free aspects of these diets, but because when you cut these out, you cut out lots of food additives and natural food chemicals (salicylates, amines and Glutamate)